Ethiopia: 'African Union remains divided on UN reforms'

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says deep divisions over how to carry on with the reform of the UN Security Council have delayed the process.

Speaking during his last visit to attend the 26th session of the African Union Heads of State Summit, Ban said he shared the belief by African countries that the UN Security Council required urgent reforms.

“The reform of the UN Security Council is a widely shared belief,” Ban said when asked to respond to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s scathing criticism of the UN’s lethargic approach to a push by African leaders to reform the UN Security Council and give at least two permanent seats to the AU.

Ban said his efforts as Secretary-General had mainly focused on improving the efficiency of the UN system. He said he had worked during his nine-year-long tenure to improve the inner-working systems of the UN Secretariat and the UN Security Council.

“The UN General Assembly has taken significant efforts towards the UN reforms. The belief that the UN Security Council should be reformed in a more representative, democratic manner is widely shared,” Ban told a news conference in Addis Ababa on 31 January, his last official visit to the AU as UN Chief.

During the AU Summit, President Mugabe warned the UN Chief the AU would soon pass a resolution to pullout of the UN en masse unless its plea to be given at least two permanent seats was acted upon.

President Mugabe, who spoke shortly before relinquishing the Chairmanship of the continental body, said the voice of the AU was diminished at the UN, yet the continent represented about a billion people.

Ban said important elements of the UN reforms that would make the UN Security Council representative had been identified, but the UN was still unable to reconcile numerous proposals on the same issue.

“It is a matter of how the states can consolidate these matters,” Ban said, referring to the presentation of a number of views, some favouring regional, state and continental interests on the UN reforms.

The UN chief said the UN Security Council would continue to respect the views of the African Union on matters pertaining to regional peace and security.

The UN-AU tiff intensified when the UN Security Council approved the bombing of Libya in a military operation to dislodge long-time Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi.

While Ban insists his office has been working to ensure the UN Secretariat remains efficient, the AU has not spoken with one voice on the UN reforms.

Ban said the AU member states must show unity of purpose rather than push individually for national and regional interests on the UN Security Council reforms.

“The AU still has different views among different countries on the UN reforms. I do not think this will be realized,” Ban said.

The UN Chief said the world was witnessing various conflicts, affecting 37 different areas with at least 120 million people affected and in need of humanitarian assistance.

Ban said with more doubts raised on the fact that some countries still held veto powers, a debate was still continuing on which countries should continue to exercise those powers.

“The whole world has been raising this issue. It is a priority of the UN to see a more democratic and accountable manner in which this power should be exercised. This is a core element of the reform, who should get the permanent seats and the veto power,” Ban explained.
-0- PANA AO/MA 4Jan2016

05 february 2016 09:55:46

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