Sarkozy urges more UN Security Council seats for Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - French President Nicholas Sarkozy, on Sunday called for the completion of the stalled UN reforms to give Africa more seats on the UN Security Council while seeking Africa’s support to help France successfully create a global kitty for financing development.

Addressing the opening session of the 16th African Union (AU) Summit here, Sarkozy told the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “You have all you need on the table. Let us not make empty task forces. You have the French support.”

He also unveiled some concrete proposals to boost cooperation between Africa and Europe.

The proposals include tax financial transactions, marine transport tax, tobacco taxation and shipping container, as well ways of raising funds for the US$ 125 billion pledged by the world’s richest states to help Africa secure funding to combat climate change.

“These are not just words of friendship. I am motivated by the fact that Africa and Europe must adopt close cooperation in political decisions,” Sakorzy, widely applauded for his speech, told the African leaders here Sunday.

President Sarkozy, the chief guest at the Summit, said "France is not naive. We are realistic on this issue."

The French President, slated to chair the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialized nations and the Group of 20 (G20), called for Africa’s support for the French plan to suggest a number of innovative sources of financing for development.

The African leaders are discussing, among other issues, the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire and the wind of change sweeping across the North African region.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, who coordinates the African common position on climate change, is one of the brains behind the proposal to have taxes raised internationally to finance the effects of climate change.

“We will put this on the table of the G20 and demand that this innovative financing mechanism be approved and you must support us. Once we have done this, others will follow,” Sarkozy said.

The French President said the idea of innovative financing would help provide finances required for infrastructure and climate change, adding that it would be unrealistic for European nations, currently facing budget deficits, to think of new contributions.

“Africa has to impose the innovative financing upon the rest of the world. The best innovation would be the levy on financial transactions,” he added.

The French leader’s speech is expected to inspire the African leaders, who have often dragged feet on proposals to finance the activities of the AU through a series of taxation measures, including domestic taxation of insurance and tourism.

Sarkozy also proposed strict regulation of the world’s food markets and the financial markets, saying the steep rises in the food prices were not based on the market forces, while the worldwide financial crisis was a result of lax regulation.

“There is no such thing as a free market…this is extortion and pillaging, there are people who supply food to the markets and make huge profits, without paying for the costs of supply,” he noted.

President Sarkozy warned that the risk of food insecurity rising in Africa remained high and that the continent would be unable to feed itself if the food markets were left unregulated.

Noting that nearly a billion people would face malnutrition, Sarkozy blamed the rising food prices on the “excessive volatility of agricultural commodities at the international markets, leading to the current food riots."
-0- PANA AO/VAO 30Jan2011

30 janvier 2011 10:54:20

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