South Africa takes its seat on the UN Security Council

South Africa fully committed itself to international peacekeeping initiatives on 1 January 2011 the moment it took its position for a second term on the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Elected in by 182 member nations of the UN General Assembly this past year, the country is going to function as a non-permanent member for the 2011/12 term.

The UNSC is comprised of five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK and US – in addition to 10 non-permanent members, which at the moment are Bosnia and Herzegovina; Germany; Portugal; Brazil; India; South Africa; Colombia; Lebanon; Gabon and Nigeria.

Typically the council is mainly responsible for preserving peace and security internationally, in most cases by advocating that the individuals or groups concerned achieve an amicable and binding agreement. The UNSC at the same time performs investigations into regions of conflict and may even send in UN peacekeeping armed forces to further diminish hostility.

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the country’s UNSC seat will give it an opportunity to create stronger relationships along with other fellow member states.

The department went ahead and added that South Africa is fully committed and dedicated to contributing towards the effort of the UNSC to maintain international peace and security, specifically in Africa.

UN ambassador Baso Sangqu

“South Africa would like to enhance and improve the African agenda inside the security council,” said the country’s UN ambassador Baso Sangqu.

The simple truth is that more than two-thirds of the conflicting situations and crises which the security council mainly deals with are located in Africa. This is not something which we should be proud of,” he was quoted saying.

Gaining knowledge through past experiences

South Africa previously served on the UNSC in 2007 and 2008. “During this period, South Africa has learnt crucial lessons,” Sangqu added, who will head the country’s UNSC delegation.

Dirco proclaimed it has put together a highly skilled group of diplomats and officials in order to assist South Africa to function and serve on the council.

“ When it comes to its actions, South Africa is going to be well guided mainly because of the commitment to support and uphold international law and universal values, in addition to be of assistance to others to protect and safeguard or attain their inherent and inalienable rights,” proclaimed International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

She went ahead and added the fact that the country would certainly carry on with its initiatives to promote and enhance UNSC’s cooperation with the help of regional organisations, specifically African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

Sangqu stated: “Ivory Coast is going to be a challenge and issue we are going to have to deal with. There happens to be a standoff in relation to exactly who the leader is. Being a council member, South Africa will need to lead from the front when it comes to these kinds of issues.”

South Africa will in addition strongly recommend for additional resources to be able to deal with the conflict in Somalia, the ambassador added.

He was quoted saying the UNSC must not allow the state of affairs in that country end up being “a forgotten conflict” much like the dispute between Morocco and Western Sahara guerrillas.



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