SA to use UNSC seat to advance Africa's interests

Friday, June 8, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will use its membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to advance the interests of Africa, particularly the priorities of the African Union Agenda 2063.

South Africa’s tenure will be guided by the commitment to resolve regional, global and international conflicts and promote inclusive growth as part of the effort to ensure a better Africa in a better world.

“We are committed to addressing the root causes of conflict, including inequality and underdevelopment, and promoting inclusive political dialogue.
“South Africa remains deeply concerned about the emergence of unilateralism and its attendant threat to the international rules-based system. South Africa reaffirms the centrality of the United Nations Charter and the primacy of the United Nations Security Council on issues of international peace and security,” said the President.

Earlier on Friday, the United Nations General Assembly elected South Africa to serve in the UNSC for the term 2019-2020 as a non-permanent member. This will be the third time that South Africa will be serving in the Security Council since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

“We are humbled and honoured by the confidence the international community has demonstrated in our capability to contribute to the resolution of global challenges.

“We express our unreserved gratitude and appreciation to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that nominated us and our continental body, the African Union (AU), that endorsed our candidature,” said President Ramaphosa in a statement.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who was in New York for the election, said South Africa’s tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela and his commitment to peace.

Making remarks following the election, she said South Africa will use its tenure in the Security Council to promote the maintenance of international peace and security through advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue.

“We will continue to enhance close cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organisations.

“During our two previous tenures, we advocated for closer cooperation between the UN Security Council and the African Union Security Council (AUPC), which culminated in the adoption of the landmark Resolution in 2012 on strengthening cooperation between these two bodies,” said the Minister.

South Africa's diplomatic efforts over the past two decades include conflict resolution, prevention, mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Sisulu said she firmly believe that “while we must strengthen the tools at the Security Council's disposal in addressing conflicts as they arise, the focus should be on preventative diplomacy and on addressing the root causes of conflicts”.

“We believe that peace cannot be achieved without the participation of women in peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peace-building and governance. During our tenure, we will ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into all Security Council resolutions in line with UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.” 

South Africa looks forward to collaborating with the members of the Security Council in promoting the maintenance of international peace and security and the social well-being and advancement of all the peoples of the world.

Sisulu said energies have to be directed to ensuring the betterment of the lives of people.

“We are guided by the Resolution of the AU to ‘Silence the Guns’ by 2020. Only when we have peace and a culture of peace, can we have sustainable development and we in Africa need that and resources most.” –