SA pushes for UN reform

By Drum Digital
12 August 2013

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can no longer exclude the 54 African states, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Monday.

"We must not reach that point where the organisation reaches 70 years and there is no change. That change cannot be, if it continues to ignore and exclude the 54 member states who form a very critical region, the AU (African Union)," she said.

"Africans have a very clear position; we are saying there will be no change without us. The 70 percent of the issues that go to the Security Council are about us, so it cannot continue to be without us."

Nkoana-Mashabane was addressing a joint press briefing with visiting president of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, in Pretoria.

The former Serbian foreign affairs minister concurred with Nkoana-Mashabane.

"The current composition of the Security Council clearly does not reflect the realities of the 21st century. I think everybody agrees that it needs to change," he said.

"I am of the opinion that if the change doesn't encompass Africa, then we better not have any change at all. The change is needed otherwise the UN is going to slowly drift into irrelevance."

Regarding the just-ended elections in Zimbabwe, Jeremic said he would expect an update on the situation from the South African authorities.

"I am sure the situation in Zimbabwe is one of the important things (on the agenda). I don't know where I can get a better affirmation, outside Zimbabwe, than here in South Africa," he said.

However, Nkoana-Mashabane said there were no updates on Zimbabwe to update the UN top official about.

"There is absolutely nothing new to discuss on Zimbabwe. The parties that did not win the election have approached the highest court in Zimbabwe.

"We will all wait for the outcome of the court process. All the observer missions have said the elections were peaceful and free. We have already made our own national statement on the elections in Zimbabwe," she said.

President Jacob Zuma has since congratulated Robert Mugabe on his re-election as president of Zimbabwe following the disputed July 31 polls.

"President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people.

"[He] also encourages the people of Zimbabwe to seize this opportunity to collectively contribute towards building their country driven by a common desire for peace, stability and prosperity," Zuma said in a statement issued by the department of international relations.

-Sapa

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