More political coherence needed for AU, UNSC

2012-03-12 17:01
Johannesburg - Greater strategic political coherence is needed between the United Nations and the African Union, Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Monday.

This could help avoid a repetition of what happened in Libya last year, he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the University of Limpopo.

"This was aptly demonstrated during the conflict in Libya, where the pursuit of other agendas by non-African actors resulted in attempts to marginalise an African solution to the crisis."

Ebrahim was referring to Nato forces' bombing of Libya and the eventual fatal shooting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

South Africa said it had only voted for a no-fly zone over Libya when it voted in a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution last year.

At the same time, it was a participant in an AU "roadmap" for a political solution in Libya, so South Africa was upset to see that Libya was actually being bombed.

President Jacob Zuma said at the time that Gaddafi should have been handed to the International Criminal Court.

Peace and security

Ebrahim said Africa had in the past 10 years shown "remarkable political will and commitment" to rid the continent of conflicts and wars.

The AU had its own Peace and Security Council (PSC), to which South Africa belonged, an African standby force and a Continental Early Warning System to deal with threats to peace and security.

On the UNSC, more than 70% of their deliberations were on African conflict situations.

Six of the UN's 14 peacekeeping operations and nearly 80% of its peacekeepers are deployed in Africa, including the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo with 23 383 staff, and the UN-African Union (Unamid) peacekeeping mission in Sudan with 27 501 staff.

However, there is no African country with a permanent seat on the UNSC council. A permanent seat entitles the member country to veto, or block any decision it does not agree with.

China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are permanent members.

South Africa served as the president of the Security Council for January 2012 and took the opportunity to focus on how to enhance co-operation between the UN and the AU in the maintenance of international peace and security.

President Jacob Zuma presided over a "high-level" debate on the subject and at the end of the debate, the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2033 of 2012.

This resolution reiterated the importance of establishing a more effective relationship between the AU's PSC and the UNSC.

Read more on:    un  |  au  |  international relations  |  muammar gaddafi  |  ebrahim ebrahim  |  libya  |  sa
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