OPINION | France’s Security Council rotation connects with South Africa

United Nations (iStock)
United Nations (iStock)

Aurélien Lechevallier has highlighted several incidences where France and South Africa have co-operated at the United Nations Security Council. 

The month of June 2020 saw France presiding over the United Nations Security Council at a particularly challenging time for the world. In some ways the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, but in other ways it highlighted the need for resolute multilateral action to address global issues.

Despite Covid-19 related restrictions, France and its partners in the UN Security Council, notably South Africa, successfully held 26 successful Security Council meetings, all via VTC, and nine important resolutions were adopted.

Throughout the month of June, cooperation between France and South Africa in the Security Council was exemplary.

South Africa, both as African member of the Security Council and chair of the African Union, continued to express a strong and dynamic voice for continent. 

The Security Council achieved the following key achievements during the course of June:

  • Following intense negotiations, France welcomes the unanimous adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 2532 on Covid-19, which was submitted to the Council for a vote on 30 June and voted on 1 July. Through this resolution, co-sponsored by Tunisia and France, the Security Council echoes the UN Secretary General's call for a worldwide ceasefire. It calls for a cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda and for a 90-day humanitarian truce.
  • On Mali, a ministerial meeting was chaired on 11 June by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in which the South African Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Candith Mashego-Dlamini, participated, alongside the United Nations Secretary General and the AU High Representative. Security Council members addressed the dire security and humanitarian situation in Mali and the Sahel. Later in the month, the Security Council, through Resolution 2531, unanimously renewed for one year the mandate of the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Security Council members gave the UN "Blue Helmets" in Mali a strengthened role to support the reconciliation in Mali and to assist Malian and other Sahel countries' forces to tackle the terrorist threat in the region.
  • On the Palestinian territories, a meeting was held on 24 June, with the participation of Alvin Botes, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. The Security Council spoke out vigorously against the Government of Israel's annexation plans of Jewish colonies in the West Bank and called for the resumption of talks in favour of the two-state solution.
  • On Libya, the Security Council unanimously renewed its resolution to allow, under strict conditions, inspections of vessels on the high seas heading to, and coming from Libya, to ensure compliance with the arms embargo (Resolution 2526).
  • On Sudan, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2524 to set up a new special political mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which will provide support to the Sudanese political transition. The new UN mission will also assist with the reinforcement of the rule of law, the peace process and the implementation of future peace agreements as well as the mobilisation of development aid and humanitarian assistance for the country.
  • The Security Council addressed for the first time the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on 29 June, a few days after an extraordinary African Union Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting organised by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The UN Security Council expressed its support for the process initiated by South Africa as chair of the AU to resolve this critical issue.
  • Crucial debates and briefings, on the situation of refugees, children in armed conflicts, international criminal justice and nuclear non-proliferation, illustrated the solidarity of the members of the Council on these issues, in particular their commitment to the International Criminal Court and to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Iranian nuclear program. 

- French Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Aurélien Lechevallier

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