- President Cyril Ramaphosa wants the UN Security Council to be more representative.
- He called on the international community to support a comprehensive Covid-19 stimulus package for African countries.
- The pandemic has highlighted the urgency to end poverty in all its forms, Ramaphosa told the UN.
President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa and the continent's long-held position that the United Nations (UN) Security Council needs to be more representative.
Ramaphosa told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that South Africa is currently serving its second year as an elected non-permanent member of the Security Council.
"We have used our tenure to promote international peace and security by advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue," he said.
"The current composition of the Security Council does not reflect the world in which we live.
"On the 75th anniversary of the UN, we repeat our call for greater representation of African countries on the Security Council, and that this be taken up with urgency at the intergovernmental negotiations."
He said it is only through a reformed and inclusive Security Council that some of the world's most protracted conflicts will be resolved.
Speaking as chairperson of the African Union, Ramaphosa said African countries are continuing their efforts to silence the guns through conflict resolution and peace-building.
"Cooperation between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council has contributed to improved peace and security in the Darfur region of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic," he said.
He added that it is imperative this collaboration is institutionalised and that the financing of AU peacekeeping operations is addressed and resolved.
Ramaphosa also called for an end to the occupation of Palestine and Western Sahara, and for lifting the economic embargo and blockade of Cuba.
Ramaphosa, who addressed the assembly in a pre-recorded message like all the other world leaders, themed his speech on the parallels between the aftermath of World War 2, when the UN was formed 75 years go, and the devastation caused by the current global Covid-19 pandemic.
He called on the international community to support the roll out of a comprehensive stimulus package for African countries.
"This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of Covid-19, but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies," he said.
"To ensure that no country is left behind, we reiterate our position, as the African Union, that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their governments to respond adequately to the pandemic."
He also called for the suspension of interest payments on Africa's external and public debt.
"As the African Union, we are encouraged by the collaboration of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank and the UN towards finding solutions to debt sustainability in developing countries."
He said the pandemic has highlighted the urgency to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere.
"We must expand economic opportunities to all people around the world, but most especially to the young, to women and to the vulnerable people in the world," Ramaphosa said.
"We must boldly pursue avenues of redistribution and redress as a means of advancing shared prosperity.
"We must deal decisively with the rot of corruption that is robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right.
"Together, we must raise our level of ambition to ensure that every man, every woman and every child has an equal chance at a better future.
"It is a future free of hunger, disease, insecurity and war.
"It is a world that affirms the dignity and worth of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or social circumstances."