Lejeune Mbella Mbella (photo), Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations (Minrex), addressed the 78th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, December 26, in New York (USA). In his address, the government official called for a better representation of Africa in the UN Security Council, the world's most powerful governing body.
"We need to act together to reform the Security Council to give the countries of the South, and African countries in particular, a prominent and equitable representation. Indeed, its countries are represented on the council but Africa is the only continent that has never had permanent representation within the Council," he declared pointing out that two-thirds of the Council's activities take place on the continent. This "Injustice needs to be rectified,” he added.
The United Nations Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council has 15 members: five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. Initially, the Council comprised 11 members (5 permanent and 6 non-permanent).
In 1963, the Charter was amended to allow for the enlargement of the Council, by increasing the number of non-permanent members from 6 to 10. To date, this has been the only successful attempt to change the composition of the Council. Cameroon, through the Minrex, is calling for two permanent and three non-permanent memberships for Africa on the Council. Cameroon's position is in line with the "Ezulwini Consensus," a joint UN reform proposal submitted by African countries in July 2005.
On September 21 at the UN, Comorian President Azali Assouamani, current chairman of the African Union (AU), stressed the need to reform the UN system so that Africa is better represented. For years, the AU has been demanding at least two permanent seats "with all the privileges and prerogatives of permanent members, including the veto power,” and three non-permanent seats in this UN body.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem