KIGALI, Rwanda, Jul 17 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged members of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) to remain united and coordinated in pushing for the United Nations reforms.
He asked C-10 members to consolidate the support of all African nations and speak with one voice – even under undue pressure – to enable the continent address the historical injustice of non-representation in the permanent category and the under representation in the non-permanent category in the UN Security Council.
“We must not abdicate our responsibility to our people and continent,” said President Kenyatta, who is scheduled to travel back to Nairobi tomorrow to open the 14 session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14).
The President was speaking today when he addressed a C-10 Committee meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, which endorsed a report on its position regarding the UN reforms.
C-10 is a group of 10 African countries, including Kenya, formed by AU to lobby for UN reforms. Other members are Algeria, Libya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
Saturday’s meeting was attended by the Presidents Hage Geingob (Namibia), Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), Macky Sall (Senegal) and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone who is also the Coordinator of the Committee of Ten on the Security Council reforms.
President Koroma gave an outline of the progress of negotiations towards the UN reforms, including the challenges facing the process.
He noted that while the committee members have played a big role in raising the visibility and profile of the C-10, more work still remained to be done to project Africa’s position on the UN reforms.
“Our responsibility is not only to raise the visibility of the C-10 but also secure the seats we desire in the UN Security Council,” President Koroma said.
Noting that over 60 per cent of the issues addressed by the UN Security Country are African issues, President Koroma said time has come for the continent to be accorded adequate representation at the global body.
President Kenyatta said Kenya firmly supports the reform process as a way to create a more broadly representative, democratic, transparent, legitimate and accountable Security Council that is able to respond to today’s challenges and reflect the current geo-political realities in the world.
“Kenya remains committed to the reform of the United Nations and in particular the Security Council,” President Kenyatta said.
He commended the C-10 permanent representatives to the United Nations in New York for their continued engagement with other interest groups in canvassing support and promoting the African common position.
“I am pleased to note the positive outcome of the engagement with the L.69 group and look forward to further engagement with other like-minded interest groups,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta also congratulated the C-10 permanent representatives to the African Union for their continued dedication to the Security Council reform process. He said they should continue to actively engage the AU Commission to ensure that the Commission plays an active role in supporting C-10 activities both logistically and financially at all levels.
“I believe that the effort to enable the C-10 further promote and advocate for Africa’s interest, shall be supported by the AU Commission in accordance with the decision adopted by the 26th AU Assembly held in January, 2016 in Addis Ababa,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta emphasized that C-10 must remain steadfast and focused on the comprehensive nature of the reforms of the Security Council encompassing all key issues and reject any attempts at a piece-meal approach of the reform process.
He called on the committee to explore additional strategies for advancing the United Nations Security Council reform process.
“Let us assess where we stand and what we need to do to chart the way forward in order to give traction and impetus to the Security Council reform process,” President Kenyatta said.
The Heads of State and Government of Congo, Libya, Algeria, Uganda and Zambia – five of the C-10 members who had not arrived in Kigali by time the meeting was taking place – were represented by their ministers.
Later, President Kenyatta joined other Heads of State and Government – including host President Paul Kagame – for a retreat on financing of the African Union.
Speaking at the retreat, President Kenyatta called for mobilization of domestic resources to ensure sustainable financing of AU activities.
He also expressed the need for AU to address the underlying causes of apathy in remittance of Member State contributions.