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Kenya to launch UN Security Council membership bid next June

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma told a news conference Wednesday that Kenya was already lobbying for an endorsement from its peers in the African Union (AU) and the region ahead of the campaign/file

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Kenya is set to launch its campaign for a non-permanent membership slot in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2021-2022 term in June next year.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma told a news conference Wednesday that Kenya was already lobbying for an endorsement from its peers in the African Union (AU) and the region ahead of the campaign.

“We’re hoping that we can get an endorsement at the AU level. If that endorsement comes through, the campaign will be very easy,” she said.

Juma said the scope of the campaign will be determined by the number of countries contesting in the election set to be held during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2019.

“If there’s anyone within our region who is interested in the non-permanent membership then we’re going to launch a global campaign,” she said.

According to the Cabinet Secretary, a number of countries had expressed approval for Kenya’s bid for UNSC membership.

She said the ministry had already started dispatching messages to member States of the United Nations ahead of the launch of UNSC campaign mid next year.

“Indications we’re getting are positive and this is because people are able to look at us (Kenya) in terms of what we’re able to bring to the UNSC,” the CS pointed out.

The UNSC comprises five permanent members with veto powers who include China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Five of the 10 non-permanent member slots are shared between African and Asian countries.

Kenya has been a non-permanent member of the council twice in the years 1973-1974 and 1997-1998.

During her media briefing on Wednesday, CS Juma said Kenya was committed to leading efforts towards the restoration of peace in South Sudan, as part of an international peace campaign, having taken a leading role in the inking of a peace agreement between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar on August 5.

The peace accord signed in Khartoum was further cemented a revitalized deal signed between the two leaders on September 12 in Addis Ababa.

The August 5 deal had created a roadmap for a three-year unity government between Kiir and Machar, an arrangement that was to be preceded by an eight-month pre-transition period.

“The transition period is expected to last eight months after which the implementation of the agreement is supposed to take thirty-six months. If the talks in the pre-transition period end before eight months, it is envisaged that the thirty-six months will be pushed forward,” CS Juma had told Capital FM News in a previous interview.

Juma had pointed out that at the end of thirty-six months would pave way for elections and ultimately stability in the nation that sunk into violence two years after breaking away from Sudan in 2011 following an independence referendum.

“It is envisaged that by the end of the thirty-six months we should be in a place to organize an election in South Sudan,” she said.

South Sudan’s Parliament has voted twice extending presidential and parliamentary terms by amending the transitional constitution adopted when the nation gained.

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The two motions effectively put on hold scheduled elections on July 9, 2015, and July 9, 2018.

Following the August 5 peace deal with Machar, President Kiir on August 9 granted a general amnesty to rebels arrested during the country’s civil war that broke out in 2016 following an attempted coup blamed on Machar.

The coup forced Machar into exile where he was put under house arrest as South Sudan sunk into chaos with two rival formations – government and rebel forces – going into a fully-fledged war that had by April 2018 resulted into internal displacement of 1.8 million South Sudanese with another 296,748 becoming refugees in neighbouring countries.

Machar is expected to return to Juba after unified forces are constituted within the eight-month pre-interim period.

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