Countries back SA for UN security council seat
THE much-awaited meeting of the 72nd UN Security Council session took place in New York on Friday and wasted little time attending to one of the main topics of the day, the elections of the new member states for the two-year rotational Security Council seat.
There were five available seats, with each candidate representing their region. South Africa represented the African region and International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu arrived with the assured support of the continent.
The victory that ensured
South Africa’s ascendancy to this position is shared by the continent.
The other available seats were for the following regions, Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States contested by Maldives and Indonesia. The Latin American and Caribbean State’s seat was contested by the Dominican Republic and two seats for Western Europe were each contested by Belgium and Germany.
The department of international relations has put in a lot of effort and hard work preceding this eventual day.
The five new members elected this year will formally take up their seats on January 1 next year and will serve until December 31, 2020. These new five countries are expected to bring renewed vigour and fresh impetus to the UN Security Council given the rise of unilateralism and narrow nationalism that camouflages as protectionism.
The fact that these five countries are elected as opposed to the five permanent members symbolises their greater legitimacy and support by their peers.
This fact also enhances both their moral and political right to discharge the affairs of the world in the UN.
The meeting of the BRICS Foreign Affairs ministers that was held on June 2 and 3 in Pretoria gave the much-needed impetus to the South African quest to take up the UN seat. All the BRICS foreign ministers were unequivocal in their support.
The Foreign Minister of
China, Wang Yi, argued that
South Africa’s arrival in the UN would help in the struggle against unilateralism, protectionism and the disastrous power politics that was creeping up on the world.
India was equally vocal and vociferous in her support for South Africa and pleaded with Sisulu to lift high the agenda of human rights and the struggles of women the world over.
The minister of Russia raised the issue of Turkey, and the problem of double standards in resolving world disputes. He gave the example of the Falkland Islands.
The ministerial advisory penal meeting chaired by Aziz Pahad had also drummed up support from a number of other regions. Most European ambassadors endorsed South Africa’s candidacy. The same applied to most African ambassadors who gave South Africa a vote of confidence.
The meeting of South American countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Panama and Peru, to name a few, all gave their unfettered support. Cuba was emphatic that its support for South Africa was guaranteed and Jamaica echoed the sentiments.
The developmental agenda of the South-to-south countries was endorsed, to great acclaim. These countries and the African ambassadors were pleased with the re-inauguration of the African renaissance agenda.
The centenary of Nelson Mandela was highlighted as one project that should symbolise a new agenda of human rights and the development of Africa.
South Africa is expected to bring to the UN the African agenda in respect of the following: peace and security, human rights, health issues roped by vaccination, good governance and democracy, and the Palestinian question of selfdetermination.
When South Africa hosts the BRICS meeting in July in Sandton we will be emboldened by the new UN assignment.
As the country’s chairmanship of Sadac comes to an end this year, it will be expected to take the sensibilities of the “new dawn” to great international heights.
Chinese President Xi Xinping once said that, “five fingers make a powerful fist.”
He aptly applied this metaphor to the untold possibilities of a united BRICS. This week had proved to be a great start for the South African journey towards reclaiming its role in international relations.
The positive spirit and goodwill that was exhibited in the meeting of BRICS ministers surely symbolised the dawn of a new era for South Africa’s role in international relations.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj frequently held Sisulu’s hand and addressed her as “my sister”, deliberately breaking protocol and symbolising the close relations between the two countries.
The Chinese foreign minister extended an invitation to Sisulu to visit China and the Russian minister recalled his long relationship with South Africa through the ANC.
The BRICS foreign ministers soon proved to be a meeting of old friends who were pleased to renew their acquaintances.
South Africa is expected to take up the new UN assignment in its stride and must not bow down to Herrenvolk pressures of unilateralism.
South Africa must be a beacon of hope and a torchbearer for the development of the African continent and its agenda.
The words of Oliver Tambo still ring true: “Even when condemned bell, book and candle, (they) refused to forsake their posts and to shirk their responsibilities.”