/ 8 October 2013

SA calls for UN Security Council reforms

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

South Africa is pushing a more inclusive UN Security Council, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.

"In this regard, South Africa challenges the UN membership to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in 2015, with a reformed, more inclusive, democratic and representative UN Security Council," she said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"Our concern with the lack of progress on this matter is that the UN Security Council still remains undemocratic, unrepresentative and unfair to developing nations and small states, which disenfranchises the majority of the member states of the United Nations." 

The same agenda was raised by the South African delegation led by President Jacob Zuma to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, in New York last month.

Developing nations have called for reform of the UN Security Council, which has since World War II accorded veto rights on substantive resolutions to five permanent members: the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China.

Nkoana-Mashabane announced that French President François Hollande would pay South Africa a state visit on October 14 and 15.

She said Hollande had been in regular contact with Zuma since he was elected to lead the European nation.

Diplomatic row
The minister dismissed claims of a diplomatic row between South Africa and France, reportedly stemming from France meddling in African matters, particularly the hotly contested appointment of the African Union commission chair position.

"They [the French] told us that they were neutral. We have got very cordial bilateral relations based on mutual respect," she said.

France was South Africa's third largest trading and investment partner within the European Union.

"Between the period 2004-2012 investments worth R15-billion by French companies were recorded, creating significant job opportunities," the minister said.

"A highlight of the [Hollande] visit will be the South Africa-France Business Forum that will afford the respective business communities an opportunity to take advantage of the growing bilateral economic relations and to explore further opportunities." – Sapa