In UN speech, South African President calls for reform of Security Council

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

28 September 2015 – In his address to the United Nations General Assembly today, South African President Jacob Zuma stressed on reforming and restructuring of the UN Security Council in order to resolve conflicts surrounding Middle East and African nations.

He specified that although significant progress has been made by the UN since the adoption of the World Summit Outcome in 2005, no reform has been made to the restructuring of the Security Council since the founding days of the organization.

“It is unacceptable and unjustifiable that more than one billion people in the African continent are still excluded as permanent members of the key decision making structure of the United Nations, the Security Council. A continent with a smaller population than Africa is represented by three countries on the UN Security Council,” said President Zuma addressing the 70th General Debate.

He also called on the UN to allow more representation of countries through permanent and non-permanent membership at the Council, thereby keeping with the changed times. “The UN cannot pretend that the world has not changed since 1945. We are no longer colonies. We are free, independent sovereign states,” he said.

President Zuma criticized decisions taken by certain Security Council members that led to an escalation of conflicts in the Middle-East and Sahel region.

“The current situation in Libya and the Sahel region is a direct consequence of some members of the UN Security Council not heeding informed counsel from the African Union. The principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’ had been abused for narrow political interests that had nothing to do with the fundamental aspects of the prevention of mass atrocities,” he added.

He also warned that unless an immediate solution to Israel-Palestine conflict is implemented, Middle-east cannot hope for peace.

“There can be no peace, security and development in the Middle East without the resolution of the Palestinian question. A solution is urgent, otherwise if we delay, in the next decade, we may no longer have a piece of land to justify the two-State solution,” he said his address.

President Zuma commended the recent signing of the Peace Agreement between the parties in South Sudan and urged the UN and other stakeholders to support the Sudanese people during these challenging times.

“We reiterate our support of the people of Western Sahara and urge the international community to support their struggle for self-determination, freedom, human rights and dignity.”

He also stressed the need to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons and applauded the recent agreement reached on the Iranian nuclear program.

“There can be no safe hands for nuclear weapons. The humanitarian consequences of a possible detonation of a nuclear weapon, whether intentionally or accidentally, will be catastrophic for humanity. We welcome the recent agreement reach on the Iranian nuclear program and the recognition of the right of Iran to peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

President Zuma of South Africa is among the many leaders who will address the general debate of 70th General Assembly which opened this year with the adoption of Agenda 2030 and 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.


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