By BRIAN HATYOKA -
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged African countries to push for the reform of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and make the global organ more representative, democratic and more accountable.
Mr Lungu said conflicts in Africa formed the most of the agenda of the UN Security Council, yet Africa was the only continent without permanent representation on the UN Security Council.
He urged the African Union Commission (AUC) to strengthen its voice on the nominated non-permanent members of the UN Security Council as they represented their interests at the global organ.
Mr Lungu said this in Livingstone yesterday in a speech read for him by Vice-President Inonge Wina during the official opening of the AU 5th High Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa.
The two-day gathering, which has attracted Cabinet ministers and other officials in Africa, including Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba and Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo, is being held at AVANI Victoria Falls Hotel under the theme ‘Assisting incoming African members of the UN Security Council in preparing to address peace and security on the continent’.
He urged African countries to empower the A3 to the UN Security Council through resolutions to enable them effectively drive the African agenda during their deliberations at the UN.
“I would be remiss in my remarks if I did not reiterate Zambia’s position and the AU position on the reform of the UN Security Council.
“We all have an obligation to make the UN Security Council more representative, more democratic and more accountable,” Mr Lungu said.
He said the growing incidences of extremism and terrorist activities, marked by murders and destruction in Africa and several other parts of the world, were appalling and should drive the continent to intensify efforts to combat the scourge.
The President said he looked forward to receiving a report of the meeting in Livingstone and more importantly, the recommendations of the seminar at the forthcoming January 2018 AU Summit.
President Lungu wandered why the implementation of some of the past resolutions had been slow.
“Is it lack of clear time frames for implementation? Or is it lack of commitment by AU member states to contribute to the funding of the initiatives we develop?
“I leave you with these questions to consider during your deliberations as you develop additional recommendations and implementation strategies. I encourage you to identify and develop a short list of high priority recommendations and time bound strategies which will require immediate implementation,” Mr Lungu said.
He said it was critical to remember that conflict was not limited to deaths, but included mass human rights violations, which contributed to an overall loss of community, sense of home and identity.
Mr Lungu said the current status in Africa could not be allowed to continue if the continent was to attain a peaceful and social-economically developed continent.
Earlier, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Claude Ngakosso said there was need to consolidate institutional links between Africa and the UN Security Council.
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said there was need to address the rise in terrorism, extremism and violence in Africa as such vices were affecting many facilities on the continent.
Mr Kalaba said the seminar provided an opportunity for member states to do a lot of introspection as well as to review progress and make strategies to foster partnership between the AU and UN Security Council.
UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Haile Mankerious said the UN was facing budget cuts on peace and security efforts.