BY UDUMA KALU, WITH AGENCY REPORT
President Goodluck Jonathan, Tuesday, in New York made a strong case for Nigeria’s election to the United Nations Security Council, just as South African President, Jacob Zuma backed the Nigerian president’s call for democratisation of the UN Security Council.
Addressing the world leaders and other delegates at the opening of the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Jonathan declared that Nigeria’s commendable performance on previous occasions when it held a non-permanent seat on the security council, should assure the global community that the country deserved to be elected to the council again for the 2014-2015 session.
“Our support for the United Nations Security Council in its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security has been total and unwavering.
“We have, in previous membership of the Council, demonstrated both the political will and capacity to engage in key responsibilities.
A statement by the President Adviser on Media, Dr Reuben Abati, quoted the President as saying, “I am pleased to state that Nigeria has received the endorsement of the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union. We, therefore, urge this August Assembly to endorse Nigeria’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.”
Democratisation of Security Council members
The President also called for faster action towards the democratisation of the Security Council, saying that Nigeria and other developing countries were concerned about the lack of progress in the reformation of the United Nations.
President Jonmathan said: “I believe that I express the concern of many about the slow pace of effort and apparent lack of progress in the reform of the United Nations, especially the Security Council. We believe strongly, that the call for democratization worldwide should not be for States only, but also, for International Organisations such as the United Nations.
“That is why we call for the democratization of the Security Council. This is desirable for the enthronement of justice, equity, and fairness; and also for the promotion of a sense of inclusiveness and balance in our world.”
Backing Jonathan’s call, South African President Jacob Zuma criticised the United Nations Security Council as ‘outdated’ and ‘undemocratic’ ahead of a world leaders’ meeting in New York, according to a report yesterday. The current Security Council “might have by now outlived its usefulness”, Zuma said at the UN.
Developing nations have called for reform of the 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.
“You have a situation where those who possess the power of veto talk more war than peace,” Zuma told South African newsmen at the outset of the UN General Assembly meeting this week.
“You have a minority that has the last word and unfortunately is no longer helping. It is actually becoming part of the problem,” he said, decrying the Council’s actions over conflicts in Iraq and Libya over the past 10 years.
“As small countries we believe the arrangement is unfair, it is undemocratic, it’s not good any more.”
Terrorism threat to global peace, security
Noting that the world continues to be confronted with many serious challenges, President Jonathan called for a renewed and concerted effort by the international community to effectively resolve issues that currently impede global peace, stability and progress.
“Our world continues to be confronted by pressing problems and threats. No statement that will be made during this session can exhaust the extent of these problems. The world looks to us, as leaders, to provide hope in the midst of crisis, to provide guidance through difficult socio-political divisions, and to ensure that we live in a better world.
“We have obligations to the present generation, but we have a greater obligation to generations yet unborn who should one day inherit a world of sufficiency irrespective of the circumstances of their birth or where they reside on the globe. We must work to make that world a reality in recognition of our common heritage.
“We must dedicate ourselves to working together to address global, regional and national challenges and deliver a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous world for all. It is our duty. We must not fail”,” President Jonathan declared.
The President also restated his called for the international community to confront the menace of global terrorism with greater resolve and determination.
“Terrorism constitutes a major threat to global peace and security, and undermines the capacity for sustained development. In Nigeria, the threat of terrorism in a few States in the North Eastern part of our country has proven to be a major challenge to national stability. We are therefore confronting it with every resource at our disposal with due regard for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
The reign of terror anywhere in the world is an assault on our collective humanity. Three days ago, the stark reality of this menace was again brought to the fore by the dastardly terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya. We must stand together to win this war together,” President Jonathan said.
Jonathan reinstates commitment to MDGs
The President said there will be more commitment to millennium development goals by his administration.
“There have been several conflicts with devastating consequences in virtually all regions of the world, as global citizens; we have a sacred duty to free our world of wars, rivalries, ethnic conflicts and religious division.
“Our collective efforts in our drive for a better world will continue to bind us together”.
Realising the need to sustain peace in Nigeria beyond the year 2015, Jonathan said he is committed to building systems that will see that the conflicts and insecurity confronting the nation doesn’t pull it apart.
“Mr. President, Nigeria continues to support the efforts of the United Nations in addressing the global initiatives to combat the menace of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
“We have redoubled efforts to address this arduous challenge within our borders and across the West African sub-region. In doing so, we also recognised the need for a God-based global partnership in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy
“It is regrettable that these scourges are sustained by concerted assets by non-state actors to illicit small arms and light weapons with which they foster insecurity and instability across the continent
Arms Trade Treaty
“For us in Africa, these are the weapons of mass destruction; it is therefore in the light of our collective obligations and unseasoned struggle to end this nightmare that I congratulate member states on the adoption of the arms treaty in April this year
“Our hope is that, upon the entry into force, the arms treaty will herald an era of accountable trade in conventional arms, which is critical to the security of nations”
The President welcomed Nigeria’s selection as co-Chair of the United Nations Expert Committee on Financing Sustainable Development.
“The importance of this Committee’s assignment cannot be overstated. For the post-2015 development agenda to be realistic, it must be backed by a robust financing framework which I hope will receive the strong backing of our organisation’s more endowed members,” he said.
President Jonathan congratulated UN member-states on the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty.
“Our hope is that upon its entry into force, the ATT would herald an era of accountable trade in conventional arms which is critical to the security of nations,” the President said.
Jonathan condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria
He condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in the Syrian crisis and welcomed current diplomatic efforts to avert a further escalation of the crisis in the country.
President Jonathan also urged world leaders to adopt measures and policies that will promote nuclear disarmament, protect and renew the world’s environment, and push towards an international system that is based on trust, mutual respect and shared goals.