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NOTICES & DOCUMENTS  

Keynote Address by H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on the occasion of the Meeting of the African Union Committee of Ten Foreign Ministers and their Permanent Representatives of New York and Addis Ababa in Freetown. March 21st - 22nd 2013
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Mar 22, 2013, 17:00
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Mr. Vice President

Honourable Speaker of Parliament

My Lady the Chief Justice

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Committee of Ten

Ministers of the Government

Honourable Members of Parliament

African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs

 

Excellencies, Permanent Representatives of C-10 Member States in New York and Addis Ababa, Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic and consular corps

 

His Worship the Mayor of Freetown

 

Distinguished Guests

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I am honored to welcome the Committee of Ten Foreign Ministers and Permanent Representatives at the African Union and United Nations to this first ever meeting to be held outside the margins of the Ordinary sessions of the Summit of Heads of State in Addis Ababa. While conveying, through you, to my brothers and colleagues sincere appreciation for facilitating this consultation, I want to assure you that the government and people of Sierra Leone will again demonstrate the characteristic warm hospitality that Sierra Leoneans are known for the world over.

 

I would like to preface this remark by thanking you for your commitment and steadfastness in the pursuit of our collective interest as a continent in the ongoing United Nations reform process. The gathering of this family in Freetown is, in part, a response to the recent decision reached at the 20th Ordinary session of the Summit of Heads of State and Government at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 27 - 28, 2013.

 

We are here to build upon our intense efforts at advocating and promoting the African common position on the reform of the Security Council as spelt out in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. Reforming the United Nations Security Council to reflect the realities of our current geopolitical and economic realities is needed for a world that is continually advancing adherence to democratic principles, equity and fair play. It is an indisputable fact that Africa is grossly under-represented and unrepresented in the non-permanent and permanent categories of the Security Council respectively. The status quo is a travesty of justice and democratic values both in light of the primary responsibility of the Council in the maintenance of international peace and security and in the enormity of the issues on its agenda relating to the African Continent. Thus, the African leaders meeting in Swaziland in 2005 made no mistake in adopting the Ezulwini Consensus as the antidote for the historical injustice meted out to the continent.

 

We have received repeated comments and statements of support with respect to addressing the injustice. It is now time for these expressions of goodwill and ethical considerations to be translated into concrete pronouncements in support of the African common position. As a continent with a common destiny, our strength lies in our unity and sense of purpose. As has been the case throughout the Open-Ended Working Group and now the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Related Matters, we must continue to speak with one voice until our objective is attained. 

 

The on-going Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Related Matters is now in the eighth round with the negotiating text in its third revision. Without exception, the debate on the negotiating text continually tends to shape up in the re-statement of known positions of the respective interest groups such as the Uniting for Consensus (UfC), Group of Four (G-4), Group of Small-Five countries (S-5), L-69 Group, P-5 members, and the African common position as enunciated in the Ezulwini Consensus. As in 2005, with the exception of the African Group, a number of "draft" resolutions are also now being mooted by other interest groups.

 

Invariably, the question that immediately comes to mind is whether this is a replay of the 2005 scenario. As a continent, we have consistently advocated for a comprehensive approach to the reform and the need for promoting the unity of the general membership of the United Nations. It is in this respect that I have, in consultations with my Colleagues of the C-10, decided to hold meetings outside the margins of the ordinary sessions of our summits, as agreed upon at the 20th Ordinary Session. The meetings of Foreign Ministers and Permanent Representatives at the United Nations and the African Union in Freetown today and tomorrow are aimed to enable the Committee of Ten to:

 

i. Discern and identify ways to expand and intensify its outreach and move the process beyond New York;

ii. Fast track the process by engaging in high level dialogue to advance the continent's common position;

iii. Seek to identify convergences and nuances for effective and meaningful coalition building;

iv. Enhance greater synergy among C-10 Foreign Ministers and the Permanent Representatives in New York and Addis Ababa, and to ensure that the continent continues to speak with one voice in order to achieve the best outcome for Africa.

 

It is my conviction that retreats of this nature create space for deep reflections and discussions among the member states of the Committee of Ten on UN Security Council reform at the Heads of State, Foreign Ministers and Permanent Representatives levels. They provide us an opportunity to reflect on what more needs to be done to gain universal acceptance of the African common position, especially in the context of engaging group positions on the UN Security Council reform.

 

We would want to seek to establish the validity of those claiming closer affinity with the African common position, but without exclusively tying ourselves to them. And finally, we intend to search for concrete ideas and modalities on how to forge synergies in taking the process forward especially at P-5 and UN General Assembly levels.

 

In declaring this first ever meeting of C-10 Foreign Ministers and Permanent Representatives from the AU and the UN outside the margins of the Ordinary sessions of the Summit of Heads of State open, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you fruitful discussions.

 

Finally, even though we are all on a tight schedule, I do hope that delegates would find time to explore the beautiful landscape and historic city of Freetown, especially the beaches, one of which is just a promenade away from this Hotel.

 

I thank you for your attention.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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