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Africa renews push for favorable UN Security Council reforms

UN Security Council

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday urged U.N. Security Council reforms that would give Africa permanent representation there, saying such changes would prevent “aggression against Africa.”

Museveni spoke at a meeting attended by high-ranking officials representing 10 of the African Union’s 55 members. The meeting is the latest in a series focusing on changes at the Security Council that would favor the African continent of 1.3 billion people. A previous meeting called for at least two permanent seats with veto powers and two non-permanent ones.

“The U.N. Security Council should have been and must be reformed,” Museveni said. “This is not a favor by anybody but a right of all peoples that inhabit the planet Earth.”

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The matter of reforming the 15-member council has provoked debate for decades. Its five permanent members reflect the international power structure at the end of World War II: the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain.

The council’s 10 other seats rotate among members who serve two-year terms. Gabon, Kenya and Ghana are among the council’s current 15 non-permanent members.

But African leaders have long asserted the continent’s right to stronger representation on the council.

Museveni called the current system “unfair,” adding that Africa must have a permanent seat “to ensure that it is not used negatively against Africa and that it is, instead, used positively for Africa and the rest of the world.”

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The Ugandan president said reforms would stop what he described as “mistakes” such as the removal from power of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, who ruled for nearly 42 years before he was ousted by an uprising in 2011. He was captured and killed two months later.

While there is widespread support for revamping the Security Council to reflect current global realities, efforts have been mired in national and regional rivalries.

In 2005, deep divisions forced the General Assembly to shelve three rival resolutions on expansion. One sought permanent seats without veto power for Germany, Japan, Brazil and India on a 25-member council. A group of middle-ranking countries including Italy and Pakistan wanted a 25-member council with 10 new non-permanent seats. And the African Union wanted a 26-member council with six additional permanent seats, including two for Africa with veto power, and five non-permanent seats.

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