The eloquent and erudite ambassador delivered a statement during the consultative meeting between Dr. Samura Kamara and the permanent Representatives of the African Union (AU) member states on January 20, 2017 at the AU Observer Mission to the UN in New York.
Ambassador Sumah, who chairs the African Union Committee of 10 African States ( C-10 ) on the UN Security Council negotiations in New York, gave a detailed briefing on developments in New York regarding the Security Council Reform since the African Union Summit held in July 2016 in Kigali and he meticulously highlighted the current state of play of the intergovernmental process, the opportunities to further advance the Common African Position and the challenges in moving the reform process forward.
Some of the events he briefed the meeting on , with reference to the current state of play, included the circulation of an Elements Paper produced by H.E. Mrs Sylvie Lucas, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, under the Presidency of H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the UNGA ; the General Assembly roll-over decision 70/559 adopted by consensus on 27th July 2016; the appointment of two new Co-Chairs of the intergovernmental negotiations, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia and H.E. Mr. Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania respectively by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UNGA; the Annual General debate on agenda item 122 on “the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council held on 7th November 2016; the activities of the C-10 including, outreach to some Member States involving the newly formed “Group of Friends” on UN Security Council Reform and following the meetings held on all the five negotiable clusters, an elements paper on two clusters relating to the Relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly and the size of an enlarged Security Council and its working methods, produced by the Chair, by letter of 17th May, 2016.
Ambassador Sumah also highlighted the viability of the African Common Position. The ambassador pointed out that the African Common Position, which is encapsulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, is flexible, especially with regards to the Veto. This flexibility is emphasized by the fact that though Africa is opposed in principle to the Veto, the continent is also saying that “So long as it exists, and as a matter of common justice, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council.” Africa is also calling for not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto and five non-permanent seats.
Mr. Sumah reminded the consultative meeting that during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly debate (UNGA) held from 20th -26th September 2016, “many world leaders reflecting on the achievements of the United Nations thus far, also called for urgent progress on reforms deemed necessary for the future success of the Organization.”
During the consultative meeting , Ambassador Sumah also re-echoed the statement made during the same 71st Session by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on UN Security Council Reform, during which President Koroma said in part that without African voices at the highest level of the UN , no solutions would be sustainable and that “Africa’s position was about righting historic wrongs, but more than anything, it was about Africa’s contribution to making the United Nations more effective and democratic. ”
Also during the meeting, African ambassadors and diplomats in the United Nations highly commended Sierra Leone’s leadership of the African Union Committee of 10 ( C-10), which is tasked with the responsibility of canvassing Africa’s cause in the UN Security Council Reform negotiations. The praise reflected on President Ernest Koroma, and Ambassador Sumah and his team in New York who have been proactive in promoting the cause of Africa in the UN Security Council negotiations process.