The African continent is underrepresented in the United Nations’ Security Council, Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN Motaz Khalil said on Tuesday, adding that none of the council’s permanent members are African countries.
Khalil delivered a speech on behalf of Egypt during a UN meeting held at the organisation’s headquarters in New York to discuss reforming the Security Council. He highlighted the importance of ensuring fairer representation for Africa within the council, adding that African countries make up more than a quarter of the UN’s membership and that three quarters of the issues on Security Council’s agenda concern Africa.
“Africa participates with a third of the UN peace-keeping forces,” Khalil said, according to a foreign ministry statement released on Wednesday. “This confirms the continent’s prime role in maintaining international peace and security.”
Khalil also called for better representation of Arab and Islamic countries within the Security Council. There are 57 Islamic member-states in the UN, he said, “making this geographical bloc larger than any other.” He demanded that a permanent seat be reserved for each of the Islamic and Arab blocs in the event of expanding the Security Council’s seat.
The permanent representative stressed the importance of “considering” African, Islamic and Arab stances toward issues discussed in the council in an effort to “endorse the council’s transparency and democracy.”
UN member-states have met to look into the possibility of reforming the structure of the Security Council. Council reforms would include: membership, veto power, regional representation, the council’s expansion and its relation to the UN General Assembly.
Since its establishment in 1945, the UN Security Council has been formed of 15 member-states. Five member-states are permanent; the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia. The five states exclusively reserve the veto power. The other 10 non-permanent member-states are changed every two years.