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France - Africa

UN Security Council reform on the agenda at Nice summit

(Photo: UN)

There have been heated discussions on UN Security Council reform in Nice ahead of the opening of the France-Africa summit on Monday. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said a “lively” discussion took place on Sunday evening with African foreign ministers.

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France wants to try and help reshape the world body’s top decision-making council in order to give Africa more of a say.

“It was a lively debate, quite long and animated,” Kouchner said. “France’s position is very clear. We want Africa to be represented in all international institutions, including the UN, but we do not want to impose this.”

Fraternal, lively, but heated

Report France-Africa summit, Nice

"It lasted six hours and ended in deadlock according to informed sources," reports RFI's William Niba.

Africa currently has three states sitting as non-permanent members of the Security Council: Nigeria, Gabon and Uganda.

In 2005 they agreed to push for two permanent seats in an expanded council under new reform proposals.

However Kouchner believes that demanding one permanent seat is more “realistic”.

Greater African representation has been justified by the share of African UN member-states, 27 per cent, and the fact that it is the most populous continent behind Asia.

African leaders are keen to have a greater say in the council, which was last reformed in 1963.

“Africa cannot continue to be the fifth wheel and the Security Council cannot continue to be without Africa,” Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso told French radio.

Although RFI's reporter says there are concerns about France putting this forward.

"Sources named South African and Tanzanian diplomats as the most vocal critics of France's legitimacy to put the issue on the table."

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