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S. Africa to Use Its UN Security Council Presidency to Focus on Africa


The U.N. Security Council will hold a high-level meeting with African leaders later this month in New York to discuss continuing conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. From U.N. headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

South Africa took over the rotating presidency of the 15-member council Tuesday. A day later, U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said South Africa hopes to use its month-long chairmanship to focus on Africa.

On April 16, the 15 ambassadors of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the 15 U.N. Security Council ambassadors will have what Ambassador Kumalo called an 'historic' meeting at U.N. headquarters to discuss pressing regional issues.

"We will spend the morning discussing issues before the two councils, which will include all the issues you are interested in - Darfur, Somalia, DRC-Congo and so on," Kumalo said.

The following day, the Security Council will discuss the relationship between African regional organizations and the United Nations. South African President Thabo Mbeki will chair the meeting and several other heads of state are expected to attend.

Ambassador Kumalo said he hopes the Security Council will adopt a resolution following the meeting.

"[We want] to try and make some things concrete relating to Africa," Kumalo said. "Now one thing we want to try and make concrete is that we want on the 17th [of April] to adopt a resolution at the end of this [meeting]. That resolution has to address the issue of resources for the African Union when the African Union goes out to carry the work of the Security Council, such as in Somalia, in Darfur, and so on."

Ambassador Kumalo said the leaders of Sudan and Chad - whose conflicts are on the council's agenda - have also been invited to attend the Council meeting, but confirmed responses have not yet been received.

The Security Council ambassadors are also considering visiting some of Africa's most serious conflict zones in June for a first-hand look at the situation.


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