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African Union Meets to Discuss Security Council Reforms

Zimbabwean-born analyst Bhekinkosi Moyo says the fate of Africa’s quest for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council remains in the hands of the five permanent members. Dr. Moyo – a researcher at the Africa Institute of South Africa – told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje the issue will finally be determined by whether the five permanent members accept or reject reforms proposed for the Council. All the same, he says, the African Union can help advance the quest by taking two key steps: coming up with a united voice reflecting the wishes of its member states; and being transparent in the selection and criteria of who would represent Africa on the Council.

Dr. Moyo made the remarks as African leaders met in Addis Ababa to discuss what position the African Union should take on reforming the United Nations' Security Council. The meeting focuses on a report by a committee of heads of state -- led by Sierra Leone's President Tejan Kabbah. The committee was formed to hold consultations among African countries aspiring to be permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Dr. Moyo says the three countries seen as leading contenders for potential seats on the Council -- Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt – do enjoy general support in Africa. But the real question, he says, is whether such support will last – if one or two of them were to take up seats on the Council. The Zimbabwean analyst says the fact that an African heads the U.N. will have no bearing on whether Africa will get a permanent seat. That will only happen, he adds, if the five permanent members approve the proposed reforms and expansion of the Council.