Open Debate on Upholding International Law in the Context of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
Statement by Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations
Allow me first to congratulate you on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for this month and to thank you for convening this timely open debate. The presence of His Excellency President Andrzej Duda to this meeting as well as the high-level participation among Member States bears witness to the critical importance of this debate as well as to the Security Council’s commitment to advance global understanding on the need to uphold international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security.
Today’s debate is taking place amidst greater preoccupations and fears about the future of the multilateral international order. During the recent period, multilateralism has been increasingly challenged by the rise of unilateral measures that undermine the very foundations of the United Nations’ Charter. We have also witnessed with serious concerns the deepening rifts in international relations which have already left serious implications on the fulfilment of existing norms and established practices of international law.
In the face of these challenges, the international community must voice its concerns and reiterate its commitment to a rule-based system which remains the best and safe way for enhancing cooperation in order to address the global issues of peace and security. We need also to reaffirm the validity of the UN Charter’s founding principles that have stood the test of time and that of the world’s continued upheavals. More importantly, relevant provisions of the Charter must be strictly observed, especially when it comes to the use of force in international relations.
Furthermore, the primacy of the United Nations as the global forum for legitimate, effective and inclusive multilateralism must be enhanced. Yet, we need to restore confidence in the capacity of the UN to stay relevant in face of multiple and severe challenges. In this regard, we are encouraged by the three-trucks reform agenda engaged by the Secretary-General which, in our view, should be supported and pursued to advance meaningful changes in the perspective of adapting the UN to the complex realities of today’s world.
However, the scope of these reforms should not be confined to the Secretariat aspects. Every effort should be made to conclude the long-stalled process concerning the reform of the UN Security Council. Time has come to make the Security Council effectively democratic, transparent and truly representative by correcting the historical injustice done to the African Continent.
Africa has been both a major beneficiary and crucial contributor to the evolution and functioning of multilateralism. I wish to recall in this context the central role of multilateralism in Africa’s decolonization and post-independence experiences, including the struggle against apartheid.
Africa has always been supportive of existing international norms, as well as of a genuine process of codification and progressive development of International Law in order to promote friendly relations and cooperation between Member States and the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts. In this regard, I wish to refer to the recent statements made by the Chairperson of the AU Commission respectively on Syria, Palestine and Iran to say that these positions were profoundly grounded in our strong belief that whatever the circumstances are, international law must be respected.
Through the African Union and its Regional Mechanisms, Africa will spare no effort in countering the emerging erosion of multilateralism in accordance with the following principles: (i) respect for African ownership and priority setting in the spirit of mutual respect; (ii) flexible and innovative application of the principle of subsidiarity; (iii) mutual respect and adherence to the principle of comparative advantage; and, (iv) division of labor underpinned by complementarity.
Going forward, Africa will continue to strengthen relationships with its partners in a structured, strategic and mutually beneficial manner. The challenging and increasingly complex situations on the ground require more enhanced and properly calibrated interventions. Therefore, strengthening our strategic partnership with the United Nations will continue to be an essential pillar of our joint efforts to achieve peaceful and prosperous Africa.
I thank you for your kind attention.