Friday, July 16, 2010

South Africa Bids for United Nations Security Council Seat

South Africa bids for UN Security Council seat

(AFP) UNITED NATIONS — Invoking Nelson Mandela's legacy, South Africa's foreign minister made a global appeal Friday for her country's bid to secure a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2011-2012.

As the world prepares to celebrate the first Nelson Mandela International Day on the anti-apartheid hero's 92nd birthday Sunday, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane urged all UN members to back South Africa's efforts to return to the 15-member council.

"We ask for support of all (UN) member countries for South Africa's membership once again in the Security council," she told reporters at UN headquarters.

The powerful council has five permanent veto-wielding members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and 10 non-permanent members elected to serve two-year terms. South Africa last sat on the council in 2007-2008.

"We believe we would want in Mandela's name to continue to contribute to peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace maintenance" not only in Africa but around the world, said the South African minister.

She earlier attended a UN Security Council debate on conflict prevention chaired by her Nigerian counterpart Henry Odein Ajumogobia.

The UN General Assembly meanwhile held an informal session in honor of Mandela, with its president, former Libyan foreign minister Ali Triki, saying that Sunday's celebration of Mandela International Day was "a call to action to make the world a better place, one day at a time."

South Africa's elder statesman is to celebrate his birthday at his Johannesburg home with his family and nearly 100 children from villages around his childhood home in the rural Eastern Cape province.

Last November, the UN General Assembly decided that Nelson Mandela International Day would be observed every year on his birthday, July 18, in recognition of his "outstanding contribution" to the creation of a "non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa."

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