Johannesburg - This is South Africa’s moment on the UN Security Council to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves - those tens of thousands of civilians being targeted in civil wars while the big powers turn a blind eye, or participate in the carnage. We have already served six months of a two year term as a non-permanent member on the Council, and this week our government officials have been engaging in introspection as to whether we are leveraging our role on the Council effectively, and maintaining our values in international relations.
As a middle power, South Africa may not be able to directly impact on ending many of these conflicts, but occupying a seat at the table of the apex body charged with maintaining peace and security is both meaningful and powerful. It is a chance for South Africa to be a voice of conscience in the international community, and put forward robust arguments on how to silence the guns in Africa by the end of 2020, and also how to resolve intractable conflicts in the Middle East.
South Africa has not squandered this opportunity over the past six months to raise its voice on important issues of international peace and security, such as the need to protect the sovereignty of Venezuela in the face of efforts at regime change, and to end the unjust economic embargo of Cuba.
The world is currently faced with the spectre of a devastating war with Iran given the war mongering continuing in the US administration, particularly by the US National Security Advisor John Bolton. South Africa needs to be increasingly vocal within the Council on the need for all parties to adhere to the tenets of the nuclear deal, which was the product of years of painstaking negotiations between the world’s big powers.
Just as our Deputy Minister for International Relations Alvin Botes said in the recent Non-Aligned Meeting in Caracas, the JCPOA was an important diplomatic achievement in terms of preserving non-proliferation, and there needs to be full cooperation to ensure the durability and sustainability of the nuclear deal with Iran.