Africa also has stake in UNSC reform: Abe

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

Japan and African nations must cooperate to push forward United Nations Security Council reform in order to realize better global governance, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

It was the first meeting between leaders of Japan and African nations on U.N. Security Council reform. After two days of TICAD discussions in Yokohama on the development of Africa, Abe and the leaders agreed it is important to reform the U.N.

“Japan and Africa share common interests” and should raise the momentum for change through close cooperation, Abe said.

Japan, together with Brazil, India and Germany, has been seeking permanent UNSC membership and also the expansion of nonpermanent seats.

African nations, meanwhile, are also pushing for a bigger presence in various U.N. forums in order to promote the continent’s interests.

While details of the meeting were not disclosed to the media, a Foreign Ministry official said both sides agreed to intensify efforts and work closely to attain their goals.

However, the official said the purpose of the meeting was not to seek support for Tokyo’s bid for a permanent seat, and declined to reveal what was discussed during the 40-minute meeting.

The Yokohama Declaration 2013, adopted Monday at the TICAD meeting, touched on the development.

“We reaffirm our determination to urgently reform U.N. bodies, including the Security Council, and will maintain political momentum through enhanced dialogue to find the best approach,” the statement said.

Some countries, for example China, remain opposed to the expansion of the council. Jiji Press reported that an article in the Chinese military-owned newspaper China Military criticized Japan for trying to obtain a seat on the council in exchange for the ¥3.2 trillion Abe pledged for African development at TICAD.

Monday’s summit was attended by Africa’s Committee of Ten nations, led by Sierra Leone, as well as African Union leader Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma.

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