Sarkozy Says Africa Deserves UN Security Council Seat

Sarkozy Says Africa Deserves UN Security Council Seat
# 31 May 2010 22:49 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Africa should be given a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, calling the continent’s lack of representation on the peacekeeping body “unacceptable”, APA reports quoting “Bloomberg”.
“We can’t confront the 21st century with the institutions of the 20th century,” Sarkozy told a France-Africa summit today in Nice, France. He didn’t specify how an African representative should obtain a seat on the 15-member council, which has China, France, Russia, U.K. and the U.S. as its only permanent members.
The triennial summit is being attended by 38 African heads of state, including South African President Jacob Zuma and Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan. The guest list includes about 210 business leaders, including Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive officer of nuclear power plant builder Areva SA, and Total SA Chairman Thierry Desmarest.
Sarkozy’s appeal comes as the former colonial power seeks to bolster its influence in the continent of 1 billion people as African leaders seek closer economic ties with countries including China and India. French products made up 6 percent of sub-Saharan African imports in 2010, down from 14 percent in 1990, according to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. Fourteen African countries this year celebrate 50 years of independence from French colonial rule.
‘Old Duchess’
“French influence is waning,” Gerard Prunier, who has written seven books on the continent, said in a May 28 interview from Paris. “These days, we’re like the old duchess. The roof is leaking. We own the castle, but we have no money for the plumbing.”
Sarkozy has struggled to woo African leaders. In 2007, on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office, Africans were insulted when he said they had failed to embrace progress. In March 2009, he pledged to abandon “neo-colonial” policies pursued by his predecessors.
France is proposing that Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and as many as two African countries be given a seat on the Security Council for 10 years, instead of the usual two years, a French presidency spokesman said in an interview. In the interim measure, the countries also wouldn’t have veto powers like the permanent five members, the official, who declined to be identified as he’s not authorized to speak to the press, said on the sidelines of the conference.