Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Conclusion of South Africa’s Term as an Elected Member of the Security Council

South Africa’s first ever term as an elected member of the Security Council concluded on 31 December 2008. South Africa’s membership of the Council was an historic milestone for South Africa, given that not so long ago South Africa itself was a conflict afflicted society that was subject to Security Council sanctions. South Africa’s transition to a respected and increasingly influential member of the international community is one of Africa’s success stories and South Africa was elected unopposed onto the Security Council by the UN membership.

It followed, therefore, that South Africa’s membership of the Security Council was influenced by its own national experience and desire to assist countries to emerge from conflict. In its Council interventions, South Africa sought to help create an enabling environment in which the parties themselves might achieve reconciliation through dialogue. It proceeded from the premise that multilateralism and respect for international law are the most appropriate means of achieving global political and economic stability and security. South Africa actively engaged all sides to better understand their views on the complex issues before the Council.

South Africa’s central strategic objective was to help advance the African agenda, but it also actively engaged on all issues on the Security Council’s agenda pursuant to the global mandate associated with Council membership. South Africa achieved leadership positions, for example as lead nation on Timor-Leste and head of a key Security Council mission to Africa. South Africa also influenced a large number and diversity of Council outcomes.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said, “The Security Council was a useful platform for intensifying the work South Africa had already undertaken in conflict resolution in Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the DRC and elsewhere. One of the primary achievements was helping to revitalise the debate on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations and enhancing co-ordination between the UN and the African Union. South Africa also forged partnerships with Council and non-Council members from across the so-called North-South divide on important matters, such as Security Sector Reform, the non-proliferation of light weapons and gender mainstreaming”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting an in-house assessment of South Africa’s participation in the Security Council and will be convening a roundtable discussion with civil society early this year, 2009. 

Issued by Nomfanelo Kota at 082-459-3787
Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001

2 January 2009

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa