NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 — President William Ruto has called for the expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a bid to promote inclusion and make the top organ of the global intergovernmental organization more effective.
Ruto’s call on Wednesday while delivering Kenya’s national statement at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York came hours after US President Joe Biden made a similar pitch.
“Given the magnitude and variety of challenges the world continues to confront, a more fit-for-purpose United Nations is urgently needed, that possesses the legitimacy and efficacy in dealing with threats to international peace and security,” Ruto stated in his 40-minute statement.
President Ruto noted that the current UNSC membership structure providing for five permanent members wielding veto power and 10 non-permanent members elected by regional blocs undermined the council’s democratic standing and hence its effectiveness.
“A just and inclusive world order cannot be spearheaded by a United Nations Security Council that persistently and unjustly fails the inclusivity criterion. Similarly, threats to democracy will not be credibly resolved by an undemocratic and unrepresentative Security Council,” he told the General Assembly.
Ruto said Kenya remained “firmly committed to reforming the Security Council to make it a more effective, representative and democratic global institution.”
Biden had earlier in the day called for renewed efforts to reform the Security Council even as he expressed disappointed with the unjustified use of veto power by permanent members
“I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive, so they can better respond to the needs of today’s world. Members of the UN security council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the UN charter and refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations,” Biden said.
Biden specifically called for the creation of permanent slots in the Security Council for countries in the African continent.
“That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the council. This includes permanent seats for those nations. We have long supported permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean,” the US President told the Assembly.
The membership of the UN Security Council was last reviewed in 1963 after consensus by the General Assembly to create four additional non-permanent seats, a decision that came into force in 1965.
The United States sits as a permanent member in the Council alongside China, France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom.
Ten other members are elected to serve a two-year term by five regional blocs.
Kenya makes up the membership of the Security Council sitting as a non-permanent member alongside Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Mexico, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
Kenya has used its term set to come to an end later in the year to rally efforts in the fight against terrorism and an end to conflict in the region working alongside the A3 group comprising three African nations, Kenya included, represented in the UNSC.
During its presidency of the Council in October 2021, Kenya lined up four high-level events including a session on peace building and cooperation between the UN and regional organizations convened by then President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 12 and 28.
Ruto pointed out that the country’s engagement at the UNSC prioritized regional peace and security, countering terrorism and violent extremism, peace support operations, climate and security as critical contributions to collective efforts to build a safer, more prosperous and peaceful world.
“I am also proud to state that Kenya has continued to champion closer cooperation between regional mechanisms and the Security Council as an effective means of achieving international peace and security,” he said.
Kenya also led deliberations the subject of conflict and women involvement in peace and security initiative.
Nairobi has also been rooting for the escalation of sanctions against the Somali-based Al Shabaab terrorist group despite two failed attempts to have the organization designated as a terrorist group under the UNSC Resolution 1267 of 1999.
Kenya renewed the call in 2019 following the abduction of two Cuban doctors attached to the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 12 by al-Shabaab militants, a move the foreign ministry termed as a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
Resolution 1267 was adopted on October 15, 1999, following repeated acts of aggression by the Taliban and groups linked to it with Kenya hoping Al Shabaab’s designation in the same category as Taliban would help exert pressure on the Somali-based militants.
Kenya renewed push was however vetoed by the United Kingdom in August 2019 on humanitarian grounds.