France says Africa must be on UN Security Council
By John Irish
NICE, France, May 31
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday that Africa should be represented on the U.N. Security Council, promising to push for reforms when France takes over the G8/G20 chair next year.
Speaking at the launch of the 25th Africa-France summit, he said it was time for the world to make a place for Africa on the global stage to discuss international crises and reforms.
"I am convinced that we can't talk about big global questions without Africa any longer," Sarkozy told about 800 delegates including the presidents of South Africa, the only G20 member from Africa, as well as OPEC Producer Nigeria and Egypt.
"The Security Council must be reformed and it's not normal that Africa does not have a member of the Security Council."
African nations have asked for two rotating permanent seats since 2005, given it has about 27 percent of members at the United Nations, the size of the continent and the involvement of global powers on its territory.
China, the United States, Russia, Britain and France are the permanent members of the Council. Nigeria, Gabon and Uganda are non-permanent members.
Without saying exactly what France would favour, Sarkozy said: "France, when it takes over the G8 and G20 (next year), will push towards this (reform)."
France is trying to claw back some economic influence in Africa as it welcomes some 40 government leaders to a summit that for the first time includes heads of top French companies such as energy giant Total and nuclear firm Areva.
The two-day summit will feature a specific session among the leaders discussing Africa's place in global governance.
Congo Republic's President Denis Sassou Nguesso said earlier on Monday he believed the world had to give Africa two seats as it could no longer manage crises under a system used since the Second World War.
"We agree that two permanent seats on the Security Council (are needed) for Africa and I am persuaded that the world cannot manage these sort of crises without Africa," he told reporters.
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