Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof David Francis has heightened campaign for the country’s Security Council Bid to multilateral partners.
His Excellency the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio in May 2022, launched Sierra Leone’s bid for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.
This led to a massive campaign abroad by the minister to multilateral partners.
As the election draws closer, Professor Francis past week engaged various mediums in Sierra Leone on the progress the country has made in the campaign to be elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.
“I am assuring Sierra Leoneans on behalf of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio that comes June 6, Sierra Leone will be elected as a member of the UN Security Council. We have done enough of the campaign to guarantee our election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council”, Professor Francis assured all.
He said that Sierra Leone has the approval of ECOWAS and the AU which makes Sierra Leone a clean-slate candidate with no expected competition from any other state.
Other African countries vying for the non-permanent seats at the Security Council are Algeria and Mozambique. But the minister said Sierra Leone is not against the other two because Africa has three non-permanent seats at the Security Council.
The minister said that Sierra Leone has secured the assurance of the UK which is a permanent member of the Security Council together with the UK’s friends, allies, and constituencies to support Sierra Leone. “We have done the same for the United States. I just recently returned from China. I have spoken to them; the same for Russia. I recently spoke to Sergey Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister. We want to secure as many votes as possible”, he said.
Asked how he has been able to garner such massive support, the minister said “Our message is clear – we are an example of what multi-lateral representation could bring to global peace. Without the United Nations, Sierra Leone would not have had peace”.
At one point, Professor Francis said, Sierra Leone had the largest UN peacekeeping group in the world. He said peace was consolidated after the peacekeeping era, the post-war peacebuilding and reconstruction, and other peace support operations including UNAMSIL. That is the reason Sierra Leone has successfully held four democratic elections, he said, recounting that there have been two transfers of power (in 2007 and 2018) from incumbent governments to opposition parties – a thing very difficult to happen in Africa. “We are a successful case of peacebuilding – we will share that experience with countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and Arab-Israeli war at the UN Security Council”, he said.
The UN General Assembly votes on June 6 to elect the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council. Sierra Leone is seeking re-election into the non-permanent category after a fifty-year hiatus.
The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has fifteen members, and each member has one vote. Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
Five of its members – USA, China, Russia, UK, and France are permanent and have veto powers in decision-making. The other ten are non-permanent members and are replaced every two years to give way to new members. Hence, they do not have veto powers.
“When we go to the Security Council, the small country Sierra Leone would be in the same room with America, Britain, France, China, and Russia. We will be in the room where decisions are made about global peace and security in Ukraine, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen… So, the small country will now assume a big role in global peace and security decision-making. It will transform Sierra Leone into a global peace broker”, the minister said among other reasons.
He said getting a seat on the UN Security Council will increase Sierra Leone’s significance because Sierra Leone will be where decisions on sanctions will be made on countries like Russia, China, Iran, etc. Sanctions prevent or limit countries from using force to do bad. So being on the Sanctions Committee is significant, the minister emphasized. “And when you are in such a strategic position, every country around the world would want to befriend you”, he explained.
Additionally, he said, the UN Security Council presence would allow Sierra Leone to act as the pen holder. When a country acts in that capacity, it determines the issues that could be included in the agenda. That makes the country very powerful, especially on African issues, he said.
Another possibility is that Sierra Leone would have the potential of becoming president of the UN Security Council. “We paved the way for China to come back as a permanent member of the UN Security Council the last time Sierra Leone was president of the UN Security Council”, the minister recalled. “That has galvanized our relationship with China ever since. This is why China would always help Sierra Leone”, he said.
Significantly also, the minister said Sierra Leone’s presence at the UN Security Council would give the country prominence as a respectable country; as a peaceful country; as a stable country. He said research shows that all countries that have served on the UN Security Council have had a lot of benefits. “Our presence would therefore have spilled over benefits like financial, economic, and development benefits from the World Bank, IMF, and other International Financial Institutions”, he asserted.