South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has called for a significant transformation of the United Nations, asserting that the organization has “failed” to serve its original purpose of preventing global conflicts at the recent Russia-Africa Summit.
Pandor’s remarks came during an interview with the Russian news channel RT at the second Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, where she joined other high-ranking African officials.
“When we speak of a United Nations Security Council reform, what we’re speaking of is a greater representation, democratic processes. The Security Council has failed the world because we have so much conflict all over the world, so it means the mechanism needs to be re-forged so that we can ensure peace and security,” Pandor said.
Foreign Minister Pandor further argued that the collective efforts of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – are precisely aimed at accomplishing these objectives, thereby safeguarding global peace and security. However, she emphasized that this does not necessitate the creation of a new multinational entity to rival the UN but instead requires substantial reform within the existing structure.
She argued that to give real and substantial meaning to the UN Security Council, it needs to adopt changes to counteract the perception that only 15 countries decide the world’s fate.
Discussing the summit’s purpose, Pandor stated that it aims to forge robust ties between nations to further the African continent’s objectives and ensure that Russian commitments are translated into practical effects. She underscored the importance of crafting policies that enhance connections between people, businesses, and the arts, among other areas.
Addressing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Pandor emphasized the need to continue the dialogue and take steps forward to help resolve the ongoing war. She mentioned the warm reception African leaders received from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their visit to Kyiv as part of the African peace initiative. She also noted Zelensky’s openness to listening to proposals and his readiness to continue the discussion.
Pandor pointed out that African nations are uniquely positioned to help resolve the conflict, as they have access to both world leaders, Putin and Zelensky, unlike many others who can only communicate with one nation and not the other.
Drawing from South Africa’s difficult history of apartheid, Pandor voiced that the nation is well-positioned to understand the essence of freedom, advocate full-fledged democracy, and endorse representation.
“A part of the political definition that we give to ourselves as South Africans is unity and diversity – this means we reject racism and all forms of prejudice, and I think we should bring that into the multilateral stage,” Pandor concluded.
She expressed that Africa must reject the idea that they are indebted to anyone, labeling this a neo-colonialist approach.
“It is time that our continent has realized that of being an internally powerful part of the world. And we need to be far more in control of our own capabilities of our resources, and we should manage them in the interest of our continent,” she stated.
Pandor asserted that Africa needs to alter its relations with the United States, Europe, or Russia to serve Africa’s interests, not those of others. She explained that South Africa’s international approach is non-aligned, as it suffered greatly during the Cold War due to the perception that it leaned towards Western nations.
Responding to the question of why so many countries are interested in joining BRICS, she suggested that it offers a fresh perspective on everything from the economy to security on the world stage.
“We are not seeking to weaponize the oceans; we are not seeking to weaponize the forests, we are not seeking to weaponize climate change. We want to work in concert to address key developmental issues, and that is the attraction BRICS has for so many countries,” she declared.
Pandor noted that for the first time in a long while, conflicts between powerful nations like China, America, Russia, and NATO nations are out in the open, and it’s time for the world to address their issues more effectively. She emphasized that it’s time to tackle issues like trade, security, and the digital economy in a way that benefits everyone.