JONATHAN SEEKS BAN'S SUPPORT FOR NIGERIA'S SECURITY COUNCIL BID
President Goodluck Jonathan at a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, on Monday, asked for the UN's support for Nigeria's quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Ban is in the country on a working visit.
At the meeting in the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja, where both parties also reviewed Nigeria's, and Africa's efforts at attaining the Millennium Development Goals, Jonathan said it was 'unfair' to refuse Africa a permanent seat in the UNSC.
The President stressed that it was time to reform the UNSC.
Pointing at Nigeria's leading role in international peacekeeping missions, Jonathan asked Moon to get the UN behind the country's bid.
He said, 'Given the realities of today's world, a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system is imperative at this time.
'Specifically, the expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories is necessary.
'A situation where Africa is totally excluded from the permanent membership of the Council is unfair and untenable.
'It is therefore my hope that the UN system will support Nigeria's quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.'
Jonathan added that Nigeria would 'continue in its bridge-building efforts within the larger context of the UN's efforts at maintaining international peace and security.'
He noted that there was a critical need for the international community to 'remain engaged in Cote d'Ivoire especially with respect to the urgent work of reconstruction, and the challenges of disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation.'
He expressed concern at the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in West Africa, saying the Federal Government was partnering the UN to establish a focal point for counter-terrorism operations in the sub-region.
Jonathan said, 'Nigeria is greatly concerned about the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and our support for the UN Program of Action on this category of weapons.
'I am also glad to inform the Secretary-General that we are in the final processes of passing a Bill to Provide for Measures to Combat Terrorism and a Money Laundering Bill, both of which are meant to give impetus to our committed fight against international terrorism.'
Jonathan said Nigeria had remained focused on reducing infant mortality, which, he said, had dropped by 25 per cent; maternal mortality, which had dropped by 32 per cent; and the total eradication of polio, which have recorded a 90 per cent reduction since 2009.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Moon did not guarantee the UN's support for Nigeria's quest for a permanent seat on the UNSC, although he praised the country's role in the resolution of the recent crisis in Cote D 'Ivoire as well as its prominent presence in international peacekeeping missions.
The UN scribe noted that member states would determine all the issues involved in the proposed reform of the UN, including the expansion of the UNSC.
Moon said, 'You are the fourth largest troop and police contributing country, starting with Darfur and nine other different areas where your men and women have contributed greatly to the peace and stability of the world and I deeply appreciate.
'The member states of the UN have been discussing this matter for the past 20years on how to adapt the security council to the changing world, considering the dramatic significant changes in the international political scene.
'The member states have agreed that there is need for the reform of the security council in a democratic and transparent and more representative way, for that there is no disagreement.
'Please note that this is to be determined and decided by member states.'