|AFRICAN UNION'S FOREIGN [INTERNATIONSL] POLICY
The African Union's foreign/international policy structure is comprised by several people and organizations. See Interview with Asimenyi Kalinda, AU Permanent Observer at the UN. The main ideas and policy bases come from the people and the communities of the African Union, the leaders of the Constituent Republics of the African Union, Civil Society Organizations, and the Commission of the AU, as well as other African leaders and institutions. Foreign policy is both product of and subject to a large amount of public opinion and influence. The AU has a coherent although limited foreign/international policy that is necessary in maintaining good and effective relations with other countries.
Concerning the UN General Assembly plan to reform the Security Council, by creating five new permanent members Japan, Germany and one state each from Asia, Latin America and Africa: the AUF position is that the African Union should properly be the permanent representative of Africans on the council. The choice of one of the constituent republics of the African Union as the representative with permanent membership is unacceptable.
Article 14 of the Lome Declaration commits the African Union to "REAFFIRM ALSO the imperative need to accelerate the reform of the United Nations Security Council, and ensure that its membership is more reflective of the universality of the Organization, a prerequisite for its increased credibility."
A common African position was reached at the OAU Summits of Tunis (1994) and Harare (1997). Africans required that the UN Security Council should be expanded in both its permanent and non-permanent members, and that it should have 26 members. At the time, prior to the creation of the African Union, the Africans demanded to have at least two permanent seats. The OAU Summit at Ouagadougou (8-10 June 1998) decided on the procedure for rotation of the two seats claimed by Africa in the expanded Security Council (AHG/Dec.6 (XXXIV).
The procedure involves nomination of candidates in each of the five African sub-regions, preparation of the list of candidates based on the names thus submitted, establishment of a pool from which the Heads of State and Government will choose two candidates to fill the two seats. The two candidates must come from two different sub-regions to be designated by the Heads of State and Government. This would be followed by the adoption of the same procedure when selecting African candidates for subsequent selection in the remaining sub-regions, and determination by the Heads of States and Government of the duration of the mandate of the two candidates elected as permanent members of the expanded Security Council.
What makes Africa’s position remarkable is the fact that about one third of the UN members reached this decision unanimously. Africa does not want to be marginalized during the restructuring of the Work Body. Since its establishment more than 50 years ago the Security Council has been reformed only once, in 1963, when the newly-independent African countries hardly had a say. Africa feels that this time the opportunity to rectify the imbalance within the main UN organ should not be missed.
Electing one or two of the "usual suspects" in the African Union (Nigeria, South Africa or Egypt) as the African representatives to the Security Council is inappropriate and divisive. The African Union and its administrative mechanisms will allow for representatives from all of our communities to have a say in how the African veto is applied on the Security Council. This means that the Pan African Parliament has to make the decisions concerning Africa's votes on the UN Security Council.
The biggest challenge to Africans in the international arena is the persistence of patronising colonial and racist attitudes. The impact of such attitudes permeates the language of international relations and constrains the options available to Africans and to people around the world to relate positively or productively
International media continues to foster a devastating and tragically skewed image of Africa. Consequently, most world leaders are deeply ignorant of African reality and so the policies they pursue are generally demoralising to Africa. It is common for western governments intent on helping Africa to craft programs that undermine African institutions and which cause division in African communities.
The neocolonial methods of world diplomacy and the corrosive legacy of colonial occupation and colonial warfare preclude productive relations between Africans and the rest of the world. Unconventional military hostility towards Africans is continuing to kill and maim millions of Africans. NATO and the former communist Bloc devised, in the mid-20th century, extremely aggressive methods of military threat, subversion, and intervention in Africa.
The use of mercenaries, "advisors", expatriates, intelligence operatives, corporate sponsored terror, and proxy neocolonial armies became wide spread in Africa. The central purpose of all this conflict is to secure foreign access to African strategic resources such as uranium, cobalt, industrial diamonds, and military bases.
Article 14 of the Lome Declaration, as well as other African efforts in the international arena are aimed at addressing the problems listed above.