By Aggrey Mutambo…..
Diplomats from the Caribbean and Africa’s three representatives on the United Nations Security Council are meeting in Nairobi to work on a common agenda as the continent faces three major crises.
The diplomats from hosts Kenya, Tunisia, Niger and Saint Vincent and Grenadines are meeting to agree on a common agenda on peace and security.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said in a statement that the group, commonly referred to in diplomatic circles as A3+1, is strategising the “execution of peace and security mandate at both the UN Security Council and at the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC)”.
He was referring to the AU’s 15-member body that usually advises on action to be taken when member states face security troubles such as in events related to unconstitutional changes of power.
The meeting in Nairobi is also being attended by representatives from the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations in New York.
The African Group has traditionally worked with the Caribbean, based on historical ties as well as common problems usually discussed at the UN Security Council, to front a common stand on issues such as terrorism, peace and security.
“The A3+1 arrangement has become a formidable part of the UN Security Council Political workings, in addition to providing a critical platform for the prosecution of Africa’s Agenda – and that of the Sixth Region (the Caribbean) – at the UN Security Council,” Mr Kamau said.
The meeting, he said, will “reinvigorate and energise the work of the A3+1” on a common approach to matters affecting the African continent.
Both Africa and the Caribbean have no permanent member on the Council, which means that the composition of A3+1 often changes every year. Kenya will be a member until December 2022.
The Council nonetheless has passed most resolutions affecting the African continent. It recently discussed the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia, including the deplorable humanitarian situation.
They also discussed Ethiopia’s filling of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), asking riparian countries of the Nile to tone down inflammatory remarks, as well as the situation in Somalia, where the much-delayed elections are due later this month.
The Africa Group has also pushed for reforms, and demanded a central role for the continent on issues affecting African member states. For example, on GERD the group said the UN Security Council must allow the Principle of Subsidiarity, where regional blocs take leading roles in mediating local conflicts.
The African Union has been mediating the dispute between Ethiopia on one side and Sudan and Egypt on the other, but the sides have not agreed on a filling and operation formula for Africa’s most expensive dam.
Khartoum and Cairo had asked for the intervention of the UN, but Addis Ababa opposed it, saying the AU was capable of resolving the matter. On Monday, Addis Ababa said it had completed the second filling of the dam, which Sudan and Egypt had both protested against.