Algeria and Sierra Leone, the African Union’s two choices to join the Security Council for the 2024-2025 term, ran unopposed for the two-year stint as non-permanent members. They will replace Ghana and Gabon in January. Also elected were Guyana, South Korea and Slovenia.
This is the fourth time on the 15-member council for Algeria, whose last stint was in 2004-2005. Sierra Leone only served once previously, in 1970-1971, before the civil war.
Both countries are expected to press for pan-African priorities, such as
- increasing support for African Union peace and security efforts,
- controlling the flow of small arms,
- combating global warming and
- fighting terrorism in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea.
However, they are divided on the issue of Ukraine, with Algeria joining Mozambique on the council as a steadfast friend of Moscow.
Friends in high places
Algeria has close ties to Moscow, dating back to the struggle for independence from France in the 1960s, and is the largest importer of Russian weapons on the continent. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s government has sought to preserve the relationship while balancing other interests. It has abstained from multiple UN votes denouncing the Ukraine invasion and voted against suspending Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council while simultaneously moving to replace Russia as a gas exporter to Europe.
Sierra Leone, by contrast, is a close US ally that has consistently voted to denounce Russia’s war.
Both countries have already begun preparing for their UN appearance, sending their respective foreign ministers to New York last week to meet with UN officials and with each other.
Sierra Leone’s foreign minister, David Francis, met with the African Union’s permanent representative to the UN, Fatima Mohamed, after he briefed the 54-member African bloc at the UN, according to a 5 June tweet from the AU mission.
Meanwhile, Algerian foreign minister Ahmed Attaf met with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed and Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo last week, according to the Algerian foreign ministry.
Eye on Western Sahara
In their meeting, Attaf and DiCarlo “focused on developments in the crises in Mali, Libya, and Sudan, as well as the growing security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara region”, according to the Algerian ministry. Algeria is a member of both the African Union and the Arab League, which are both involved in mediating the conflict in Sudan.
They also talked about the situation in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, where Algeria continues to champion the pro-independence Polisario Front. Algeria is expected to try to revive interest in the Sahrawi cause during its stint on the council, even as other countries have largely moved on. Algeria is ec
Attaf and DiCarlo “also discussed the prospects for reviving the political process in Western Sahara and direct negotiations between the two parties to the conflict, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, to achieve a just and lasting solution guaranteeing the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination”, the Algerian foreign ministry said.
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