Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey paid a courtesy call on Mr Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey paid a courtesy call on Mr Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has paid a courtesy call on Mr Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General at the UN Headquarters in New York.

During the meeting, the Minister briefed the Secretary-General on Ghana’s vision and priorities for her tenure as a prospective non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The two also exchanged views on pertinent global challenges, including the situation in the Sahel, particularly Mali.

The Minister explained that in furtherance of Ghana’s commitment to enhancing global peace and security, she was seeking, for the fourth time, a non-permanent membership of the Security Council for the period 2022-2023.

She said Ghana was hopeful of being elected on 11th June 2021 and had adopted as the theme for her agenda on the Security Council – “Enhancing Global Peace and Security for Sustainable and Inclusive Development.”

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey noted the nexus between peace and security, and sustainable and inclusive development, particularly on the continent of Africa, and advocated the need to strengthen the close alignment of the work of the UN in those two areas to assure a reinforcing effect.

She said Ghana intended to leverage her previous and current experience as the Chair of ECOWAS and an active member of the AU to prioritise on the Council, the issues of conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, and the strengthening of partnerships between the UN and regional arrangements in dealing with conflict situations.

The Minister used the opportunity to brief the Secretary-General on efforts being undertaken by ECOWAS to address the security situation in the Sahel and the need to have a sustained and comprehensive approach in dealing with the situation.

She said the current deterioration of the situation in Mali was most unfortunate and a setback to the efforts of the international community and the region to restore democracy and rule of law in that country and consolidate the internal military capacity of Mali in the regional fight against extremists and terrorists on the fringes of the Sahel.

The Minister noted that the just-ended Emergency ECOWAS Summit held in Accra on 30th May, saw Heads of State strongly condemning the recent Coup d’Etat, in Mali, which was a violation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary Summit held at the Peduase Lodge, Aburi, Ghana on 15th September 2020 and a violation of the Transition Charter.

She said the Heads of State, therefore, reaffirmed the importance and necessity of respecting the democratic process for ascending to power and condemned all actions that led to the ongoing instability in Mali.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey added that decision was further taken to suspend Mali from ECOWAS Institutions in line with ECOWAS provisions and called for a new civilian Prime Minister to be nominated immediately.

She indicated that Ghana was troubled by the growing spate of insecurity in the West Africa region in recent times, manifesting in terrorist attacks, political instability, maritime piracy, as well as the negative socio-economic impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic and called for the equitable distribution of vaccines.

She also noted with concern the security situation in Chad following the demise of President Iddris Deby, and its impact on the war against extremism.

In that connection, she welcomed the Secretary-General’s recent appointment of Mahamat Saleh Annadif as his Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) as well as Abdoulaye Mar Dieye as a Special Coordinator for development in the Sahel.

She observed that the appointments were seen as a demonstration of the SG’s commitment to addressing the crises in the region comprehensively as was required.

The Minister expressed Ghana’s readiness to support the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Special Coordinator to help find lasting solutions to the challenges in the region and urged the mobilization of global resources to address some of the challenges that had been occasioned by weak State capacity.

She mentioned that as the current Chair of ECOWAS, Ghana would work with the UN and its agencies, including UNOWAS, the Peacebuilding Commission, and the UNODC in strengthening institutions and building capacity to effectively deal with the crises in the region.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey assured the Secretary-General of Ghana’s continuous commitment to promoting multilateralism as the best means of achieving a safer, peaceful, and prosperous world.

On his part, Mr Guterres welcomed the agenda and priorities set out by Ghana as enumerated by Ghana’s Foreign Minister which, according to him, should resonate strongly with all UN member states.

He applauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the Chair of ECOWAS for his efforts at mediation to resolve the crises in Mali.

Mr Gutteres said ECOWAS, under the chairmanship of President Akufo-Addo, had taken the right approach towards addressing the conflict in Mali and emphasised that an all-inclusive Government in Mail should be the target for approaching steps to ensure peace.

He also agreed that there was a need for solidarity among nations to address the COVID 19 pandemic and acknowledged Ghana’s efforts at calling on the international community to address the financing gap as far as COVID-19 was concerned.

The Secretary-General also praised Ghana’s exemplary role in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with President Akufo-Addo as the co-chair of the Secretary-General’s SDGs Advocates.

Mr Guterres wished Ghana well in all activities aimed at promoting her candidature for a non-permanent seat to the UNSC.

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