24 September 2020 – 3:15pm
Allow me to begin by congratulating the Republic of Niger on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council.
Please be assured of South Africa’s full support and cooperation.
The threat to lives, livelihoods and social stability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has significant consequences for global peace and security.
Situations of instability and conflict have the potential to worsen, and there is a possibility of new forms of social unrest emerging.
Vital gains made in political processes towards peace are under threat.
It is our collective expectation as the international community that the United Nations Security Council will continue to play a key role in ensuring that this pandemic does not undermine international peace and security.
It is imperative that the Security Council continues to work closely with regional organisations in this regard, including with the African Union.
We must coordinate our efforts and strengthen multilateralism if we are to contain the damage that this pandemic could cause.
South Africa and the African Union supports the call by the UN Secretary-General for a global ceasefire and the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable societies.
South Africa calls on all parties to armed conflict to use this opportunity to work towards peaceful resolution of conflicts, all the while addressing the humanitarian needs of their populations.
We further support the call for the waiving of unilateral punitive measures, such as sanctions, during the pandemic to enable affected countries to secure much-needed supplies and support.
To maintain peace and security, we need a Security Council that better reflects and represents the United Nations membership in keeping with the principle of the sovereign equality of all states.
This will ensure that the interests of a few will not undermine efforts at finding solutions to emerging crises that are global in nature.
As we look to the post COVID-era reconstruction, we have to address the economic, social, humanitarian and environmental needs of countries.
We have to act with urgency to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
As the international community let us choose cooperation above unilateralism.
Let us choose solidarity above isolation.
Let us choose unity of purpose above narrow self-interest.
Let us emerge from this great adversity strengthened and even more united.
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