President Jacob Zuma will use the African Union European Union Summit to lobby for South Africa to be appointed as a non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council next year.

The AU-EU Summit, which is currently under way in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is meant to take place every year, but has not sat since 2013. The platform is aimed at strengthening political and economic relations between the two continents.

A top diplomat from Pretoria, who is at the summit, told City Press that Zuma will meet Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Estonia’s prime minister Juri Ratas, who is president of the council of the European Union, on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

“Zuma will lobby for South Africa to become a non-permanent member of the UN’s security council. It is quite a significant move for Pretoria. Remember when Libya’s political upheavals happened in 2011, South Africa was a non-permanent member of the security council and we were lobbied left, right and centre and we were to articulate South Africa’s position on the issue.

“If South Africa is appointed to the position again, it will strengthen Pretoria’s argument that it should be granted a permanent seat on the security council.

“The ultimate goal is to have a permanent seat on the security council. We have to use these bilateral and multilaterals while we make a bigger argument for reform of the United Nation’s security council. We would use our seat as a non-permanent member to call for the reform of the security council,” said the diplomat.

He said the security council had no legitimacy because the global South, with a huge chunk of the world’s population, was not represented in the security Council.

“India, Brazil and the whole of Africa, which have so many people, are outside the security council.”

South Africa, said the official, was already involved in many conflicts across the continent.

“We were involved in Congo, South Sudan, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. We still have troops all over the continent in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN’s peacekeeping chief in the DRC is South Africa. And we have [one of the largest economies] in Africa. In any case, we are not selfish. We are happy to rotate with other African states, but Africa needs a permanent seat.”

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