French president blasts 'scandal' over Africa's place at UN

23rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday that it was a "scandal" that Africa was not given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council as he outlined his aims for France's presidency of the G20 and G8 nations.

Sarkozy also supported places for India, South America and economic powers Japan and Germany on the UN's powerful decision making body, and vowed to begin tackling reform of the international monetary system.

"We are in the 21st century, we are no longer in the 20th century," Sarkozy said, outlining the need for major changes to international political and economic governance at the opening of the 13th summit of francophone nations.

Sarkozy told the 37 other heads of state and government that he wanted to deal with three major issues when France takes over the helm of the G20 group of rich and emerging nations on November 12, and the Group of Eight industrialised nations next year.

They included a multilateral approach to the monetary system, volatile commodity prices and transparency in oil markets, as well as broadening the UN Security Council to developing nations and other economic powers.

The French leader questioned whether it was normal that there was "no permanent member of the Security Council from Africa."

"One billion inhabitants, in 30 years two billion inhabitants who have no permanent representation -- it's a scandal," he exclaimed, also underlining the legitimacy of a place for India as one of the world's most populous nations.

Sarkozy also highlighted the need to continue to modernise world monetary and economic affairs, criticising a monetary system that dated back to the 1940s when there was "fundamentally a single currency and one major economy."

He underlined that world leaders appeared "unable to define a mutlilateral system."

"France proposes to begin the debate on the international monetary system without taboos," the French president added, also criticising "the extravagant volatility of commodity prices" including food.

G20 finance ministers on Saturday vowed to avoid tit-for-tat currency devaluations forged an agreement in South Korea to "refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies".

© 2010 AFP

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