Ahead of summit, India backs Africa for UN seat

New Delhi, May 17: India Tuesday backed Africa for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council ahead of its second summit with the African states in Addis Ababa that is to firm up a strategic partnership involving trade, and the fight against terror and piracy.

‘India and all the countries of the African Union are on one mind on the issue of the UN reforms. The situation in the world demands reforms of international institutions,’ Vivek Katju, secretary (west) in India’s external affairs ministry, told reporters.

‘There has to be an expansion of the UN Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories. Africa must find a permanent place in an expanded UN Security Council,’ Katju said.

Almost all African countries have backed India for a permanent seat, he said.

The UN reforms will be among a host of international issues that also include terrorism, piracy and climate change to be discussed among Indian and African leaders at the second India-Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa May 24-25.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flies to Ethiopia to participate in the summit May 23. He will head to Tanzania May 26 on a two-day bilateral visit from Addis Ababa.

Manmohan Singh will co-chair the summit with Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea and chairman of the African Union. Leaders of around 15 African countries, which are decided by the African Union, will participate in the summit.

The summit is expected to culminate in the Addis Ababa Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation which will map out the trajectory of the India-Africa engagement for the next few years. India hosted the first forum summit in April 2008.

IANS