African leaders gathered Monday in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU) and called for two permanent UN Security Council seats with veto power.
At the closed-door summit, the leaders discussed a report presented by Sierra Leone's President Tejan Kabbah on the reforms of the UN Security Council.
In the report, Kabbah urged African countries "not to discuss or entertain what would amount to a second-class membership," referring to a permanent membership without veto power.
Kabbah was leading a committee to hold talks among African countries, who hope to be permanent members of the UN Security Council, in order to seek possible ways to revise the continent's common position on the UN reforms.
The committee comprises presidents of Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.
The one-day summit was attended by nine heads of state from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Algeria, Tanzania, Lesotho and Djibouti. Other member states were represented by either their foreign ministers or other high- ranking officials.
Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Kenya and South Africa are the leading African candidates for the two proposed Security Council permanent seats.
In August, after heated debate the 53-member bloc rejected calls to change its demand for a 26-member UN Security Council with six new permanent, veto-wielding seats, of which Africa will have two, and five non-permanent seats of which Africa would have two.
At that time, AU leaders rejected an appeal to join the G4 grouping of Brazil, India, Japan and Germany that has proposed expanding the council to 25 members, with six new permanent seats without veto power and four non-permanent seats.
World leaders failed to agree on possible reforms of the Security Council in September.
Diplomats here say Monday's summit could see the start of a reconsideration of Africa's common position on the UN reforms.
The Security Council is currently composed of 15 members, of whom five -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - - have veto power, while 10 non-permanent seats are elected for a two-year term.
Any changes on the Security Council composition have to be voted for by the UN General Assembly and can only be effected with a two-thirds majority of the 191 member states.