Seychelles has formally announced its withdrawal as the East African Candidate for the Non-Permanent Seat of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2017-2018 at the 28th meeting of the Executive Council of African Foreign Ministers of the African Union.
Addressing the gathering of Ministers, the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joël Morgan said that while Seychelles had announced its willingness to serve in 2012 on principals of rotation and equity other agreements within the region had since come to light:
“Seychelles announced its bid for a Non-Permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2017-2018 in 2012. We made clear on what principles we were standing, that although we are the smallest member state of the African Union and one of the smallest countries in the world, we were standing for Africa, and for the principles enshrined in the AU Charter. “However, since our declaration of interest, we have come to understand that there was a previous standing agreement within our region, though undocumented, which firmly placed Ethiopia as the candidate for East Africa for this rotation,” explained the Minister.
“So while we remain firm in our support of the principles of rotation as being sacrosanct to our institution, and that those who have not served before should be given the opportunity to do so, we also recognised the need here for gentlemanly conduct. Therefore it is in recognition of Ethiopia's previous agreement, and our principles of gentlemanly conduct that we have withdrawn our bid in favour of Ethiopia, and we have done so with the provision that Seychelles reserves the right to be the preferred candidate the next time the seat comes to the East Africa Region.”
The Minister further extended his thanks to all those who had expressed their support to Seychelles' candidature: “We have been touched by the support and encouragement we have received from African partners. The African Union has always stood for ensuring that all voices are heard based on the sacrosanct principle of rotation and as an African Island State, Seychelles remains ready to ensure that the voice of Africa is heard far and wide for 2021.”
Seychelles and Ethiopia had been in consultation on their competing bid since 2014 and, in October 2015, they jointly informed the East African Group in Addis Ababa of the decision for Ethiopia's candidature to go forward on the basis that Seychelles would serve for the period 2021-2022.
Ethiopia had previously withdrawn in favour of Rwanda as a show of solidarity as they were seeking to serve on the UNSC during the period that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
The African seat on the UNSC is rotated on a two-year basis between the five regional groupings and as per practice, candidacies are discussed and agreed within these regional groupings before going forward for endorsement by the African Union.
Minister Morgan is currently in Addis Ababa attending the 26th Assembly of the African Union.