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UN assembly: Sall advocates more seats for African Union at the G20

President of Senegal Macky Sall addresses the 77th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.   -  
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Mary Altaffer/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. -

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From rising prices to a warming planet and deadly conflicts, the global state of affairs is dire.

Speaking Tuesday on the 77th session of the UN's General Assembly, Macky Sall, the Senegalese president and chairperson of the African Union insisted on the threat of terrorism.

"Terrorism gaining ground on the continent is not just an African matter. It is a global threat that falls under the primary purview of the (UN) Security Council, the guarantor of the collective security mechanism, under the UN Charter", he said.

During this first in-person general assembly since 2020, Sall also reiterated his call for a better representation of the continent on the world stage: "I would like to remind you of our request for the African Union to be granted a seat within the G20, so that Africa can, at last, be represented where decisions are taken that affect 1,400,000,000 Africans."

Lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe was another plea of the Senegalese president.

New Cold war

The AU chairperson said that Africa "does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War," alluding to the pressure mounting on the continent's leaders to choose sides over the war in Ukraine.

Many African countries depend heavily on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine. Amid market shortages, Russia’s foreign minister has blamed the West for rising food prices. Western leaders, meanwhile, have accused the Kremlin of using food as a weapon and waging an imperial-style war of conquest.

Some observers have called the efforts by Russia and the United States the strongest lobbying campaigns since the Cold War when the continent was wracked by proxy wars as the U.S. and Soviet Union vied for influence.

Among those staying neutral is continental heavyweight South Africa. International Relations minister Naledi Pandor said that finding an endgame to the Ukraine war will be South Africa’s focus when it participates in the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly next week.

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