Tanzania’s international status has taken a considerable step forward during recent weeks.
The country was elected as the member representing Africa on the 191-member Security Council at the UN’s fifty-ninth General Assembly meeting on October 15th. Other countries elected as non-permanent members for two years on the same day included Argentina, Denmark, Greece, and Japan. On January 1st 2005, these five new members will be filling positions vacated by Chile, Germany, Pakistan, Spain and Angola. Other countries that will continue to serve as elected members of the UN Security Council during 2005 for the second of their two-year terms include Brazil, the Philippines, Romania, Benin and Algeria. Two members are normally selected from Africa and Asia, two from Western Europe and other states, and one from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Security Council has five permanent members which have veto powers – USA, Britain, France, Russia and China.
The final stages in New York were masterminded by Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Shareef who told Tanzanian Affairs that the country secured 186 out of 189 votes. When African countries had been asked earlier to choose the country to represent the whole continent, Tanzania was opposed initially by Ethiopia, the Sudan, Uganda and Eritrea but agreement was eventually reached on Tanzania. Eritrea however continued to fight for the seat until the final stage of the election.
In the seating arrangements at the UN Tanzania finds itself placed between the UK and the USA.
Among the Council’s responsibilities are to maintain international peace and security, to investigate any dispute which might lead to international friction, to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes, to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments, and to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken.

Earlier in the year Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, who is well known and greatly admired in international circles had been elected President of the Pan-African Parliament.

Then, at the beginning of October, it was announced that former Treasury Permanent Secretary Peter Ngumbulu had been elected the Executive Director representing 21 African countries on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

And, in a further reflection of the growing role Tanzania is playing in international affairs, eleven Heads of State of the Great Lakes Region came to Dar es Salaam on November 19 and 20 and signed a ‘Dar es Salaam Declaration’ to help towards the restoration of peace in the area. President Mkapa was host to Uganda‘s President Yoweri Museveni, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dennis Sassou N’guesso of the Republic of Congo, Levi Mwanawasa of Zambia, Omar El Bashir of Sudan, Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Burundi’s Dominicien Ndayizeye plus the Head of the African Union, President Obasanjo of Nigeria. Also present were UN Secretary General Kofi Annan plus the Foreign Minister of Angola.
The declaration seeks to commit the leaders of the region to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, to respect the principles of non-interference in internal matters of states and to commit regional leaders to fight genocide in the region and to disarm rebel groups.

Also, at the end of October, Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Minister Jakaya Kikwete was addressing the 9th World Association of Press Councils in Bagamoyo. He was highly critical of the Western media and said that, although Africa did have its fair share of wars and disasters, there was surely more to be reported about Africa than famine, conflicts and disease.

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