Liberia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, took over the chairmanship of the African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations for the month of December 2019.
As Chairman for the month, Ambassador Kemayah will coordinate the affairs of the African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations and serve as its official spokesperson at all United Nations functions, including meetings and high-level conferences.
Receiving the gavel of authority at a turn-over ceremony at the African Union Observer Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Kemayah described the chairmanship of the African Group as a noteworthy responsibility and pledged his unflinching practical commitment to ensuring that the interest and common objectives of the Fifty-four (54) African countries are appropriately articulated, protected and strengthened at the United Nations--the largest global platform of multilateralism.
Said Ambassador Kemayah: "It is indeed an honor to serve as Chair of this reputable Group; particularly being charged with articulating and projecting the voice of the African Group at such a global platform. For the fact that the African Group comprises Fifty-four (54) Members States, constituting approximately Twenty-eight percent (28%) of United Nations members; the largest regional group by number of Member States, there is so much we can achieve working as a unified and well integrated block."
During his chairmanship, Ambassador Kemayah disclosed that immense focus will be placed on Africa's shared views on matters of priorities-- peace and security, the inter-governmental negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, and African Candidatures; as well as strengthening of engagement with the aim to continue forging partnership with other regional blocks at the United Nations.
Ambassador Kemayah on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, the Government and People of Liberia thanked His Excellency Ambassador Moncef Baati of Tunisia for the steady commitment and the distinct manner in which he steered the affairs of the African Group for the month of November and assured that he would strive to address pending issues before the African Group. " I am very much pleased with the briefing received from the out-going Chair, and for handing over to me the mantle of authority. His briefing will certainly set the pace on how we proceed henceforth. We will vigorously commence here, using his briefing as the “old mat” so that we begin weaving the new and ambitious one. I trust that with the support of Member States, we will work collaboratively in addressing our pending issues. We take due note of pending matters as informed by the out-going Chair; including General Assembly Plenary Meetings, meetings with Coordinators of African Experts, pending candidatures (Africa’s nominees for the Committee for the Selection of Recipients of the Nelson Mandela Prize; and our on-going discussion on partnership with Nordic countries and with CARICOM, among others." Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.
Ambassador Kemayah also acknowledged with appreciation, colleagues who reached out to him requesting him to serve as chair for the month of December 2019; especially the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi, His Excellency Albert Shingiro, who led the initiative, and assured that their confidence and trust reposed in him will be staunchly upheld.
Ambassador Kemayah used the occasion to thank Her Excellency Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations and her team for their impressive performance in their representation of Africa and expressed deepest gratitude for the remarkable support received from the African Group to chair the Special Political and Decolonization - Fourth Committee during the Seventy-third Session of the United Nations General Assembly; as well as the support to his current role as Vice President of Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ambassador Kemayah concluded by reiterating his appreciation for the honor to serve as Chair of the African Group and expressed that he was grateful that his acceptance to chair at this time will not affect Liberia's regular schedule. "Finally, on behalf of His Excellency President Weah, the Government and People of Liberia, I once more express my deepest appreciation to the Fifty-four (54) countries making up the African Group at the United Nations for the honor bestowed on me to chair them. We are particularly grateful that this does not affect the tenure of Liberia to Chair this body when the appropriate time is due, hopefully in November 2021." Ambassador Kemayah stressed.
Turning over the gavel of authority earlier, His Excellency Ambassador Moncef Baati who served for the month of November, said the African Group has selected a wise man--Ambassador Kemayah, and did not need to tell him how to lead during his chairmanship.
Ambassador Baati briefed Ambassador Kemayah on pending issues; including the expansion of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACBQ)--an expert body selected by the United Nations General Assembly; strengthening of engagement with regional bodies, and the strengthening of relations with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Ambassador Baati assured Ambassador Kemayah of his cooperation during the tenure of his leadership as Chair of the African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations for the month of December.