The Latest: Sierra Leone: UN reform to give Africa equal say


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UNITED NATIONS — The Latest on the U.N. General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

The president of Sierra Leone is calling for “urgent and imperative” reform of the U.N. Security Council to give more representation and “an equal say” to Africa in international decision making.

Julius Maada Bio said in his speech Thursday at the United Nations General Assembly that “Africa’s patience has been tested” and there’s an urgent need for African representation.

Africa does not have a permanent seat on the council and for decades there have been calls to expand the U.N.’s most powerful body. It currently has 10 members elected for two-year terms and five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Competing national and regional interests have so far prevented council reform.

The Sierra Leone president says reform must deal with “longstanding injustice and imbalance.”

9:30 a.m.

The president of Cyprus is using his address before the United Nations to once again accuse Turkey of undermining recent peace talks with, among other things, its “illegal military occupation” and drilling for gas in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

The two nations have been at odds since 1974, when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece, splitting the country along ethnic lines. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and keeps more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north.

Since then, numerous rounds of peace talks have gone nowhere and President Nicos Anastasiades has blamed Turkey by imposing unacceptable terms.

“These developments make the role of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the fulfilment of its mandate more necessary than ever,” Anastadies said Thursday.

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12:01 a.m.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the threat posed by Iran and Britain’s fraught exit from the European Union are likely topics as world leaders gather for a third day of speeches at the United Nations on Thursday .

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and diplomats from Israel and Saudi Arabia, which blames Tehran for an attack on its key oil sites, are expected to push their causes.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has scheduled a news conference for Thursday.

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