UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan supports expansion of the number of African seats in the United Nations Security Council "on the basis of periodic elections and fixed rotation" as part of the efforts to strengthen African Union-UN cooperation to deal with conflicts in the 54-nation continent, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has said.

Speaking in a Security Council debate on UN-AU Cooperation on Tuesday, the Pakistani envoy underscored the role of regional organisations in addressing issues of international peace and security, particularly those pertaining to their own region.

In this context, Ambassador Lodhi said the UN-AU partnership should make effective use of the strong links between the regional bloc and its sub-regional bodies.

African countries have three seats on the Security Council, with no permanent member.

As one of the largest troop-contributing countries, with the overwhelming majority of its current 7,298 peacekeeping contingent deployed in Africa, Pakistan was ready to explore further avenues of cooperation with the AU, as well as individual African countries, she told the 15-member Council.

"Pakistan has long-standing commitment to UN peacekeeping," Ambassador Lodhi added.

"We know that effective conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building require rapid and appropriate responses and effective strategies, with matching financial, human and logistical support," she said, while stressing the need for assisting new African troop-contributing and police-contributing countries in strengthening their capacities and resources.

"Their voices, as those of other the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), must also be taken on board in mandate formation," he added.

Noting that non-permanent members of the Security Council from Africa utilise their presidency of the Council to highlight regional priorities, Ambassador Lodhi said: "This is what is called responsiveness and responsibility to the region to the countries that have supported your tenure in the Council through the process of election. And this is what we believe must be strengthened in the Council democracy, representativeness and accountability."

"Pakistan, therefore, supports expansion in the number of African seats in the Council on the basis of periodic elections and fixed rotation. This we believe will also augment UN-AU cooperation in matters of international peace and security, in particular those that concern the African region itself," she added.