UNITED NATIONS: Emphasising that discussions on restructuring the United Nations Security Council are a serious matter that cannot be undermined by setting arbitrary deadlines or forcing the pace without first finding common ground, Pakistan has told a United Nations (UN) panel that the only common ground that exists is to add more elected, non-permanent members to the 15-member body.
Speaking in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said that as reform will eventually entail an amendment in the UN Charter, discussions should proceed by careful thought and consensus.
She also pointed out that “Reform of the Security Council is fundamentally different than any other reform process in the UN. It involves the strategic interests of member states.” By its very nature, she said, the process entails that the views and interests of all member states are taken on board. “This is not a partisan assessment but an essential condition for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council,” she asserted.
While sharing the sense of discontent on slow pace of reform, the Pakistani envoy noted that Council reform has proven to be much more elusive than other areas of reform. “We can see that the sharpest divergences exist on issues associated with the perpetuation of entrenched ‘privilege’ like categories of membership and the question of veto,” she added and underscored the need for moving forward by identifying convergences, and building on them.
Full-scale negotiations to restructure the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009. Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.
Known as the “Group of Four” India, Brazil, Germany and Japan have shown no flexibility in their campaign for expanding the Security Council by 10 seats, with six additional permanent and four non-permanent members. On the other hand, Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group say that additional permanent members will not make the Security Council more effective.
“There is consensus on expansion in the non-permanent category of seats,” Ambassador Lodhi said pointing out that the UfC has gone a step further, by proposing longer term non-permanent seats as a ‘compromise’ solution.