UNSC reform moved to next GA session, frustrating India’s bid for permanent seat

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UNITED NATIONS, July 29 (APP): In a setback to India’s push for restructuring the UN Security Council in order to secure a permanent seat, the General Assembly has approved a decision to continue the long-running inter-governmental
negotiations to reform the 15-member body in the next Assembly session.

In a sharp contrast to the last year’s decision that was marked by a lot of acrimony among member states, this year’s move to roll over the reform discussions to the 71st session was adopted smoothly.

But India, along with other Group of Four nations—Brazil, Germany and Japan—did say that it is “unfortunate” that momentum towards restructuring the council could not build up over the issue in the current session.

According to informed sources, India and its allies failed in their determined drive to move the framework document on the reform process to a negotiating text.

Brazil’s Envoy to the UN Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, speaking on behalf of the G4, lamented that the UN had not been able to push forward and achieve success in implementing the long-pending reform of the 15-nation powerful Council.

“There was huge expectation that time had arrived for us to move into concrete negotiations, It is unfortunate that the 70th anniversary of the UN was not able to build up momentum with a view to reaching an agreement on this important item,” Patriota told the General Assembly.

Describing Security Council reform as one of the most pressing issues still pending on the General Assembly’s agenda, the Brazilian envoy said It was crucial that member states engage in real, text-based negotiations if the process was to have any meaning.

On their part, Pakistani diplomatic sources said the nature Assembly’s decision reinforces the view that the reform of the Security Council was too important an issue to be resolved through procedural wizardry, as long as substantive positions of member states remain divergent on key question—the new permanent seats, veto power and regional representation. It also reinforces the need for flexibility and compromise from all sides to achieve progress on these issues, without which any reform of the Council would remain elusive. However, the G4 countries continue to push for permanent seats, a self-centered position which has thwarted reform for more than two decades.

It was pointed that some progress was made during this years on the two less contentious issues, the size and working methods of the Security Council, and the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly. On these two issues, the Chair of the negotiations presented “elements of convergence”, which now forms basis for future discussions. “This was a positive development in a forum otherwise unable to agree on almost anything,” one diplomat remarked.

Last year’s decision had only based future discussions on a document  that included positions of member states in two enclosures, a framework document and a compilation of positions in opposition to the framework document. While G4 had hailed this development as a “landmark” in negotiations, the divergences on the text were all too apparent, and this document had to be set aside.

After two decades of stalled negotiations, and innumerable and failed procedural efforts by the G4 to somehow get endorsement for their national ambitions, diplomats said it is time for membership to focus on substance. Only a reform that caters to the interests of all UN Member States’ small, medium and large-sized, can bring all the UN Member States on one platform. After all, it was pointed out that creation of new permanent seats was impossible.