Adding permanent seats to Security Council a red line for Pakistan: Maleeha tells UN

Adding permanent seats to Security Council a red line for Pakistan: Maleeha tells UN

UNITED NATIONS: (APP) Any expansion in the permanent seats of United Nations Security Council is a "red line" for Pakistan, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told world body on Tuesday.

Participating in the second day of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform, the Pakistani envoy said that such an expansion would undermine each and every principle of democracy and accountability to which Pakistan attaches importance. She also called for developing a clearer understanding on the red lines of all member states.

The council's reform, which got underway nearly two decades ago, was backed by the 2005 world summit held at UN Headquarters in New York.

There is widespread support for revamping the U.N.'s most powerful organ to reflect current global realities rather than the international power structure after World War II when the United Nations was created. But all previous attempts have failed because rivalries between countries and regions blocked agreement on how to expand the council.

The Security Council, which is responsible for maintaining international peace and security, has 15 seats.

It includes 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms that come from all regions of the world, and there are five permanent members with veto power whose support is essential for any reform to be adopted 'the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France'.

Despite the general agreement on enlarging the council, member states remain sharply divided over the details.

The so-called Group of Four 'India, Germany, Japan and Brazil' has been pushing for permanent seats on the Security Council. But the Italy/Pakistan-lead Uniting for Consensus (UfC) stands for creating a new category of members -- not permanent members -- with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once.

Clarifying Pakistan's position on text-based negotiations on reform, Ambassador Lodhi said that a text was a vehicle to facilitate an outcome when a broad agreement exists among member states. A text does not 'create' an agreement among fundamentally different positions.

She said this was the reason why such an approach has not worked inside the IGN 'or even outside it'.

Pakistan's approach, Ambassador Lodhi said, has always been to address the fundamental questions on reform. "We believe that if they are addressed in an open, objective and pragmatic manner, the broad contours of a possible reform model would emerge quite easily", she added.

Ambassador Lodhi quoted statistics to supplement her arguments against the addition of more permanent members. In 1945, she said, only 6 seats were available for 46 members of the General Assembly. In 1965, 10 seats were available for 112 members of the GA. "Today, the same 10 seats are available for 188 members of the General Assembly" a ratio of 1:19. To us, it is clear from this that there is neither logic nor room for more permanent members in the Councilâ, she added.

The second day of the intergovernmental negotiations which took the form of an interactive session , saw divergent positions being expressed by representatives of different countries.

Apart from Pakistan, other countries that spoke from the UfC group, included Italy, Mexico , Spain, South Korea and Argentina. All made a strong case for expanding the number of elected seats while the G-4 (India, Brazil, Germany and Japan) argued for adding to the permanent category.

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