UNITED NATIONS - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday told a ministerial-level meeting of Uniting for Consenus, which opposes additional permanent members in a restructured UN Security Council (UNSC), that Pakistan supported a comprehensive reform of the 15-member body to make it more democratic, representative, transparent and accountable.
“The Security Council reform can not become an instrument to further narrow self-serving interests of a few, who seek permanent seats at the expense of the wider UN membership,” he said at the annual meeting held to review the stalled reform process and to chart a progressive way forward.
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 to expand the Security Council by 10 seats, with six additional permanent and four non-permanent members.
On the other hand, the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group say that additional permanent members will not make the Security Council more effective and also undermine the fundamental principle of democracy that is based on periodic elections.
The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 non-permanent members.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, in his remarks to the meeting held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of UN General Assembly, said given its strategic importance for member states, it was imperative that all views and perspectives must be taken on board.
“Bad reform is no reform; We don’t want to sign up for regression in the name of reform,” he added.
An inclusive and transparent process within the framework of Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) was essential to that end, Qureshi said. “Anything less would be counter-productive, for the membership knows all too well that any divisive or non-consensual approaches with a view to artificially pace the process have only served to accentuate existing differences instead of bridging gaps in respective positions.” Taking note of the principled position of the UfC for a more representative and democratic Security Council, he said only a solution that calibrated interests of all member states – small, medium and large, would be able to garner the widest support of the membership. It had remained the loadstar of UfC’s active engagement with the reform process and would continue to guide it going forward.
Expressing satisfaction at the constructive role played by the UfC during the 72nd session of the General Assembly, the meeting undertook to broaden existing efforts with a view to gain further traction and support.