UNITED NATIONS – The UN General Assembly Friday approved, by consensus, a decision to continue the long-running negotiations to reform the Security Council during its forthcoming 73rd session, with Pakistan reiterating that such reform must have “widest possible acceptance” by member states.
By the terms of that decision, the 193-member Assembly reaffirmed its central role in the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council, as well as in other issues related to the 15-member body.
To that end, it also decided to convene an open-ended working group on those matters during the next session, which opens in New York on September 18, and to immediately continue intergovernmental negotiations on restructuring the Security Council. Those negotiations would build on the informal meetings held during the 72nd session.
The Assembly also welcomed the active engagement and efforts of the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, and the Co-Chairs of the negotiations.
“The inter-governmental negotiation process this year has been intense and Pakistan has, along with the other Uniting for Consensus countries, participated actively and upheld the principle of democratic reform of the Security Council to make it more representative, accountable, transparent and effective,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said in an interview with APP after the Assembly’s decision.
“We have also emphasized that such reform must have the widest possible acceptance by member states,” she added.
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 that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.
On Friday, Lajcak, the president of the General Assembly, who introduced the oral decision, said that he believed the discussions carried out by member states had been an inclusive process. An outcome had been reached, and he expressed his hope that the work done could be built upon. He commended the importance of the process and underscored that member states would decide where the work would go from here.
Outside the room, the entire world was watching, he said. As General Assembly President, he had faced many questions about the reform of the Security Council, and those were not questions for him to answer but rather questions for the member states themselves.