Countries ask for ‘tangible’ reform of UN Security Council

Friday, February 11, 2011

NEW YORK - The four countries seeking permanent seats on the UN Security Council Friday called for “tangible results” in the momentum of UN reform to improve the body’s effectiveness and credibility.

Germany, Brazil, India and Japan - dubbed the G4 - have been seeking a status on a par with the current council’s five permanent members: the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.

Envoys from the G4 met with Joseph Deiss, the president of the 192-nation assembly that is responsible for reforming the council. The council is the only UN body with authority over world peace and security, whose decisions are binding on UN members.

Deiss said the G4 expressed their views on reform and highlighted “their wish to reach tangible results in the near future”.

Deiss said also that the G4 recognized that council reform is part of an overall

effort to build UN credibility.

“They concurred that this reform is part of the broad global governance agenda and that, for the credibility of the organization, it is important to adapt the UN to the realities of today’s world,” Deiss said.

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, whose country currently holds the presidency of the 15-nation council, told reporters that there is now a “great interest” in reforming the body.

“I sense a growing momentum (for reform) in the developing world,” he said. “There is more commitment to the reform than in the past and the coalition for reforming the council seems very engaged and it wants to move forward.”

Patriota met with foreign ministers Guido Westerwelle of Germany and S.M. Krishna of India and Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto at the Indian mission to the United Nations in New York to discuss their move.

He said the meeting was part of a “regular process” that the four countries have been holding since their initial campaign in 2005 for permanent seats in an enlarged council. Patriota warned against high expectations, however, saying that the meeting with Deiss helped the G4 to plan ahead.

Proposals have called for enlarging the council from the current 15 members to over 20 members, with an expansion of both the permanent seats and elected members.

The current council is composed of five permanent members with veto power - the US, Russia, China, France and Britain, the victors of World War II - and 10 members elected for two-year terms.

Germany, Brazil and India are currently serving two-year terms on the council. Japan occupied temporary membership on the council for more than 10 terms.

The G4 launched their campaign in 2005 for the permanent seats, but the move was stalled by the slow-paced UN reform of the council and by countries that opposed them. Italy, Pakistan, South Korea and China banded together to oppose the G4.

African countries like South Africa and Nigeria also wanted to become permanent members.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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