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UNSC reform talks being ‘held hostage’, used as ‘convenient smokescreen’ by some nations: India

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United Nations: The intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform are being “held hostage” and used as a “convenient smokescreen” by countries that do not wish to see any changes in the most powerful UN organ, India has said, demanding tangible action to achieve the long-delayed reforms.

India also underlined that it will take steps to see how the goal can be realised in the next session of the UN General Assembly.

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu, on Monday wrote a letter to President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, expressing New Delhi’s strong disappointment over the decision regarding roll-over of the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) on UNSC reforms into the next session of the General Assembly that begins this month.

India has maintained that the roll-over decision must “capture clearly” the tangible progress made in the two IGN meetings held earlier this year.

India underscored that one of the areas in which clear progress was made during the year was the increasing support among member states for the Common African Position as well as for the urgent need for transparency and application of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure to the IGN.

Naidu expressed India’s disappointment that the current draft roll-over text “has fallen well short of capturing the progress” in the two IGN meetings held this year, particularly in the areas of the growing support for the Common African Position and other important issues.

“However, strangely enough, instead of reflecting the views of ‘pro-Reformists’ like India and others, by putting a draft roll-over decision in this fashion, it is actually providing the ‘pro-Reformists’ with a Hobson’s choice. This is indeed unfortunate,” he said.

India also strongly criticised that there has been practically no progress in IGN discussions on reform of the most powerful UN organ over the last decade.

Naidu said not only are the discussions dubbed as informal, no attempt has been made to capture the discussions, ongoing since 2009, in a single consolidated text for negotiations.

“In effect, after more than a decade, there has been no tangible progress at all. In fact, the IGN process has become a convenient smokescreen to hide behind for those who do not wish to see any reform in the Security Council,” Naidu wrote.

“Consequently, there is a need to ensure that the IGN process is not held hostage, procedurally and substantially, by those who do not wish to bring about reform in the Security Council. If this happens, and there are indications that this is already happening, those who demand reform will be forced to look for other ways to achieve the same end outside the IGN process,” he said in the letter.

Naidu underscored India’s “abiding commitment” to reformed multilateralism, saying that to strengthen this in the UN, India will “continue to voice its strong support for tangible action towards an expanded and reformed Security Council that reflects today’s world and realities”.

“We will also take steps to see how we can realise these goals in the 75th session of the UNGA,” he said.

Muhammad-Bande had placed under silence procedure until the evening of August 31 the draft decision entitled ‘Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council’, regarding the roll-over of the Intergovernmental Negotiations into the 75th Session of the General Assembly that begins this month.

The silence procedure concluded without objections, implying the adoption of the draft roll-over decision. Naidu said in the letter that while India was not breaking the silence, its letter should be circulated to all UN member states as “official explanation” of position of India on the draft roll-over decision.

Naidu also wrote separately to Muhammad-Bande on behalf of the G4 group — Brazil, Germany, Japan and India — on the roll-over decision, raising similar concerns.

India will join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2021.

India has been at the forefront of the years-long efforts to reform the Security Council saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member of the Council, which in its current form does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st century.

Naidu also highlighted that the Non-Aligned Movement comprising 120 member states expressed support at the “highest level” for the Common African Position. Other key groupings such as the G4, L.69 and the African Group have also expressed support for greater representation of Africa in a reformed and expanded Security Council.

Naidu said India is “fully and unequivocally in support of greater African representation in the UN Security Council and will continue to be vocal in our support for Africa.”

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