In a bid to get the United Nations reform process moving, India and other G4 nations have said they were open to innovative ideas and willing to not exercise veto as permanent members of a reformed Security Council until a decision on it has been taken.
In a joint statement, delivered by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin at an inter-governmental negotiations meeting, the G4 nations of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan emphasised that an overwhelming majority of the UN member states supports the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership in a reformed Security Council.
On the issue of the veto, Akbaruddin said the question of veto has been addressed by many from differing perspectives but the G4 approach is that the problem of veto is not one of quantity (of extending it immediately to new permanent members) but of quality -- of introducing restrictions.
“Our position is imbued with this spirit. While the new permanent members would as a principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as (the) current permanent members, they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review,” the G4 statement said.
The bloc warned that the issue of veto was important but member states should not allow it to have a “veto over the process of Council reform itself.”
Akbaruddin, on behalf of the G4, said the grouping was open to “innovative” and differing ideas compiled in a composite text to achieve UN reform. He asserted that the mere expansion in the category of non-permanent Security Council members will not address the “malaise” afflicting the UN body.
The statement points out that a negotiating text is a basic requirement for work at the UN. “While we are aware of no other way to proceed but this, we are open to innovative ideas to rework the UN system,” the statement said.
The G4 nations said it unfortunate that they have not heard any innovative ideas but a few countries bringing old rejected models for consideration of the member states yet again.
“We are, as a matter of respect, willing to consider them and have them tabled along with our proposals in a composite text,” the statement said, adding that for the nations’ and UN’s credibility to be sustained, it is time for “honest engagement and exchange on the basis of a text.”
The bloc said it believes there is an “imbalance of influence” within the Security Council between the permanent and non-permanent members and expansion only in the non-permanent category is not going to solve the problem.
“It will actually widen the difference between permanent and non-permanent members even more, tilting further the scales in favour of a dispensation that was valid in the special situation in 1945 but is no longer now,” the G4 statement said.
Akbaruddin said a “balanced enlargement” in both categories is necessarily the only way to ensure an equilibrium that reflects the current situation and any reform that does not address expansion of both categories will be “incomplete and futile”.
“Expansion of non-permanent membership is a solution which adds to the size without addressing the malaise that afflicts the Council,” he said in the statement.
The statement suggested that new permanent members can be democratically elected through an appropriate initial election process and subjected to mandatory and detailed review process after a specific time-period so as to ensure accountability.
Some member states have “conflated and confused” regular elections to the Council with accountability, the G4 said.
“Ensuring a perpetual campaign mode is not the best form of accountability,” it said.