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Pakistan pushes for UNSC reform on democratic principles

NEW YORK: Pakistan on Tuesday criticised the aspirants for permanent seats in an expanded United Nations Security Council — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — for opposing reform of the 15-member body guided by the principles of democracy.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said in response to a document prepared by the co-chairs of the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) which identified democracy and representativeness as shared principles of the UN membership that needs to be taken into consideration in reform of the SC.

On the concluding day of the IGN process that has been in progress for the past several months, Lodhi responded to the Indian Permanent Representative’s earlier assertions which questioned the centrality of these universal principles for reform of the Security Council.

“I have to say, the objection to this sentence has left us dumbfounded,” asserted Lodhi saying that the “principles of democracy and representativeness shall also be taken into consideration”.

“This is the first time, we are hearing someone speak against the notion of democracy and representativeness in the august chambers of the United Nations,” she said referring to the G-4′s objections.

Lodhi asked whether reform of the Security Council is not fundamentally about equitable representation on the council. “We agree on practicing democracy at home but some countries here argue that it should not be practiced at the UN,” she exclaimed.

She emphasised that the purpose of the negotiations was to find areas that can serve as a common denominator, but the process lacks democracy and should not be a guiding principle for reforming the Council.

“We can hardly agree with this assertion,” she said adding that “juxtaposing the absence of a text to the lack of democracy is disingenuous.”

The Pakistani envoy argued said that since the Security Council was not democratic at present, its future should also be shorn of democracy and the principle of democracy reform shouldn’t be cast aside.

“We agree that the Council’s present composition is not sufficiently democratic. But this is precisely the reason why any reform should strive to make it more democratic.”

Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as India and its allies known as the Group of Four — push for permanent seats while Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly oppose any additional permanent members.

As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members — not permanent members – with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once in an effort to democratise the SC.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and ten non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five for two-year terms.

In the IGN this week, Italy, on behalf of the UfC, reiterated call for expansion of the Security Council only in the non-permanent seats, which was echoed by Pakistan.



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