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Pakistan seeks expansion in non-permanent seats at UNSC

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan and its allies opposing additional permanent members on the United Nations Security Council seek expansion only in the non-permanent seats as it is the only category which reflects equity among regional groups.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has told a UN panel as the long-running Inter-Governmental Negotiations aimed at reforming the 15-member council resumed the process on Thursday.

“The Council needs to be expanded in a manner that gives a greater chance of representation to the regional groups that are under-represented due to the increase in the number of member states,” said Ms. Lodhi.

India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, known as the Group of Four (G4), have been pushing for permanent seats on the Security Council. The Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group led by Italy and Pakistan stands for creating a new category of non-permanent members with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once.

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

Full-scale negotiations to restructure the UNSC began in February 2009 on five key areas — the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged Security Council, and working methods of the council and relationship with the General Assembly. Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.

Mr. Lodhi pointed out that countries in the permanent category were “nominated” in the UN Charter, and do not represent any region, and no endorsement was required from regional groups for their continued presence in the permanent category nor a vote in the General Assembly.

“What is, however, most relevant is the fact that the composition of the permanent members does not reflect any equitable distribution among regional groups,” she said. “In short, the permanent category is not the place to address the question of regional representation.”

“We can understand a consensual demand of a regional group emanating from a quest for equal status, rights and privileges,” said Lodhi. “What we do not understand is the pursuit of national ambition of permanent status, trampling the basic needs of equity and representation,” an obvious reference to the relentless pursuit of permanent seats by G-4 countries.

Ambassador Lodhi also argued that any expansion of the unelected, or permanent, category of seats would not make the Security Council more democratic and representative.

“When there is no election there is no representation,” she said. “Election is the only route to assure political accountability.”

When the Security Council was last expanded in 1968, she said it was decided that ten of its fifteen members would be elected on seats allocated to five regional groups in an equitable manner.

However, almost 80 new member states have joined the UN over the last fifty years, but the number of these new member states did not correspond equally to all regional groups, which needs to be addressed.

She said it should be noted here that new entrants to the UN were not the aspirants for a permanent national status, but are certainly interested in an equal opportunity to serve in the council.



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