By Arul Louis
United Nations, July 21 (IANS) After yet another year of Security Council reform negotiations, the General Assembly has decided again to roll it over to the next session amid criticism of the obduracy of a minority that stalled progress in the several decades-long effort to bring the UN’s top decision-making body in line with the realities of the 21st centuries.
In what has become an annual ritual, the Assembly decided on Wednesday to put the reform process on the agenda of the next session that starts in September to continue the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) on Council reform and to convene the “Open-Ended Work Group” on equitable representation on the Council and increasing its size.
“The discussions this year were much more interactive and productive,” India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told IANS reviewing the work of the IGN.
“They covered all aspects and have now set the basis of moving to next phase at the forthcoming session.”
But Inga Rhonda King, a representative of L.69, a group pushing reforms, deplored on Wednesday the obduracy of a minority which prevented real work on negotiations even though the Assembly had taken up the reform some 25 years ago.
India is a member of L.69, a grouping of 42 nations.
“In no other purportedly democratic space have we seen the wish of 85 percent of the membership of an organisation not lead to action,” said King, who is the permanent representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, noting that more than 160 countries believed the process had all the elements necessary to advance to text-based negotiations.
Although she did not name any country or group, her comment on behalf of L.69 at the Assembly were directed against the United for Consensus (UfC) group led by Italy and includes Pakistan, which has tirelessly worked to block the reform process.
Speaking on behalf of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan at the Wednesday session, Germany’s Permanent Representative Harald Braun expressed disappointment that “we have not even set our sails on the course of text-based negotiations yet”.
“It is the beginning of this standard-operating-procedure of all other UN negotiations that is missing,” Braun said of the failure to adopt a text that would be the basis of negotiations.
“Our ship, the ship of the IGN, seems to have its rudders in the water on only one side. And while all of us are rowing as hard as we can, we move in circles,” he said.
The four countries, India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, form G4 group that mutually supports each other’s candidature on a reformed Council and works together for reforms.
Braun said that the group supported decision to roll over the negotiations to the next session and the paper prepared by the co-chairs of the IGN, Ion Jinga of Romania and Khaled Khiari of Tunisia, outlining the areas where there are agreements and which need further discussions on reforms.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])
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