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UNITED NATIONS, April 6: Adding more permanent members to the UN Security Council will not make the 15-member body more representative, democratic and accountable, a top Pakistani diplomat said Wednesday, while advocating expansion in the non-permanent category with the possibility of re-election.
"Increasing the size of the permanent category will add nothing to representativeness of the Council," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said as the deadlocked Inter-Governmental Negotiations aimed at restructuring the Security Council resumed the process.
Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as India, Brazil, Germany and Japan -- known as the Group of Four -- push for permanent seats, while the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly opposes any additional permanent members. As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members -- not permanent members -- with longer duration in terms and a possibility to get re-elected once.
Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.
The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.
"We believe that 'representation based on equitable geographic/regional distribution' is the crux of Security Council reform while 'size of the Council' relates more to practical limitations," the Pakistan envoy said.
The only way to ensure accountability was elections on fixed terms, Ambassador Lodhi said, adding that without that process there was no genuine political representation.
"This is why the concept of regional representation does not, and cannot be assured by the permanent category," she said. "This is why equitable geographic distribution is absent in this category."
Ambassador Lodhi added, "The fact is that it is only the non-permanent category where seats are distributed according to equitable geographic distribution."
Full-scale negotiations to restructure the Security Council began in the General Assembly 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 its relationship with the General Assembly.
At the outset of her remarks, the Pakistani envoy said that all aspects of Security Council reform are inextricably inter-linked and intertwined.
She emphasized that representation and accountability were inseparable concepts – the more the accountability, the better the representation. "This relationship also established that representation ceases to exist when there is no accountability,"
At present, it was pointed out that 67% of the Council is representative in a regionally distributed manner. If there were 11 permanent members in a Council of 25, the Council’s representativeness would diminish to 56%. In contrast, a Council of 26 with 21 elected members, - the UfC’s idea- would enhance the Council’s representativeness to 81 percent.
Pointing out that the Council’s representativeness had eroded over the last 50 years with the enlargement in the UN’s membership, she said the last time the Council was expanded to address the same challenge in the 1960s, ten seats were made available to 107 Member States – a ratio of 1:11. Today, if the Council was expanded to 25 members with 11 permanent members, the ratio would still remain a dismal 1:13. In contrast, the UfC’s compromise solution actually improves this ratio to 1:9.
"If our purpose in this reform is to enhance representation of the UN Member States in the Security Council, what is actually the purpose of proposals that undercut the opportunity to enhance the representation," she asked.
With regard to representation of cross-regional and sub-regional groups -- the OIC, Arab Group and SIDs (Small Islands Developing Countries), the Pakistani envoy said the options to address these aspirations would obviously increase with the increase in size that is available to meet these aspirations.
"Simply put, with limitations on overall size of the Council, any increase in the size of permanent category would jeopardize the possibilities to satisfy all such aspirations," she said. "This is why the UfC proposes a significant increase in the number of elected seats for Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America – the regional groups with more countries belonging to cross-regional and sub-regional groups.
"This is how Pakistan and the UfC wish to enhance the representation, of UN’s membership in the Security Council in a geographically equitable manner, on the basis of sovereign equality of States and the principles of democracy, accountability and effectiveness. We believe that a principled, logic-based approach can enable the IGN to address the legitimate aspirations of ALL regional, cross-regional and sub-regional groups.
"But so far the ambition for national power and privilege of some countries has eclipsed the common and collective benefit of all UN Member States," Ambassador Lodhi said obviously referring to the campaign for permanent seats by the Group of Four.