By Arul Louis
United Nations, Sep 16 : Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, who has taken over the General Assembly’s presidency, has given an assurance that he will promote the Security Council reform process impartially.
“I am committed to support this process in an impartial, objective and open-minded manner,” he said at a news conference after the 75th session of the Assembly that he presides over opened on Tuesday.
His affirmation of impartiality is to reassure members as Turkey is a member of the group known as United for Consensus (UfC) that has blocked the reform process known as Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) from proceeding for over a decade.
The group that is led by Italy and includes Pakistan has prevented the IGN from adopting a negotiating text which would enable the negotiations to progress. They insisting that there should be consensus before the document could be adopted. In a Catch-22 set-up, a consensus can’t be reached without first having a negotiating text that sets the parameters for negotiations to reach a consensus.
Council reform is an important goal for India, which wants a permanent seat on the reformed body.
Bozkir said, “There is no doubt that the membership of the Security Council as well as its working methods must reflect the realities of the 21st century.”
He said, “Security Council reform is very important, not only for the member states but also to the United Nations as a whole. Of Course, it is a complex challenge that is closely linked to one of the main aims of the organisation, that is peace and security.”
He said that during the current session the IGN will build on the meetings held in the previous sessions and that he hoped “through active engagement of members states and pragmatic approaches we will be able to make meaningful progress on this difficult issue.”
“Security Council reform is very important, not only for the member states but also to the United Nations as a whole,” he said.
He said that an “urgent issue” is the appointment of the facilitators for the IGN and that he would do it after “consulting with countries so that the decision of mine will be acceptable and will allow the process to go further.”
Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates and Joanna Wronecka of Poland were appointed the co-chairs or facilitators of the IGN during the last session only in December reducing the time available for negotiations, which was further cut after only two meetings because the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lockdown of the UN.
As it has done during every year since 2009, the Assembly’s last session rolled over the IGN process to the next.
Reacting to it, India served an ultimatum that the reform process supporters will be forced to look for other ways to look to move it forward.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Nagaraj Naidu issued the warning in a letter written behalf of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan to the president of last Assembly session, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
He wrote, “There is a need to ensure that the IGN process is not held hostage, procedurally and substantially, by those who do not wish to bring about reform in the Security Council.”
Although he did not identify the group or the countries holding the IGN “hostage,” it was a reference to the UfC.
“If this happens, and there are indications that this is already happening, those who demand reforms will be forced to look for other ways to finally make progress, including potentially outside the IGN process,” Nagaraj wrote.
India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, who make up the group known as G-4, jointly push for reforms and support each other for a permanent seat on a reformed Council.
Although the heads of government and state at the Millennium Summit of the UN in 2000 committed themselves to reforming the Security Council it has been mired by the opposition of a small number of countries that mainly oppose adding new permanent members to it.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)
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