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U.N. Security Council reform talks under way under new chairs

  • February 2, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 8:48 a.m.
  • English Press

A new round of negotiations to reform the U.N. Security Council kicked off Thursday under two new chairs as the General Assembly president pressed member states to make progress by breaking with past patterns on the hotly contested issue.


“The Security Council was originally designed over 70 years ago. The world it was created to protect is unrecognizable today,” General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak said.


“Throughout our years of negotiation, no one has challenged, or questioned, the need for reform, which is why we can say, we need a credible process leading towards a meaningful outcome.”


While the international community agrees that the powerful 15-member council needs to be restructured from its current format consisting of five permanent and 10 nonpermanent members elected for two-year terms, there are widely divergent views on how to go about doing so.


The Group of Four, known as the G-4 and made up of Japan, Germany, India and Brazil, aspires to have permanent seats on a reformed council. Other groups, however, such as one called Uniting for Consensus, only calls for enlarging the number of nonpermanent members.


“We need a text that can be negotiated, a text which adequately captures all positions expressed,” said German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, who spoke on behalf of the G-4.


The G-4 is calling for the creation of a text that can be used as the basis of the negotiations going forward. But this has so far proven elusive.


Italy and some other countries such as Pakistan and South Korea in the Uniting for Consensus group are against such a move.


“There are no procedural shortcuts in achieving Security Council reform,” said Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who spoke on behalf of the group.


“This is one of the main lessons learned over these years of collective work: non-consensual approaches have proven to be counterproductive and to hamper the reform process.”


United Arab Emirates Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh and Georgia’s Ambassador Kaha Imnadze were selected by Lajcak to lead the process last year but did not hold their first meeting until Thursday, which was behind closed doors.


The meeting concludes on Friday.

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