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France backs India's call for UN seat, global reforms

india Updated: Jul 09, 2009 18:42 IST
France backs India's UNSC permanent member bid

France on Thursday endorsed India's call for reform of the United Nations and backed India for a permanent seat in the Security Council.

"If we want the Security Council to remain a legitimate place for handling peace and security crises in the world, it is absolutely necessary to have India as well as a couple of others as permanent members," French envoy to India Jerome Bonnafont said in New Delhi.

The reform was also imperative "in order to avoid unilateralism and to create an environment where countries sit together to address the threats to peace", the envoy said while stressing that the last reforms to the Security Council were made in the 1960s.

He was speaking on India-France partnership at a lecture organised by the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to France next week.

Manmohan Singh will be the guest of honour at France's National Day parade July 14.

Before leaving for the G8-G5 summit in Italy, Manmohan Singh had made a vigorous call for reform of the UN Security Council saying "the UNSC has not changed at all and its present structure poses serious problems of legitimacy".

"The system of two-tiered membership, which gives a veto to the five permanent members that emerged victorious after the Second World War, is clearly anachronistic," the prime minister wrote in an article in the compendium on contemporary global issues brought out for the summit.

The French envoy, however, added that UN reforms were difficult as it needed two-third majority of the UN General Assembly besides the five permanent members.

"There is a group of countries" that do not want this reform but France was determined to push for it, he said.

The envoy also spoke about the need for reforms of global financial institutions to address global problems and the inclusion of emerging countries like India in these bodies.

The envoy said combating terrorism, civil nuclear trade and climate change have emerged as key areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.