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UN restarts exercise to expand Security Council

The General Assembly has restarted the exercise to expand the 15-member Security Council after a gap of several months.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2007 13:33 IST

The United Nations General Assembly has restarted the exercise to expand the 15-member Security Council after a gap of several months but without any change in the conflicting positions of G-4, including India and Pakistan led Uniting for Consensus.

UNGA President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa will begin intensive discussions today on the reform of the Council including its expansion to reflect the current realities.

Aware of the apparent intractable stands taken by the two major groups in the 192-member assembly, Sheikha Haya has appointed facilitators to intensively and extensively discuss various aspects of the reform of the Council including its expansion.

Diplomats said Sheikha Haya's hope is that behind the scene discussion would help to find common ground on some if not all issues.

Sheikha Haya has identified five priority areas - number of members the expanded council should have, whether the new members should have veto, whether the council should be expanded in both permanent and non permanent categories, regional distribution of the seats and relationship between the Council and the assembly.

Ambassadors of India, Germany, Japan and Brazil, who are seeking permanent seats in the expanded council, known as G4 and representatives of Uniting for Consensus separately met with Sheikha Haya but diplomats said substantive issues were not discussed.

The facilitators would submit the result of their efforts before the end of March when serious negotiations are expected to start.

India has a strong case and enjoys overwhelming support among member states. Pakistan is not opposing India as such but its proposal that expansion should be only in the non permanent category would automatically achieve that aim.

Islamabad along with its supporters argues that it is against creation of more centers of privilege.

But most member States agree that the membership needs to be expanded to reflect current realities and move away from the structure created at the end of the Second World War when victors dictated the terms.

The members also generally agree that developing countries need to be among the permanent members as most of the decisions taken by the Council apply to them and during the discussions, their views are not considered.

Though Sheikha Haya has identified five priority areas, diplomats say basic to the reforms is the Council's expansion.