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Talks on UNSC expansion to begin in earnest: Diplomat

world Updated: Feb 14, 2009 15:17 IST
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After more than a 16 years of futile discussions, the issue of expansion of the Security Council is headed for serious inter-governmental negotiations, a top diplomat charged with jump starting the stalled reform process has said.

Conceding that Security Council reform is some times dismissed as "cocktail party pastime for ambassadors," Afghanistan Ambassador to UN Zahir Tanin said those days are "definitely" over.

Tanin has been appointed by General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto to start the stalled Council reforms process.

The intergovernmental talks on expansion of the Council are set to being next week but are likely to pick up momentum only in March. India along with Germany and Japan are strong contenders for the permanent seats in the expanded Council.

So far, an open ended working group was carrying on negotiations with a view to arrive at a consensus. But years of debate did not bring the positions of member States any near consensus.

Indian backed proposal to start intergovernmental negotiations was accepted by the UN General Assembly after Pakistan-led group gave up opposition.Pakistan wants expansion in only non-permanent category of the Council which has five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. The permanent members wield veto.

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