National / Politics

Diplomats take aim at delay in U.N. Security Council reform

Kyodo

Diplomats expressed frustration Tuesday during a U.N. General Assembly session about long-overdue negotiations to reform the Security Council.

Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Koro Bessho, was among those who highlighted the lack of tangible progress so far.

“If we fail to make significant headway in this coming session, I fear that the legitimacy and viability of the IGN process itself will come into question,” he said, referring to the intergovernmental negotiations on the reform of the powerful 15-member council.

“We believe that the current IGN process should be reviewed,” Bessho said. “If we need consensus for decision-making, it gives a de facto veto over the process to just a few countries, which we believe is not the will of the great majority.”

The negotiations have been going on for the past 10 years with various groups representing different positions on how reform should be manifested and has relied on a consensus-based decision-making style.

The council is currently made up of five permanent members with veto powers — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 nonpermanent members who are elected from regional groupings for a two-year term.

The Group of Four comprising Brazil, India, Germany and Japan believes that it is necessary to enlarge the council by adding more permanent and nonpermanent seats.

Uniting for Consensus, a grouping that counts countries such as Italy, Pakistan and South Korea among its members, has been pushing only for increasing the number of nonpermanent members, although it has proposed extending their term beyond the current two years.

In his remarks presented as the G-4 representative, Indian Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin described how “little progress” has been made despite the fact that next year marks four decades since the issue was placed on the General Assembly agenda.

“Talk now needs to be followed with action to achieve credible progress in the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly,” he said, adding that text-based negotiations must begin.