By Arul Louis
United Nations– India has lashed out against the heads of the Security Council reform negotiation process, accusing them of “obfuscation” and adopting “opaque methodologies” as the efforts for reform headed for failure in the current General Assembly session.
India, joined by Brazil, Germany and Japan, which together make up the G4 group, said on Wednesday that the document co-chairs produced on the meetings of the Intern-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) for reforms during the current General Assembly session had serious omissions and did not properly reflect proceedings.
Using unusually harsh language, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said at the IGN’s final session for the year: “The adoption of opaque methodologies, non-attribution of assertions and obfuscation of references is the antithesis of usual practices and procedures of the General Assembly. This Co-Chairs, I am afraid, my delegation cannot sanctify as normal.”
The document, known as Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration, was prepared by IGN’s Co-Chairs, Permanent Representatives Christian Braun of Luxembourg and Lana Zaki Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates.
Akabruddin said: “In this paper, what was not requested has been undertaken and what has been requested has been left out.”
Speaking on behalf of the G4, Japan’s Permanent Representative Koro Bessho said: “We see a wide gap between what we heard this year in the IGN meetings and the updates that we see on these pages.”
The four countries that make up the G4 jointly campaign for an expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council and mutually support each other for permanent seats.
Alleging that there was a double standard at work, Akbaruddin said: “If we are to follow an inclusive approach, then requests with broad support should all be reflected. Alternatively, if we are to adopt an exclusionary approach, then any new suggestions opposed by anyone should be left out, for lack of consensus. We can adopt either of these methodologies, but we can’t adopt one methodology for a set of suggestions and another for another set of suggestions.”
The IGN’s meetings on Wednesday and Thursday are the last for the year and as in past years the reform process will be rolled over to the next General Assembly session that starts in September.
The reforms proposed 21 years ago in a General Assembly resolution have failed to make headway, mainly because of the opposition by a small group of countries known as United for Consensus, which is led by Italy and includes Pakistan.
Their tactic has been to prevent the adoption of a negotiating text, which is needed to conduct meaningful negotiations.
“There is no reference to the widespread call for text-based negotiations” in the outcome document produced by the Co-Chairs, Bessho said.
Akbaruddin said: “No one sought deletion of reference to the Framework document that has been referred to in all outcome documents since it was initiated in 2015. Yet, no reference to the Framework now remains, in any form.”
Another glaring omission, he said, was the African nations’ position laid out in two of their documents, the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte declaration, even though these positions had wide support.
The African position is for two permanent seats to be allotted to the continent in a reformed Security Council.
Expressing the G4’s “deep disappointment and dismay” that the revised outcome document was sprung at the last minute before Wednesday’s meeting, Bessho said: “That some revisions appear to have been made in a non-transparent manner with scarcely any regard to our deliberations and reflect changes which were not requested by any member states, at least in this session of the IGN.
“In the last several meetings, especially in our last meeting, the G-4, together with other groups, presented a number of suggestions which are supported by an overwhelming majority of the membership,” he said.
“This was hardly the first time we had made these suggestions. But almost none of them were taken on board.”
Bessho listed seven items proposed by the G4 that had been left out.
India, which hopes to get a permanent seat on the Security Council through the reform process, is again disappointed.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu had said presciently on Tuesday in New Delhi of the long road ahead for India: “We must renew our efforts to gain a permanent membership of the UN Security Council by further enhancing support from world nations and building a sustained dialogue in favor of UN Security Council reforms.” (IANS)