Pakistan says consensus exists only on adding more non permanent seats to UNSC

New York, 09 June, 2018

Pakistan has said that discussions on reform of the Security Council are an intensely serious matter and cannot be undermined by trying to set arbitrary deadlines or forcing the pace without first finding common ground. The only common ground that exists is to add more elected, non-permanent members.

Speaking in the fifth session of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi said that as reform will eventually entail an amendment in the UN Charter, discussions should proceed by careful thought and consensus.

Ambassador Lodhi also pointed out that “Reform of the Security Council is fundamentally different than any other reform process in the UN. It involves the strategic interests of member states”. By its very nature, she said, the process entails that the views and interests of all member states are taken on board. “This is not a partisan assessment but an essential condition for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council”, she asserted.

While sharing the sense of discontent on slow pace of reform, the Pakistani envoy noted that Council reform has proven to be much more elusive than other areas of reform. “We can see that the sharpest divergences exist on issues associated with the perpetuation of entrenched ‘privilege’ like categories of membership and the question of veto”, she added and underscored the need for moving forward by identifying convergences, and building on them.

Full-scale negotiations to restructure the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009. Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.

Known as the “Group of Four” — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — have shown no flexibility in their campaign for expanding the Security Council by 10 seats, with 6 additional permanent and four non-permanent members. On the other hand, Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group say that additional permanent members will not make the Security Council more effective.

"There is consensus on expansion in the non-permanent category of seats”, Ambassador Lodhi said pointing out that the UfC has gone a step further, by proposing longer term non-permanent seats as a ‘compromise’ solution.

Calling for a spirit of flexibility and compromise by all sides, she said that unless we are willing to go that extra mile, progress will remain elusive. “While the UfC has lived by these ideals, we have yet to see that spirit matched by some other negotiating groups”, she regretted.

Pointing out that the UfC does not stand against any position, Ambassador Lodhi said, “We stand for a principle – the principle of a more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and efficient Council”.

“The onus is collectively on us. After all, the UN will be as strong or as weak as we, the member states, wish it to be. We cannot and should not fail this test”, she emphasized.

“We fully acknowledge the Common African Position that is emblematic of the legitimate African aspiration to play its rightful role on the global stage”. This Ambassador Lodhi said was inherently different from the narrow national ambitions of some member states.

“As the African Union will determine its own representation on the Council, we can logically expect that those representing Africa will be guided by common positions, emanating from the African Union”, she added.