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Pakistan goes up against new permanent seats in UNSC

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan while strongly opposing new permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC), called for “flexibility and compromise” on part of countries pushing competing proposals for enlarging the 15-member body so as to move the stalled reform process forward.
Speaking in the General Assembly’s annual debate on achieving equitable representation in the 15-member council, Pakistan’s acting ambassador Amjad Hussain Sial said his country was committed to reform that would make it more representative, transparent and effective.
Pakistan is always supporting an expansion of non-permanent members of UNSC. The deadlock was evident during the assembly debate, which wrapped up Friday: Supporters of three rival proposals to reform the council showed no signs of budging. The two-day debate took place in the wake of the United States support for India’s bid for a permanent seat on UN’s high table.
Five permanent members hold veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 non-permanent members, with no veto, are elected for two-year terms.
Most countries have argued that this structure does not represent the realities of today’s world. Key issues under discussion are the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council’s working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly.

In his speech, Ambassador Sial stated Pakistan’s position as set out by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that an effective, feasible reform could only be achieved through consensus decisions that were endorsed by the wider UN membership.
Pakistan remained constructively engaged in ongoing negotiations, and its position was structured around four pillars:  that reform should be comprehensive; based on principle of sovereign equality; should enhance the Council’s accountability to the general membership, and result in a more united, strengthened UN.
The Pakistan envoy said the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, which is led by Italy and Pakistan, had shown flexibility by moving from its 2005 position. Its proposals allowed for variable arrangements and different options, providing relevance to representation for regions, as well as for small States. The proposal, he said, also took into account the concept of equitable geographic distribution, as envisaged in article 23 of the Charter.
That concept would make little sense if a seat allocated to a region were to be occupied permanently by one country, which was why he respected Africa’s position.
“Africa’s just demand for permanent presence in the council is for the entire region and is, therefore, different from those who seek a seat for themselves,” Ambassador Sial said in an obvious reference to the aspirants of permanent membership- India, Brazil, Germany and Japan.
“Similarly, we support the position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), demanding adequate representation of Muslim Ummah in the Security Council,” he said.
Commenting on Security Council’s report on its meetings, correspondence and decisions, the Pakistan envoy said that it could be reinforced by analytical explanation of its work and decision-making.
In reviewing the council’s work, he focused first on its effectiveness, acknowledging its role in addressing violent conflicts, laying down peacekeeping mandates and ensuring their back up with logistic support, and noting that such work had been facilitated by troop-contributing countries.
However, Sial urged the council to recalibrate its efforts to prevent conflict and take more recourse to settle disputes peacefully under Chapter VI of the Charter, especially important in cases of inter-State conflict. Unresolved issues, including that of Jammu and Kashmir, had been on the agenda for some time and awaited settlement.
Assessing the Council’s transparency, the Pakistan envoy said the report provided little information or analysis.  It was a widely held view that decisions evolved mainly behind closed doors, “if not behind the scenes by a few major players,” he said.
At the outset of his speech, Sial pointed out that the report on the council’s work — prepared by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant in his capacity as the council’s president for the current month — did not mention the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the context of unresolved long-running situations. “We understand this was an inadvertent omission, as Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the Security Council,” he said. -NNI


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