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India open to ‘no veto’, for now, as UNSC member; Pak still says ‘no go’

NEW DELHI: India and other G4 countries said today they are willing to consider temporarily suspending their veto rights when and if they are made permanent members of the UN Security Council.

This change of heart is meant to hasten the process of making the G4 countries – India, Brazil, Germany and Japan – permanent members of the elite UN body sooner rather than later.

A proposal to this effect was set forward on Tuesday by India’s Permanent Representative, Syed Akbaruddin, who was speaking on on behalf of the G4 at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on Council reforms.
In the scenario G4 proposes, the new permanent members will, in principle, have veto powers that the current five members have. They just won’t exercise the veto until a decision, specifically on this matter, has been taken during a review.

That may sound reasonable to G4 members but it is strongly opposed by Uniting for Consensus (UfC), a 13-member group that includes Pakistan.
UfC wants to create a new category of elected membership with longer terms than the current two years. For two decades, it has been blocking the reform process and waging a decades-long battle against expanding permanent membership. And as far as India is concerned, it’s UfC member Pakistan, which has been a thorn in its side.

Akbaruddin called the UfC proposal “old hat”. Any proposal for Council reforms without an expansion of the number of the permanent seats does “grave injustice to Africa’s aspirations for equality”, he said.
G4 also believes UfC’s proposal is counter-productive and a ploy to block the addition of new permanent members.
“It will actually widen the difference between permanent and non-permanent members even more, tilting further the scales in favour of a dispensation that was valid in the special situation in 1945 but is no longer now,” the G4 statement said.

To veto or not to veto
On the issue of the UNSC veto, Akbaruddin said the question has been addressed by many from differing perspectives. The G4 approach, he said, is that the problem of veto is not one of quantity (of extending it immediately to new permanent members) but of quality – of introducing restrictions.
“Our position is imbued with this spirit. While the new permanent members would as a principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as (the) current permanent members, they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review,” the G4 statement said.
Veto or no veto, Pakistan remained stoutly opposed even to this new G4 proposal.
“Merely possessing veto power, even without its use, has a telling impact on the Council’s working methods. But some of us propose more veto-wielding members in the Council, while calling for improved working methods of the Council. How can this dichotomy be justified,” said Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, today, Samaa.tv reported.

The veto, Lodhi said, could be counterbalanced in the Council by strengthening the voice of elected members.
The G4 member states believe that some have “conflated and confused” regular elections to the Council with accountability.
“Ensuring a perpetual campaign mode is not the best form of accountability,” the G4 statement said, without naming UfC or Pakistan.

Published Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 | 11:51 PM

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