India offers to forego veto powers initially to become permanent member of UNSC

The five permanent members with veto powers at the UNSC are China, France, Russia, the US and the UK. Photograph:( AFP )

WION United Nation, United States Mar 08, 2017, 04.35 PM (IST)

India and other G4 members -- Brazil, Germany, and Japan -- have offered to forgo veto powers initially if they are made permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The G4 group -- formed to support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the UNSC -- has made the offer as a bargaining chip to get the reform process moving, agencies reported.

"The issue of veto is important, but we should not allow it to have a veto over the process of Council reform itself," said India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin on behalf of the G4 at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Council reforms.

Akbaruddin said that in principle, the new permanent members would have veto powers that the current five have but they would not exercise them "until a decision on the matter had been has been taken during a review".

The G4 nations are regularly elected to two-year terms as non-permanent members on the UNSC by their respective regional groups.

The G4 said the allocation of non-permanent seats had outlived their relevance since the UN was formed and its subsequent reform in 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10.

Italy's Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi opposed the addition of permanent members and instead suggested creating a new category of elected membership with longer terms than the current two years.

G4, which lobbies for Council reforms on an expanded body, rejected the suggestions as a ploy to block adding new permanent members.

Syed Akbaruddin said expanding the non-permanent categories would only worsen the imbalance of influence in the Council and reinforce an outdated set-up.

Cardi made the proposal on behalf of Uniting for Consensus (UfC), a 13-member group that includes Pakistan and has been blocking the reform process since decades.

The UfC had suggested adding 11 seats to the Council, with nine of them having longer terms.

Deriding the UfC proposal as "old hat", Akbaruddin cited the the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conference in Washington which had rejected suggestions for the longer-term Council membership.

He said any proposal for reforms without expanding the number of permanent membership would do injustice to Africa's aspirations for equality.

The five permanent members with veto powers at the UNSC are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Akbaruddin said that the 53 members of the Asia-Pacific group had only two elected seats on the UNSC while the 26-member Western Europe group also had the same number.

(WION with inputs from agencies)