India, G4 call off China's bluff on UNSC reforms

NEW DELHIWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Sep 01, 2020, 09:21 PM IST


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The coffee group of Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group, led by Italy has Pakistan, Turkey as its members and aims to counter bids by the G4 countries.

India along with Japan, Germany and Brazil, part of the G4 countries on Monday called off China and coffee group's bluff on United Nation Security Council (UNSC) reforms as the United Nations decided on next step for reforms at the high table.  

The coffee group of Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group, led by Italy has Pakistan, Turkey as its members and aims to counter bids by the G4 countries.

India shot off two letters, one on a standalone basis and another as part of G4 grouping to United Nations General assembly (UNGA) President highlighting 2 aspects--one backing Common African position, and another and more importantly on those who on the pretext of negotiations are stalling reforms--which clearly pointed to China.

The letter by India's deputy permanent representative to UN, Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu to President of the United Nations General assembly (UNGA) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said, “after more than a decade towards text-based negotiations, the inter govt negotiations process has become a convenient smokescreen to hide behind for those who do not wish to see any reforms in the security council"
Explaining, "there is a need to ensure that the inter-governmental negotiations (IGN) process is not held hostage, procedurally and substantially, by those who do not wish to bring about reforms in the security council" and warning, if this happens then, "those who demand reform will be forced to look for other ways to finally make progress, including potentially outside the" IGN process.

Intergovernmental Negotiations framework (IGN) is a group within the United Nations that is looking into UNSC reforms but it has made no progress since 2009 when it was formed. The group's conversation is considered "informal" in nature and thus UNGA rule of procedure done apply.  

Also, no attempts have been made to put talks into the consolidated text to begin formal negotiations due to resistance by certain countries like China opposed to the expansion of UNSC membership. G4 have also called for "urgent need for transparency and application of general assembly's rules of procedure to the intergovernmental negotiations" 

On Africa, the letter said, "it is only correct and fair that the growing support expressed for the common African position in the 2 meetings of the IGN earlier this year are captured" in discussions.

The "Common African position" for UNSC expansion has been stipulated under Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, both of which call for at least 2 permanent and 5 to 2 non-permanent UNSC seats to be given to African countries at the high table.

What is interesting is, the Chinese mission to the UN was quick to react and questioned the need for reforms in "haste". This when informal negotiations for reforms are underway for the last 10 year, thus bringing out the Bejing's mischief on reforms at UNSC. The Chinese mission in a statement said, "To start text-based negotiation in a haste or to impose a single document is not conducive to building a consensus and promoting unity". 

The Italian mission to UN, chair to the coffee group also reacted and in a letter called for "necessary political will and flexibility". Both the Chinese letter and coffee club's letter had no mention of Common African position.

Earlier this year two IGN meetings have happened, but the rest 3 meetings are yet to happen.  The developments of Monday will be part of UN record and will be raised by countries calling for reforms during the further negotiation process.