India hails UNSC reform process as ‘path-breaking’

RSTV Bureau
Sam Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, chairing the meeting.

Sam Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, chairing the meeting. Photo Courtesy – UN

In a big boost to India’s bid for a permanent seat in the revamped UNSC, the UN General Assembly has unanimously adopted the negotiating text for carrying out reforms in the Security Council. The document sets the stage for talks to be held on the long pending reforms process during the 70th session of the UNGA which begins on Tuesday.

The UNGA concluded its 69th session on Monday and is on track to build the stage for talks to revamp the 15 member world body. It adopted a negotiating text by consensus for the long- pending Security Council reforms.

“We have got something after 23 years which is a document on the table. From now it is going to be much more in terms of what they are used to doing at the UN which is to negotiate with a text in front of us,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji said.

“Now the decision today puts the paper on the table and it is now for every country to negotiate on that paper giving their national positions,” Mukerjee told PTI.

India has termed the adoption of the document as “historic” and “path-breaking”.  India said the decision has put the Inter-Governmental Process formally on an “irreversible text-based negotiations path” and changed the “dynamics” of the negotiations on achieving UNSC reforms.

UN General Assembly President of the 69th session, Sam Kutesa convened a plenary meeting to take action on the draft decision on the “question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters”. During the meeting, he also circulated letters containing the positions of key countries, including Russia, the US and China which refused to contribute to the negotiating text.

There was no voting on the decision to continue text-based UNSC reforms in the 70th session of the General Assembly and it was adopted by consensus.

“It is a substantive decision taken unanimously by the General Assembly fully within the meaning of any decision on UNSC issues. In this case we had a complete census. That is the important part that the entire membership has agreed and it is as much a reflection of commitment of member states as of the President of the General Assembly (Sam Kutesa) who achieved this outcome for us,” Mukerji explained.

The draft decision contains a negotiating text which has positions of UN member states on Security Council reforms and how the powerful 15-nation body should be expanded in its permanent and non-permanent categories.

The adoption is a significant step towards beginning talks on the long-stalled reforms process in the 70th session of the Assembly on the basis of a negotiating text, a first in the last seven years of Inter-Governmental Negotiations that have been conducted so far without the basis of any text.

Kutesa, in a letter to all UN members in July, had circulated the text containing the positions of countries on Security Council reforms and how the UN body should be expanded in its permanent and non-permanent categories.

He also circulated letters containing the positions of groups and member states that indicated they did not wish their proposals to be included in the body of the negotiating text. These countries include the US, Russia and China.

“If the Security Council continues to be ineffective, the lives of millions of people and the uninterrupted flow of trade, investment and technology, all of which depend on a stable and predictable global political environment will be jeopardised,” said Mukerji.

He also said the decision to carry forward the reforms process is “highly substantive” and not just a “technical decision.”

Mukerji also noted that India was among the first countries to seek the conclusion of the UNSC reform process by the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.