Pak for more non-permanent seats in UNSC to fix regional imbalance

APP126-05 NEW YORK: November 05 - United Nations, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi giving her statement on world’s refugee population at UN. APP


Pakistan on Monday made a strong case for creating more non-permanent seats in a restructured UN Security Council, saying such course would address the present regional imbalance in the 15-member body’s composition.

Speaking in the UN General Assembly’s panel on “Reforming the Security Council”, Pakistan’s ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the “best way” to accommodate the legitimate regional and political aspirations of member-states was to enlarge it in the non-permanent category.

“If the Council has more elected members, its transparency, working methods and engagement with the wider membership will improve commensurately,” the envoy said in her remarks at a meeting of the stalled Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) aimed at making the Security Council more representative and effective.

Additional permanent members, the Pakistani envoy cautioned, would have an opposite effect.

Over the years, the so-called Group of Four – India, Brazil, Germany and Japan – has been pushing for the Council’s permanent membership, a move vigorously opposed by the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, which seeks expansion in the non-permanent category. Pakistan also supports an Italy-Columbia proposal that would create a new category of members – not permanent members – with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members – Britain, France, Russia and the United States, and has 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms on the Council.

“More permanent and unaccountable members will diminish not enhance the Council’s effectiveness,” Lodhi said. In contrast, she said, more elected members were likely to enhance transparency and widen consultations, thus increasing the Council’s efficiency and legitimacy.

“The argument that new permanent members will counter the dominance of the existing permanent members is baseless,” the envoy told the panel. Without a system of accountability, she said, virtue could easily degenerate into impiety, adding that UN member states were equal so long as they afford equal opportunity to each other.