NEW YORK: At the UN, Pakistan assailed the demand for more permanent members in the Security Council describing it as contrary to the principle of democratic accountability and equitable representation.
Speaking in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said, “We are gridlocked in reforming the Security Council because some among us want a status that defies the basic norms of democratic representation and accountability”.
Without naming them she was referring to a group of countries who call themselves the G4 which includes India, Japan, Brazil and Germany.
The Pakistani envoy pointed out that in the critical area of political governance; the concepts of ‘representation and accountability’ epitomize the essence of what humanity has learnt from centuries of history and experience.
In the 21st century, Ambassador Lodhi said, it was inconceivable to establish or run an institution – national or international – which does not embrace the fundamental principles of representation and accountability with periodic elections and fixed term and rotation, as the essential vehicles to implement these principles.
Continuing her criticism of the G-4 countries, Ambassador Lodhi said that perhaps nothing negates the argument for permanent seats as persuasively as the process of reform itself. “Reform reflects our collective desire to adapt to a changing environment. But how can a fixed solution, such as a permanent seat, be an answer to an ever-changing global reality?” she questioned.
The Pakistani envoy also questioned the “contentious criteria” of qualification invoked by these countries to press their demand for permanent seats, saying that their claim does not stand the test of accuracy because many States compete with them and even surpass them in all such criteria. “Moreover the criteria they lay out for permanent seats is exactly the same as provided in the UN Charter for the non-permanent seats. So, if the criteria is the same, why the difference in character and responsibility?” she asked.
She drew a distinction between the pursuit of national ambition by individual countries and the consensus demand on behalf of a region, such as Africa. She added that perhaps African countries have suffered the most from the deadlock created by those harboring a misguided sense of entitlement.
Ambassador Lodhi told the world body that Pakistan stands for a reformed Council that is more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and effective. “The Council’s expansion is a necessity but its expansion must allow equal and equitable opportunity to all Member States to get elected. Upholding this basic principle of UN membership is the key to making progress on reform”, she added.
Ambassador Lodhi proposed that a broad agreement on the nature and principles of reform was necessary, without which, efforts to work on a text would continue to be counterproductive. “Working towards convergence on the principles of reform can make it possible for us to engage on a text from a common reference point, making it easier to reach our goal”, she added.
She emphasized that ‘compromise and flexibility’ were essential to successful multilateral negotiations and that this also held true for the IGN on Security Council reform.
Ambassador Lodhi warned that fixed positions and rigidity shown by some member states would keep the reform process stalled and deadlocked. At the same time, she said that the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) Group, to which Pakistan belongs, has twice revised its proposal in a genuine spirit of compromise to find a solution that works for all. The compromised solution offered by the UfC, she said would also address African demand in a just, equitable and pragmatic manner.
“Had there been flexibility in the unjustified demand for permanent seats, many Member States would already have played a positive role in the Security Council”, she concluded.