Intergovernmental Negotiations on UNSC reforms can no longer be used as a 'smokescreen': India

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United Nations, Jun 23 (PTI) India has asserted that the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reforms can no longer be used as a 'smokescreen', as the General Assembly decided to roll over the IGN work to the next UNGA session and agreed to include an amendment proposed by the G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India and Japan.

The General Assembly on Tuesday adopted by consensus a decision on UN Security Council reform, rolling over the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiations to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly that will commence in September.

President of the 75th session of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, in a tweet thanked the Permanent Representative of Qatar and Co-Chair of the IGN Ambassador Alya al-Thani “for her facilitation of this result and all delegations for their constructive engagement”.

India, along with Brazil, Japan and Germany are pressing for urgent reform of the UN Security Council and for a permanent seat in the reformed 15-member top organ of the world body. It also advocates African representation at a reformed United Nations Security Council.

The G4 nations proposed amendments to the draft Oral Decision to include the lines '(...) and the commitment of Heads of State and Government representing the peoples of the world to 'instill new life in the discussion of the reform of the Security Council''.

The UNGA’s decision to roll over the IGN work to the next session also included the amendment proposed by the G4 nations, which have been at the forefront of multilateral efforts to speed up and achieve the long-pending UNSC reforms.

“I have said on several previous occasions that the IGN can no longer be used as a smokescreen. Today, with this amended roll-over decision, we will move ahead to the next session with the hope that we will finally be able to come together to make decisive progress towards the long overdue reform of the Security Council,” Permanent Representative of India to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said in the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Tirumurti said by agreeing to include 'our leaders’ promise to 'instill new life' in our roll-over decision, we are re-affirming once more that what we are engaged in, in the IGN, is not simply a series of academic debates. Our mandate is to deliver on Security Council reform, not to just discuss it ad infinitum'.

India said it is pleased that the proposal of Qatar is able to bring this important aspect into the roll-over decision.

“As we have stressed over the last few months, we view the roll-over decision of the IGN not as a technical formality, but an important means to capture the progress made during the IGN meetings, and to give direction to the way forward,” Tirumurti said.

Last week, German Ambassador to UN Christoph Heusgen had sharply criticised Bozkir during the General Assembly Plenary Session on Security Council Reform, saying he was “shocked when we received the (IGN on Security Council reform) rollover decision from you last week before consultations with at least the G4 group'.

'This is in contradiction to the practice of your predecessors, who, before issuing the draft decision for a rollover, sat down and discussed this decision to come to an agreement.” Heusgen said he was also “shocked' that within the draft decision, there was no mention of the mandate that 193 Heads of State and Government gave Bozkir in the declaration adopted at the 75th session of the General Assembly “because you rightly said that, with regard to Security Council reform, the General Assembly has the key role. You didn't mention in the rollover decision the mandate to 'instill new life'.

'This has to be included because the mandate has been given by the Heads of State and Government. They didn't say the most important task is to safely transfer the IGN from one period to the next. They said it is important to 'instill new life'.' In a strong criticism of Bozkir, Heusgen further said, “Maybe, I misunderstood you in your introductory remarks, where you said that this exercise is not to extend privileges to a handful of member states.

'If you really said that, I would ask you to please take this back, because it is not the task of the President of the General Assembly to represent the position of one group. This is also disrespectful to the G4 countries and the African countries, which ask for two African countries to have a permanent seat.” Emphasising that the UN Security Council reform is a very important subject, Heusgen said, “Why is this so important? Why have I criticised the PGA? I have to say that I personally like the PGA very much. We are old friends. I criticise him because Germany is committed to the United Nations and wants it to thrive. We want the Security Council to reflect the realities of the world as it is today.

'We must not allow for the Security Council to lose its legitimacy and relevance. Youth will turn away and say these guys in New York are just talking. They are not doing anything, and they represent the world as it was two generations ago. We are for the United Nations which stands for the rule of law. We are for the strength of the rule of law and not of the law of the strongest.” Earlier in his remarks to the session last week, Bozkir said he “was pleased by the high level of engagement by Member States during the five IGN meetings, demonstrating the significance of this process. While I understand that there are different views among Member States on the substance of IGN, it is only through dialogue that we can move this reform process forward'. PTI YAS SCY AKJ SCY

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