International

UNGA president will pick ‘right persons’ to push Security Council reform

Opposition to reforms comes from countries known as United for Progress

United Nations.

General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa has said that she will pick the "right persons" to push ahead the Security Council reform negotiations.

She also underlined that its progress will ultimately depend on the member states.

Replying to a question on Security Council reform on Monday at a news conference here, she said, "I will pick the right persons in order to push the process ahead and it is very much going to depend on the depth (of commitment) and the readiness of member states."

"This is very much a member state-driven process," she said.

Miroslav Lajcak, whose term as UN General Assembly (UNGA) President ended last month, appointed Permanent Representatives Kaha Imnadze of Georgia and and Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, of the United Arab Emirates as the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), as the process is known.

The IGN made very little progress being unable — as in previous years — to even agree on a text on which to base the negotiations and rolled it over to the current session.

The main opposition to reforms comes from a group of countries known as United for Progress led by Italy and includes Pakistan.

In order to block reforms that could add permanent members, they have been insisting that there should be a consensus on reforms before there could be negotiation text, which in effect means the negotiations cannot go ahead meaningfully in the absence of a document for discussions.

Now pressure is building from African nations, which do not have a single permanent member on the Security Council, while that continent is home to most UN peacekeeping operations ordered by it and issues from there feature often on its agenda.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Cyril Ramaphosa said in his address to the UNGA last week, "Reform of the United Nations, particularly its Security Council is a priority if we are to give full effect to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter."

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said the absence of an African nation as a permanent member was an" injustice" to Africa.

Africa deserves to be given its place among the Security Council’s permanent members in order to repair the injustice done to it, he said.

The vast majority of member states agree on the principle of a more representative Security Council that reflects the realities of the contemporary world and is more able to respond quickly to crises, Barry said.

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UNGA president will pick 'right persons' to push Security Council reform
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