UN adopts text-based negotiations on UNSC reforms

United Nations:┬áThe UN General Assembly today adopted a negotiating text by consensus for the long- pending Security Council reforms, setting the stage for talks on the issue at its 70th session beginning tomorrow, boosting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the revamped world body.

India termed as “historic” and “path-breaking” the adoption of the document, saying the decision puts the Inter- Governmental Process formally on an “irreversible text-based negotiations path” and changes the “dynamics” of the negotiations on achieving UNSC reforms.

UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa convened a plenary meeting here 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.

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.

India’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji said the “most important aspect” of today’s decision is the text circulated by Kutesa in July which “we have agreed will be the guiding basis for our deliberations in the 70th General Assembly session”.

“What you have delivered today… to all 193 Member States of the United Nations, is truly historic and path- breaking on several counts,” Mukerji told the Assembly.

“This decision sets the IGN process formally on an irreversible text-based negotiations path, which had been your priority from the first day of your Presidency,” Mukerji said.

“The twin objectives of saving our work done in the 69th UNGA and carrying it meaningfully forward have therefore both been achieved,” he added.

Mukerji quoted from Kutesa’s letter of July 31, in which he had stated that the text “represents a sound basis upon which Member States can engage in text-based negotiations through the next phase of IGN”.

He added: “This is as clear and explicit as any mandate could ever be.

“We now know that with the adoption of this truly historic decision, we can meet in the 70th Session of the UNGA under the leadership of our Chair, the Permanent Representative of Jamaica, Ambassador Courtenay Rattray and build upon the significant work undertaken by him in the 69th Session.

“It is our hope that with the adoption of this Decision, we will now move purposefully towards concluding our negotiations during the 70th Session, so that we fulfil the unanimous mandate given by our leaders in the World Summit of 2005 for ‘early reform’ of the Security Council to make it… ‘more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions’.”

Kutesa had informed member states about the draft in a letter dated September 10 to all Permanent Representatives.