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India criticises "exclusionary approach" in moving Security Council reform process forward

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Press Trust of India United Nations
India has strongly criticised the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform for following an "exclusionary approach", saying it cannot "sanctify as normal" their "opaque methodologies" and "obfuscation of references" in moving the long-stalled reform process forward.
The co-chairs of the IGN process circulated a revised paper on May 7, 2019 that aimed to reflect the nature of the discussions held among UN Member States in the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly session.
However, member states, specifically the G4 grouping of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan expressed "deep disappointment and dismay with the fact that the paper was circulated just before the IGN's last meeting and the negotiations process appears to be headed for a roll-over to the next UNGA session that starts in September without making much headway this year.
"We often hear that the IGN is a member-driven process. Yet, in this paper, what was not requested has been undertaken and what has been requested has been left out," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said.
He was speaking at the informal meeting of the Plenary on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council.
President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mara Fernanda Espinosa had appointed Christian Braun, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN and Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, as Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reform (IGN).
Akbaruddin said that given by how the process has gone forward this year, India cannot agree that Member States are driving the IGN process forward together in accordance with the usual practice and procedures of the General Assembly'.
"The adoption of opaque methodologies, non-attribution of assertions and obfuscation of references is the antithesis of usual practices and procedures of the General Assembly. This Co-Chairs, I am afraid, my delegation cannot sanctify as normal," Akbaruddin said.
The Indian envoy expressed strong disappointment that even after waiting for so long for the outcome document, the text has the exact same title as the outcome document that was adopted last year at the end of the work at the 72nd session - Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration.
"Rare are such occasions when documents in consecutive years are provided the same title, unless it is an acceptance that it is based essentially on the earlier outcome with the same moniker. More interestingly, we notice that it has every element from not only last year's outcome document, but also every element from the outcome documents from the 70th session, as well as the 71st session, and of course some more," he said.
Akbaruddin said there is need to "transparently acknowledge" that the document that Member States are working on now subsumes all elements addressed in the outcomes of the last three sessions.
"Our submission is that this factual situation requires to be acknowledged and reflected in the text of the current document, so that it sets at rest the fallacy that we need to also refer to those other documents of the last three years as the basis for going forward, he said.
He also pointed out that the G-4 and the L-69 group had listed a whole host of suggestions which have not been included in the current outcome document.
"This may be, perhaps, on account of objections from some, although those suggestions had wide support. It would, therefore, appear that you have followed an exclusionary approach.
"If that is so, we too join all the others who have expressed their objections to a series of new issues that have been inserted, without any clarification of whether they enjoy broad support or not and no attribution about who sought their insertion in this iteration of the Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration', he said.
"The lack of clarity of the methodology used in this iteration makes me suggest that what was a commonality in the past is now no longer the caseHow then are we to take ownership of this document, without going through it in detail and either agree or disagree with what you will make of our current submissions?

As the IGN session appears to be headed to be rolled-over to the next session, Akbaruddin said the need for additional time to discuss the current document is now a necessity.
Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, speaking on behalf of the G4 group, said the text is supposed to reflect the nature of the member states discussions in this session. Instead, we see a wide gap between what we heard this year in the IGN meetings and the updates that we see on these pages.

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First Published: May 30 2019 | 7:50 PM IST

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