Security Council reform essential to preserve UN’s legitimacy: Swaraj

United Nations, Oct 2 (IANS) Reforming the Security Council is the need of the hour if the UN is to preserve its legitimacy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday, pointing out that it still had the vestiges of the colonial era of 1945.

Calling the Security Council “a system built for a world that no longer exists” Swaraj said: “We have to include more developing nations in the decision making structures of the Security Council. And we need to change the way it does business by doing away with outdated and non-transparent working methods.”

Addressing the General Assembly in Hindi, Swaraj said: “In a world that continues to be dominated by wealthy and influential nations, the notion of sovereign equality of the UN has permitted the developing world to question some unfair norms. But it has not permitted a fundamental challenge to the inequity of a system built for a world that longer exists.”

“Imparting more legitimacy and balance to the Council would restore its credibility and equip it to confront the challenges of our times,” she said.

Unlike Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made an open plea for Japan being made a permanent member, Swaraj did not mention India and presented the reform in more universal terms appealing to African and Latin American countries.

“How can we have a Security Council in 2015 which still reflects the geo-political architecture of 1945? How can we have a Security Council which still does not give place as a permanent member to Africa and Latin America?” she asked.

“India was one of the countries which signed the Charter although we were not independent at that time. We got our independence two years later.”

With colonialism still dominating the world, the UN was founded with 51 members and the five victorious powers from World War II were given permanent seats with veto powers.

The UN now has 193 members, the vast majority of whom are from the developed world. Except for adding four non-permanent seats in 1965, the basic structure of the Security Council has remained the same.

Swaraj complimented Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, the president of the last session of the General Assembly, and Jamaican Ambassador Courtnay Rattray, who was appointed by Kutesa to head the reform negotiations, for their role in achieving a breakthrough in reforms.

Under their leadership, she said, “we have achieved what we could not do so over two decades of discussions a” a text to negotiate, unanimously adopted by consensus in the General Assembly”.

“This first, but critical step, must be the springboard for action in this historic 70th Session of the UNGA,” she said.

The lack of a negotiating text had blocked any meaningful discussions on reforms and negotiations are set to resume next month.

India is a part of the group known as G4, which includes Brail, Germany and Japan, that work for Security Council reforms. They mutually support each other’s quest for permanent membership,

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to New York, G4 held a summit meeting where they discussed their future joint action.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who spoke earlier on Thursday at the General Assembly, said Germany was campaigning for Security Council reforms to make the UN “responsive and legitimate.”

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