Pakistan opposes more permanent seats to United Nations Security Council: Ambassador Lodhi

Islamabad, February 23, 2016 (PPI-OT): Pakistan said at the UN that adding more permanent seats to the Security Council was contrary to the principles of democracy and representativeness. This would only satisfy the self-centered interests of a few states at the expense of the legitimate interests of all member states, says a press release received here today from New York.

Speaking in the inter governmental negotiations of the General Assembly on Security Council Reform, Pakistan’s Ambassador, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi said that enhancing the Council’s size by more permanent members would be “a travesty of the principle of the sovereign equality of states”.

Instead, she argued, Pakistan believed that Security Council’s expansion should take place by seats that were electable on the basis of fixed rotation and periodic elections. Ambassador Lodhi told the packed hall of the Trusteeship chamber that the objective to make the Council more representative and effective could only be attained by reinforcing the number and role of elected members.

She said it was disingenuous to suggest that more permanent members would make the Council more effective when it was the standoff and deadlock among permanent members that has hobbled the Council’s functioning. “It makes no sense, on the one hand, to suggest ideas on existing working methods that aim to make the Council more open, democratic, transparent and accountable and, on the other hand, propose additional permanent seats that could undercut the same objectives in an expanded Council”, the Pakistani envoy said.

Speaking on the working methods of the Council, Ambassador Lodhi voiced Pakistan’s belief that efforts to improve the Council’s working methods should continue both within and outside the Council. She recalled that during Pakistan’s last term in the Council, it re-introduced wrap-up sessions, which have now become a norm. “Pakistan also made specific proposals on enhancing intra-council communication and organized open meetings. All these steps were taken to augment the “openness and transparency of the Council’s working”, she said.

Describing the Council as “a master of its own procedures”, Ambassador Lodhi called for developing a joint mechanism between the Council and the General Assembly on improving its existing working methods. “Such a mechanism could open the Council’s Working Group on working methods to the inputs and proposals of all Member States and could help identify common grounds”, she said.

Ambassador Lodhi emphasized the need for consistency in reform on the five key issues and said, “We cannot create a mirage of pursuing our goal of a more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and effective Council in one area, while at the same time weakening the same principles in another key area of reform”.

She concluded by saying that Pakistan believed that genuine convergence among Member States could only emerge by discussing respective positions and proposals in an “inter-linked manner”. “This should be the bedrock of our effort to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Council, which can garner the widest possible political support”, she added.

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