UNGA to Decide on Adopting Negotiating Text for UNSC Reforms on Sep 14

Published: 11th September 2015 04:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2015 04:26 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: India is gearing up for fight after UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa announced late on Thursday night that a plenary meeting on Sep 14 would decide if a circulated document on security council reforms would be basis for negotiations in the next 70th session.

In his letter dated Sep 10, GA president Kutesa appended a single page 'draft decision' on the "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters".

"I will convene a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 14 September 2015 at 10.00 a.m, to take action on the draft decision in the General Assembly Hall," he wrote in his letter to all permanent representative of members states in New York.

The operative part of the draft decision states that it will continue with the work of the Intergovernmental negotiations in the 69th session, which ends of September 15, into the 70th session.

Every year, this is a regular decision taken by consensus which allows for work to be 'carried forward', instead of starting from square one at the start of the new GA session.

This time, things are not so routine. For the first time ever,  the Inter-governmental negotiations (IGN) chaired by Jamaican PR Courtenay Rattray produced a detailed document which laid out the positions of various countries and blocs on how to reform the UNSC by expanding or modifying the powers and number of permanent and non-permanent members.

In his 31 July letter circulating the text, Kutesa said, "Given this text's adherence to General Assembly Decision 621557, it represents a sound basis upon which Member states can engage in text- based negotiations during the next phase of IGN"

The 'draft decision' included in Kutesa's latest missive calls upon "building on" the informal meetings held during 69th session and the "positions and proposals made by the Member States, reflected in the text and its annex . circulated by the President of the General Assembly in his letter dated 31 July, 2015.."

With US, China, Russia, Arab group and United for Consensus (UFC) countries not interested in taking forward text-based negotiations, India is expecting that there could be some fireworks on Sep 14.

"Instead of just passing the decision by consensus, one of the countries could ask for a division of votes - which will then throw up the question if a simple majority or 2/3rd majority will be required," said an official source.

India would adoption of the text as part of IGN's work to be taken by consensus and if not, by simple majority. "But, the procedure, whether simple or 2/3rd majority, will only be announced by GA president on that day (sep 14)," he said.

The African group, which is the largest geographical bloc of country, would support the text - but some north african countries may vote different, as they are part of the Arab group which opposes the text.

New Delhi, along with other G-4 members, Germany, Brazil and Germany, want the adoption of the text as basis for negotiations as it will finally mark a step forward in the stalled process to reform the United Nations Security Council. Such a significant forward movement in a reinvigorated process will be a ideal event to coincide with the 70th anniversary celebrations for the establishment of the United Nations, believe Indian diplomats.

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