India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — the G4 nations — on Saturday said that they would press for “urgent” reforms of the U.N. Security Council this year.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and foreign ministers from three other nations met at the U.N. headquarters here to step up their campaign even though there is no broad acceptance within the 192 U.N. members on how to reform the world body’s supreme peace and security body.
“Pressure is mounting here at the United Nations for the U.N. membership to finally face the challenge of addressing Security Council reform in a realistic manner, adjusting it to the current geo-political realities,” said Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota after the meeting.
“The ministers,” a joint statement released after the meeting said, “agreed to press ahead with all necessary steps to achieve at the earliest an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories of the Security Council.”
“Towards this goal, the G4 countries reaffirmed their readiness to reach out to other countries and to work in close cooperation with them in a spirit of flexibility,” it added.
Mr. Krishna’s two-day visit is his first trip to the United Nations since India became a non-permanent member on the Security Council in 2011 after a gap of 19 years.
Security Council reform is on the top of his agenda.
Speaking to the media after this second meeting in the past six months, Krishna said the four countries decided to “press ahead for Security Council reform on an urgent basis.”
“Security Council needs to face the realities of the 21st century,” Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said, adding that these four countries were not acting in national interest.
The G4 ministers also underlined the need for Africa to have a permanent seat on the Council.
The Security Council reform process has been going on for almost two decades. But several questions are yet to be resolved, which include how many new seats should be created, who gets these seats and when should the veto power kick in.
Negotiations have shifted from the so called “Open Ended Working Group” of the nineties to a text based negotiations, which are headed by Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan.
The latest text is a five page document, which lists the various options of expanding the Council.
Except Japan, the three other G4 countries are currently on the Council serving as non-permanent members and they are hoping to set the stage for becoming permanent members before their terms expire.
The four ministers also met General Assembly President Joseph Deiss to discuss Security Council reform.
Deiss has spoken out strongly in favour of reform.