India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — the G4 nations — on Saturday said they would press for “urgent” reforms of the U.N. Security Council this year.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the Foreign Ministers of 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 geopolitical realities,” said Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota after the meeting.
“The Ministers 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,” a joint statement said.
“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 U.N. since India became a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2011 after a gap of 19 years. Reform of the Council is on top of his agenda.
Speaking to journalists after the second meeting in the past six months, Mr. Krishna said the four countries decided to “press ahead for Security Council reform on an urgent basis.”
“The Security Council needs to face the realities of the 21st century,” Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.
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: 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 1990s to 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 other G4 countries are now 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. Mr. Deiss has spoken out strongly in favour of reform.
Krishna's faux pas
Meanwhile, Mr. Krishna was caught in a public gaffe when he inadvertently read out the speech of Portuguese Minister Luis Amado but rectified the error after an Indian official drew his attention.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council at a debate on security and development on Friday, Mr. Krishna read out the wrong speech for about three minutes before being corrected by India's envoy to the U.N. Hardeep Singh Puri.
Mr. Krishna read Mr. Amado's speech, without realising his mistake, apparently because the first portion related to general issues pertaining to the U.N., development and security. But a few lines did go out of place.