The Indians are reportedly leading an aggressive General Assembly (GA) effort by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to advocate for a GA resolution that would demand the Security Council recommend more than one candidate to be the next Secretary-General.
65263 5/24/2006 1:20:00 PM 06USUNNEWYORK1065 USUN New York CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXYZ0002PP RUEHWEBDE RUCNDT #1065/01 1441320ZNY CCCCC ZZHP 241320Z MAY 06FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORKTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9143INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1335RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0664 C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 001065 SIPDIS SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2011
TAGS: PREL, UNSC, UN, IN
SUBJECT: SYG SELECTION: INDIA PUSHES UNHELPFUL GA RESOLUTION
REF: A. USUN - IO/UNP EMAIL 5/19
B. USUN 1033 C. USUN 892
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bolton, Permanent Representative, 1.4 b and d.
1. (C) Summary. The Indians are reportedly leading an aggressive General Assembly (GA) effort by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to advocate for a GA resolution that would demand the Security Council recommend more than one candidate to be the next Secretary-General. The proposal, which seeks to capitalize on the current contentious atmosphere among member states after the G-77 successfully forced votes on the SYG's management reform proposals, is part of a broader Indian effort to bolster its standing in the developing world and its chance for a permanent seat on the Security Council. Other delegations appear to have joined the effort to support a stronger role for the GA against what is perceived to be an increasingly powerful Security Council. In advocating for the proposal, its proponents are further polarizing a sharply divided UN membership. We believe the GA has no authority under the UN Charter to dictate the scope of the Security Council's recommendation under Article 97, and that the recommendation of more than one name would be deeply harmful to the UN as an institution and to U.S. interests in particular. If the NAM is successful in bringing this issue before the GA for a vote, and certainly if it passes, there will be a serious fight over Charter language and Security Council authority this fall. End Summary.
Indians want the GA to have a choice
2. (C) The Indian delegation to the UN has circulated, to potentially supportive delegations, "draft elements" of a General Assembly (GA) resolution that would modify a 1946 resolution and decades of practice regarding the election of the Secretary-General (SYG). Instead of having the Security Council recommend one name to the GA for its approval (as called for in resolution 11(1) of 1946), the Indian draft would "decide that the Security Council will proffer two or more" candidates.
3. (C) The Indians are aggressively campaigning for their proposal. Indian PR Sen hosted a lunch for one hundred of his Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) colleagues on May 16 and the NAM has reportedly established a working group to follow-up on the Indian proposals. We understand that the draft elements have been strongly supported by the Egyptian mission here, though the strength and breadth of support among the broader NAM membership is more difficult to judge. A number of delegations have told us that NAM members have shown "a lot of sympathy and support" for the idea, but that many remain concerned about provoking another contentious fight in the General Assembly. Pakistan's Deputy PR told USUN that they and others had asked the Indians to consider the P5's reaction to the proposal.
4. (C) Russian PR Churkin (currently serving as the unofficial P5 coordinator) has been seeking an appointment with Sen for more than a week to discuss the issue but has been unable to get on the Indian PR's schedule. Churkin told the other P5 PRs that he thought Sen was clearly avoiding the meeting. Churkin will try to see the Malaysian PR, who serves as the NAM Chairman. (USUN also understands that the French - who supported India's candidacy for permanent membership with the G-4 - are also demarching in New Delhi.)
For India, is it all about the Security Council?
5. (C) The Indians are trying to take advantage of the current atmosphere of conflict between the G-77 and the developed world, and to capitalize on momentum from the G-77's recent management reform votes. French PR de La Sabliere said that he thought the Indians were trying to establish a "general practice of contentious votes" as part of their campaign for a permanent seat in the Security Council. (If the process of "reform" dissolves into a series of divisive votes in the GA, the Indians, Germans and Brazilians believe they have a stronger chance to call for a vote on a framework resolution for Security Council expansion. The opponents of expansion, including NAM members like Pakistan and Egypt, have regularly emphasized the importance of consensus on important issues of reform.)
6. (C) Many delegations view the Indian effort as part of their campaign for a permanent seat, which the Indian Deputy PR admitted to USUN (ref B). The Indians continue to try to
establish themselves as the strongest voice of the G-77 and to burnish their credentials as an "outside" voice that would make the Security Council more "accountable" to the developing world. The Indians, in campaigning for a permanent seat on the Security Council, have repeatedly argued that only the addition of new, "more representative" permanent members will reverse the Council's "encroachment" into the authorities and powers of the GA. (Comment: The Indian challenge, we assume, must be particularly discomforting to the Chinese who like to see themselves as the G-77's "representative" among the P5. End Comment.) Those opposed to India's Security Council candidacy will have to balance their desire to block India's power play against the need not to be seen as betraying the broader GA membership or serving the interests of the P5.
Others focused on shifting power back to the GA
7. (C) In support of the Indian proposal, delegations emphasize the need to "rebalance" the Security Council-GA relationship and to ensure the new SYG is more "responsive" to the developing world. The populist arguments are directed primarily at the P5, and in particular at the U.S. In rallying support for this idea, India's Sen has been widely quoted as saying that the current process creates a "Secretary-General who is secretary to the P5 and general to the General Assembly," and that a new process is needed to "reverse the situation." He has also referred to the current SYG as "the P5's official executioner" (ref C).
8. (C) The NAM effort is a symptom of the deeper divide among the UN membership, but the aggressive campaign to build support on the basis of divisive language is only exacerbating the problem. The Egyptians and others do not share India's larger strategic goal regarding Security Council expansion, but see the debate as an opportunity to assert GA authorities against what is widely perceived to be an increasingly aggressive Security Council. The current environment in New York is highly conducive to the effort.
Two candidates: Bad for the UN, and the U.S.
9. (C) We believe strongly that the GA has no authority under the UN Charter to dictate the scope of the Security Council's recommendation under Article 97, and - in the best interests of the organization - the Security Council should not provide more than one name. If the NAM gets is wish and this resolution passes, there will likely be clash over Charter language and Security Council authority this fall. India, Egypt and the other agitators will benefit, positioning themselves as the champions of the GA, in direct opposition to the "un-democratic" forces in the Security Council. One possibility, already being talked about in the corridors here, is that the NAM might try to get the GA to vote down a candidate "on principle" if the Security Council only provides a single recommendation.
10. (C) Providing two candidates to the GA, however, would dramatically curtail the influence of the U.S. in the selection process. The new SYG would enter office with either weak support among the general membership or a compromised position on key issues. A debate in the GA on multiple candidates could result in a SYG elected with just over a majority of votes. In this case, he or she would enter office as a candidate of only part of the membership. It would be widely known which delegates had worked for or against the incoming SYG, only adding to the atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust between the membership and the Secretariat. SIPDIS
11. (C) More problematic would be scenario where the election becomes a beauty contest among the G-77 in which candidates are forced to provide commitments inimical to U.S. interests. In a process that enhances member states' ability to elicit pledges, SYG candidates could be forced, for example, to limit the representation of the developed world in the Secretariat's senior ranks. We would expect candidates to SIPDIS address controversial issues such as development assistance levels, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and management reform. Given the balance of votes in the GA, such a campaign would work against U.S. interests at the UN.