UNGA head urges UNSC reform, slams 'misuse' of veto

Sam Kuteesa appointed the permanent representative of Jamaica to move the process forward

UNGA head urges UNSC reform, slams 'misuse' of veto

World Bulletin / News Desk

 

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Sam Kuteesa on Tuesday called for implementation of the so-called Ezulwini Consensus, which calls for, among other things, restructuring the UN Security Council (UNSC) by giving Africa two permanent seats and five rotational ones.

"The structures that were put in place after 1945 really need revision and reform, and one of those areas is the Security Council," Kuteesa told foreign ambassadors to Uganda.

At the time of its formation in 1945, the UN had 51 member-states, a number that has since grown to 193.

Up until now, Africa has not had a permanent seat on the 15-member UNSC, unlike permanent members the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China.

"This is wrong and needs to be addressed," said the UNGA president, a Ugandan diplomat.

"We have been trying to expand the permanent membership of the UNSC and we continue to do so," he asserted.

The Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations, also called the "Ezulwini Consensus," was adopted by the African Union in 2005.

It calls, among other things, for giving Africa two permanent UNSC seats and five rotational ones.

"There are different positions held by different countries regarding the numbers and the kind of powers they have, but I think to progress further, we should have a text which can be negotiated," said Kuteesa.

He stressed that this did not mean that all countries had to agree on all points.

He noted that, while nobody said there should be no increase in the number of permanents council seats, everyone agreed that UNSC membership – both permanent and non-permanent – should be augmented.

"The question is by how many. Surely we can agree on numbers and move forward," Kuteesa told members of the diplomatic corps.

He said some countries had suggested that permanent members have veto powers, like the current permanent five, while others saw that as unnecessary.

"Let's discuss and narrow that area – but let's have a text from which we are talking," the UNGA president said.

"That is why I appointed the permanent representative of Jamaica to move the process forward," he added. "I don't think I can get agreement for reform now – but the process must be started."

-Misused veto-

French Ambassador to Uganda Sophie Makame, for her part, asked how the UN planned to address security issues and the crimes against humanity being perpetuated in different parts of the world.

Kuteesa insisted that the problem stemmed from the failure to define permanent members' right to veto.

Russia and China vetoed UNSC intervention in Syria, while resolutions opposed by Israel are typically blocked by the U.S.

"I believe the use of the veto is undemocratic in any circumstance, but that is how it [the Security Council] has been structured since 1945," Kuteesa said. "Either all countries have the veto or we eliminate the veto."

"Why would you, for example, block intervention in Syria and support intervention elsewhere?" the UNGA chief asked.

This, he added, showed that even permanent UNSC members were finding it difficult to deal with the misuse of veto rights.

"Isn't it logical that we reform this institution and have a more democratic way? That we either use the veto or eliminate it? asked Kuteesa.

Last Mod: 28 Ocak 2015, 07:34
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