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France reiterates support for India's permanent seat in UN Security Council

France, which assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of March, has reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN body. The nation also reiterated its support for Germany and Japan as permanent members of an expanded UNSC.

Mar 5, 2019 17:45 IST
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France, which assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of March, has reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN body. The nation also reiterated its support for Germany and Japan as permanent members of an expanded UNSC.

Speaking on the occasion, French Permanent Representative to the UN, François Delattre said that enlargement of the powerful UN body in both permanent and non-permanent categories is the first crucial part towards its reform. He said that the reform of the Security Council through its enlargement is one of the key areas and key priorities of their diplomacy.

Key Highlights

France has stated that the key to UN reform is openness through three different areas - the openness of the Security Council that entails expansion of the 15-nation body, partnership and openness to civil society.

The French Permanent Representative to the UN, François Delattre stated that the UN cannot be recognised as a centre of gravity for multilateralism throughout the world unless it can step-up partnerships and focus should also be made on openness to civil society, business world, NGOs and trade unions, which are all stakeholders that breathe life into the UN.

He called for enlargement of the Security Council in two categories of non-permanent and permanent categories - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan - and equitable representation of Africans.

The next Presidency of the Security Council would be taken over by Germany in April 2019. The German Ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, also pointed out that the Security Council, in its present composition, does not reflect the realities of this world.

Both France and Germany together stressed on the need to have reforms, adding that the UNSC will lose its legitimacy if reforms are not brought on soon.

UNSC

What is it?

The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It is mainly responsible for maintaining international peace and security.

Its key powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, establishment of international sanctions and the authorisation of military action through Security Council resolutions.

It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The Security Council held its first session on January 17, 1946.

When and why was it created?

The UN Security Council was created following the Second World War to address the failure of the previous international organisation, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace.

Though in its early decades, the Security Council was not very effective given the Cold War division between the US and USSR and their respective allies, the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a dramatic increase in the UN peacekeeping efforts.

The UNSC has authorised major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How many members does UNSC have?

The UN Security Council consists of fifteen members. The powers that came out victorious after the end of the Second World War – Soviet Union (now Russia), United Kingdom, France, China and the United States- currently serve as the body's five permanent members.

These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body's presidency rotates monthly among its members.

India’s bid to UNSC

India's bid for permanent membership of UNSC is now backed by four of the five permanent members, namely France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

India has been a member of the UN Security Council for seven terms (a total of 14 years), with the most recent being the 2011–12 term.

India is a member of G4, group of nations comprising Brazil, Germany and Japan who back each other in seeking a permanent seat on the Security Council and advocate in favour of the reformation of the UNSC.

According to the G4 proposal, the UN Security Council should be expanded beyond the current fifteen members to include twenty-five members.

If this actually happens, it would be the first time permanent Security Council status is extended to a South Asian nation and supporters of the G4 plan suggest that this will lead to greater representation of developing nations rather than the current major powers.

Background

India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan for long, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.

France, a veto-wielding permanent member of the 15-nation Security Council, last month moved a fresh proposal in the UNSC along with the US and the UK to designate Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

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