UNITED NATIONS  -   Pakistan has described as the “mother of all absurdities” the uncompromising stand of countries pursuing permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) single-mindedly, while complaining about lack of headway in the negotiations to reform the 15-member body.

Without naming the Group of Four countries - India, Brazil, Japan and Germany - Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi alluded to these states, and said “It is disingenuous for some to stick to their demand for permanent seats while lamenting the lack of progress.”

She was participating in this year’s final session of the stalled Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) aimed at making the Council more effective, representative and transparent.

“It seems that for them, the only measure of progress is how far the others adjust to their claim,” the Pakistani envoy said after marathons talks held during two-day sessions since February this year. “This unilateral take-it-or-leave-it approach in a multilateral process is the mother of all absurdities,” she added.

Ambassador Lodhi said that despite this “meaningful progress” was achieved during the current session of the Assembly. “We look forward to build on this constructive engagement during the next session with a view to achieve a comprehensive reform that prioritizes collective good over individual interests,” the Pakistani envoy said.

The negotiations to reform the Security Council will be resumed during the 75th session of UN, which begins in September.

Most countries have argued that the Security Council’s structure does not represent the realities of today’s world. At the same time they have warned against any hasty “ill-conceived reform” and that the interests of all countries should be considered.

Full-scale negotiations to reform the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009 on five key areas - the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged Security Council, and working methods of the council and its relationship with the General Assembly.

Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.

The Group of Four countries have shown no flexibility in their campaign to expand the Security Council by 10 seats, with six additional permanent and four non-permanent members.

On the other hand, the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly opposes any additional permanent members, saying that such a move will make the Security Council contrary to the fundamental principle of democracy that is based on periodic elections.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - and 10 non-permanent members.

At one of the previous sessions, Ambassador Lodhi reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong opposition to any expansion in the Security Council’s permanent category. “A large, unwieldy and inefficient Security Council, characterized by an enlarged, privileged clique, is an end-state that Pakistan neither desires, nor will ever support.”

Ambassador Lodhi emphasized that consensus only exists for enlarging the Council by more elected, non-permanent members, adding that any claim to the contrary is a fallacy, and deserves to be treated, as such.

“We can , therefore, only marvel at the ingenuity or dis-ingenuity of those who offer solutions that reduce the margin of representation between the permanent and elected members, yet, promote them in the name of a more representative and effective Council”, she said.

The Pakistani envoy said that when a third of the membership has never served on the Council, such ‘solutions’ aim to further the self interests of a few, at the expense of the many who may, in consequence, be deprived from ever serving on the Council.