UNITED NATIONS - Unable to make any progress on the efforts to make the UN Security Council more representative by expanding it, the General Assembly has deferred the key issue to the next Assembly session.

Taking up the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters”, the 193-member Assembly decided that the long-running efforts to enlarge the 15-member body would be moved forward to it’s 69th session, which opens on Sept 16.   An open-ended working group on the matter would also be convened.

General Assembly President John Ashe said a “fresh approach” was needed, recalling that upon his election he had hoped to advance the reform agenda.  With that in mind, he had undertaken negotiations with member States with no illusions concerning the magnitude and complexity of the task.  It would be “foolhardy” to underestimate the challenges existed.

However, Security Council reform was an issue that member states must not “shy away from”.

About one of the outcomes from the intergovernmental negotiations, the so-called “non-paper” which contained a set of ideas pertaining to the reform negotiations, Ashe noted that although views on the text were clearly mixed, he was thankful for the positive support it had received from member States and would communicate its findings to his successor for the 69th session.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan said that the Assembly had taken a “prudent and wise” decision.  The reform process must be pursued in good faith in an open, inclusive and transparent manner that would result in a solution garnering the widest possible political consensus from member States. Divisiveness would not be helpful for future efforts, he cautioned.

India,Brazil, Germany and Japan, known as the Group of Four, are campaigning for permanent seats in an expended Security Council. They stand for expanding the Security Council by 10 seats, with 6 additional permanent and four non-permanent members.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms on the Council.

The Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, of which Pakistan is a member, opposes any increase in the number of permanent members, but seeks 10 additional non-permanent members to make it a 25-member body.

In his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan reminded that the Inter-Governmental Negotiations was a membership driven process, based on positions and proposals of member States and groups.

The objective of these negotiations remains a comprehensive reform of the Security Council through a negotiated solution that aggregates interests of all member States, he added.

“This overarching objective cannot be made subservient to individual aspirations,” he said in an obvious reference to the G-4 campaign for permanent seats for themselves.

“We believe that, as we lay down the basis of our next year’s work, we must begin with a spirit of compromise and flexibility.Any divisiveness at this stage will not be helpful for our future work. Next year, let’s work together as one body. We should try to talk to each other instead of talking past each other.”