India, Japan call for UN reforms

Published September 28, 2008

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27: India joined Japan on Friday in calling for more determined efforts to reform the United Nations as the two Asian powers pitched for permanent seats in the Security Council.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh criticised scant progress made since world leaders decided three years ago to forge an “agenda for early and meaningful reform” of the world body.

“The composition of the Security Council needs to change to reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century,” he said. “We must acknowledge frankly that there has been little progress on the core elements of the reform agenda.”

Singh then called for “more determined efforts to revitalise the General Assembly to enable it to fulfil its rightful role as the principal deliberative organ of the United Nations,” he said.

On Thursday, Japan’s new prime minister Taro Aso emphasised “the absolute imperative” of council reform, in his address to the General Assembly.

“We must bring about the early reform of the Security Council through an expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent memberships,” he said.

Aso, who replaced Yasuo Fukuda, was the first Japanese prime minister to speak at the General Assembly since Koizumi came in 2005 to pitch for a Security Council seat as part of a push for global reform.

The UN General Assembly decided last week to begin inter-governmental talks on expanding the powerful Security Council by February 28.

Japan and India joined Germany and Brazil in 2005 in a strong push to be in the council as permanent members, along with two African countries, but without veto rights.

But their bid failed after it ran into strong opposition from China and the United States as well as from regional rivals such as Italy, Pakistan and Argentina.—AFP

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