UNSC veto issue needs to be addressed: India

United Nations: Emphasising that the cost of exercising a veto at the UNSC is rising tremendously with each passing day, India has said a comprehensive reform of the world body`s power centre will be incomplete if the issue of veto is not addressed in all its aspects.

In the last 67 years, the veto has been used 267 times, India`s Permanent Representative Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said here yesterday, participating in the eighth round of intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation and increase in the UN Security Council membership.

He said the cost of exercising a veto at the UN Security Council is rising tremendously with each passing day. "We firmly believe that reform of the Security Council will be incomplete if the issue of the veto, in all its aspects, is not properly addressed," Puri said. He said UN members have been hearing the provenance and historical justifications for the veto. The general refrain of the five permanent members has been the linkage with the world war and "to the victors belong the spoils, that permanent membership was not acquired from a lottery."

The 2005 position of G4 countries — Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan — states that all new permanent members will have the same responsibilities and obligations as the current permanent members, Puri noted. He said that the veto has often been used for matters which have nothing to do with the maintenance of international peace and security. Instead they have been used on many occasions to block the applications for UN membership by new states.

In another instance, domestic compulsions forced a veto in respect of "illegal" settlements, Puri said, apparently referring to the Israel-Palestine conflict. "There is no need to elaborate in depth on the Syrian situation since the memory is fresh in our minds. In short, anguished introspection is integral to the process leading to the use of the veto," he said. Referring to the position of the African Group, Puri said it is against the veto per se but insists that it be extended to new permanent members if it continues to remain with existing permanent members.

"If the argument is that expansion of veto is required as a matter of aspiration associated with `equity and justice` considerations, we should discuss this. But my appeal is that we should not let the issue of veto become a millstone around our necks," Puri added. He reiterated India`s view that reform and expansion of the Council are essential if it is to reflect contemporary realities. Such reform will enhance the Council`s credibility, effectiveness in dealing with global issues, he said. "Early reform of the Security Council must, therefore, be pursued with renewed vigour and must be urgently enacted," he said.