UNSC exapansion proposal well received:Puri

United Nations: The proposal of expanding UN Security Council membership tabled by the G4 nations, including India, has received "solid support" from countries across regions, India`s envoy to the world body Hardeep Singh Puri said.

Puri said the G4`s "short resolution" has got encouraging support in the form of 85 signatures, 53 other expressions of support and another 14-15 in the pipeline.

At the beginning of the plenary session G4 had called for an expansion of the permanent and non-permanent categories of UNSC membership reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 21st Century.

"The interesting part is we got solid support for expansion in both categories cutting across regions," Puri told reporters at the conclusion of the first day of the five-round discussion on Security Council reforms.

He said that there is "very strong support" from countries in Europe like Portugal, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia and some Caribbean and Pacific nations. "It has been an excellent start and we will need to build on it to give it critical definition in the months ahead," he added.

Puri rubbished reports that China had opposed the short resolution by the G4 comprising India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, that seeks expansion in both categories at the UNSC and improvement in the working methods.

"I had a look at the Chinese statement. They said they are in favour of necessary and reasonable reform of the Security Council. They favour more developing countries coming onto the Council including in particular from Africa. They then went on to say they are concerned about the peacemeal approach," Puri said.

When asked if the Chinese had said the G4 resolution was "divisive", Puri said "I don`t know where you got that from. That is not what the Chinese said."

On the first day of the negotiations, 60 countries presented their views as compared to 30 nations that had taken the floor on previous sessions.

On whether China is opposing Japan`s representation at the Council, Puri said that is something for the Chinese envoy to answer.

"China`s position has been in keeping with what it had said earlier in the Sanya declaration of the BRICS meeting last year in which China had said it "reiterates" the importance it attaches to the status of India, Brazil and South Africa in international affairs and understands and supports their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN," Puri said.

The G4 nations had for the first time issued a joint statement at the beginning of the plenary session, chaired by Afghanistan`s UN envoy Zahir Tanin, in which they had said they are "bound together by a common vision of an enlarged Security Council" that better reflects the geopolitical realities of the 21st Century.

"This Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, taking into consideration the contributions made by countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the need for increased representation of developing countries in both categories," the statement had said.

The G4 is targetting that the short resolution is adopted by the members by middle of this year and taken as the basis for further discussion in the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations.

Sources said it is crucial that the short resolution is pushed through by May-June "otherwise negotiations could go into a tailspin." An Indian official said the intergovernmental negotiations have been going on for about three years now and "we have to play hard ball now."

Later talking to reporters, Japan`s ambassador to the UN Tsuneo Nishida responded to reports that China has opposed the G4 draft and said China`s position on the UNSC reforms has remained stable.

"China has always been very cautious about the proposal of G4. Today`s statement (by China) is in line with the very traditional Chinese stance. I do not see any kind of new movement at all," he said.

Nishida said G4 does not see China`s position as a "setback".

"I do not see any setback. China has had the same position. In a sense they are stable. We believe we can get positive discussion between us. Today`s meeting was very fruitful," he said.

The intergovernmental negotiations on UNSC reform will continue through April and will see presentations by the African nations and the L69 group.