United Nations | As differences persist among UN member states on the key issue of veto, India has asserted that the topic cannot be allowed to block the process of Security Council reform and called for consolidating the negotiating text on the basis of convergence reached so far. The issue of veto is important but then we cannot also allow the veto to have a veto over the process of Council reform itself, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said here yesterday.
Akbaruddin urged the chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) to consolidate the negotiating text on the basis of convergence reached on issues so far while also delineating the divergence and the contrarian view of some. He stressed that that chair should ask member states to build further on the consolidated and shortened text. Reiterating India’s national position on the issue of veto, Akbaruddin said as long as the veto exists, it should be extended to new permanent members in a reformed Security Council.
He further suggested that as a measure of flexibility and willingness for compromise, the use of the veto can be deferred till the Review Conference. The African Union does not wish to defer use. The difference, we see, as one of a degree than one of a kind, he said during the informal plenary meeting of the IGN on ‘Question of Veto’.
Giving an elaborate historical perspective on the use of the veto in the 70-year history of the UN, Akbaruddin said from the time the Security Council was created in 1946 till today, 317 vetoes have been cast and as result 230 draft resolutions or parts thereof have been vetoed in total. In effect 10 per cent of the 2,271 resolutions adopted till date have been vetoed.
He underscored that apart from the use of the veto within the Security Council, there have been expansion of the veto to the Council’s subsidiary bodies such as the Sanctions Committees. He said in these bodies the veto has been extended to all 15 members of the Committees who can block, or object or place on hold any request of a Member State, thereby in effect killing the proposal on grounds that consensus is required. As the well known idiom goes, ‘if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck’. Yes, we have by a procedural stratagem expanded the veto to all members of the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council far from restraining its use, he said.
He stressed that given the history of the use of veto, it is not surprising that a significant number of member states call for abolition of the veto or to limit and curtail its use to the extent possible. Several other member states also support voluntary restrictions on the use of veto in situations such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and gross human rights violations.