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Can’t allow veto to have a veto over UNSC reform process:India

Syed Akbaruddin

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 (and this is understandable) 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 further 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.

In a watershed election, which will witness the Left Front-Congress combine taking on the ruling Trinamool Congress, will start from April 4 and end on May 5.

The CPI-M, which was once vehemently against the introduction of computers in India on the ground that it would mean loss of jobs for the working class,  is also using the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter in order to reach out to the young voters.

Front-ranking CPI-M leaders like politburo member and state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra, CPI-M MP and politburo member Mohammed Salim, prominent face Sujan Chakraborty, youth leader Ritabrata Banerjee are regular users of Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook and Twitter have a democratic space where you can place your views within a few seconds and can reach lakhs of people within a minute. At times media houses are driven by their own policies, but in social media you are your boss, you can place your views, participate in a debate,” CPI-M state secretariat member Sridip Bhattacharya, who is in charge of the social media segment of the CPI-M, told PTI.

The CPI-M on its official Twitter handle “CPI(M)speaks” and Facebook page on a regular basis are uploading pics and posters of candidates who are contesting the elections.

Senior Congress leaders like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Omprakash Mishra too are regular on Facebook.

The BJP, on the other hand, though lacking in the organizational strength, has pulled out all stops to reach the masses through the digital media.

“Near about 70 lakh people have smartphones. More than one crore people in Bengal use one or the other form of social media, be it Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter. So we can easily send out our message to the masses through them,” BJP media in charge Krishanu Mitra told PTI.

BJP has also brought in Niraj Gaur in Bengal who had played a vital role in  helping the BJP win in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.

The BJP state unit has formed a separate Media and IT cell, complete with a call centre. The network will also allow leaders to talk directly to booth workers as well as whole-timers.

“The social media campaign has helped us in the last few months. Through small videos and messages we have been able to reach out to lakhs of people and inform them about incidents which local media has completely blacked out,” Mitra said.

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