Multilateralism is the only way in this era of Globalizing world. The United Nations (UN) supports values that make the foundation of this emerging era: freedom, justice and the peaceful resolution of disputes; better standards of living; equality and tolerance and human rights. Globalization can work only if these values are paramount. These are challenges that no country can resolve all alone. The UN is the only Organization that has the worldwide membership, the global access and universal legitimacy needed to successfully address these trends. (Moon, 2008)
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which is a vital organ of UN body has the mandate of maintaining international peace and security. Though, UNSC was formulated in the aftermath of World War II by its victors, its constellation is considered by many to be anachronistic in character. At present, UNSC comprises fifteen member states. Out of these, the five permanent members of the Council include China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United states. These countries also wield a veto on all non-procedural matters. The remaining ten non-permanent members serve two year term and are not eligible for immediate re-election. The regional distribution of non-permanent members is as follows: one seat for Eastern Europe; two seats for the Western Europe and Others Group, two seats for the Latin America and Caribbean Group, two seats for Asian countries, and three seats for African countries (Matthew Gould, 2017).
Though, UNSC has been faced with most vociferous calls for reforms, it has turned out to be one of the most difficult challenges of the last decades in terms of the Council’s adoption of changes to institutional structure and decision-making procedures. Even if meaningful progress in negotiations may barely be noticeable, the call for reforms remains on the international agenda and it is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Since the establishment of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in 1993, there have been repeated “windows of opportunity” for change, including the 2005 World Summit (Madeleine O. Hosli, 2015).
The topic of reformation of UNSC, both in the academic space and the United Nations, mostly revolves around six key dimensions: veto rights, working methods, categories of membership, regional representation, the size of the council and the relationship between UN Security Council and UN General Assembly. (Volacu, 2018). After the 1963 Charter amendment, the composition of the UN Security Council could not be adapted again, in spite of the presentation of a variety of proposals for reform. Power of the P-5 States has come under criticism, leading some to claim that the persistence of the veto precludes the Council from being able to “symbolize democracy” (Madeleine O. Hosli R.M., 2011).
In 1993, the UN General Assembly established the Open-Ended Working Group on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the UN Security Council along with other matters related to the Security Council. In 1997, Ismail Razali, Chairman of the Working Group and the President of the General Assembly, presented the plan for Council reform which anticipated an expansion of the Council membership from 15 to 24 by adding five permanent members without the right of veto and four non-permanent members (Runjic, 2017).
In 2004, a Panel commissioned by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, put forward two models for reform. Both models involved a distribution of seats among four major regional areas, identified as Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas. Model A provided for six new permanent seats, with no veto, and three new 2-year-term non-permanent seats. Model B envisaged no new permanent seats, but rather a new category of eight 4-year renewable-term seats and one new 2-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat. In 2005 hopes were high about some fruitful result. Mr. Annan urged the member states to consider the two models recommended by the Panel in his report and to agree on making a decision before September 2005. Kofi Annan had also remarked at this juncture that “It would be very preferable for member states to take this vital decision by consensus” (Eugenio V. Garcia, 2018).
After the expansion proposed by the Panel, three main groups of countries emerged with their own proposals regarding the expansion of the UN Security Council. The first group consisted of Brazil, India, Japan and Germany (The Group of Four or G-4), which are also the candidates for new permanent seats in the UN Security Council. The G-4’s proposal from 2005 was closest to the model A, anticipating expansion of the Security Council with six new permanent seats without the right of veto, and four non-permanent seats; in other words, according to their proposal, the Council would consist of 25 members. According to the G-4’s proposal, two permanent seats would be awarded to African States, two to Asian States (India and Japan), one to Latin American and Caribbean States (Brazil), and one to Western European and other States (Germany).
United for Consensus (UFC) was the second group which emerged as a reaction to G-4 and their proposal. Among others, it included Argentina, Italy, South Korea and Pakistan. The UFC group opposed the introduction of new permanent seats in the Security Council and proposed 10 new non-permanent seats in the Council. The UFC’s proposal is reminiscent of Model B, as it includes the possibility of re-election of the non-permanent members of the Council. According to the UFC proposal, the expanded Security Council would consist of 25 members – the five current permanent members and 20 non-permanent members. From the remaining 20 non-permanent seats, six would be awarded to the African States, five to Asian States, four to Latin American and Caribbean States, three to Western European and other States, and two to Eastern European States.
Finally, the third group consisted of African countries gathered in the African Union (AU). Their proposal anticipated an expansion of the Security Council with six new permanent seats with the right of veto, and five new non-permanent seats. In other words, according to their proposal, the Council would consist of 26 members.
The clearly conflicting proposals presented by the G-4 countries, UFC and African countries testified to a deep division between Member States with regard to the Security Council’s reform (Runjic, 2017).
In this study, Pakistan and Romania’s positions on UNSC reforms are being assessed, on the basis of their similarities, differences and avenues of collaboration.
PAKISTAN’S POSITION ON UNSC REFORMS
In general, the crux of Pakistan’s approach towards UN Security Council has been based on its increased democratization. For this purpose, Pakistan supports the increase in the number of non-permanent members in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make it more representative and more democratic. Pakistan has been consistent in its stance that UNSC reforms should make this vital organ for peace and security more democratic, effective and responsive to the aspirations of the member states and that a reformed UNSC should reflect interests of wider membership of the UN. In the past, the US had advocated a ‘criteria-based approach under which potential members must be well qualified, based on factors such as: economic size, population, military capacity, commitment to democracy and human rights, financial contributions to the UN and contributions to UN peacekeeping. Specific to India’s ambitions to join the UNSC as a permanent Member, Pakistan has always stressed the point that India did not qualify to become a full member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), given its record of violations of UN resolutions, particularly pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. Fact of the matter is that India has ignominious record of showing utter disregard to the UN and its resolutions, apart from violation of human rights. Therefore, Pakistan and other South Asian countries would not feel comfortable if India is provided an opportunity to further its interests and designs.
There is a general perception that prospects of world peace would be further obscured if the veto power was given to the new permanent members of the Security Council, as the misuse of the veto power in the past by some permanent members was the reason for the Security Council’s inability to maintain international peace. The glaring example was the use of veto-power on various resolutions on Kashmir and Palestine by former Soviet Union and the US respectively. During the Cold War era, the veto power was used for advancing interests of some super-powers to the detriment of smaller Nations States. Therefore, even if the permanent membership of Security Council is to be increased, no country should be given the veto power. Rather, as an ideal case, Pakistan opines that the existing permanent members should also be stripped off the veto power, which is a symbol of absolutism and negates the very concept of democratic approach, while contradicting the principle of equality amongst the members of the United Nations. Pakistan is also of the position that the developed countries or big powers should not give importance to the size of the market or to the so-called biggest democracy in the world, as it will amount to giving special consideration to the so-called ‘big and mighty’. Specific to India in this context, Pakistan is of the stance that India should be asked to improve its human rights record, and ensure that it will neither use brute force against its neighbours nor will try to destabilize any of the neighbouring countries. Earlier, India has been claiming that it has support of 102 countries, but it appears that it does not enjoy the support of even few dozen countries at present. It, however, found support in European countries like UK, France and Germany that had gone out of the way to lobby for India. Italy, Pakistan and many other countries oppose India’s inclusion in UNSC as permanent member.
To summarize, Pakistan has been advocating a reform in UN Security Council based on the principle of sovereign equality of member states as enshrined in the UN Charter. Pakistan is itself not seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Owing to its strong commitment to democratization at the level of the UN, Pakistan has always unambiguously advocated for expansion in the non-permanent membership category of the UN Security Council. Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar had for instance once remarked that Pakistan wanted a reform that would lead to a more united and strengthened United Nations. She added that Pakistan wanted a reform where small and medium states had more opportunity to serve at the UN Security Council and make their recommendations towards international peace and stability. According to her, the very notion of permanent membership negated the essence of democracy and accountability. Pakistan therefore ‘opposed creation of new centres of privilege by expansion in the permanent membership category for individual member states’ (The Frontier Star, 2011).
ROMANIA’S POSITION ON UNSC REFORMS
Romania supports the enlargement of the UN Security Council in both categories of permanent and non-permanent membership. Romania has a perception that in this way, it can reflect changed global realities and that such an increase would strike a balance between enhancing the opportunities for participation and increasing the efficiency of the Council.
Romania’s option goes for an additional five permanent seats both for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as for the most industrialized countries, like Germany and Japan. As regards the rotating category, Romania continues to favour the addition of new seats for countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, thus making it possible to have an enlarged Council of 24 members. Irrespective of the final formula, Romania stresses the importance for the Eastern European Group to get an additional non‑permanent seat at the UNSC. Romania also puts forward the option of the establishment of rotating permanent seats to be examined by each specific Regional Group, even if it is not very much in favour of adding new categories of membership.
Romania favours some changes in the current shape of the Regional Groups, especially if the future reform of the UN Security Council is to be linked with specific regional arrangements. As regards the right of veto, which remains the most sensitive issue within the UNSC reform agenda, Romania has no problems with the idea of its application for future permanent members. From Romania’s viewpoint, veto remains an essential tool for the UN Security Council’s capability to preserve international peace and security. Romania considers periodic reviews of the structure and functioning of the Security Council as an important piece in reform exercise and suggests that 15 years would be a reasonable time frame to assess the performance of the reform package (Romania2019.eu, 2019).
COMPARISON AND CONTRASTS OF PAKISTAN AND ROMANIA’S POSITIONS ON UNSC REFORMS
As the positions of Pakistan and Romania on the issue of UNSC reforms are considered, a number of comparable and contrasting features are discernable. In the following lines, we shall attempt to analyse these features.
As for the comparable features, both Pakistan and Romania are in favour of the increase in the number of non-permanent membership within the UN Security Council on the basis of regional groupings. At this juncture, Romania’s position slightly departs from that of Pakistan as its emphasis within the context of increase in the non-permanent membership of the UNSC is also premised on representation of Eastern European Group within the UNSC.
As for the increase in the permanent membership of the UNSC, Pakistan and Romania stand on divergently different planks. As for Pakistan, there is no ambiguity in Pakistan’s principled position on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) expansion issue. Pakistan opposes expansion in the permanent category of membership of the Security Council as it would perpetuate the centres of privilege and would run counter to the objectives of reforming the Council to the changing realities. Pakistan strongly believes that any proposal for reforming the Security Council should be equitable, fair and democratic. It should provide for enhanced representation from the developing world, correspond to the legitimate position of Africa and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and provide for a greater role of the regions in determining their representation in the Council. Pakistan therefore continues to work with like-minded countries within the framework of “Uniting-for Consensus” and in coordination with friendly countries to pursue the objective of a democratic and effective Security Council (Agency, 2009).
In contrast to Pakistan’s position, Romania’s position on the issue of permanent membership at the UNSC is quite different. Romania indeed favours the idea of having increased permanent membership at the UNSC. In this context, Romania favours the bid of India, Germany and Japan for permanent membership of the UNSC. The reason for Romania’s favor of Germany is understandable as Romania is a member of the European Union and any addition in the permanent membership of the UNSC from EU would count in favour of the Union and its membership. As for Japan, Romania’s strategic partnership with the US and resultant influence thereof on Romania could serve as explanatory factors for Romania’s support for Japan’s bid for permanent membership of the UNSC. Romania also has a novel idea of making the addition of new permanent membership at the UNSC to be a rotational feature based on regional groupings. It appears that by suggesting so, Romania probably is looking at the possibility of enjoying such a coveted position in long-term future in case, such a formula is devised on a regional basis. Thus, in case rotational permanent membership formula on regional basis is devised and a seat or so is allocated to Eastern Europe etc. Romania may stand a chance to join in as a permanent member of the UNSC.
As for the veto power, Pakistan has a principled stance against this discriminatory tool. Romania on the other hand has not only a flexible position on this issue for existing permanent members but is also in favour of expanding this privilege to new permanent members. The possible utility of this veto for EU members joining the UNSC as permanent member for a country which itself is a member of the EU is clearly understandable.
The main question remains as to what avenues of collaboration exist between Pakistan and Romania as it concerns Pakistan and Romania’s approaches towards the UNSC reforms. To begin with, owing to their different geographical orientations and preferences, finding avenues for active collaboration between the two countries on account of all the aspects of UNSC reforms is a difficult proposition. The main aspect, where Pakistan and Romania could actively collaborate however is the non-permanent membership of the UNSC on the regional basis. It is this element coupled with Pakistan and Romania’s positions of fair and equitable distributions of seats within the UNSC that limited avenues of collaboration between the two countries on UNSC reforms may be expanded. As for the non-permanent membership, both countries could support each other for representation of, for instance, their sub-regions on a rotational basis.
This paper has examined the existing approaches of Pakistan and Romania towards UNSC reforms. Pakistan’s approach towards the UNSC reforms is premised on the basic principle of democratization within the Council; increase in the non-permanent membership of UNSC and doing away with the discriminatory tool of veto power by permanent members. Romania, on the other side, while in favour of increase in the non-permanent membership of UNSC is also in favour of increase in permanent membership of UNSC, possibly on rotational basis. Romania is also quite flexible on the issue of veto power. The particular characteristics of Romania’s approach towards UNSC reforms are essentially guided by the country’s EU membership and its strategic partnership with the US. There exist a number of contrasting features between the approaches of Pakistan and Romania as regards the UNSC reforms. The only major avenue of active collaboration between the two countries exists on the issue of increase in the non-permanent membership of the UNSC at present. Last but not the least, as Pakistan is in principle opposed to absolutism within the Council and stands in favour of democratization, it may continue to engage with democratic countries such as Romania on these principles to explore as to how these countries could come closer to the principled stance of Pakistan and thus collaborate in turning the UNSC into a fair, transparent and democratic entity of the UN.
Agency, X. N. (2009, June 29). No change for Pakistan’s position on UNSC reform: spokesman. General Interest Periodicals–China.
Agepress. (2018, April 05). Ambassador Ion Jinga: Romania’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on UN Security Council, priority zero. Retrieved from Nine O’Clock: https://www.nineoclock.ro/2018/04/05/ ambassador-ion-jinga-romanias-candidacy-for-a-non-permanent-seat-on-un-security-council-priority-zero/
Eugenio V. Garcia, N. B. (2018). A Seat at the Top? A Historical Appraisal of Brazil’s Case for the UN Security Council. SAGE Open, 1-13.
Jamil, M. (2017, March 11). Pakistan’s stance on UNSC reforms. General Interest Periodicals–Pakistan.
Madeleine O. Hosli, R. M. (2011). Squaring the circle? Collective and distributive effects of United Nations Security Council reform. Rev Int Organ, 6:163-187.
Madeleine O. Hosli, T. D. (2015). Rising Powers and Multilateral Institutions. International Political Economy Series. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Matthew Gould, M. D. (2017). Reform of the United Nations Security Council: equity and efﬁciency. Public Choice, 145-168.
Mohammad, J. (2017, June 24). UN reforms based on democratic principles. General Interest Periodicals–Pakistan.
Moon, B. K. (2008). The United Nations today. United Nations Publications. New York: United Nations Department of Public Information.
Romania2019.eu. (2019). Statement on the United Nations Security Council Reform and Expansion. Retrieved from Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations: https://mpnewyork.mae.ro/en/node/461
Runjic, L. (2017). Reform of the United Nations Security Council: The Emperor Has No Clothes. Brazilian Journal of International law, 267-284.
The Frontier Star, K. (2011, November 25). Pakistan wants United Nation Security Council reform on principle of sovereign equality: Hina Rabbani. General Interest Periodicals–Pakistan.
Volacu, A. (2018). A priori voting power distribution under contemporary Security Council reform proposals. Journal of International Relations and Development, 21 (247-274).
PhD Research Scholar in the field of Political Science / International Relations at National University of Political Studies and Public Administration [Şcoala Internaţională de Studii Politice şi Administrative (SNSPA)], Bucharest