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Sushma Swaraj discusses UN Security Council reform with counterparts

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of early reform of the UN Security Council during her meetings with counterparts from China and the IBSA and G4 blocs, saying that concerted efforts should be made to complete the reform process by 2015, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

PTI| Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 11:00 AM IST

New York: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of early reform of the UN Security Council during her meetings with counterparts from China and the IBSA and G4 blocs, saying that concerted efforts should be made to complete the reform process by 2015, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Swaraj held back-to-back meetings on the second day of her visit to New York, holding bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Brazilian Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Figueiredo Machado and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

She participated in multilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Brazil, Germany and Japan in the G4 bloc, Commonwealth foreign ministers, SAARC, IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), BRICS and Latin American countries in the CELAC quartet.

The G4 bloc wants the "full support" of the African continent, Swaraj said adding that South African Foreign Minister Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane assured her that Africa will support India along with the G4 in their bid to reform the 15-nation Security Council.

"Unless we get the support of the African continent, the reforms cannot move forward," Swaraj told Indian reporters after her meeting with IBSA ministers.

She termed her meeting with her IBSA counterparts as a "big supplementary" one that took forward the agenda of the G4 meeting which was to seek reform and expansion of the UN Security Council.

Swaraj said that in all her meetings, apart from discussing bilateral issues, she stressed that reforms of the UN body should happen by 2015, which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the UN.

"Time is less. Since 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the UN, this milestone decision of reforming the UNSC should be done by next year," she said.

She said she had good meetings with the G4 bloc and the South African Minister. She also raised the UNSC reform issue with China.

Swaraj termed as "successful" her meetings over the last two days particularly in the direction of the UNSC reforms process.

She added that having so many bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN session is an "accomplishment". 

After the IBSA meeting, Swaraj gifted her South African counterpart a hand-painted portrait of the nation's former president Nelson Mandela.

On the first day of her US tour, Swaraj had met her with her counterparts from UK, Sudan, the Maldives, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Greece and Nigeria in back-to-back meetings.

During the meetings, Swaraj invited the countries to invest in the ambitious projects and proposals unveiled by the new Indian government.

The countries expressed support for New Delhi's permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

Swaraj's counterparts also conveyed their congratulations to the new Indian government for the victory in the general election.

Expressing her gratitude, Swaraj invited them to participate in the government's ambitious projects and proposals through their investments in the Indian economy.

There was strong support expressed during these meetings for India's permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

The leaders had also discussed other topical issues before the UN at the ongoing 69th session of the General Assembly.

Swaraj is scheduled to meet nearly 100 foreign ministers during her visit to the US and will join the delegation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will reach New York today.

Before Modi reaches New York, Swaraj would participate in a bilateral meeting with Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry and also in a ministerial level meeting of the Committee on Palestine.