Obama spotlights failure of UN reform

US President Barack Obama`s support for India`s bid for permanent membership on the UN Security Council put the spotlight on the failure of the United Nations to reform its most powerful body.

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2010, 21:50 PM IST

United Nations: US President Barack Obama`s
support for India`s bid for permanent membership on the UN
Security Council put the spotlight on the failure of the
United Nations to reform its most powerful body.

Despite widespread agreement that the Security Council
needs to reflect the 21st century world not the international
power structure after World War II, the 192-member General
Assembly has been unable for three decades to agree on a
reform proposal.

The gridlock was evident during a debate Thursday:
Supporters of three rival proposals to reform the council
showed no signs of budging.

Since 1979, the UN has been talking about expanding
the 15-member Security Council. But every proposal has been
rejected, primarily because of rivalries between countries and
regions more concerned about their own self-interests than the
improved functioning of the United Nations.

The Security Council is powerful because it is
responsible for maintaining international peace and security
and can authorise military action and impose sanctions, so
membership is coveted.

The five permanent members, the US, Russia, China,
Britain and France have veto power, so their unanimous support
is essential for any reform to be adopted. The 10
non-permanent members represent all regions of the world and
are elected for two-year terms.

PTI