UNSC reform not `anytime soon`: US

Last week, Obama had endorsement India`s bid for permanent membership in the UNSC.

Washington/ New York: Just a week after
President Barack Obama`s endorsement for India`s permanent
membership in the UN Security Council, the US has said no
breakthrough is expected "anytime soon" on the UNSC reforms.

"I would caution against expecting any kind of
breakthrough anytime soon," Assistant Secretary of State
Robert Blake told journalists in New York and Washington
during a digital video press conference.

"I think the President and others have made it clear
that this (reform) is going to be a long and complicated
process and that we`re committed to a modest expansion both of
permanent and non-permanent seats," he said.

The official said the only "real change" Obama announced
was US support to India`s permanent seat in the 15-membered
wing of the UN, but "we have always been clear that this is
going to be a long-term and very complicated process."

Blake, however, asserted that no condition has been
imposed on India in lieu of the support for the Security
Council berth. "No, there`s not conditionality."

He said Obama has clarified that with a permanent
membership also comes "the burden of responsibility" to take
on some of the more challenging aspects of managing the
international system that includes Mayanmar (Burma) and Iran.

"So, I think you heard the President talk about Burma in
his statement to (the Indian) Parliament, and you saw the
references in the joint statement to the importance of Iran,"
Blake observed.

The US official said there are many contenders for
permanent seats as India, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and
Germany are competing for permanent membership.

"There`s the whole question of the veto. And so we need
to have a detailed and serious conversation with all of our
friends who are competing for these seats... I would deny that
we`re being sluggish on anything to do with the UN. This is a
very important priority for us."

Blake also clarified that Obama`s endorsement of India
for the Security Council was not a last minute decision, but
had been well thought out. It was kept hush-hush, since the
endorsement was a big news item.

"We wanted the President`s speech before parliament to
have an impact," he said.

"So that`s why we waited until the end to put that into
the joint statement...I don`t want to suggest in any way that
there was difficulties negotiating the joint statement and
like that.

"On the contrary, we had very good relations with our
friends in the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and in the
Prime Minister`s Office to move ahead on all aspects of the
(Obama) visit," Blake said.

Meanwhile, India that enters the Security Council as a
non-permanent member in January 2010 will be pushing to speed
up the reform process during its two-year term.

"We are entering the Security Council after a gap of 19
years...We have no intentions of leaving the Security
Council," Hardeep Singh Puri, India`s envoy to the UN, said last week.

"In other words before we complete our two year term we
will be a permanent member," the envoy added.