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Brazil’s Rocky Road to a Security Council Seat

Brazil’s active role in world affairs provides a solid foundation for its aspiration to become a  permanent member of the Security Council. However, from the legal point of view Brazil as well as other candidates need the unanimous agreement  of  its  present five Permanent Members.


By Ioan Voicu

On September 21 2004, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the General Debate at the 59th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations stated:


“We need a reform of the global development model, as well as international institutions that are effectively democratic, based on multilateralism and on the acknowledgment of the rights and aspirations of all peoples.”


He elaborated further on that emphasizing that only an international order based on multilateralism can promote peace and the sustainable development of nations.


Such an order must be based on a constructive dialogue among different cultures and world visions. No institution is better suited than the UN for ensuring the world’s convergence towards common goals.


In this context, Brazilian President recalled that the Security Council is the only source of legitimate action in the field of international peace and security.


But its composition must reflect today’s reality ”“ not perpetuate the post-World War II era.


Reform proposals that simply dress the current structure in new clothes and do not provide for an increase in the number of permanent members are manifestly insufficient. The difficulties inherent to any reform process must not make UN Member States lose sight of its urgency.


Many high representatives specifically mentioned the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, and the inclusion of countries like Brazil as permanent members as a first step in the process of making the United Nations a truly representative body.


Numerous  editorials, letters, news , political statements deal frequently these days  with the very topical  issue of the firm  determination of Brazil and some other countries to become  Permanent Members of the  U N Security Council whose role has expanded dramatically in scope and nature.


It is axiomatic that  the Security Council can fulfill its complex and highly difficult mandate only if it has  the maximum cooperation  of the whole international community. Therefore,it must enlarge its composition to better reflect today’s world and its vital requirements.
 
Brazil’s active role in world affairs provides a solid foundation for its aspiration to become a  permanent member of the Security Council.


However, from the legal point of view Brazil as well as other candidates need first of all the unanimous agreement  of  its  present five Permanent Members ( the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China) in order to take a permanent seat on the Council, in accordance with the UN Charter.


United Kingdom backs bids by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for permanent seats on the UN Security Council. The United States meanwhile supports Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the  Council but is reserving judgement on other potential candidates, including Germany, Brazil and India, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.


In this regard,  it should be recalled  that  a lot of skepticism and ambiguities surround the very idea of the  Security Council reform. These are illustrated by an obvious ten-year paralysis in the deliberations of the Open-ended Working Group on Reform of the Security Council.


Yet, some moderate optimism  is now  expressed that the Security Council reform  will be stimulated by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change chaired by Mr.  Anand   Panyarachun,former Prime Minister of Thailand, when it submits its recommendations in December 2004.


After that, the UN General Assembly will act on the  relevant recommendations  or take its own decisions on the Security Council reform.  Nobody can exclude that reform will continue to evade  existing expectations.


What is really certain  is the fact that all these matters are in the hands of Member States and Brazil and the Latin American Group   may use their  strong   political influence  in convincing other countries to inject more energy and celerity in their deliberations on the Security Council reform.


Dr. Ioan Voicu is a visiting professor at Assumption University, in Bangkok. Your comments are welcome at ioanvoicu@yahoo.com

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