Global Policy Forum

India Proposes Panel of 3 Names

Zee News
May 18, 2006

: India has proposed that the UN Security Council provide a slate of three candidates for the General Assembly for the election of the world body's next Secretary-General, breaking a long-standing tradition under which the council sends only one name, diplomatic sources said here today.

The one name recommended is usually approved by the Assembly by acclamation.

The sources said that at meeting at the Malaysian mission on Wednesday, representatives several non-aligned countries discussed the elements of the proposal presented by India and decided to set up a working group to refine the language and prepare a draft resolution for the consideration of the 191-member assembly.

The aim, they say, is to ensure wider participation by the membership in the selection process of the top executive of the organization and to ensure that he or she is not influenced by the major powers. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has a strength of 114 in the 191-member assembly.

India has been at forefront of efforts to reform the process of selection of the secretary-general. Currently, the decision is made mostly by five permanent members--the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China. Under the United Nations charter, the assembly elects Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Security Council.

Addressing the assembly recently, Indian ambassador to UN Nirupam Sen had decried Secretary General acting as Secretary to the Security Council and General to the Assembly. He wanted that to be reversed so that the incumbent acts as Secretary to the assembly and general to the council.

Pakistan expressed reservation about the proposal, saying it might lead to confrontation with the five permanent members, something it wants to avoid. It said it was also concerned whether the proposal was genuine or was moved with some other consideration. Obviously, diplomats said, Pakistan believes that India's suggestion might have been made in the context of its wider efforts to get a permanent seat in the council.

Participants in the meeting said the Indian proposal also suggests that nomination of the candidates and the appointment should be discussed at private meetings and a vote in the security council and the general assembly, if taken, should be by secret ballot. The Indian proposal would also urge that Assembly President to conduct consultations of member states with the candidates, they said.

Earlier, suggestion have been made that the candidates meet the assembly members or regional groups in what a diplomat described as "interview." That would enable the member-states to assess the candidates and also impress on the candidates they are not obliged to only five permanent council members.

The draft is expected to be finalized within NAM by the end of the week and then discussed with other member-countries, a NAM diplomat said.

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