US consulting countries to break deadlock on adding UNSC permanent members: Biden

Arul Louis (IANS)–

The US is holding consultations with many countries to break the gridlock on reforming the UN Security Council and adding more permanent members, President Joe Biden said.

Speaking to world leaders at the high-level annual session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, he said: “We need to be able to break the gridlock that too often stymies progress and blocks consensus on the Council. We need more voices and more perspectives at the table.”

“The United States has undertaken serious consultation with many member states. And we’ll continue to do our part to push more reform efforts forward, look for points of common ground, and make progress in the year ahead,” he said.

READ: indica’s coverage of India’s bid to get a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council

He recalled that at last year’s meeting, he had announced support for increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members in the Council.

The US has said that it will support India, Germany and Japan to become permanent members along with representation for Africa and Latina America-Caribbean region.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who spoke before him, also called for reforming the Council.

The leaders of the other four permanent members of the Security Council are staying away from the high-level meeting handing over the spotlight to Biden, who made boosting international cooperation, especially with countries of the Global South, the centre-piece of his address.

He mentioned the Quad and the India-to-Europe Economic Corridor as examples of global cooperation he is pursuing.

“In every region of the world, the United States is mobilising strong alliances, versatile partnerships, common purpose, collective action to bring new approaches to our shared challenges,” he said.

“In the Indo-Pacific, we’ve elevated our Quad partnership with India, Japan, and Australia to deliver concrete progress for the people of the region on everything from vaccines to maritime security,” Biden said.

“The groundbreaking effort we announced at the G20 connect India – to connect India to Europe through the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel will spur opportunities and investment across two continents,” he said.

Turning to China, he offered an assurance that the US efforts to build international cooperation were not directed against Beijing which is paranoid about other countries cooperating.

“Now, let me be clear: None of these partnerships are about containing any country. They are about a positive vision for our shared future,” he said.

He held out to Beijing an olive branch while also throwing the gauntlet.

Offering to work with China “on issues where progress hinges on our common efforts”, he said that the US sought to “responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict”.

“We are for de-risking, not decoupling with China,” he declared.

But he warned, “We will push back on aggression and intimidation and defend the rules of the road, from freedom of navigation to overflight to a level economic playing field that have helped safeguard security and prosperity for decades.”

Biden assured Ukraine of unrelenting support as it fights Russia’s invasion.

He said: “Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalise Ukraine without consequence. The answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that many seats in the General Assembly Hall could become empty if Russia’s aggression is not stopped.

“The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order,” he said.

He cautioned countries against making deals with Russia, citing the fate of Putin’s collaborator Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private militia Wagner Group, who died in a mysterious plane crash.

“I am aware of their attempts to make some shady dealings behind the scenes. Evil cannot be trusted. Ask Prigozhin if one bets on Putin’s promises,” Zelensky said.

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