Kenya called for a major expansion of the United Nations Security Council, but the United States and other big powers urged a more cautious approach during a UN General Assembly debate on Tuesday.
Kenyan UN Ambassador Lazarus Ombai Amayo said the 15-member council should be enlarged to include “no less than 26 members.”
Africa should be “fully represented” in the UN body charged with promoting international peace and security,” he added.
Other African nations took similar positions in this latest instalment of the decades-long debate on Security Council reform.
Tanzanian Ambassador Modest Jonathan Mero lamented the slow pace of efforts to make the council more reflective of global political realities in the 21st century.
t has been 53 years since the only expansion of the Security Council, which involved an increase solely in the number of non-permanent members, noted South African envoy Jerry Matthews Matjila.
Tanzania’s Ambassador Mero called specifically for Africa to be given two permanent seats on the council “with all the prerogatives and privileges, including the right of veto.”
Since the UN’s inception in 1945, the Security Council has vested veto power exclusively with its five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US.
And the US made clear in Tuesday’s debate that it opposes any change in the veto formula.
Washington will support only a “modest expansion” of the council’s members, US delegate Robert Hunter added. He did not offer a suggested size of a reformed council.
Russia also expressed unwillingness to accept a sweeping overhaul of the membership and working methods.
Moscow’s delegate Alexey Boguslavs affirmed the importance of retaining veto power, saying its use had more than once spared the UN from involvement in “dubious enterprises.”
China took a more conciliatory approach on the issue of council makeup.