The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which will complete a year next month, showed that the UN Security Council (UNSC) is incapable of addressing the issues that arise from a permanent member having veto powers, according to UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi.
Kőrösi on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Delhi where all these issues were discussed along with the burning issue of reforming the multilateral system.
“A Permanent Member that has veto power is the one that is attacking its neighbour. It created a situation that the Security Council is incapable of addressing this issue. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine the Security Council has not been able to take any decision on the war in Ukraine. So it is an absurd situation, which shows dysfunction of the Security Council,” the UNGA President said at an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
Kőrösi also said, “If millions of people out there were expecting the UN to deliver so that wars would not be repeated, they are frustrated.”
Addressing the media later in the day, the UNGA President said when the UN was created, the Permanent Members, or the P-5 – US, UK, China, France and Russia, were given veto power so that member countries can be encouraged and not to “stall” the processes.
Elaborating on the need to reform the UNSC, the Hungarian diplomat said the body functions on issues that were prevalent in 1945 and 1946, when the world was coming out of the World War II.
“Since then much has changed. The world economy has changed. The balance of power has changed … We need the council reformed. Does it have a timeframe? No. Does it have a negotiated text? No, it does not. Does it have a revival procedure at work? Not really,” he quipped.
He said while “intellectually” it will not be difficult to reform the UNSC, it cannot be done by the member states because they are “divided”. “Let us face facts: it is no longer 1945,” he said.
“Our institutions cannot hope to overcome the challenges of today, when they act in the framework of yesterday. The need for reform of the UN Security Council was directly raised by more than one third of world leaders during the opening of the General Assembly last September,” the UNGA President said.
He said that is a “clear political signal…There is a process in place at the UN to achieve this. But its outcomes leave much to be desired”.
‘Russia-Ukraine War Brought Threat Of Nuclear War’
According to the UNGA President, the world as well as the UN were currently facing “complex and interconnected crises.”
“We are approaching the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine. A war that has cost countless lives and caused untold suffering and displacement. A war that has touched the four corners of our planet. A war that has unleashed an energy and food crisis across the globe. A war that even brought back the unconscionable: the threat of nuclear war,” Kőrösi highlighted.
He also said that beyond the physical impacts of the war, its consequences on the international rules-based system, on the multilateral order, on trust amongst member states and on public trust in the United Nations have been “profound”.
“I have been firm in my calls to uphold the UN Charter, vocal in my support for dialogue and diplomacy and clear in expressing the commitment of the General Assembly to defend the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a recent member of the Security Council, I commend India for your calls for peace, in Ukraine and across the world,” Kőrösi further said.
He said the member states have been asked to take a two-pronged approach to our work.
“In the UN General Assembly, the parliament of the world, where ambition meets action, I am hopeful that we can, we will, and we must prevail. Inaction is simply not an option. I have challenged Member States of the United Nations to take a two-pronged approach to our work,” he said.
He added, “To narrow their focus to achieve real results for those who mandate them and those who rely on them. To focus on quality of outcome, over quantity of output. That dual approach is focused on crisis management and transformation.”