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Remarks by EAM at IBSA Ministerial Meeting

September 25, 2010

Your Excellency, Foreign Minister of South Africa
Your Excellency, Foreign Minister of Brazil

I am delighted to be here among friends once again. Let me begin by thanking our host, Her Excellency Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation of South Africa and the South African delegation for the excellent arrangements made for this meeting.

IBSA is a unique forum in that it brings together three dynamic democracies from three continents bound together by shared values and a common commitment to democracy, pluralism, human rights and the rule of law. These attributes make IBSA an exemplary body for global cooperation.

I am particularly happy that we have this opportunity to meet on the eve of the elections for the UN Security Council non-permanent seats (for the period 2011-2012) at which India and South Africa are the sole candidates from their respective Groups. In a unique and fortuitous development, all three of our countries may have the opportunity to serve together in the Security Council from 1st January 2011. I would like to wish South Africa the very best. We hope to join Brazil in the Council from next year.

It is no coincidence that all three of our countries are key drivers behind the demand for greater democratization and reform of the UN system. I think we all agree that our collaboration should focus foremost on reform of the UN Security Council to make the organization representative of contemporary global realties.

UN Security Council reforms

Excellencies, our meeting assumes added significance as it is being held following the renewed momentum imparted to the reform process by the start of text-based negotiations from July this year. This was made possible by the demand from more than 140 countries for the launch of text-based negotiations. Our Missions here in New York played a commendable leadership role in mobilizing support for this demand.

India, Brazil and South Africa are important constituents of the L.69 Group on Council reform, besides being part of the G4 and African Groups which have been extremely critical to the reform process and will remain so.

We are aware of the sensitivities within the African Group on the matter. We are willing to go by South Africa’s advice both in respect of strategy and tactics to progress the reform process.

As my South African counterpart is aware, the G4 Foreign Ministers met yesterday and had very useful and substantive discussions. We also issued a press statement. This forward looking statement explicitly supports the central role of Africa and the need for African representation in the permanent membership in an enlarged Council.

As we discuss modalities for enhanced cooperation, I would like to reiterate the need for us to remain steadfast in our demand for expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership. Any dilution in our principled position would weaken the movement for UN reform and strengthen the hands of those who favour the status quo.

It is my delegation’s sincere hope that reform of the Security Council will be achieved by the end of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly so that IBSA countries could convert their short-term presence in the Council into a more permanent one.

Collaboration at the UNSC in 2011

With our shared values and ideologies and common priorities, the IBSA countries should be in a position to collaborate closely on major issues before the agenda of the Security Council. I would propose that our PRs remain in close contact to exchange ideas and coordinate positions.

In January 2011, the international community will have to address important developments in the Sudan. This is likely to be among the major issues that the Security Council would have to address. We need to coordinate our positions on this. South Africa has been playing an important role and we look forward to your wise counsel on the matter.

The Iran nuclear issue is another important matter that our three countries would have to deal with. We know that Brazil has been playing an active role in the Council and outside. India has substantial interests in the region and traditional friendship with Iran. This applies in large measure also to South Africa. Clearly we have a great deal of shared interests. Our delegations should coordinate positions on the matter.

Our three countries are also major peacekeeping nations. We have built up a large reservoir of experience and tools. We hold a lot of common positions on the matter. We look forward to exchanging views on this important area as well.

I would also advocate the establishment of a formal mechanism for institutionalized exchanges between our Foreign Ministries on UN issues, particularly those involving the Security Council.

I am eager to listen to your views and suggestions.

Thank you

New York
September 25, 2010

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