BRICS nations call for UN Security Council reform

SANYA, China, April 14, 2011 (AFP) - The leaders of five of the world's major emerging powers called Thursday for UN Security Council reform to give developing nations more of a say on pressing global issues.

Presidents Hu Jintao and Dmitry Medvedev of China and Russia -- permanent UN Security Council members -- joined fellow BRICS nations India, Brazil and South Africa in the southern Chinese resort of Sanya for an annual summit aimed at raising the bloc's profile.

AFP - Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) shows Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff (C) to her seat as South African President Jacob Zuma (R) looks during a press conference at the BRICS summit in Sanya on April 14, 2011.

The latter three countries are currently rotating members of the Security Council but are seeking more permanent representation -- either as individual countries or for their regions -- to match their growing world influence.

"The reform of the United Nations and its Security Council is essential. It is just impossible... that we should still remain attached to institutional arrangements that were built in the post-war period," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told reporters.

Besides Hu, Medvedev and Rousseff, the wide-ranging morning talks were attended by South African President Jacob Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

During a joint media appearance after their talks, Zuma said: "We agreed on the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council system to make it more representative and effective."

China and Russia lent their support to those calls in a joint statement issued by the five nations -- which together represent more than 40 percent of the world's population.

"China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status of India, Brazil and South Africa in international affairs, and understand and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN," it said.

Both India and Brazil would like their own permanent seats on the Security Council -- moves backed by Russia but not yet formally endorsed by China.

Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, the so-called Group of Four (G4), renewed their longstanding campaign to get permanent Council seats last year.

African nations believe they should have up to two permanent seats on the council, with South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt all considered contenders. Arab and Latin American nations are also demanding stronger representation.

The BRICS summit statement, issued after the talks, also said the use of force in strife-torn Libya and the Arab world should be avoided.

South Africa was the only BRICS nation to approve a UN Security Council resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorising "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, opening the door to coalition air strikes.

The other four countries have expressed concern that the NATO-led campaign -- which aims to thwart Moamer Kadhafi's assault on rebels seeking to end his 41-year rule -- is causing civilian casualties.

China and Russia, who could have vetoed the resolution, both abstained.

Other news