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On Small Five Reforms, As P5 Confab with PGA, Two-Thirds Vote Required?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 15, updated 6:58 pm -- At the UN, the Small Five got the attention of the Permanent Five members of the Security Council. It was after 5 pm when the P5, each representated at the level of Permanent Representative, came out from the President of the General Assembly's office.

They huddled, and afterward one of the Permanent Representatives confirmed to Inner City Press that the topic was "big, the reform of the Security Council. This requires a two-thirds vote. We hope they [the Small Five] will just withdraw it."

  Inner City Press first wrote about the Small Five proposal on May 2. Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland make up the Small Five. Unlike the G4, UFC and L69 the Small Five is pushing to reform the Council's "working methods," with a resolution making 21 reform points.

  These include no vetoes of actions aimed at preventing or ending genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, given the General Assembly a greater role in selecting the Secretary General, and improving due process in sanctions lists.

  Earlier on Tuesday May 15 another P5 source told Inner City Press that the Legal Adviser -- presumably Secretary General Ban Ki-moon top lawyer Patricia O'Brien -- had dutifully issued a ruling that a two thirds vote, rather than simple majority, should be required on the draft resolution of the Small Five to recommend Council reforms.

  Back on May 2, a proponent Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that it was 90% sure that this resolution will be put to a vote on May 16. And now? Watch this site.

Update of 6:50 pm -- Inner City Press asked the President of the General Assembly, when he emerged at 6:45 pm on the way to the Jamaica-sponsored concerned in the GA Hall, if two thirds or 50 percent will be required.

  "We are still going through it," he said, "in the morning." But what of the Legal Adviser's ruling? On the way into the North Lawn building, one of the Small Five Permanent Representatives told Inner City Press, "onward to victory!"

Update of 6:58 pm -- When the Small Five, and entourage, came out later from the PGA's office, one of their representatives told Inner City Press with a smile, "We say simple majority and that it will be adopted by consensus!" We'll see.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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