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PGA Ashe's Group of Six Should Not Draft, China Says, UNSC Reform Spat

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- With the UN General Assembly set for a session on Security Council reform, after GA President John Ashe named a Group of Six advisers, now China has also chimed in with questions about the selection process.

  Inner City Press has obtained and is publishing, here, China's Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi's letter to President Ashe, which among other things states

"With reference to your letter dated 22 October 2013, by which you established an Advisory Group on Security Council reform, I would like to make the following observations: the reform of Security Council bears on the interests of all 193 Member States and the long-term interests of the United Nations. Full transparency, inclusiveness and predictability are essential in order to build confidence among Member States... Based on our discussions,it is our understanding that the Advisory Group will serve as an informal personal advisory body to you without any negotiating or drafting role."

  That's not what Germany and Brazil said about the Advisory Group, in the Security Council's recent open debate of Working Methods.

Inner City Press observed the Group of Six going into the PGA's office on Tuesday morning; they reportedly met again Wednesday at 1 pm. What is their role? What do they think it is?

  Inner City Press understands that on Tuesday PGA Ashe met with the (also unhappy) Eastern European group, as well as Wednesday with United for Consensus, on whose behalf Italy is set to speak on November 7.

The new UN Security Council reform advisory group picked by General Assembly President John Ashe, on which Inner City Press exclusively reported a week ago, has now been criticized in writing by Italy's Mission to the UN, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus grouping.  Bahrain has also chimed in, for the Arab Group, here.

   Inner City Press is publishing the UfC letter, here.

  The advisory group of six has three European countries -- Belgium, Liechtenstein and San Marino -- as well as Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and G4 member Brazil.

  At the Security Council's "Working Methods" session this week, Brazil and Germany both said the group would come up with a text to be the basis of inter-governmental negotiations. Click here for Inner City Press report. This made UfC and other member states more angry.

  The UfC letter, signed by Italian ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, concludes that "it is important that the entire membership has the opportunity to review and agree on the composition and terms of reference of the group." It asserts that Ashe's naming of the group violated "Decision 62/557, as well as subsequent decisions of the General Assembly."

  After Inner City Press' first exclusive article, Ashe's spokesperson Afaf Konja explained to the Press that his initial letter hadn't gone onto the UN's website until Inner City Press published it due to an oversight; she insisted that Uniting for Consensus had been consulted with. She wrote:

"On the letter not being up immediately on the PGA website: As openly disclosed, it was a pure administrative lapse which has already been addressed to ensure a more streamlined and full-proof process.

"On the criticism you refer to as 'Euro-top heavy': As explained, the selection is not based on geographic criteria. It weighs more on the experience of nations in peace-building, and an openness to see beyond differences. Essentially, an advisory group that can help see the process forward.

"Please note that the President of the General Assembly met with the UFC group, at their request. They expressed their concerns and they were heard. Moreover, the advisory group chosen is not a negotiated group."

But now, this letter. And Bahrain's for the Arab Group, saying the Advisory Group can't replace the process. Watch this site.


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