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UN getting closer to agreeing on Security Council reform: Lajcak

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United Nations, Sep 14: UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak has said that the Security Council reform process has made headway in the past year and “we are getting closer to agreeing” on what it should be like.

Emphasising the need for a reform, he told reporters on Thursday that the inability of the Security Council to unite and act overshadows the positive work of the UN and the entire system “gets criticised harshly”.

Therefore, the importance of the reform process “goes well beyond the role of the Security Council”, he said.

Lajcak said that he had tried to ensure that the reform process was a credible one “and I think we succeeded on that”.

“I think here, the views of different member states would differ,” he conceded. “For some, we went very far; for some others, this was not far enough.”

The Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) as the reform process is known, was unable during the current session of the General Assembly to agree on a negotiating text, the most fundamental requirement for meaningful negotiations and in June rolled over the task to next session that begins later this month.

Lajcak appointed Ambassadors Kaha Imnadze of Georgia and Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates as co-chairs of the IGN to revitalise the process stalled for over a decade.

“The current composition of the UN Security Council is not representative because it does not reflect the realities of 2018, of the 21st century. It copies the realities of 1945. So therefore, the call for reform is just, and it is not denied,” he said.

Despite a universal acceptance of the need for change, the reform process faced practical issues “like, if expanded, to how many members? What about veto rights? What about permanent, non-permanent, semi-permanent?”

But he added that the UN members “have to feel that the Security Council represents them all and they have to identify with the work of the Security Council.

“And this will not be the case for as long as there are important countries that believe that they are not adequately represented, or continents, and obviously starting with Africa.”

Lajcak said that he was certain that the member states would not allow the reform process to become a “routine question” and go around in circles.

“Honestly, I was taken aback by the level of emotions and also the level of frustration when we started the discussions about Security Council reform during this session,” he added.

“The Member States have very clear, very strong positions, and many of them will make sure that this will not become a routine.”

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Putin warns US over deploying missiles in European nations

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vladimir putin

Moscow, Feb 20 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said he would deploy missiles capable of striking the US if Washington decides to station missiles in European nations within striking distance of Russia.

Giving his annual address to the Parliament, Putin said he was not looking for a confrontation with the US and nor would his country be the first to deploy missiles once Donald Trump’s administration completes the process of withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

But he warned of tit-for-tat measures in the case of an escalation by Washington, Efe news reported.

“Russia would be obliged to manufacture and station weaponry that could not only be used against territories where the direct threat comes from but also decision-making centres,” Putin told lawmakers. “We know how to do it and we would put these plans into effect as soon as such a threat became a reality,” he added.

Russia announced it would withdraw from the INF at the beginning of February following Washington’s unilateral decision to break away from the pact, a process that is set to be completed in six months’ time. Either country can backtrack during that period.

Washington and Moscow both accuse each other of breaching the agreement.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the then Soviet Union and the US on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

Putin previously said that Russia’s response to the US withdrawal would be “symmetrical” but that nevertheless, Moscow would still refrain from deploying weapons with a range between 500 km and 5,500 km in European Russia and other global regions, so long Washington also agreed not to.

The Russian President questioned Washington’s justifications for pulling out of the treaty. “Our US partners should have been honest about it instead of using thought-up accusations to justify their unilateral exit from the treaty,” he said.

“They should have done it the same way they quit the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2004 when they simply pulled out, openly and honestly.”

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Pakistan government spokesperson’s personal Twitter account suspended

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Pakistan Mohammad Faisal
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal (Photo Credit- AP)

Islamabad, Feb 20: Twitter has suspended the personal account of Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal.

According to the Pakistan media, the account was blocked late on Tuesday after Indian authorities complained to the microblogging website.

Geo News reported that Faisal’s account was suspended as he was giving his followers updates about “Indian atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir and the Kulbhushan Jadhav case which is being heard at the International Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s official Twitter account, which bears Mohammad Faisal’s name, remains active.

IANS

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Trump urges India, Pakistan to ‘get along’

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Donald Trump Trade War

Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has urged India and Pakistan to “get along” in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir suicide bombing and said that his country will respond on the issue at an “appropriate time”.

“I have watched. I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have comment (on it) at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along,” he said in response to a question during an Oval Office signing ceremony on Tuesday.

The US President called the attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers last week “a horrible situation”.

“That (the terrorist attack) was a horrible situation. We are getting reports. We will have a statement to put out,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino, during a press briefing, said that Washington was in touch with both New Delhi and Islamabad regarding the bombing claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

“We have been in close communication with the government of India to express not only our condolences but our strong support for India as it confronts this terrorism,” said Palladino.

“We have a close, cooperative relationship with India, a security relationship, and that includes counter-terrorism operations.

“As far as Pakistan goes, we’ve been in contact with the country on this issue… We urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to punish anyone responsible,” he added.

However, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has denied his country’s involvement in the bombing and sought “actionable intelligence” from India.

US National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton has already extended support to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval for India’s bid to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Washington also voiced support towards India’s right to self-defence against cross-border terrorism.

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