Expand UNSC to tackle global crises, Frances urges

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United Nations, Sep 24 (UNI) The membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and other key international institutions must be urgently broadened if the world is to overcome its most acute crises, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the General Assembly's high-level debate.

France, along with some other key nations, is a supporter of India for a permanent seat on the powerful 15-member UNSC.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to strongly present New Delhi's case for the permanent membership when he speaks to the world body on Friday.

Speaking before dozens of heads of state and government on the annual debate's opening day yesterday, Mr Sarkozy said it was time to reform the major global institutions to reflect changing conditions, and not the world as it was many decades ago.

''Enlarging the Security Council and the G-8 [bloc of industrialised nations] is not just a matter of fairness; it is also the necessary condition for being able to act effectively,'' said Mr Sarkozy, who spoke on behalf of both France and the 27-member European Union, whose rotating presidency his country currently holds.

''We cannot wait any longer to enlarge the UNSC. We cannot wait any longer to turn the G-8 into the G-13 or G-14, and to bring in China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil,'' he said.

Earlier this month, the General Assembly adopted a decision to begin inter-governmental negotiations on UNSC reform in informal plenary by February 2009.

Mr Sarkozy stressed that international institutions must become ''more coherent, more representative, stronger and more respected if they were to manage the most pressing or intractable crises, such as the current problems in global financial markets.'' ''I am convinced that it is the duty of the heads of state and government of the countries most directly concerned to meet before the end of the year to examine together the lessons of the most serious financial crisis the world has experienced since that of the 1930s,'' he added.

Mr Sarkozy warned that on all major issues, including the conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur, the fight against terrorism and efforts to combat climate change, ''we have a duty to act, not endure. And we can wait no longer.'' ''We are beginning to gauge the tragic consequences of having already waited too long. We have retreated too long when faced with the need to give the globalised world the institutions that will regulate it. We can wait no longer,'' he added.

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