Pakistan gets UNSC ‘informal consultation’, not a meeting

Pakistan gets UNSC ‘informal consultation’, not a meeting

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Pakistan will have to settle for “closed-door informal consultations” of the UN Security Council on Kashmir developments, which has been scheduled for Friday morning, instead of an open and formal meeting that it had sought along with a right to speak, address the body.

Though it might still — “theoretically” — get that meeting, chances appeared dim because there “no interest” in Pakistan’s request among the 15 members of the Security Council and only China, a close ally of Pakistan, took it up and that too as one of the several topics for discussion by the group, according to people close to these developments.

“No one has joined China in support of its request,” said one of them, emphasizing, “this is a request made by just one country.” But if it had wanted a broader formal meeting it would have said so, instead of seeking “consultations”.

In letters to the UN secretary general and the UNSC rotating chair for the month of August, Poland, Pakistan had sought an open discussion at the world body top-decision making forum, with a personal pitch from Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz in a phone call earlier this week.

Czaputowicz told Qureshi to resolve the issue bilaterally, in line with the position taken by the European Union. And Russia’s Sergey Lavrov gave the same response to Qureshi in a phone call Monday, according to the Russian foreign ministry — “that there is no alternative to resolve differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally”. The other UNSC P-5 countries have given Pakistan the same message, with the exception of China.

What Pakistan has been granted at the UN is “consultations”, not an “open” or a “closed meeting”. And they are technically and substantively different, reflecting the gravity of the issue in the perception of the council.

Here is how the UN defines them: “Both open and closed meetings are formal meetings of the Security Council. Closed meetings are not open to the public and no verbatim record of statements is kept, instead the Security Council issues a Communiqué… Consultations are informal meetings of the Security Council members and are not covered in the Repertoire.”

The UNSC holds these “consultations” frequently, sometimes thrice a week or even more. Members can raise any issue of importance to them and several topics and areas of interest can come up at any one of these discussion. China has inserted Kashmir into the agenda and it will to be just one of them on Friday, according to the people cited above.

But it will neither be recorded nor telecast live and Pakistan will not get to address the members as it had sought. There was a telling lack of response to the development from the UN mission in New York or Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi who had tweeted about her meetings with UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and Poland’s Permanent Representative Joanna Wronecka to hand over the letter written by Foreign Minister Qureshi, with pictures.__Hindustan Times

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