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Asian Ministers Warn UN Reform Must Reflect Developing Nations' Needs


Asian foreign ministers have issued a statement saying the current debate over United Nations reform should be comprehensive and address the needs of the developing world.

The statement came this week at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Japan, China and South Korea - known as ASEAN+3.

Thailand's foreign ministry spokesman, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, says the ministers are concerned that the debate is too narrow. "Our concern is that the reform of the United Nations is not simply about reform of the United Nations Security Council," he said.

The issue currently getting the most attention is whether to add more permanent members to the Security Council, namely India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and two African nations.

But Mr. Sihasak says the United Nations must become more transparent, improve its decision-making process and address how the world body can play a greater role in economic development.

Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman, Marty Natalegawa, says the Asian ministers are concerned that the debate is focusing too much on formulas. "The Security Council that is reconstituted should reflect the situation of the world as it is now, and is likely to be in many years to come, rather than to have a purely mathematical or arithmetical approach," he said.

The Asian ministers say they are not taking a position on any of the proposals. But they want to make sure the debate is comprehensive and the results reflect consensus, rather than the interests of individual members.

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