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Head of Islamic Bloc Wants His Group to Have Permanent Seat on U.N. Security Council

(CNSNews.com) – With key Muslim countries on the rise and the Muslim population on track to exceed a quarter of the planet’s projected total population by 2030, the Islamic world deserves a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, says Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.In a speech this week, he laid out his vision for the future of the bloc of Islamic states as his eight-year term at the helm draws to an end.Speaking at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s international relations institute, Ihsanoglu said the 57-member OIC already comprised the biggest voting bloc at the United Nations and it was time it acquired “a new position.”“During the first reconsideration of the reform in the U.N., I think there should be a seat for OIC in the Security Council,” he said. “If you look to the structure of the Security Council of today, you have the P5 [permanent five] and there are representatives of different civilizations, different cultures, political powers.”

“But you won’t find representative of more than 1.6 billion people of Muslim world.”

The U.N.’s top decision-making body currently has five permanent, veto-wielding members – the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia – and 10 non-permanent members serving for two-year periods each.

A campaign to reform the council by expanding its permanent membership has been struggling to gain traction for decades, plagued by regional jealousies, competing interests and an unwillingness among the existing permanent members to extend veto power to any newcomers.

Even so, the countries most often viewed as contenders for any new permanent seats – India, Japan, Brazil, Germany and South Africa – exclude Muslim nations.

No one Islamic country has emerged as an obvious addition to that group, although Australia a decade ago backed a permanent seat for Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation. The idea of Egypt getting a permanent seat circulated several years ago but instability there since 2011 will not have won it much support beyond the region. The same would likely apply to Pakistan.

Other larger Islamic countries either have a muted international profile (Bangladesh) or are too controversial (Iran). Smaller countries with an outsized profile (Qatar) have rivals within the bloc. And Turkey’s performance as a non-permanent member in 2009-10 set off warning bells in the West when it opposed an Iran sanctions resolution that was so watered-down even Russia and China supported it.

Ihsanoglu’s proposal for a permanent seat for the OIC would allow countries within the bloc to rotate, rather than have a single one hold the position in perpetuity.

See the entire story at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/head-islamic-bloc-wants-his-group-have-permanent-seat-un-security

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