Brazil’s UN envoy Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg introduced the draft from what is known as G4, which calls for enlarging the Council from the current 15 members to 25 by creating six new permanent seats without veto power and four non-permanent seats.
The G4 countries are pressing for an early vote on the draft, which is co-sponsored by 23 countries including France, possibly as early as late this week.
Mr Sardenberg said the security structure established in 1945 when the UN was created was “now glaringly outdated.”
“The Security Council needs to undergo a thorough reform which includes an expansion of the category of permanent members in order to bring it in line with the contemporary world,” he told the assembly.
The draft does not spell out which countries would secure the new Council seats but diplomats said the six new permanent seats would go to the G4 and two African countries yet to be selected.
At present, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only permanent and veto-wielding members of the powerful UN body, which also has 10 rotating non-permanent members without veto power.
The proposed expansion of the Security Council is part of a broader plan to overhaul the United Nations, which is spearheaded by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
World leaders will discuss the reform package at a summit in September ahead of the annual general assembly.
Japan’s UN envoy Kenzo Oshima meanwhile made it clear that the Security Council “needs to be expanded, both in its permanent and non-permanent categories, adding new members from developing and developed countries.”
Acknowledging the pivotal role of African UN members in the outcome of the vote on the G4 draft, Mr Oshima said: “Japan welcomes Africa’s resolve to pursue the enlargement of the Security Council … as declared in the recent AU (African Union) summit in Syrte.”
At their summit in Syrte, Libya, African Union leaders decided to press for their own plan for a 26-member Security Council, with six new permanent seats with veto power, including two for Africa, and five non-permanent seats, including two for Africa.
But Pakistan’s UN ambassador Munir Akram expressed virulent opposition to the G4 blueprint.
“We will not choose to anoint six states with special privileges and stamp ourselves as second class members in this Organization,” he said, calling the plan “unequal” as it would give permanent membership to 11 states,” consigning 180 others to compete for 14 seats.”
“It will enlarge the ‘club of the privileged’ who will have a vested interest in addressing most issues in the Security Council, further draining the oxygen out of the General Assembly, and enhancing the domination of the Security Council,” he said.
China’s UN envoy Wang Guangya also voiced strong reservations.
“China is firmly opposed to setting an artificial timeframe for the Security Council reform and rejects the forcible vote on any formula on which there still exist significant differences,” Wang said.