The United Nations is negotiating the criteria to determine the expansion of UN Security Council membership which would make it a "democratic, transparent and more representative" body, UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon said Monday, dpa reported.
Ban, who was in Nigeria on a two-day visit, held talks with the country's top leaders in Abuja, including Foreign Affairs Minister Odein Ajumogobia. Nigeria is one of contenders for a permanent seat on the council. From the African continent, the other contenders are South Africa and Egypt.
In remarks to the press, Ban noted with appreciation Nigeria's multi-faceted relations with the UN, especially its partnership in promoting global peace and ecurity, adding that the nation was the fourth largest troop ontributor to UN peacekeeping missions.
Nigeria, as chair of the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), has contributed to democratic process in the sub-region, especially in Ivory Coast, Ban said.
Ban noted that discussion had been going on for two decades to "adapt the Security Council to the changing world, hanging situations."
"Considering the dramatic and significant changes in the international political scenes, the member states agreed that there needs to be a reform of the Security Council in a democratic and transparent and more representative way," he said. "On that principle, there is no disagreement."
He described how UN members in the past three years have been negotiating common elements" in order to advance the reform.
Talks to reform the 15-nation council and enlarge it to 20 more members are being held under the leadership of the UN General Assembly president, Joseph Deiss, a former Swiss president.
Currently the council is composed of five veto-wielding permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - and 10 members elected for two-year terms.
Ban said UN members were still negotiating on the third text document which would outline guidelines for qualification of new permanent members and non-permanent members of the Security Council.
Ajumogobia, who spoke with reporters after his meeting with Ban, described Ban's visit as timely and significant in view of the conduct of the recent presidential elections in Nigeria.