|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
74th & 75th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly president notes persistent division on path to change
as delegates conclude debate on Security Council reform
Summarizing Outcome of Discussion, She Outlines 3 Options on Way Forward
Wrapping up the General Assembly’s two-day debate on Security Council reform this evening, after having heard from nearly 70 speakers, Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain) said that, while a consensus had emerged on the need for the Council membership to reflect twenty-first century geopolitical realities, delegations remained divided over the path that would lead to change, particularly regarding expansion of the 15-nation Council.
She noted that delegates had also agreed on the necessity of improving the Council’s working methods as an element of overall reform efforts, but a divergence of views remained on whether the Council’s enlargement should happen in both the permanent and non-permanent membership, or only in the latter category. There was, likewise, a lack of agreement on whether potential new members should wield the veto. The debate had also evolved to consider the idea of transitional arrangements and it had become clear that the time was ripe for concrete action on Council reform.
Proposing three possible options for that process, she said they included; continuing the process within the framework of the General Assembly’s Open-ended Working Group on Security Council Reform; allowing Member States themselves to continue their efforts to untangle the knotty issue, or the Assembly President leading an inclusive consultation and negotiation process to reach the broadest possible agreement. The Presidency would present her view to delegates shortly.
Italy’s representative expressed the hope that the debate and its follow-up would provide the Assembly President with the necessary conceptual and political “building blocks” to enable the United Nations finally to engage pragmatically and creatively in the process. “There should be no winners and losers, all should be on board, no one should feel left out,” he said, stressing that ultimately, efforts to reform the Council should strengthen ownership in the process -- as well as in the Council’s work and working methods -- by the Organization’s wider membership.
He urged delegations to consider all the options on the table, including the possibility of moving the discussions outside United Nations, so long as they remained inclusive and transparent. At Headquarters, diplomats might be more committed to the positions of their Governments, so it could be more fruitful to hold “brainstorming” sessions elsewhere and Italy had already explored the possibility of holding the talks at Columbia University or under the auspices of the United Nations Foundation.
Echoing the call for inclusiveness, the representative of Mauritius said it was high time the Council became more representative, as it had undergone very little change in the past five decades and had obviously reached a point where it could no longer meet the needs of a rapidly evolving geopolitical environment. The right of veto was at the heart of the deadlock over enlarging the Council’s permanent membership and it was evident that misuse of that mechanism not only rendered the Council ineffective in the face of urgent crises, but it also meant that the entire body was held hostage by a privileged few States acting in their own interests.
Also sounding a note of caution, Algeria’s representative said it might be an illusion to believe that any substantial change could be made in the Security Council’s working methods and procedures, considering the current make-up of that organ’s membership. Indeed, the trend towards reducing the Assembly’s annual discussion to “mere ritual” had been confirmed once again by the scant information provided in the report on the Council’s work. Clearly, there was a desire to prevent the Assembly from undertaking a thorough examination of that work, even though the United Nations Charter assigned it that duty. After all, it was working groups of the Assembly that had identified and elaborated all the innovative changes made to the Council’s working methods.
India’s representative, describing the Council’s report as trite and opaque, pointed out, however, that it was merely a symptom of a much deeper crisis. “It is clear that the Security Council is coming to the end of its shelf life. Cracks and fissures are showing around its foundations,” he said, likening the current state of the Council to that of the crumbling United Nations Headquarters building.
While the Council’s handling of recent event had shaken the world’s faith in its authority, integrity and legitimacy, he said, increasing the number of non-permanent members would not adequately address the correlation of power, and could, in fact, make it worse. Council reform involved more than shuffling the chairs around the table and choosing new people to sit in them and the Assembly should not fall into the trap of “reform for reform’s sake”, but focus, instead, on the far more important question of what the Council should be doing and how to enhance its potential to provide collective security.
Other speakers today included the representatives of Niger (on behalf of the African Group), Malaysia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Argentina, Russian Federation, Iran, Bhutan, Belarus, Republic of Korea, Denmark, Honduras, Indonesia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Chile, France, Poland, Portugal, Cambodia, South Africa, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Ghana, Uruguay, Spain, Nigeria, Libya, United Kingdom, Greece, Latvia, Norway, Rwanda, Sweden, Cyprus, Malta, Uganda and Paraguay.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 13 December, to take up the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The General Assembly met today to continue its joint debate on the Security Council’s annual report and on Council reform. (For background information, see Press Release GA/10552 of 11 December.)
ABOUBACAR IBRAHIM ABANI (Niger), speaking on behalf of the African States, said a large part of the Council’s work dealt with Africa, a continent prone to conflict. Since the late release of the Council’s report left no time for in-depth comments, today’s remarks were of a general nature and a fuller commentary would be delivered at an appropriate time later.
Noting the necessity of proceeding with Council reform in order to establish its legitimacy, he said the process must be part of overall United Nations reform. There was a need to increase the Council membership and reform its working methods so as to make the body more transparent. The African Union (AU) had already spelled out the requirements of representation for Africa, which must be accorded two permanent seats with all the attendant privileges, including the veto. The region must be accorded an additional five non-permanent seats to represent accurately the global reality and make the Council truly democratic.
HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia) expressed regret that the Council’s report had been delayed, as the larger United Nations membership needed time to prepare for the debate. Further, the report continued to lack substantive and analytical elements.
He stressed that the Council would need to improve its own credibility by enforcing its authority. Though it was continuously seized of matters in the Middle East and the question of Palestine, the violence there continued unabated. In light of that, the Council must resist attempts by any party to manipulate and prevent it from acting to end conflicts and restore peace.
The right of veto remained the chief cause for the undermined credibility of the United Nations, he said. Until it was abolished, a modified veto, whereby the votes of two permanent members backed by three non-permanent members, would be needed to block any draft resolution. Malaysia supported the Council’s expansion in both categories, on the basis of geographic balance and more reflective of the current geopolitical realities.
YOUCEF YOUSFI ( Algeria) said it might be an illusion to believe that any substantial change could be made in the Security Council’s working methods and procedures, considering the current make-up of that Organ’s membership. Indeed, the trend towards reducing the General Assembly’s annual discussion to “mere ritual” had been confirmed once again by the scant information provided in the report on the Council’s work. Clearly, there was a desire to prevent the Assembly from undertaking a thorough examination of that work, even though the United Nations Charter assigned it that duty.
Recalling that all the innovative and progressive changes made to the Council’s working methods and procedures had been identified and elaborated by working groups of the Assembly, he urged permanent and non-permanent Council members to avoid the trend towards standard-setting measures. The Council’s thematic debates were an attempt to undercut the Assembly’s work and did not fall within the sphere of the Council’s work. That was why Algeria had not held such meetings during its tenure in the Council Presidency. While the Council’s primary responsibility was to maintain international peace and security, it must, nevertheless, respect the will of those who had given it that mandate.
With that in mind, he said the repeated use of the veto to prevent action in the Council, particularly in situations involving the Palestinian people, was a clear example of the Council flouting the will of the very people on whose behalf it was supposed to act. The people of Western Sahara were waiting for the Council to fulfil its duties and allow them to exercise their right to self-determination through a free and credible referendum. One positive trend, however, had been the Council’s cooperation with regional organizations, particularly its work with the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But while there had been many improvements in African conflict situations, much work remained to be done in restoring and maintaining peace in Côte d’Ivoire, the Sudan and Somalia.
He said Council reform would not be taken seriously unless it made a contribution to the real democratization of the international system and towards the establishment of a modern collective security system that addressed universal rights to security and sustainable development. Such a change must respect the principle of sovereign equality of States and repair the injustices committed against Africa. That continent must be fairly represented on the Council in both the permanent, and non-permanent, membership categories. While some might call the decision by some would-be Council members to give up the right to the veto as “politically realistic”, the reality was that the veto was an anachronistic mechanism. But as long as it stood, any African representation in the Council’s permanent membership should come with all the privileges and benefits of that category.
PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the reason why the Security Council was not playing its expected role in maintaining international peace and security was the lack of fairness. Invasions of sovereign States were committed openly even when they spilled over into massacres of innocent people, while efforts by Member States to defend their sovereignty were condemned as “threats to international peace and security”. Such events raised questions about the Council’s ability to assess who was threatening, and who was being threatened.
He said the Council was handling many important issues in accordance with the interests of certain specific countries, which damaged the trust of Member States in the Organ. It had been irresponsible and biased in handling the nuclear issue with respect to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, the United States was required to refrain from nuclear threats against that country, normalize relations with it and provide it with power plants for light water reactors. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was required to dismantle all nuclear programmes at the same time that the United States completed construction of the light water reactor power plants.
However, the United States, expecting his country’s imminent collapse, had not implemented the Agreed Framework, he said. The Bush Administration had declared the annulment of the Agreed Framework and designated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as part of the “axis of evil”, threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike against it. With the daily intensification of United States threats, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had had no choice but to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and choose the path of nuclear weapons development to defend the supreme interests of the State.
Today’s realities proved that the Security Council served to maintain the superpower status of the United States rather than international peace and security, he said. Only when the Council disallowed unilateralism and high-handedness, and rejected double standards, could it become a responsible Organ. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea supported the full representation of the non-aligned and developing countries on the Council while vehemently opposing a permanent seat for Japan.
CÉSAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said it would be increasingly difficult to achieve the objectives for which the United Nations was created until an agreement on Council reform was reached. This year’s Council’s report was a dry, long chronicle of meetings and documents. As a Council member for the past two years with a fresh perception of its operation, Argentina had tried to improve the annual report within the Working Group on Documentation under Japan’s leadership. An agreement had been made to make the report more substantive and analytical, a decision that had not been accepted by all permanent members.
The Council could do more to improve its working methods and increase its consultations with the Assembly, thereby producing a more significant annual report, he said. It could also provide greater transparency by increasing the quantity and quality of its meetings with civil society. It would also be good if today’s debate could improve the Council’s functioning in the understanding that the discussion, and the power to offer recommendations to the Council, was part of the competencies given to the Assembly under Article 10 of the Charter.
All Member States had seen the negative experience of the past year because it had not been possible to reform the Security Council, he said. Rigidity and national ambitions must now be overcome for the sake of improving the Organization. All parties must start informal contacts to obtain regional consensus on the variables of rotation and longer membership terms. An increase in Council membership could not be unlimited and must take efficiency into account. The expansion must be realistic and other objectives must also focus on working methods, greater transparency and limitation on the right of veto.
NIRUPAM SEN (India), describing the Security Council report as both trite and opaque, said that it was merely a symptom of a much deeper crisis -– the cold war had ended, leaving a vacuum, yet no new equilibrium had taken its place. The global pattern of governance was in fundamental crisis and the United Nations could not effectively reform itself. Though its limbs were in the twenty-first century, its head and heart remained behind. The Council, released from cold war paralysis, served to heighten the impression that it represented a small group of privileged countries, rather than the world at large. Reforming the Organ involved much more than the chairs around the table, and who sat in them.
There was, indeed, an urgent need for reform, but it was crucial that the international community address the real problems, he stressed. The situation was analogous to painting a portrait: changing the canvas would improve the portrait, but no progress would be achieved by throwing out the portrait. In the context of United Nations reform, no advances would occur by changing the subject. “The illusion of change is not helpful,” he reiterated.
Furthermore, the Security Council seemed to be reaching the end of its shelf life as structural cracks had appeared, he said. Cracks and fissures were showing around its foundations, much like the current state of the crumbling Headquarters building. That had been made especially clear by it’s handling of recent events, which had shaken the world’s faith in its authority, integrity and legitimacy. While the situation was acute, adding non-permanent members would not adequately address the correlation of power. In fact, it could make it worse.
Likewise, there was the problem of accountability, and several positive policies were required to rectify that, he said. An amendment to the United Nations Charter, as suggested by developing countries and members of the AU, could include non-permanent and permanent members, he said, as well as the Secretariat. The United States Constitution could also serve as a model, with its ideal balance between flexibility and accountability. India opposed reform for its own sake. An interim solution must address the problems of accountability, oligarchy, and concentration of power. Furthermore, without empowering Africa, reform would be unavailing.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said it was important for the United Nations to continue on the path of renewal so it could better address the demands of the day. The Russian Federation recognized the important concerns expressed and the difficulties highlighted by Member States searching for ways to reshape the Security Council and improve its working methods. The Assembly should continue its attempts to identify formulas and models for such change on which a majority of Member States could agree. Extensive dialogue and negotiation were required as hasty action would be wrong.
It was in the interest of all Member States to refrain from agreeing to merely hastily expand the Council, which might hamper its ability to address serious international problems and situations, he said. Nevertheless, the Russian Federation was still open to considering all proposals on Council expansion, as long as they were reached by consensus, or agreed by the largest number of Member States. That standard went further than the current formula of a two-thirds vote of the Assembly membership.
Describing recommendations to amend or change the powers the current permanent members in any way as counter-productive, he said his country would continue to work with the Assembly, other members, non-members and troop-contributing countries to evolve the Council’s work. The Russian Federation welcomed manifestations of the Council’s move towards more openness and transparency, including the work of its sanctions committees with relevant regional actors in those panels’ respective spheres of operation. The Russian Federation would continue to work constructively for agreement on all open issues regarding reform and would be mindful of its own obligations as a permanent member of the Council.
JAVAD ZARIF ( Iran) noted that while transparency, impartiality and fairness were the principles by which the Council should discharge its Charter-mandated responsibilities, those principles had been undermined by a few permanent members. For example, the Council disregarded Article 31, which entitled any non-Council member to participate in discussions on matters affecting it. Selective notification, reluctance to convene daily briefings and restrictions on the right to participate were but a few examples of the Council’s persistent deficiencies. To improve its working methods, the Council should seriously consider the relevant provisions of the Charter and the resolutions clarifying its relationship with other Organs. It should also observe its provisional rules of procedure and keep closed meetings and informal consultations to a minimum.
A quick and unnecessary resort to the Charter’s Chapter VII was yet another dangerous trend marking the Council’s approach on some issues, despite the dissent of an overwhelming majority of others, he said. Even more disturbing was a pattern of behaviour whereby some permanent members sought to push the body to take no action when it was required, or to take unwarranted action when no action was called for. As one permanent member had recently admitted, there was a tendency to downgrade the Council as “a tool in the toolbox” of certain Powers. That practice had seriously damaged the Council’s credibility and legitimacy, as demonstrated by Israel’s recent aggression against Lebanon.
The report referred to actions taken by the Council in regard to Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, he continued. Far from reflecting the concerns of the international community “as advertised”, the Council’s approach reflected a flouting of the stated majority view, as reflected in the most recent statements by Heads of State of the Non-Aligned Movement. The report also referred to the situation in the Middle East where, for the last six decades, no action had been allowed to ensure compliance with many Council resolutions. Let it not be forgotten that the current mayhem in Iraq stemmed from its occupation. The “legitimacy deficiency” of the Council must be addressed by giving developing countries a voice in its representation.
DAW PENJO ( Bhutan) said his delegation was concerned that so little headway had been made on the issue of Security Council reform. The lack of movement was particularly troubling since it seemed as though the majority of Member States agreed that the Council’s current structure was antiquated and that its working methods should be more transparent and inclusive.
The Council lacked a real –- and permanent -- voice speaking on behalf of the developing world, he said. Any reform, or change, must rectify that by ensuring adequate seats in both categories for representatives from Africa, Asia and other developing regions. The draft proposals on Council reform put forward by the so-called G-4 countries should serve as a starting point for further negotiations among the wider membership to come up with a formula that could be agreed by consensus.
YURI YAROSHEVICH ( Belarus) said there was no question that the Council’s role in maintaining international peace and security must be strengthened. While it had not been able to take a prompt decision to prevent the escalation of violence in the Middle East, there were plenty of instances when the Council had saved lives, prevented conflict and restored stability around the world. Towards that end, however, the Council should not deal with issues not directly linked to international peace and security, but should leave those matters to the Assembly.
The guiding principle for Council reform should be the inclusion of developing countries to reflect the modern geopolitical situation, he continued. A strong push and a significant impulse would boost a process that was too slow. To break out of the stalemate on how to proceed, Member States should “borrow” the method used in the Council when electing the Secretary-General. Straw polls should be taken on every version of the reform offered and the one receiving the most votes would form the basis for further negotiations, with elements of the others worked in during the process.
Y.J. CHOI ( Republic of Korea) said that, while the Security Council had brought about some positive developments in Africa, his country was still concerned about several crises, including those in Darfur, Iraq and Afghanistan. Another area of serious concern was Côte d’Ivoire, where elections had once again failed to take place, amid increasing anxieties. The Republic of Korea hoped to see improvements in those countries during the coming year.
While the Council had continued to devote considerable attention to Iraq, the security situation in that country was still deeply troubling, he said. With regard to Lebanon, the Republic of Korea supported the Council’s efforts to establish peace and stability. Afghanistan had made some encouraging progress on the political, security and reconstruction fronts, but the deteriorating security situation in the southern and eastern parts of the country was distressing, as was the increased activity of the Taliban and other armed groups.
He noted with appreciation the Council’s firm and swift response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s missile launch and nuclear test. Hopefully, that country would heed the international community’s united voice and take concrete steps towards peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. The Republic of Korea welcomed, in that regard, the scheduled resumption of the six-party talks in Beijing on 18 December, and hoped they would make substantial progress towards the common goal of denuclearizing the Peninsula.
Security Council reform was needed to make the Council more effective, representative, transparent, democratic and accountable, he said. That applied to the United Nations as a whole. The Republic of Korea supported an increase in non-permanent, elected seats on the Council, which would ensure that large, medium and small States were all represented. The Republic of Korea looked forward to an open and transparent process of consultation and negotiation with a view to reaching the broadest possible agreement on reform.
LARS FAABORG-ANDERSEN ( Denmark) said the 2005 World Summit Outcome clearly spelled out the need for early Council reform, but while there had been some progress in upgrading that body’s working methods, there had been little action in the area of expansion. The Council must reflect twenty-first century realities. While the perfect solution might not be within immediate reach, Member States should be willing to accept “less than perfect” as long as the overall purpose was served. The time had come to search all avenues for new ideas and proposals. All parties must exercise flexibility and willingness to compromise in order to reach consensus.
Reiterating his country’s position on Council reform, he said the Organ must continue to play a decisive role in the promotion of peace, security, human rights and democracy, for which more effective and broader representation was required. Therefore, Denmark supported expansion by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats, and by including both developed and developing countries as permanent members.
Further, the Council’s working methods and transparency must be strengthened, he said. While Denmark welcomed the measures already taken to improve the Council’s procedures, it looked forward to the full implementation of the proposals and recommendations already advanced by the Assembly’s Working Group. Denmark also urged the Council to continue its own exploration of ways to improve its work.
IVÁN ROMERO MARTÍNEZ ( Honduras) said his county was one of the Organization’s founding members and its Government had always respected its recommendations and decisions. Honduras shared most of the views of the Non-Aligned Movement on reform of the Security Council and advocated more openness and transparency in its work, decision-making processes, and in adopting and implementing its rules of procedure. The efforts of the Working Group on the Council’s working methods was of crucial importance to the overall reform process. During the negotiations on the Millennium Declaration, Honduras had participated in the discussions which had led to that document’s call for “complete reform” of the Council.
Therefore, he said, Honduras supported all efforts to reshape the Council, including the expansion of its permanent and non-permanent membership, which would improve that body’s effectiveness and lead to the overall strengthening of the wider United Nations. The world had changed drastically since the Council had received its mandate in San Francisco, and the state of current international affairs required the active participation in the Council of other countries, like Brazil, as well as countries from the African continent, which were now actively and substantially contributing to global efforts to address the challenges of the day. Honduras looked forward to discussing all proposals that would lead to the creation of a more democratic and transparent Security Council.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Council’s report was still too much of a compendium and should be more illuminating. In the future, the annual report should also contain an analytical assessment of the cases under the Council’s purview and an explanatory discussion of the constraints and opportunities that it faced in implementing its resolutions.
Reiterating the need for comprehensive reform as a priority for enhancing the Council’s credibility and effectiveness, he stressed the importance of democracy, accountability, equity and geographical balance as the guiding principles in reforming the organ, which must happen with the broadest possible agreement. At the same time, difficulties in reaching consensus on the Council’s expansion should not prevent progress in the discussion on improving its working methods. Indonesia viewed comprehensive Security Council reform as integral to the overall reform of the United Nations.
He said that increasing the number of open meetings in which the views of Member States were taken into consideration as an input to the Council’s work, rather than a reaction to its adoption of resolutions would be beneficial. Transparency would also be strengthened if debates were hosted in a more open manner. More regular and frequent meetings with troop-contributing countries, whose peacekeepers faced the ultimate risks and knew the situation on the ground, were also necessary. Finally, the Council must interact more closely with other United Nations organs, particularly the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, while not overstepping its own mandate.
FRANCISCO ANZOLA ( Venezuela), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, unfortunately, the Council’s report was merely descriptive and could not evaluate the complexities that the Organ faced. Though it included the increase in the volume of the Council’s work, it was to be hoped that a more analytical report would be submitted in the future.
On Africa, he said peace and security were inseparable from development and social justice, adding that charity was not a solution. Venezuela was concerned that the region’s political and economic conditions remained static even after conflicts ended. In light of that, it was imperative to focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Furthermore, peacekeeping operations must be deployed on the basis of essential requirements. Recently, United Nations missions had gone beyond reconstruction, sometimes reaching into activities that ought to be done by the affected populations.
On Security Council reform, Venezuela supported expansion in both categories of membership for a better representation of developing countries. The Council’s working methods and decision-making process also needed improvement. More public debates were needed to give a hearing to the views of non-members. Secondly, sanctions must be used only as a last resort and only after diplomacy had been exhausted, while the veto must be eliminated. As the situation in the Middle East had shown, one member’s veto should not be able to disrupt the maintenance of international peace and security.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said that, as his delegation prepared to take its non-permanent seat on the Council at the beginning of next year, that body’s report and the Assembly’s important debate provided much food for thought. The debate required fresh eyes and open minds to help achieve substantial progress. It was important to recognize that after years of discussions on the matter, there was a lot of common ground, and the Assembly should be sure to incorporate the views of Member States, which sought a reformed Council based on a more equitable balance of power, more ownership, more transparency, more accountability, more appropriate working methods, and more regional empowerment.
He expressed the hope that the debate and its follow-up would provide the Assembly president with the necessary “conceptual and political building blocks so that the United Nations could finally engage, with pragmatism and creativity, in successful negotiations towards decisive reform of the Council. Such an approach would not weaken the wider Organization because it would be supported by the widest agreement among the membership. “There should be no winners and losers. All should be on board, no one should feel left out, and all should feel comfortable.” While it was clear that all delegations wanted early reform of the Council, as mandated by world leaders at the 2005 World Summit, everyone must, at the same time, be working towards “good reform”.
“We cannot take a risk, we cannot afford the luxury of a gamble,” he continued, stressing that Italy considered “good” reform measures those that would, above all, strengthen ownership in the process, as well as in the Council’s work and working methods, by the organization’s wider membership. Therefore, to overcome a deficit of ownership, there was a need to ensure that reform touched both the Council’s structure and its methods of work. The result would lead to the strengthening of the Council’s credibility, efficiency and effectiveness. There would also be more implementation, more concrete results and more achievements.
Calling on the Assembly not to allow the current momentum for Council reform to fade, he said all ideas on reshaping the organ should be closely examined. All regional groupings should pursue innovative and creative paths together so as to come up with a new model that was agreed by the majority of the membership. But above all, Italy urged delegations to consider, among other things, moving the discussions outside the United Nations, as long as they remained inclusive and transparent. At Headquarters, delegations might be more committed to the positions of their Governments, and it might be more fruitful to hold “brainstorming” sessions elsewhere. Italy had already explored the possibility of holding such discussions at Columbia University or at the United Nations Foundation.
JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ-GUTIÉRREZ ( Guatemala) said the Council’s annual report should be less symbolic and more substantive. It must be more than an outline of events and more of a working instrument. Furthermore, the delay in its release had not fostered genuine evaluation. There were a few practical mechanisms in place to foster interaction with the Council and Guatemala remained unclear about whether the views expressed in thematic debate had been taken into account in the Council’s decision-making process.
On Security Council reform, he said that though timid steps had been taken, there had been little progress. Guatemala was concerned about the General Assembly’s mandate overlapping with the Council’s work. On equitable representation, the Government of Guatemala had recently indicated that it would support any formula enjoying consensus. There was also a need for greater coordination among the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and the Council so each could increase the competence of the others.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said that, with the recent passing of Augusto Pinochet, a sad chapter in his country’s history had drawn to a close.
Turning to reform, he stressed the need to enlarge the Council and perfect its working methods. A more democratic and efficient Council was vital to strengthening its credibility.
Chile supported Brazil’s bid and those of other nations to occupy a permanent seat on the Council, he said. However, it opposed the veto, which it saw as contrary to the legal equality of States and to the democratization of international bodies. In short, Chile would continue to contribute in building the consensus demanded by the need for integral reform of the United Nations, particularly the Council.
OLIVIER LACROIX ( France) said the annual presentation of the Council’s report was doubly important in that it allowed the Council and the Assembly to evaluate the former’s work. France continued to support comprehensive Council reform in both its structure and its working methods. The Council must be expanded and “standing still” was not an option.
Enlarging the Council would make it more effective and allow it the financial and material resources necessary to carry out its important and rapidly expanding duties. France supported the proposal of the G-4, the bid for permanent membership by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, as well as the due consideration of representation for Africa in any expansion model. France was, nevertheless, aware of the difficulties and stood ready to discuss the matter with any and all who wished to engage constructively.
ANDRZEJ TOWPIK ( Poland) said the debate was taking place under new and more favourable circumstances. The establishment of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission proved that progress, even on complex and sensitive issues, was feasible. Thinking on the issue had also become deeper and the discussion more comprehensive. The Assembly had been debating not only the expansion of the Council’s membership, but also possible changes to its working methods. The debate was the resumption of dialogue on a difficult, yet unavoidable part of United Nations reform.
Changes in the Council’s working methods should lead to closer cooperation between members and non-members, greater transparency of activities and more accountability of Council members, he said. The Council’s membership should better reflect the membership of the entire United Nations. In the process of adjustment, no regional group should be a loser, particularly the Eastern European Group, which had doubled its membership. The idea of reviewing solutions, which could be agreed-to immediately, had already found a broad level of approval. The non-extension of veto power to new Council members was a guarantee that the Assembly would not create new obstacles on the way to such adaptation.
While dealing with an old problem, the Assembly was at a new and more promising stage of the debate. It had not overcome all of its difficulties, but a “middle ground” in its thinking was gradually expanding. The momentum gained in the debate should not be lost.
JOÃO SALGUEIRO ( Portugal) highlighted the question of Timor-Leste, by saying that the newly-independent country was experiencing a serious deterioration in its political and security situation. While looking forward to the full deployment of United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and to sustained support from the United Nations, major work lay ahead in the areas of national reconciliation and dialogue; security sector reform; economic recovery; institution building; justice; rule of law, and human rights. The forthcoming 2007 elections also needed special attention.
On Security Council reform, he said that keeping the status quo was not an option. According to Article 24 of the Charter, the Council acted on behalf of Member States, an assertion from which a number of consequences should be derived. On the issue of Council membership, the legitimate aspirations for accession by medium-sized and small countries, which comprised the vast majority of the United Nations membership, needed to be considered. Transparent and inclusive negotiations, based on principles and values, would make Council reform a reality.
WIDHYA CHEM ( Cambodia) said that, now that the opportunity to reform the United Nations was at hand, Member States were deadlocked over how to proceed largely because too much emphasis had been placed on reshaping the Security Council. Cambodia supported a step-by-step approach to organizational reform and hoped that, in the future, the Assembly would avoid overemphasizing certain contentious aspects of the debate. Indeed, “minor problems” should be tackled first, like strengthening the Economic and Social Council in the area of development, since that particular issue was less controversial and likely to garner broader support.
Member States should focus next on revitalizing the Assembly, so that it could more effectively assert its role as the Organization’s sole body with universal membership, he said. Only then should the Assembly move forward on Council reform by dealing first with the proposals and issues likely to enjoy widespread support and then by tackling more nettlesome questions. That was the only way to ensure that the overall process of reforming the entire United Nations system was not stalled.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) said there was little new in the Council’s report on its work for the year. Indeed, the Council continued to provide a mere factual account of its activities, despite calls for an analytical report. While South Africa was pleased with the Council’s work in resolving African conflicts, it remained concerned that, for more than 50 years, it had been unable to bring about positive change in the situation between Israel and Palestine. South Africa called on the Council for decisive action in ending that conflict.
South Africa was also perturbed that it had taken the Council more than a month to address Israel’s military incursion into Gaza in July, he said. With that in mind, South Africa called on the Council to overcome division and transcend national interests so as to speak with one voice on important issues, lest its repeated moments of indecision further erode its credibility. South Africa was pleased with the Council’s “modest efforts” to implement the measures proposed by the Assembly’s relevant Working Group on it working methods. At the same time, it would be more pleased if those reforms became permanent.
He said the Council may soon have to define in clear terms how it could utilize regional organizations that were ready to help it make the world a better place. Regional bodies were well placed to intervene sooner than the Council’s deliberation process would usually allow. It was with that conviction that South Africa welcomed the current discussions on African Union-United Nations cooperation on Darfur. South Africa urged both the parties to explore that possibility expeditiously, so as to facilitate efforts to alleviate the suffering in Darfur.
On Council reform, he said a mechanism was needed to replace the faltering Open-ended Working Group -- which had repeatedly failed to find common ground on critical issues –- in negotiating a way to bridge the differences on Council enlargement. Member States had a responsibility to ensure that the Council remained the repository of the international community’s efforts to maintain peace and security. Council reform was possible if Member States engaged in serious discussions on how to create a Council that would serve all nations in the context of new global realities. “We have to stop pretending that the status quo is acceptable to everyone,” he concluded.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) expressed concern over the deterioration of international peace and security and the emergence of ever-more complicated conflicts and stressed that United Nations organs must adapt to the new century’s complexities. The need for Council reform was urgent.
On equitable representation, she said that, though two models were being considered, neither had prevailed. The Council’s work should be open, democratic and transparent for all Member States. Reform was the shared responsibility of members and not the privilege of a few. Regarding increased membership in the Council, giving a permanent seat to regional groups had been one proposal, but in the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically, new dynamics in regional and subregional interaction meant there were new options for dealing with new challenges.
BARLYBAY SADYKOV ( Kazakhstan) said the failure to reform and expand the Council remained a glaring shortcoming. The Council did not accurately reflect current geopolitical realities; reform was needed to make the Organ more representative, effective and accountable to the wider United Nations membership. Kazakhstan supported expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories and appealed to all Member States to work harder to achieve progress on Council reform.
HAMID AL BAYATI ( Iraq) said his country was dealing with a number of issues inherited from Saddam Hussein’s regime that must be re-examined by the Council. For instance, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) had not been necessary for three years now and Iraq hoped that its mandate would be withdrawn at an early date.
Turning to Security Council reform, he said the world had changed dramatically since the Council’s inception some 60 years ago. Indeed, there were many more States today playing active and substantial roles in determining international affairs, so it was clear that the Council’s membership must be enlarged to make it a more democratic reflection of the new century. While recognizing the difficulties that Member States had encountered during negotiations on that matter, Iraq called for innovative proposals that could drive the process forward, including measures to expand the Council that did not involve amending the Charter.
He went on to urge the Council to implement fully the various proposals on the table regarding improvements to its methods of work. Specifically, the Council must, among other things, re-examine its sanctions regimes to ensure that civilian populations were not harmed when such measures were imposed. It should also seek to limit the use of the veto to instances where the Council was acting under Chapter VII or when it was acting to alleviate grave human right violations.
SOMDUTH SOBORUN ( Mauritius) decried the growing trend in the Council to hold discussions on thematic issues that traditionally fell under the purview of other United Nations organs. There was an urgent need to formalize the Council’s rules of procedure, which, for nearly 60 years, had remained merely “provisional.” It was high time to make the Council more representative and democratic because the body had undergone very little change and had obviously reached a point where it could no longer meet the needs of an ever-changing geopolitical environment.
Everyone knew that in 1945 Africa did not belong to Africans and neither did Asia belong to Asians, he said. The same could have been said at the time about the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Their countries, in all fairness, required their legitimate share in all global decision-making bodies, including the Council. It was unacceptable that Africa and the Latin America and Caribbean region were not represented in the Council’s permanent membership. It was also “morally and politically unacceptable” that India, the world’s largest democracy, was still denied a permanent seat.
On the exercise of the right of veto, he said it was the issue at the heart of deadlock over enlarging the Council’s permanent membership. It was evident that misuse of the veto not only rendered the Council ineffective in the face of urgent crises, but it also meant that the entire body was held hostage by a privileged few States acting in their own national interests, which was definitely not in the true spirit of multilateralism. Mauritius was prepared to align itself with any proposal that called for restrictions on veto use, except for actions taken under Chapter VII of the Charter.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana), addressing the Council’s work programme, said that body’s relationship with regional organizations, particularly the African Union, must be further enhanced. Since the Council devoted as much as 75 per cent of its time to discussing situations in Africa, Ghana also expected more from its Working Group on that region. Turning to Council reform, he urged delegations to “rise above parochial interests, regional rivalries and jealousies” to bring the discussion to closure. Ghana supported the Non-Aligned Movement position, complemented by that of the African Union, calling for Africa -– the organization’s largest regional group -- to have permanent rotating seats and two additional non-permanent seats on a reformed Council.
On the exercise of veto power, he said that, while his country acknowledged that the five permanent Council members saw the veto as an important tool in the discharge of their responsibilities, it stifled discussion. Ghana called for restrictions on the use of the veto pending the abolishment of that “undemocratic and anachronistic” mechanism.
ELBIO ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said it was necessary for the Council to increase its membership, while at the same time becoming more transparent and democratic. The discussion on improving the Council’s working methods must include the participation of all Member States. Since Uruguay had traditionally cautioned against using the veto, it could not support an expansion that increased the number members who could avail themselves of that privilege.
As the world had changed dramatically since the Council’s inception in San Francisco, it was time to seriously re-examine its membership structure. Indeed, while the body was founded on the shoulders of those States that had borne the burden of the Second World War, that noble deed should not engender a lifetime of hereditary membership in the Council. Uruguay, therefore, looked forward to participating actively in the coming discussion on the issue, with a view to finding a suitable solution, agreed to by the widest part of the United Nations membership, on expanding the Council to make it more representative and democratic.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO ( Spain) said Security Council reform remained an outstanding item in spite of valuable initiatives in recent months to bring it about. No negotiating framework had been agreed upon and reform was impossible without genuine negotiations. If the General Assembly wished to make progress, the parameters of negotiations must be addressed. Regarding Council membership, more equitable representation was vital.
Expressing support for the draft resolution on reforming the Security Council working methods, he noted that it contained proposals of great value, including one on increased cooperation among the Council, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly. Yet reform could not happen without broad consensus. For a frank and open negotiation on reform to take place, it was vital that Member States commit to a formula that promoted equality and excluded the option of new permanent members.
SIMEON A. ADEKANYE ( Nigeria) said that, in light of the stalemate that had followed the Assembly’s July debate on Council reform, it had become clear that it was time for the General Assembly President to lead a new push to reshape that organ. Neither the framers of the Charter, nor the early Member States of the United Nations, believed that the Council’s structure should become too rigid and entrenched to perform its duties in a fair, transparent and democratic manner.
The Council should only initiate formal or informal deliberations on a Member State when it became clear that there was a credible threat to international peace and security, he said. Further, a Member State before the Council should be given the opportunity to address that body in open, as well as closed, sessions, in order to promote fairness and equity and enhance the legitimacy of the Council’s decisions.
Africa’s common position on Council reform called for expanding the region’s representation and increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members, he said. Regarding the veto, some delegations had seized upon that issue to block Africa’s legitimate quest for representation on the Council. Contemporary developments, debates and Council decisions had placed the problem of the anachronistic veto in high relief and States must exercise the necessary political will, as well as the utmost flexibility, to reform the mechanism.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI (Libya), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that, while reform had been on agenda for years, there was still no conclusion. The issue remained at an impasse, though Council reform was a prerequisite to reform of the United Nations as a whole. The Council was unable to become more democratic or transparent and was thus not a true guarantor of international peace and security.
The Council had sometimes interfered in the internal affairs of countries or provoked Member States, he said. It had stood by, powerless, as Israel killed innocent Lebanese by bringing their roofs down on their heads. Massacres committed against the Palestinian people and crimes of occupation had been excused under the pretext of self-defence. All that was the result of the monopoly exercised by one permanent member and its use of the veto. A Council with a budget provided by a handful of States and that tolerated abuse of the veto was not necessary. The organ must end its double standards and adopt resolutions that were fair, impartial and reflective of the collective will.
On membership, he said there must be an increase in both permanent and non-permanent categories. The membership criteria decided upon at end of the Second World War were now antiquated. While the African continent had suffered more than others, it was poorly represented on the Council. That marginalization must cease and give way to a permanent seat for Africa. Libya supported the common African position and asked that the region be accorded the same privileges given to others, including the right of veto. However, Libya did not support an increase in the number of members with the right of veto, which must eventually be abolished.
EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom) said the Council had rarely figured so centrally in so many pressing issues as it had over the past year. In July alone, the Council had faced, in addition to its regular business, four major challenges; the missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the crisis between Israel and Lebanon; implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement, and Iran’s refusal to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities. That activity showed that the international community and the Council members themselves recognized the organ’s indispensable and unique legitimacy in addressing international challenges. It also placed a heavy responsibility on the Council to take decisions and deliver on them in a more timely manner and to put its rhetoric on conflict prevention and the responsibility to protect into practice.
He went on to note that during the past year, there had been insufficient progress in the debate over enlarging the Council, a cause of real concern for the British Government, which had long supported the G-4 proposal and continued to do so. The United Kingdom supported Germany, India, Japan and Brazil for permanent Council membership on their individual and collective merits. Permanent membership for Africa was long overdue, and the United Kingdom wished to see more non-permanent members, thus improving the Council’s accountability and transparency.
But the United Kingdom was not wedded to a single model of reform, he stressed, adding that his country wanted, above all, to see forward progress on a model for enlargement that would achieve the necessary support among the widest segment of the United Nations membership and deliver a more representative and effective Council. Prime Minister Tony Blair had called on Member States to agree on some form of interim change that could be a bridge to a future settlement on the matter. In the meantime, the United Kingdom was open to all new ideas that would give life to the debate, eventually taking the Organization beyond debate, to decisions and on to reform.
ADAMANTIOS VASSILAKIS ( Greece) said comprehensive reform and expansion of the Security Council would bring it into line with the contemporary geopolitical realities and reinforce the collective security system. Greece also supported the enlargement of both the permanent and non-permanent membership, as it would increase the Council’s efficiency and accountability, thereby enhancing its multicultural and multidimensional character.
Reiterating his country’s support for the principles contained in the G-4 draft resolution, which Greece had co-sponsored, he said the S-5 group’s proposal on reforming the Council’s working methods was not encompassing enough. Though a step in the right direction, more was necessary to succeed in comprehensive reform. Lastly, in order to effectively face serious global threats and challenges, the Council could not lag behind. The demand for reform was urgent.
SOLVEIGA SILKALNA ( Latvia) said the Council’s report was essentially a collection of facts reflecting the large number of challenges to international peace and security. It was fitting that it was being debated together with Council reform, but regrettable that a widely agreeable solution remained elusive after more than a decade of debate. Numerous Member States had not yet served on the Council and possibly would not serve for a long time, though they were all constantly affected, directly and indirectly, by its decisions.
It was notable that Council membership had grown to 15 in the 60 years since the establishment of the United Nations, while the Trusteeship Council now seated 192, she said. Distrust and resentment towards the Security Council, as a result of that imbalance, harmed the overall reform process and impeded the effort to make the organ more representative. The expansion should go forward to include Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, which were well-equipped and qualified to assume the responsibilities of a longer-term presence on the Council. The right of veto should not be expanded further and its use should be made more transparent. Since no single view had won broad majority support, new and more viable ideas should be presented.
MONA JUUL ( Norway) said Council reform was an essential part of the overall reform of the United Nations, to which States had committed themselves at the 2005 Summit. Overall membership in the United Nations had almost quadrupled since the Organization’s founding and the Council must reflect that growth to ensure its legitimacy and efficacy. The interests of small States must be served through rotating membership.
She said expansion of the Council could not be considered without attention to the veto, which should not be extended to new permanent members. Furthermore, an enhanced, structured dialogue, between the Assembly and the Council, would strengthen both organs.
JOSEPH NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Charter conferred tremendous power on the Council, particularly the permanent members. But power carried responsibility beyond narrow, parochial national interests. Rwanda had been subjected to the abuse of power by one permanent member, behaviour that undermined the Council’s credibility.
Transparency in the Council’s decision making must be at the heart of reform, he stressed. Expansion of the membership must be conducted in such a manner as to increase the effectiveness of the Council’s work, which called for transparency so as to increase the applicability of Council decisions. Meetings between the Council and the African Union had been helpful in making decisions that could be implemented on the ground and, while there was consensus on the need for reform, positions on that issue differed so widely that reform itself seemed very far off. If that question was to be put off until consensus was reached, the momentum gained at the 2005 World Summit would be lost. Consensus was possible on both membership and working methods and all that was needed was flexibility and political will.
ANDERS LIDEN ( Sweden) said Security Council reform was essential to the overall reform of the United Nations. The Council must better reflect today’s world, which meant stronger representation for Africa, Asia and Latin America. Furthermore, any reform on its composition must be subjected to a recurrent and effective review mechanism, which could lead to changes in the future, such as a possible seat for the European Union. Given the need for the Council to act quickly and transparently, Sweden opposed the extension of veto power to new members and proposed, instead, the promotion of a veto-free culture in the Council.
ANDREAS MAVROYIANNIS ( Cyprus) said that, from the perspective of smaller States, membership was not necessarily the primary component, or the only one, of a democratic character. Transparency, accountability, access, upholding and defending international legality, association with the Council’s work -- especially through an interactive relationship with the General Assembly -- could all be as important, if not more so, than the elusive potential membership.
Regarding intermediary or transitional arrangements, he proposed an increase in the non-permanent membership and differentiating between new potential global players. Regarding the veto, it was wiser to devise a more inclusive approach, rather than engage in a frontal attack against the mechanism or against privileged membership. Lastly, the right course of action to achieve reform, whether through a vote or by consensus, was one accepted by all States as useful, requisite and catalytic.
HECTOR BONAVIA ( Malta) said a meaningful reform process must grapple with weaknesses through concerted action towards the two-pronged aim of reforming the Council’s working methods and its composition. Accountability was not simply a function of reporting and transparency, but was also concerned with the method and manner in which members were chosen. While timely and effective responses were affected by the existence and abuse of veto power, they were also affected by the balance and range of representation within the Council membership.
Problems with the Council should be addressed in terms of both substance and procedure, he said. The approach taken by the S-5 tackled the critical and sensitive issues head-on, without leaving out the thorny veto question. The S-5 initiative could be integrated into the broader reform process, which would lead inevitably to the question of enlargement. The way forward should not concentrate on the question of permanent membership, but rather look at formulas that would reaffirm, rather than erode, the principle of rotation. An approach that would foster inclusiveness and demonstrate the ability to accommodate the interests and concerns of every Member State should be adopted.
As a small country with limited expectations of Council membership, Malta advocated that, all proposals on rotation options that could open Council membership to all States, should be explored, he said. The argument that increasing the number of permanent members would create more room for the rest of the membership was not convincing. To move the negotiations past their long-standing inertia, it should be noted that the main elements, around which a consensus could be built, were still missing.
FRANCIS BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) reiterated his country’s position that the present set-up of five permanent members with a monopoly on veto power could not be rationally justified. However, as long as the category existed, Africa demanded the same status and the same privileges as others, including the veto. That was not to endorse the anachronism, but to say that as long as it existed, all permanent members should have it until the mechanism was abolished. Accordingly, Africa demanded at least two permanent seats, with veto power, and five non-permanent seats.
To move the process forward, the less problematic category of expanding the non-permanent category should be taken up, to give a greater voice to developing countries, he continued. The suggested creation of a category of permanent membership without a veto was intended to appease the present five permanent members and endorse their continued privileges for fear that they would veto any reform that would do away with them. “We do not want to join as second class citizens,” he emphasized.
A gradual reform of the Council should include its working methods, he concluded. Much of the Council’s work was shrouded in secrecy, though its decisions affected the entire international community. An affected Member State should be allowed to speak. The present system of inviting an affected Member State and denying it the right to speak was a mockery of justice. That ritual should be done away with, as the opportunity to be heard was a right.
ELADIO LOIZAGA ( Paraguay) said the international community had indeed shown its desire for a more democratic and transparent Security Council. That body’s annual report, though not on time, was important, as it assured compliance with the Charter. However, it lacked substantive structure and was more of a chronological account of actions taken. Paraguay encouraged a more interactive report in the future. After all, the maintenance of international peace and security was the objective of all Member States.
Expressing concern about the expansion of the Council’s functions to the detriment of other bodies, such as the General Assembly, he said reform must be comprehensive and include enlargement as well as working methods. Paraguay favoured increased membership of the Council, which would take into account the current geographical equilibrium. That meant an increase in permanent and non-permanent members from both developed and developing countries. Such an expansion would increase the Council’s legitimacy and credibility. Finally, the veto should be limited and eventually eliminated.
Right of Reply
The representative of Japan spoke in exercise of the right of reply regarding the statement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying Council membership was based on contributions to the United Nations and international peace and security. Japan was committed to peaceful activities, did not export arms and was actively involved in non-proliferation.
The delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, responded by saying that, while Japan had “a big purse” and contributed to the Organization, only a generous and selfless contribution could be trusted. Japan’s contribution to the Organization was based on self-interest and was a de facto set of tricks to hide its “weird ambitions”. Japan would have to give up its ambitions for a permanent Security Council seat to gain the respect and trust of the international community.
The representative of Japan responded by saying those allegations were false and were, in fact, a statement about the danger that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea itself posed since announcing on 8 July that it had conducted a nuclear test. That act posed a great threat, not only to Japan and Asia, but to the entire international community. Resolution 1718 (2006), passed in October, called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take certain measures and Japan would work with others to ensure its implementation. Based on Japan’s record during its 50-year relationship with the United Nations, it was self-evidently a peace-loving nation.
The delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said truth and hypocrisy could not co-exist and Japan was covering its “dark ambitions”, stressing that there was no chance for Japan to become a responsible member of the Council. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been left with no choice but to perform the nuclear test, given the daily deepening of the threats by the United States. Permanent Council membership for Japan would be a serious threat to international peace and security.
Action and Closing
The Assembly then took note of the report on the work of the Security Council.
Sheikha HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA (Bahrain), President of the General Assembly, said in closing remarks that the large number of speakers –- more than 70 -– was clearly a reflection of interest and desire to move forward on the matter of equitable representation and increase in membership of the Security Council. While several positions had emerged during the debate, many delegations had recognized the complexity and relevance of the Council’s work in the maintenance of international peace and security. Member States had welcomed the Council’s efforts to reinvigorate its working methods, though concern remained over its continuing encroachment on the Assembly’s functions and powers. Member States also felt the report should be more analytical and that more time was needed to consider it.
The time was ripe for concrete action on reform, she continued, noting that there was consensus on the need to expand the Security Council to better reflect the world in the twenty-first century. However, a divergence of views remained on whether enlargement should happen in both the permanent and non-permanent membership, or only in the latter category. Likewise, there was a lack of agreement on whether potential new members should wield the veto.
Noting that the debate on reform had evolved to consider the idea of transitional arrangements, she proposed three possible options on the way forward; the process could continue in the framework of the Open-ended Working Group; the onus could be left upon Member States themselves, or the President could lead an open and inclusive process on consultations and negotiations to reach the broadest possible agreement.
She said she would present her views to delegates shortly.
* *** *For information media • not an official record