11 December 2006 Acknowledging that past efforts to expand the membership of the United Nations Security Council have not met with success, the President of the General Assembly today urged participants in its annual debate on the issue to take a realistic approach order to open the way for real progress.
“So far our ongoing efforts have not led to an agreement on Security Council reform. However, we should not lose hope in our ability to make progress on this important matter,” Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa told the Assembly at the opening of the discussion in which some 64 countries were scheduled to take part.
“After many years of inconclusive debate on this important matter, I believe the time has come for us to make a realistic assessment of the whole issue,” she said. “In doing so we should be prepared to look at this matter with a fresh and open mind so that we can make substantial progress.”
Seeking “concrete proposals and views on how to move ahead on this important reform agenda item,” she pledged her readiness to work with all concerned to “establish the most appropriate process” to foster progress.
The General Assembly has been debating the issue of Security Council reform since 1979. A working group started formulating proposals on the issue in 1994.
The number of non-permanent members on the Security Council was increased from six to ten by an amendment of the UN Charter which came into force in 1965. The five permanent members are China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.