8 February 2007 As part of United Nations efforts to reform the 15-member Security Council, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa today appointed five ambassadors, representing different regions, to move the process forward.
Talks on five key issues – membership, veto power, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Security Council, and the working methods of the Council and its relationship with the General Assembly – will be led, respectively, by Ali Hachani of Tunisia, Andreas D. Mavroyiannis of Cyprus, Mirjana Mladineo of Croatia, Heraldo Muñoz of Chile and Frank Majoor of the Netherlands.
“The process of facilitation should reflect the views of the entire membership in a fair and factual manner, while underlining the areas of broad agreement within the membership,” said the Assembly president in naming the facilitators at a closed-door meeting.
Sheikha Haya asked the facilitators, who are to report back to her by end of March, to “interact with all Member States in an open, inclusive and transparent way.” Their findings will then be presented to Member States to advance the reform process, which has been at an impasse for 15 years due to its sensitive political nature.
“These consultations are the beginning of a process,” she said, emphasizing that although five key areas have been targeted, delegates are welcome to raise any other issues they deem essential in restructuring the Council. “I will continue to be open to the views of all Member States.”
Amendments, which took effect in 1965, to the UN Charter raised the number of non-permanent members of the Council from six to 10. The five veto-wielding permanent members – China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – have remained essentially unchanged since the Council’s inception.
In March 2005, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled two possible blueprints for Council reform in a report entitled In Larger Freedom. The first calls for six new permanent seats, two each from Africa and Asia and one each from Europe and the Americas, with no new vetoes. The latter does not provide for new permanent members, but instead the creation of eight four-year renewable term seats and one two-year non-permanent and non-renewable seat, all to be dispersed among the major regional areas.
Sheikha Haya asserted that Council reform is “an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations” in order to make it “more representative, efficient and transparent, and to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy of its decisions.”