11 November 2010 The President of the General Assembly today kicked off an annual debate on reforming the Security Council by urging Member States to show the necessary flexibility and creativity needed to make progress on an issue that has been the subject of discussion for 17 years.
The 15-member Council comprises five permanent members with veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 non-permanent members with no veto, who are elected for two-year terms.
Some countries have argued that this structure does not represent the realities of today’s world. Key issues under discussion are the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council’s working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly.
“It must be very clear that the solution is in your hands,” Assembly President Joseph Deiss told Member States as they began the debate, which is expected to hear from at least 60 speakers.
“It is your determination to make something of this process that will lead to progress being made. It is therefore essential to demonstrate flexibility, willingness to compromise, good faith, creativity and mutual respect in an atmosphere that is both transparent and inclusive.”
Mr. Deiss said that Council reform is an essential part of reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance, stressing that there is “almost complete consensus” worldwide on the need to adapt to the changes that have taken place since 1945.
“It is essential to build on existing convergences, and narrow differences of viewpoint, in order to reach more tangible results,” he stated, calling on States to support the efforts of Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, who has been overseeing the negotiations on Council reform.
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