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Security Council reform must result in profound changes – Assembly President

11 April 2008 - Security Council reform must be about more than just changing the composition of its membership, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim says, calling on the body to be “based on an equilibrium of interests rather than a balance of power.”

In an opinion column for the United Kingdom-based pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, published yesterday, Mr. Kerim wrote that reform of the Council must lead to “a new culture of international relations” based on full respects for human rights, human security, responsibility to protect and sustainable development.

While changing the Council’s composition is a necessary first step, it should not be viewed as an end in itself.

Instead, Council members should be “ready to share responsibility, willing and able to act to protect human life – as the body of last resort – whatever and wherever the threat may be.”

Mr. Kerim said such ideas are needed because “our present institutional structures are too rigidly anchored in an international system where pre-eminence is given to the State as the primary interlocutor and agent of change.”

He called for renewal of the UN as a whole, for the Bretton Woods institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and for other international and regional bodies.

Speaking to reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Kerim echoed those remarks.

Council reform, he said, must have “a more profound meaning than just enlargement. It has to mean adaptation of the institutions, of the United Nations above all, and that goes for the General Assembly and the Secretariat as well. It all has to adapt to a new, very different world.”

Yesterday the President told a working group on Council reform that Member States should show “effective flexibility” in their negotiations on reshaping the 15-member body, and ensure that the concerns of all sides are taken into account, especially those currently underrepresented.