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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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On Agenda Item 9: Report of the Security Council; and Agenda Item 119: Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters: Joint Debate

New York, 12 November 2009

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Over the years, this joint debate of the Assembly has provided valuable and critical assessment of the work of the Security Council. It has also served as a constant reminder of the need for an early comprehensive reform of the Security Council, a collective objective to which the Member States are deeply attached.     

This discussion also contributes positively to strengthening the cooperation and coordination between the General Assembly and the Security Council. I am personally committed to promoting the relationship between the General Assembly and the principal organs.

The provisions governing the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as their respective functions and powers, are clearly stipulated in the UN Charter. Among the provisions of the Charter is the requirement for the Security Council to submit annual and special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.

Among Member States, there is a widely shared view that this consideration by the Assembly can be more meaningful if the report of the Council is substantive in terms of information, and is more analytical in terms of providing better understanding of the dynamics of discussion and decision making in the Council. This process can be facilitated by maximizing the availability of information on the Council’s work in a timely manner. In that regard, there is a strong opinion that the Council should continue to expand the practice of open meetings and briefings and limit the number of closed meetings. The recent practice of consulting non-Council members in the preparation of the annual report is also encouraging. This interaction should be further strengthened and broadened. 

The report of the Security Council is indicative of the wide ranging issues on its agenda. Given the crucial nature of the Council’s work, the expectations of the international community are high, and the scrutiny of its performance, intense. In numerous situations, particularly in Africa, the Council has deployed significant efforts for restoration of peace and stability with appreciable results, which are well acknowledged. At the same time, the Council has been questioned for not being able to fully shoulder its responsibility in dealing effectively with some of the most pressing peace and security issues including the Middle East and the Palestinian question. We should encourage and support the Council in playing its due role in achieving peaceful resolution of these conflicts. Imperative in this regard is the consistent and impartial implementation of the Council’s decisions and resolutions. While the Member States have the right to hold the Council to account on this aspect, they should also demonstrate commitment to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter.

In fact, it is the whole question of improving the effectiveness and credibility of the Security Council, and that of the General Assembly itself and the entire multilateral system, which is at the heart of the UN reform effort. We need a strengthened United Nations – more democratic, open and inclusive – adapted to the changing realities and capable of responding to the challenges that we confront.                          

I am committed to promoting this objective, in which Member States have placed high priority at the 2000 Millennium Summit and subsequently at the 2005 World Summit. Security Council reform was also among the most mentioned issues in this year’s General Debate in September. I am encouraged that there is broad agreement and support among Member States on the necessity of this reform. We need to work diligently in order to attain more tangible results for our efforts.

The intergovernmental negotiations that commenced last year in informal plenary of the General Assembly, offer an excellent opportunity to carry forward this effort. This is a collective endeavour, which we shall continue during this Session, as agreed in Decision 63/565 of 14 September 2009.

To that end, as I have informed you in my letter of 13 October, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan has kindly agreed to chair the negotiations on my behalf. I hope that he would continue to enjoy your cooperation, support and confidence to build on the important work that he steered so skillfully during the 63rd Session. Member States will be informed soon of the way forward to continue these negotiations.

I, personally, would continue to guide the process and remain engaged with all of you on this issue at all times. As President of the General Assembly, I see my role as a convener, facilitator and bridge-builder working with all Member States in the best interest of all.      

The job ahead of us is not easy. It will require the vigour, seriousness and cooperation that characterized the intergovernmental negotiations in the last Session. The mandate is clear as contained in Decision 62/557 of 15 September 2008.

That is our real challenge – to find a reform model which is comprehensive, and which takes into account the inter-linkages of the five key issues: i.e. categories of membership; the question of the veto; regional representation; size of an enlarged Security Council and working methods of the Council; and the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly. A reform model that accommodates the interests and concerns of all Member States, including the large majority of small and medium states, and the under-represented regions particularly Africa whose legitimate demand to address the historic injustice with regard to its rightful representation on the Council is yet to be heeded.

Let us therefore chart a way forward for our work this Session that takes us closer to achieving our objective. Your views and suggestions, I am sure, would help make the intergovernmental negotiations more meaningful and productive.

Thank you.

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