‘We Have Only Ourselves to Blame’ for Lagging Progress on Security Council Reform, General Assembly Told as It Convenes Debate on Council’s Report, Working Methods
‘We Have Only Ourselves to Blame’ for Lagging Progress on Security Council Reform, General Assembly Told as It Convenes Debate on Council’s Report, Working Methods
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
General Assembly Plenary
38th & 39th Meetings (AM & PM)
‘We Have Only Ourselves to Blame’ For Lagging Progress on Security Council Reform,
General Assembly Told As it Convenes Debate on Council’s Report, Working Methods
With Meaningful Negotiations Hobbled by Regional Rivalries, Hypocrisy,
Speakers Say Only Flexibility and Political Will Can Break 20-Year Deadlock
Despite recognizing the need to make the Security Council more representative and fit to tackle complex global challenges, delegates remained divided on the future makeup of the 15-nation body, as the General Assembly today discussed the Council’s work and reforming its structure.
The representative of Malaysia was among those who voiced frustration at the current stalemate in Council reform negotiations. Recalling the past eight sessions of inconclusive intergovernmental talks, he said those Assembly-based discussions had led to positions drifting further apart, with bilateral and regional rivalries coming into play. “We cannot even agree on what shape an expanded Security Council should look like,” he deplored.
Enumerating contradictions between words and actions that had led to the recent withdrawal of a draft resolution on the matter, he questioned how serious Member States really were in wanting to reform the Council. “We should start some real negotiations, with a workable text and reasonable timelines for the process to conclude,” he said. It was time to stop the “all or nothing” approach, and “to walk the talk” on the issue of flexibility. Until that happened, “we have only ourselves to blame for our inability to play a more meaningful role in the work of the Security Council,” he added.
Brazil’s representative echoed that sentiment, stating “the time has come to begin a new phase in our talks.” In that regard, it was essential to prepare a “concise” negotiating document with fewer options for membership expansion, she said. The 25 July letter from Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan and the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, had provided a clear set of options that might allow Member States to move forward, she added.
To break the decades-long impasse, Member States must act “in a spirit of compromise”, said the representative of the United Kingdom, one of the Council’s five permanent members, all of whom addressed the Assembly today. Despite the many competing and strongly held views of different delegations, “there is sufficient common ground on the fundamental need for reform,” he said. His Government supported permanent representation for Africa, as well as for Brazil, India, Germany and Japan, on the Council. At the same time, “reform must not reduce the Council’s ability to act decisively when called upon to address threats to international peace and security,” he added.
Yet, Egypt’s delegate told the Assembly that yesterday, his delegation had requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to address the alarming escalation by Israel in the Gaza Strip. The President of the Council had responded by convening a meeting less than six hours later. However, the Council had been unable to agree on holding a public meeting; instead, it had decided to hold a closed-door session. “This proves the need for more transparency in the Council’s work,” he stressed, adding that procedural aspects should not be obstructed by a limited category of the Council’s members.
However, another permanent member, the representative of the Russian Federation, said that the question of the Council’s membership could not simply be resolved “arithmetically” as such an approach would not serve to strengthen the body or the United Nations itself. The Russian Federation believed that the formula for reform must enjoy the broadest support among the Member States. One option could be an interim compromise solution, which would avoid a split in the General Assembly. In that light, it would be useful to devote the next round of negotiations to a comparative analysis of the various models of reform presently on the table.
But, Montenegro’s delegate argued that Member States had already fully discussed the main proposals on the table in detail and there were no more “unknowns.” Africa’s common position appeared to be the common denominator, which could serve as the base building block for real, substantive negotiations, he said.
To that end, many among the nearly 50 delegations to take the floor favoured permanent African representation in the Council. Algeria’s delegate, speaking for the African Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government, called for at least two permanent seats for the continent with veto power and other prerogatives, as well as five non-permanent slots for African countries.
The United States’ speaker said her country was open to “a modest expansion” of both membership categories, but believed that any consideration of an expansion of permanent members must be “country-specific in nature” and an enlargement of the Council should not change the current veto structure, which gave such power to her country, China, France, Russian Federation and United Kingdom.
In contrast, the delegate of France embraced the idea that the Council’s permanent members must renounce the use of the veto when the 15-nation body was faced with mass atrocities.
The representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group, said that the Assembly President should be the “ultimate and impartial guarantor” of the Security Council reform process because transparency and predictability were needed to build confidence among Member States.
Briefly summarizing his Group’s philosophy, he said that its members believed that regular elections were imperative to ensure an accountable, accessible Council in which membership was earned as privileged responsibility, and not granted as a permanent right to individual countries in fulfilling their national interests. He also argued that permanent membership, with no provision for periodic endorsement from the wider membership, had no representative character. The Group had proposed a new category of seats with a term of up to six years, as well as an increase in regular non-permanent seats. It had also provided a quota for the representation of small States on the Council and supported the need to correct the underrepresentation of Africa.
At the outset of today’s meeting, the representative of India, the current Security Council President, introduced the body’s 275-page report on its work from August 2011 to July 2012. The report, compiled by the Council’s previous President, the Permanent Representative of Colombia, was “more than a regular reporting exercise” pursuant to the United Nations Charter. Indeed, it provided an opportunity to debate and exchange views with the general membership on the Council’s work.
He stressed that the monthly assessments by each presidency contained information on the most relevant activities carried out by the Council on the items of its agenda, thus adding to the overall comprehension of the report. That was an important exercise regularly undertaken and the responsibility of each Presidency, aimed at informing the wider membership on the Council’s activities.
On working methods, he said the body had improved planning and spread out its workload. It had also ensured the more efficient use of conference resources and more interactive exchanges among Council members. Council presidencies had promoted useful practices, such as streamlining introductions made by the presidency and used video conferences in open briefings or debates to provide updates from the field. He stressed that the annual report had included a number of analytical, descriptive and statistical information on the work of the Council.
Costa Rica’s speaker was among those who called for a more analytical and critical annual report. It should include, he said, evaluation of the effectiveness of Council decisions, lessons learned, and possible future strategies. Other delegates requested a more concise report.
Also participating in today’s debate were the representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the L.69 group), Belarus, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Switzerland, Colombia, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands (also on behalf of Belgium), as well as those of Lichtenstein, South Africa, Pakistan, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Australia, Lesotho and Republic of Congo.
The delegates of Ukraine, Spain, Argentina, China, El Salvador, Turkey, Mexico, Mongolia, Tunisia, Malta, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bhutan, Maldives, Chile, Venezuela and United Republic of Tanzania also participated in the debate.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Assembly will reconvene on Monday, 19 November, at 10 a.m. to discuss cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations.
The General Assembly had before it the Secretary-General’s note (document A/67/300), which notified Member States of matters related to the maintenance of international peace and security that were being dealt with by the Security Council. Delegates were also to discuss the report on the work of the Security Council (document A/67/2) and address the question of equitable representation on that body and increase in its membership.
The 275-page report, which summarises the activities of the Security Council during a period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012, notes that the 15-nation body continued to engage in a comprehensive and wide-reaching agenda. The Council held 222 formal meetings, of which 205 were public, adopted 60 resolutions and 25 presidential statements, and issued 83 statements to the press.
Developments in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, as well as the ongoing effects of the Arab Spring, remained prominent on the Council’s agenda, the report says. In April 2012, the body unanimously adopted resolution 2042 (2012), by which it authorized an advance team to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, and resolution 2043 (2012), by which it established the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syria (UNSMIS) to monitor and support implementation of the six-point proposal of Kofi Annan, former Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
The report goes on to state that many of the Council’s activities, discussions and efforts were concerned with the situation in several African countries, focusing on Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, the central African region, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Europe, the Council followed-up on its longstanding interest in exploring ways to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in its institutionalization process, among other engagements.
The issue of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction also figured prominently on the agenda. Other priorities of the Council’s work were the thematic, general and cross-cutting issues. During the reporting period, the Council received briefings/horizon scannings by the Department of Political Affairs, as well as briefings by the Presidents of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. Other major agenda items include the issues of children and armed conflict, women and peace and security, the protection of civilians and post-conflict peacebuilding. The Council adopted 25 resolutions extending the mandates of various peacekeeping and monitoring missions, the report notes.
Presentation of Report
Introducing the annual report of the Security Council (document A/67/2), HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India), the current Council President, said presentation of the annual survey was “more than a regular reporting exercise” pursuant to the United Nations Charter. Indeed, the report underscored the importance of the relationship of both principal organs of the Organization - the Council and the General Assembly - and provided an excellent opportunity to debate and exchange views with the general membership on the Council’s work.
He stressed that the monthly assessments by each presidency contained information on the most relevant activities carried out by the Council on the items of its agenda, thus adding to the overall comprehension of the report. That was an important exercise regularly undertaken and the responsibility of each Presidency, aimed at informing the wider membership on the activities of the Council.
During the reporting period under review – August 2011 to July 2012 - the Council had adopted 60 resolutions and 25 Presidential Statements, and issued 83 statements to the press, he noted. The Council had held 222 formal meetings, of which 205 were public. Open meetings, including open debates, increased transparency in the work of the Council and allowed for an enhanced participation by the wider membership and the international community.
Highlighting cooperation between the Council and the Assembly, he said the Presidencies of the two principal organs continued to meet regularly throughout the year, and monthly briefings by the Presidents of the Council to the wider membership continued to be held. Meetings with troop contributors also took place as a regular practice, in particular prior to any decision that would impact on United Nations peacekeeping mandates, as a way to collect relevant inputs.
Such practices represented useful steps to promote a better dialogue with the general membership on the work of the Council, he said, encouraging delegations to make use of those opportunities to increasingly ensure interaction. Furthermore, the Council continued to improve its working methods, including by better planning and spreading out its workload, ensuring reporting requirements were fit for purpose, the more efficient use of conference resources and more interactive exchanges among Council members. Council presidencies promoted useful practices aiming at increasing efficiency and expediency, such as streamlining introductions made by the presidency and video conferences in open briefings or debates to provide updates from the field. Council members had agreed to reduce the use of speakers’ lists and better use “Other Matters” to discuss issues of concern. Informal interactive dialogues had been also held regularly as a useful consultation practice.
He stressed that the annual report included a number of analytical, descriptive and statistical information on the work of the Council, the preparation of which required a significant effort of both delegations in the Council and the Secretariat. “I will be glad to take your suggestions back to my colleagues in the Council,” he said, adding that “there is always room for improvement, and the Council members will benefit from your comments and suggestions.”
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), stressed that the enlargement of the Security Council and the reform of its working methods should lead to a more democratic, representative, accountable and effective Council. In that regard, the sixteenth Non-Aligned Movement Summit, held recently in Teheran, had acknowledged the “historical injustice” against Africa with regard to its representation on the Council, and expressed its support for an increased and enhanced representation for the continent. In addition, improving the working methods of the Council was crucial to its effectiveness. “Transparency, openness and consistency are key elements the Security Council should preserve in all its activities”, he said in that regard.
The Movement continued to reject any attempt to use the Council as a platform to pursue national political agendas, and stressed the importance of non-selectivity and impartiality in its work. It also rejected the constant attempts by the Council to use thematic issues under its consideration to expand its mandate into areas that did not pose a threat to international peace and security. Council-imposed sanctions remained an issue of serious concern to the Non-Aligned Movement countries, he added, noting that the objectives of sanctions regimes should be clearly defined and that their imposition should be for a specific timeframe. “They should be based on tenable legal grounds,” he emphasized.
“The accountability of the Security Council to the General Assembly is well established in the Charter [of the United Nations],” he continued. Having examined the report before the Assembly, the Movement believed that there remained “ample room” for improvements in the quality of the document. It should be more explanatory and analytical in addressing the work of the Council, including cases where the Council had failed to act, among others. It was also imperative that future reports of the body reflect the general views expressed by non-members of the Council its open debates. He also regretted that the Council Committee on the Admission of New Members was not able to issue a positive recommendation on the application of Palestine for admission as a full member of the United Nations, due to the lack of unanimity on the issue among Council members.
Issuing several remarks in his national capacity, and joining with the African Group, he stressed the need to ensure the intergovernmental nature of the Security Council reform process and to avoid jeopardizing the impartiality of the President of the General Assembly and the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. “The main objective of the negotiations is to ensure the widest possible political acceptance by Member States themselves,” he said in that respect. Egypt believed that the “five negotiables” of that process remained inextricably linked, and continued to oppose any drafting exercise that entailed merging language and streamlining positions in a text without first agreeing on principles and criteria regarding those five elements.
Africa remained unrepresented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, he said. The African Common Position, as reflected in the Ezulwini Consensus, did not seek to achieve national political interests. Instead, it aimed to achieve the “legitimate aspirations of a whole continent”, comprising 54 countries, in order to rectify the historical injustice to Africa regarding its representation on the Council. Egypt also stressed the need to duly take into account the position of the members of the League of Arab States demanding a permanent seat for the Arab Group in any future expansion in the category of permanent membership of the Council, and the position of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) demanding adequate representation of the Muslim world in such an expansion.
Yesterday, Egypt had requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to address the alarming escalation by Israel in Gaza, he said. The President of the Council had responded by convening a meeting less than six hours later. However, the Council had not been able to agree on holding a public meeting; instead, it had decided on the format of a private meeting. “This proves the need for more transparency in the Council’s work”, he stressed, adding that procedural aspects should not be obstructed by a limited category of the Council’s members.
RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the L.69 Group — a diverse group of developing countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific, united in the goal of achieving lasting and comprehensive Security Council reform — said that expansion in both permanent and non-permanent membership categories was needed to better reflect contemporary world realities and achieve a more accountable, representative and transparent Security Council. The Group had been instrumental in starting negotiations and continued its engagement on the understanding that the Charter, the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and relevant Assembly resolutions required support from a two-thirds majority of Member States for any decisions in that regard.
The Group also had been able to come together with other like-minded groups, he said, in particular sharing the African Group’s common position to ensure that the Council’s structure and operations reflected current geopolitical realities. Enumerating areas of convergence between those groups on each of the five key issues of Council reform he said that in addition to membership expansion, the Groups agreed that: new permanent members should have the same prerogatives and privileges as those of current permanent members; an expanded Council should include new permanent seats for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean region, and from Western European and other States.
Further, he continued, there should be additional non-permanent seats from Africa, Asia, Eastern European Group, Latin America and the Caribbean region, as well as one non-permanent seat for small island developing States across all regions, with regional groups ensuring their regular representation. Council membership should be expanded to the mid-twenties and working methods adapted to increase involvement of States not on the Council, thus enhancing accountability to the overall membership and increasing the transparency of the Council’s work. Finally, the Assembly’s role as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations must be respected in both letter and spirit. Intergovernmental negotiations should start immediately to formalize those convergences.
CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI (Italy), speaking on behalf of the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said that, as transparency and predictability were needed to build confidence among Member States, the President of the General Assembly should be the “ultimate and impartial guarantor” of the Security Council reform process. Briefly summarizing his Group’s philosophy, he said that its members believed that regular elections were imperative to ensuring an accountable, accessible Council in which membership was earned as privileged responsibility, and not granted as a permanent right to individual countries in fulfilment of their national aspirations.
Second, Uniting for Consensus believed that the election process made the Council flexible and adaptable to the world’s constant changes. Third, it believed that the electoral system in the Council was more representative. Permanent membership, with no provision for periodic endorsement from the wider membership, had no representative character whatsoever.
The Uniting for Consensus Group had proposed a new category of seats with a longer term of up to six years, as well as an increase in regular non-permanent seats. It had also provided a quota for the representation of small States on the Council, he said. In addition, the Group was convinced that there was a need to correct the under-representation of Africa, and its proposal offered a viable compromise to address that continent’s particularities. It also felt that the Council’s working methods should be improved through greater openness and transparency, and that it should be more accountable to the Assembly. In addition, he stressed, that the veto “should be limited, if not abolished”.
Turning to the reform process itself, he said that the negotiations must be based on the proposals by Member States. Assembly resolution 65/557, which provided for those negotiations, had called for the five key “negotiables” to be dealt with in a comprehensive way and therefore clearly rejected any piecemeal approach. “This decision must be upheld”, he stressed, adding that “any attempt at a piecemeal approach is bound to fail”. “Any proposal that has not been agreed upon or mandated by Member States risk sending us back to square one,” he added in that respect.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV ( Belarus) said that an additional situational analysis of the processes in different regions of the world could make the Security Council report more valuable. Additionally, reform of the Council should be based on a consensual approach, contribute to its effectiveness and include five elements of decision 62/557. Thus, after 20 years of unproductive negotiations on such reform, it was important to achieve results through political will and flexibility. Any efforts to push through reform by a vote in the General Assembly might undermine the whole reform process.
He went on to express an expectation that reform would make the Security Council’s representation more balanced and equitable. The Eastern European group, he pointed out, was particularly underrepresented among non-permanent members. The Council should also improve its working methods and refrain from interfering with the mandates of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council. Calling on all Members States to demonstrate the political will and readiness to compromise in negotiations on reform, he said another year of unfruitful discussions could not be afforded.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said the Security Council’s annual report provided all Member States and the global public with a transparent and comprehensive review of the Council’s intensive work. She expressed hope that the report would continue to facilitate the exchange of information and enhance cooperation between the two co-equal principal organs of the United Nations. Her country took seriously the importance of ensuring that all Member States were informed of and appropriately involved in the Council’s work, was committed to improving its working methods and continued to encourage increased interaction between Member States and the Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
Recalling the First United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Edward Stettinius, Jr., who said that the General Assembly, inter alia, was responsible for building the kind of world in which lasting peace would be possible, and that the Security Council must see that the peace is kept, she said nearly 67 years later, the members of the Council remained dedicated to that mission. As the world’s principal body for dealing with global security cooperation, the Council needed to reflect the realities of the new century. Recognizing that various groups of Member States had presented proposals to add both permanent and non-permanent members, and also to add veto-wielding members, she said her country was open in principle to a modest expansion of both membership categories, but strongly believed that any consideration of an expansion of permanent Members must be country-specific in nature. Moreover, the United States was not open to an enlargement of the Council that would change the current veto structure. Given that to date, no proposal had enjoyed consensus among those in inter-governmental negotiations on Council reform, she said all must continue to discuss the way forward together.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI(Algeria), speaking on behalf of the African Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government, recalled that many heads of Government and State had stressed the need to reform the Security Council during the Assembly’s general debate this year. They called for a more democratic, transparent and legitimate body that took into account such core values of the United Nations as inclusiveness. After two decades of debate on Security Council reform, the United Nations had come to a point of losing its credibility due to a stalemate in negotiations.
The historical injustice against Africa must be corrected. Africa was the only continent not represented among the Council’s permanent membership. Africa was also underrepresented in the non-permanent category. Calling for early Council reform, he went on to urge the wider United Nations membership to work with Africa to address that injustice. Africa’s position was based on continental aspirations. When the United Nations had been created, most African countries had not been among its members. Circumstances had since changed. Today, African nations contributed to the work of all of the United Nations organizations. In that regard, the African group sought two permanent seats with veto power and five non-permanent seats. “We must reach an agreement on how to move forward,” he said, seeking clarification of the “concise” negotiating document tabled by facilitators in the intergovernmental negotiations.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said a more representative Security Council, aligned with current political realities, would only be achieved through a real reform of its current structure. That goal had been consistently advocated by a clear majority of Member States, as the debates held during the last session of the General Assembly had again demonstrated. A large majority had also expressed its support for an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership and for the improvement of its methods of work.
Together with its partners of the Group of Four ( Brazil, India, Japan and Germany) and the “L.69” alliances, Brazil had been a staunch supporter of the inter-governmental negotiations since the inception of that process. “The time has come, however, to begin a new phase in our talks,” she said. That phase should be results-oriented and characterized by real and substantive negotiations. It was essential that a negotiating document with fewer options and a focus on ideas that had garnered broad support from Member States be prepared. A concise negotiating document was pivotal to kick-start this process. The 25 July letter by the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations provided a clear set of options that might allowed Member States to move forward. Brazil was ready to enter into real negotiations, with a view to achieving a meaningful reform.
KIM SOOK ( Republic of Korea) said Syria was the largest peace and security challenge of the day and hoped the Council would build unity and act decisively on that tragic, longstanding issue which impacted regional security. His Government fully supported the two-State solution and a vision in which Israel and Palestine lived side-by-side in peace and prosperity. He hoped a peaceful, negotiated resolution would be reached soon with the international community’s support. His Government also was concerned with the military coups conducted in Mail and Guinea-Bissau earlier this year and welcomed the Council’s firm actions shown in resolutions 2056 (2012) and 2048 (2012).
Regarding non-proliferation, the Republic of Korea supported the swift adoption of the Security Council President’s statement on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s launch of a long-range missile in April 2012. He noted that the statement strongly condemned the launch, underscored it was a serious violation of Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), and expressed the Council’s determination to take action accordingly if that country made an additional launch or nuclear test. On the issue of international cooperation for non-proliferation, the Republic of Korea appreciated the growing role of the 1540 Committee, as shown in Council resolution 2055 (2012), and welcomed the adoption of the Presidential Statement on nuclear security made in April 2012.
The Republic of Korea believed the only way to create a more representative, accountable and effective Council was by holding periodic elections, which would ensure the democratic principle, which was at the core of legitimately reforming the Council. Council reform should be firmly based on a membership-driven and comprehensive approach as stipulated in Assembly Decision 62/557 (2008), he added. As a non-permanent Council member for 2013-2014, the Republic of Korea would spare no efforts to enhance the Council’s accountability, transparency and efficiency.
STÉPHANE VISCONTI (France) said the growing quality of the Security Council’s reports to the Assembly was a demonstration of the continued improvement in the Council’s methods of work. In particular, France supported giving a “true voice” to public debates, in particular on issues of a public interest, such as dialogues with troop-contributing countries the fight against impunity in the Council’s work. France agreed with the idea that the Council’s permanent members must renounce the use of the veto when the 15-nation body was faced with crimes and mass atrocities. Reform was necessary, he stressed, in order to better reflect the realities of today’s world and to better respond to new challenges. “The Security Council must undergo a far-ranging reform,” he said in that respect.
The eighth cycle of international negotiations reform had made discussions more dynamic, and that impetus should not be lost. France welcomed the decision of the President of the General Assembly to reappoint Ambassador [Zahir] Tanin as Chair. France, for its part, supported the enlargement of both categories of membership in the Council. Reform must take into account the emergence of new powers, which, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, were in a position to make a significant contribution to the Council’s work. France therefore supported the candidacy of the African countries among the permanent members of the Security Council, as well as that of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil.
ABDULAZIZ ALJARALLAH ( Kuwait) said that there had been a noticeable increase in the workload of the Council in the last year. Joining with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement, he said that he hoped the present session would show “tangible progress” and realize the long-awaited achievement of a reform that would meet the expectations of all. In that vein, an increase in membership of the Council was not out of place at the top of the General Assembly’s agenda. Numerous initiatives and ideas had been put forward. However, the issues remained obstructed and required the needed political will for a convergence of views. “The frequent challenges in the international political arena should drive us to exert more pressure to improve the course of negotiations and affirm the importance of collective work”, he stressed, as the goal to be achieved was “supreme and noble” and involved the entire international community.
In Kuwait’s view, the issue of reforming the Council must be carried out in accordance with the aim to continue the process of reforming and developing all United Nations bodies, he said, adding that more “integration and balance” was needed in that regard. Further, any ideas deliberated for Council reform must aim to make the body more representative. Thirdly, it was of utmost importance to improve the working methods of the Council and to give more transparency and clarity to its work. Fourth, the issue of the veto right must be placed within limits and regulations that codified the use of that right, for example excluding the veto right in matters that fell under Chapter VII of the Charter. Fifth and finally, he said that any increase in the number of seats of the Council must take into consideration the need to afford small States a greater opportunity to become members and to participate in the Council’s work.
PAUL SEGER( Switzerland) requested that future Security Council presidents provide monthly analytical reports on the work of the body while recognizing the work of the body’s Colombian Presidency in compiling the current 275-page report. After reading the report, he had no choice but to repeat the same message he delivered last year. For instance, there was a lack of systematic approach to cross-cutting issues. As for working methods of the Council, India would hold an open debate later this month, and all delegates were encouraged to participate in the discussion.
The report reflected both positive and negative developments. On the positive front, the report highlighted cooperation with regional entities in Sudan. On Mali, the Security Council spoke in one voice. By contrast, he said, much remained to be done in the Sahel. He hoped that the Council would choose a political approach over military action, adding that the Council should act to prevent conflicts. Horizon scanning was an effective tool. His delegation supported the idea of renouncing veto power when dealing with atrocious crimes against humanity, praising France’s offer to do so. He would like to hear at the next year’s debate that Security Council reform had in fact moved forward.
NÉSTOR OSORIO( Colombia) underscored the complex world environment that had characterized the reporting period, consequently limiting the actions of the Council. Nonetheless, the Council was an irreplaceable body in maintaining international peace and security. For instance, it was instrumental in improving prospects in the Horn of Africa. Thematic debates, including on the rule of law, were held. But the Council should not take up issues outside its jurisdiction.
Turning to the issue of Council reform, he recognized the importance of intergovernmental negotiations, praising the current Chairman’s leadership, neutrality and productive methods. Colombia had joined the Uniting for Consensus Group to create the general view that was necessary for any change in the composition of the Council. Colombia’s position had been consistent; Council reform must be comprehensive, transparent and reflective of the needs of the developing countries. In that regard, greater representation of those States, especially from Africa, was legitimate.
HANS PETER WITTIG( Germany) said that, of the numerous issues on the Security Council’s agenda, the situation in Syria stood out “because of what the Council did not do”, rather than what it had done. Germany deplored the Council’s failure to agree on a common approach to that situation, which had led to suffering among the Syrian people. Indeed, the lack of action begged the question of whether the Security Council was still able to live up to the responsibilities entrusted to it by the United Nations Charter. The inaction also added to the growing frustration of Member States with regard to the deadlock on Security Council reform. Last year, even modest progress on that matter had been blocked, he stressed. In that vein, and due to the importance of both topics, Germany would have preferred that two separate meetings be held on the agenda items before the Assembly today.
In September, on the margins of the general debate, the Foreign Ministers of the Group of Four nations had issued a joint statement on their position with regard to reform of the Security Council. It had reiterated the dedication of those Ministers to achieve an early reform of the Council, and called for a concrete outcome during the Assembly’s present session, in a spirit of flexibility and cooperation. Strong support for a “real Council reform” had also been evident in the Group’s negotiations during the last cycle, during which it had called for an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership. Germany looked forward to a resumption of those negotiations as soon as possible. Proposals were now on the table, he added, urging Member States to begin discussing them and to “see how we can make them operational”.
KAZUO KODAMA ( Japan) said that “no one doubts the necessity of Security Council reform”. It was regrettable that the issue had not seen much progress over the recent decades. He reminded Member States that the 2005 World Summit and its outcome document had prescribed them to realize early reform of the Council. “We have already acquired a clear and deep understanding of each group’s position on this issue”, he said in that respect, adding that an overwhelming majority of States had voiced support for an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership. “Now is the time to intensify negotiations” in that respect, he stressed. Japan supported the Chairman’s recommendation to draft a “concise working document” as a crucial step to move that process forward, and to that end, requested all Member States to engage in that important task. He also described Japan’s commitment to the reform process, which had been demonstrated by its participation in the September meeting of Foreign Ministers. At that meeting, some States had indicated their support for the holding of a high-level meeting on Security Council reform in 2013, an idea which Japan also supported.
Turning to the report of the Security Council, he said that the document not only strengthened relations between that body and the Assembly but also played an important role in ensuring the accountability and transparency of the Council. Japan considered the report to be both comprehensive and descriptive, and said that it enhanced the clarity of the Council’s work. However, it would have hoped that more background of the events on which the Council had worked had been included, and he hoped that continued efforts would be made to strengthen the substantive aspects of the report, including through improvements in the monthly assessments which formed the basis of its introduction. At the same time, more efforts were needed to make the report “even more concise”, he said.
HERMAN SCHAPER ( Netherlands), speaking also on behalf of Belgium, said that the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiation process should draft a concise working document as the basis for genuine “give and take”. That could mark the next phase of negotiations.
Both countries were committed to supporting further discussion where and when possible, he said, to keep the momentum and to assist Membership to reach concrete results during the current session of the General Assembly. The ultimate goal, he said, was “a modernized and more legitimate Security Council, which reflects the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century, [contributing] to a more credible United Nations and a reinforced international system”.
PHILIP PARHAM(United Kingdom) said that Member States had just heard the President of Security Council recount some of that body’s achievements over the past year, including supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and helping that country back on to its feet, working with the African Union to encourage Sudan and South Sudan to come to the negotiating table. But “you have also heard of some of its failures this year, Syria being foremost among them,” he added. That failure was itself a further argument in favour of reform.
Member States must act in a spirit of compromise as Council reform was a difficult and complex issue. Despite the many competing and strongly held views of different Member States, “there is sufficient common ground on the fundamental need for reform for us to be able to move forward in the intergovernmental negotiations.” The United Kingdom’s position was well known. It supported permanent membership for Brazil, India, Germany and Japan and permanent African representation. At the same time, reform must not reduce the Council’s ability to act decisively when called upon to address threats to international peace and security. His delegation was open to exploring the ideas of other Member States.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI( Costa Rica) noted with satisfaction the report under review but asked the Council to present a more concise document. He called for greater balance of power between the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Council should seek to heed the interests of all Member States based on the provisions of the United Nations Charter. It was his delegation’s view that the annual report should be confined to listing the body’s activities retrospectively. It should be more analytical and critical and should include evaluation of the effectiveness of Council decisions, lessons learned, and possible future strategies.
When permanent members could exercise veto power, such action must be explained in detail, he said, adding that in the era of information and accountability, the United Nations must strive to achieve effective communication. It was a test of the legitimacy of multilateral system. Council reform was an opportunity to improve the United Nations as a whole. Member States should take ownership. The reform should not be a means to favour some States over others. Costa Rica did not support the increase of permanent seats, but was in favour of longer-term non-permanent memberships. Turning to the issue of eliminating veto power, he said use of such authority had often paralyzed the Council and undermined its legitimacy. It should not be used when dealing with serious crimes against humanity.
VITALY I. CHURKIN( Russian Federation) said that the question of Security Council reform was key to the general reform of the United Nations. Indeed, the ultimate decision taken would help to determine the work of the both the Council and the Organization as a whole. Negotiations were ongoing in an extremely complex way, he said, noting that Russia favoured giving the Council a more representative nature. However, the exercise must impact on the Council’s ability to respond effectively and quickly to challenges as they emerged. In that vein, the compact nature of the Council’s membership was necessary to its effectiveness, and there should not be more than 20 members in any reformed body.
Moreover, he said, “the Council is the master of its own working methods”, and a reasonable balance should be maintained between transparency and effectiveness. Taking apart the package of reform was “inadmissible”, as was impinging upon the prerogatives and powers of the present members of the Council. Encroaching on the right of the veto “would be an extremely rash step”, he said. Turning to the relationship between the Council and the Assembly, he stressed that “we should not pull too tightly on the cord which links these two bodies”. In the area of peacekeeping, for example, there was room for action on the part of both bodies, but existing prerogatives must be respected.
The question of the Council’s membership could not simply be resolved “arithmetically” as such an approach would not serve to strengthen the Council or the United Nations itself. The Russian Federation believed that the formula for reform must enjoy the broadest support among the Member States. One option could be an interim compromise solution, which would avoid a split in the General Assembly. In that light, it would be useful to devote the next round of negotiations to a comparative analysis of the various models of reform presently on the table. There was no alternative to the continuation of such “painstaking work”, he stressed, adding that it must be conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner and without any artificial time constraints.
GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said the collective failure to reform the Council was the Organization’s single biggest piece of unfinished business. The moment has arrived when Member States had to ask themselves whether they were indeed trying or just pretending to try. Member States knew full well that the current process was not a genuine “negotiation” that could lead to results. They knew that consensus on Council reform could only mean very strong majorities, but not necessarily unanimity. “For some — for too many — the commitment to reform is essentially lip service,” he said. The discussions on draft resolution L.42, which were presented last session together with Costa Rica, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, starkly illustrated that fact.
He expressed hoped that the current session would bring about different approaches and bolder attempts to advance discussions on that matter. That would entail more in-depth exploration of what had been called the “intermediate model”, which would create a new category of six long-term, renewable seats, where re-elected States could thus serve de facto permanently on the Council without having the right to veto. The new composition would be reviewed after 20 years. He welcomed substantive discussion on the new model’s parameters and comparisons to other models presented as “intermediate”.
There could be no genuine Council reform without measures to make the body more transparent, accountable and legitimate, he said. The consensus at the 2005 World Summit confirmed that and gave Member States ownership over it. But Member States had not lived up to that commitment. Two Presidential Notes adopted by the Council under reference number 507 were a disappointing record of progress; the limited measures outlined in the two documents were inconsistently implemented and at times ignored. Working methods were as important as enlargement, or even more so, to strengthen the Council. Working method reform was indispensable to get an agreement on any possible enlargement model. Liechtenstein would not support a proposal to create new veto powers, which was highly unlikely, as was elimination of existing vetoes. At least a very modest agreement on the use of the veto would be indispensable to move the enlargement effort forward.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) recalled that, in October 2010, his country had been elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. As such, South Africa was well aware of the limitations of the category of membership, as well as of the “dominance” of the Council’s non-elected members. That dominance permeated the daily work of the council, he said, noting that, among other things, the Council’s resolutions and decisions were often drafted in small groups, instead of being debated among all of its members. Turning to the work described in the annual report of the Council, he said that the transition from conflict to peace in many countries – particularly in Africa – were a testament to the body’s work. South Africa was particularly pleased with the strategic cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, he said, describing some of the accomplishments of that partnership.
Nevertheless, South Africa remained concerned about situations in which the Council had shown “selectivity and double standards”, such as when the African Union’s roadmap on Libya had been “undermined and ignored” by the implementers of resolution 1973 (2011). In that regard, he called for greater consistency from the Council in engaging with regional bodies. In addition, the Council had not brought about any positive changes in the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. South Africa was disappointed that the Council had not supported Palestine’s bid for membership. Indeed, the credibility of the Council would continue to be challenged if the human rights of the Palestinians and the people of the Western Sahara continued to be ignored as they had for decades. In addition, he also reiterated that “cosmetic” reforms to the Council’s working methods would not truly enhance its work, and said that the reform process should be treated as a priority “whose agency should not be understated”. South Africa also supported the expansion of the Council in both categories of membership, and stressed the need to ensure that Africa was represented.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) said: “We term this a negotiation process, but we all know this is not negotiations” as normally conducted at the United Nations. There had been statement reading sessions, but no negotiations, leaving the process “substantively where it was twenty years ago.” The eight sessions on Council expansion and working methods had, in some ways, led to positions drifting further apart, with bilateral and regional rivalries coming into play. “We cannot even agree on what shape an expanded Security Council should look like,” he said.
Enumerating contradictions between the words and actions of Member States, which had led to withdrawal of a draft resolution on the matter, he asked: “[A]re we really serious in wanting [to] reform […] the Security Council?” It was time to move the process forward, he continued. “We should start some real negotiations, with a workable text and reasonable timelines for the process to conclude.” It was time to stop the “‘all or nothing’ approach, and to walk the talk on the issue of flexibility.” Until that happened, “we have only ourselves to blame for our inability to play a more meaningful role in the work of the Security Council.”
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said that the broad range of the Council’s agenda included many cross-cutting items and that peacekeeping and peacebuilding were effective tools in both conflict and non-conflict situations. He expressed pride in Pakistan’s contribution as a major participant in peacekeeping. Noting a number of successes and setbacks for the Council in country situations, he stressed the importance of regional cooperation, saying that the Organization’s engagement with regional entities had contributed to positive developments in Somalia. He further supported a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict that reflected the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian People. In addition, he urged Council Members to ensure implementation of its resolutions relating to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the blockade of Gaza.
Further, the general membership should have an opportunity to give feedback on the work of the Council throughout the year, he said. Its working methods needed improvement to ensure transparency and inclusiveness. A reformed Council should be democratic in composition, effective in decision-making and accountable to the general membership. To progress in a contentious process flexibility and compromise were needed. Pakistan now supported the proposal of Uniting for Consensus for long-term seats, noting that that was the only compromise on the table. It reflected the political configuration of the real world. The Italy-Colombia paper provided a framework for real dialog on an achievable outcome. It provided for a modest expansion of the Council, while ensuring wider representation. He also supported the African Common Position.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA ( Cuba) noted with concern that the report of the Security Council was “mired in description”, while it lacked the analytical focus needed to fully assess the work of that body. The Council had been entrusted, with limited membership, with the responsibility to “act in our name” in the area of international peace and security, he said. Nevertheless, it must always proceed in line with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Cuba underscored the need to undertake a far-reaching reform of the Council in order to transform it into a “genuinely transparent” body consistent with the rule of law at the national level. The demand for reform could not continue to be postponed, and to do so was to harm — and to insult — the international community.
Cuba supported an immediate enlargement of the Council in both categories of membership, as other solutions should only exacerbate the already existing gap between permanent and non-permanent members. It was unfair that, replete with issues related to Africa, there was no permanent member from that continent, or from Latin American and the Caribbean. He stressed that new permanent members must have the same rights and obligations and the existing ones; the entry of new permanent members without the right to a veto would mean creating a new category of membership, and Cuba did not support such “lesser status”. Indeed, that “anachronistic and anti-democratic” power should be eliminated immediately. Currently, everything in the Council was reduced to the opinion of one member, or a small group of members, who, because of the veto, was able to ignore the overall will of the Member States. “We cannot transform the structures if we do not transform its working methods, it procedures and its practices”, he said in that regard, calling for the Council to “evolve”. In addition, he stressed, the body should never impinge upon issues that were the competence of other United Nations organs.
SIN SON HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the present meeting provided a good opportunity for the Assembly to assess the work of the Council and to improve its working methods. The work of the Council under the period under review could be characterized by a lack of accountability and credibility, as well as and the abuse of power. It was misused by a few countries to ignore all principles of international relations, especially the respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. He gave the example of a resolution adopted by the United States and its “blind followers” in the Council, which had condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for launching a satellite for peaceful purposes. That launch was an exercise of the country’s legitimate rights, he stressed, and the Council had never before tabled such a condemnation of any other country. That action reflected a “hostile” policy of the United States as well as the Council’s “extreme selectivity” and violations of international law.
The fact that the Council served as a tool for the interests of some States was giving rise to distrust of its work among Member States. Turning to the Council’s reform, he said that the continuation of its undemocratic working methods should be addressed as a priority item without delay. The body should be impartial in its activities. To that tend, it was urgent to create a mechanism that would make Council decisions come into force once they had received the approval of the General Assembly.
Furthermore, the Council should enhance its credibility among Member States by representing and reflecting the views of the concerned countries in its consideration of major issues. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also believed that reform must be oriented towards the adequate representation of developing countries, especially those in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The most reasonable and practical way of expanding the body was to go ahead with the expansion of its non-permanent membership first, and then to return to the question of the permanent category. In that regard, he said Japan should never be regarded eligible to permanent membership on the Council, as it had inflicted severe suffering on the Asian people, including the Korean people, and had not offered an apology or compensation for those crimes.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India), associating with the “L.69” Group statement delivered by Jamaica, said his country had played an important role in ensuring that the process of intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform had been initiated and had played an active role in deliberations ever since its commencement in 2009. India reiterated the calls made by the G4 Foreign Ministers and expressed the determination of the Indian delegation to work towards the realization of those ends in the intergovernmental negotiations during the current General Assembly session.
India was also a member of the group of developing countries called the L.69, which had been vocal in expressing desire for early reform of the Security Council to make it reflective of contemporary reality, he said. India reiterated its support for African aspirations for permanent membership with the veto. India was of the view that reform of the Security Council would enhance the Council’s credibility and effectiveness in dealing with global issues, and that such early reform must be pursued with renewed vigour.
PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said: “The more representative, accessible and accountable the Council, the better positioned it is to meet the globe’s complex security challenges. We Member States need to intensify our efforts in this [Assembly] session to achieve meaningful reform.” Australia had argued for limits on the use of the veto and advocated the importance of transparency in the Council’s work as far back as the San Francisco Conference and remained committed to those principles. As an elected Member of the Council, Australia had supported initiatives to enhance the council’s accessibility and transparency.
She supported Council expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories, while balancing the need for enhanced representation with the practical requirement of maintaining decision-making cohesion and effectiveness. She expressed strong support for permanent representation from the African continent, noting that African countries comprised more than a quarter of the Organization’s membership and contributed some two-thirds of the Council’s agenda. Further, she said that it was possible to collectively improve the Council’s working methods immediately without prejudice to achieving reform in all five aspects of the intergovernmental negotiations. She said that the draft resolution that had been tabled in May had contained sensible measures toward a more transparent and accessible Security Council.
MAFIROANE MOTANYANE ( Lesotho) said the open meetings of the Council promoted transparency, inclusivity, and afforded the larger membership with a rare chance to contribute to the work of the Council. It was mainly through those meetings that the Council might get to know what the views of others were on the issues on its agenda, and he urged the Council to consider reflecting on Member States general views and on how such views could be of value. Regarding reform of the Council, he said that the need for an early reform was universally agreed upon by the International Community.
Today, many world events highlighted the need for the reform of the Council, he said. Nations were rising up against dictatorial regimes in defence of their basic human rights and freedoms. In some countries, those efforts were met with atrocious force and brutality, and innocent civilians suffering the brunt of brutal regimes looked up to the United Nations for help. Sadly, the multilateral system was struggling to respond to those challenges in a coordinated way and the Council remained largely inept in the discharge of its mandate due to its anachronistic nature. The adoption of Decision 62/557 had ushered in new hope that the determination to comprehensively reform the Council was a shared goal. He agreed on the ambit of the “five negotiables”, which entailed the size of an enlarged Council, categories of membership, regional representation, veto power, working methods, and the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly. It was his delegation’s view that decision should remain the basis of the negotiations in order to realize the goal of a Council that reflected modern day geopolitical realities.
RAYMOND SERGE BALÉ (Republic of Congo), joining with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the report of the Council contained very little information about the main challenges it had faced with regard to the management of conflicts. In that regard, the body should become more analytical and should better express the views of States. The Republic of Congo, as member of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, welcomed greater cooperation between that body and the Security Council, and wished to see that partnership become more dynamic. With regard to the Council’s expansion, he said that there was now a new opportunity to assess what had become a “laborious” process. It was clear that “any living body needs to evolve”, he said in that respect.
Of course, there existed disagreements between the various groups and States involved with the issue of reform, and the question of the veto continued to divide them. However, despite the continuation of those divergences, the eighth cycle of negotiations had provided some hope. The needed reform must take into account the representation of regions, such as Africa, which was not currently represented on the Council. It was also clear that all Member States recognized the need for that representation; the reticence of some States to “draw the necessary conclusion” and to correct that historical injustice was regrettable. Indeed, the Council must be attentive to the aspirations of all Member States, including developing countries and small States.
OLEKSANDR NAKONECHNYI ( Ukraine) said that the work of the Security Council “every year seems to be more difficult than the previous one”. The world was witnessing a time when the political landscape was changing dramatically, as people across the world were demanding and fighting for their right to freedom and equal opportunity. In such conditions, the Council should “not be indifferent” and must deal with issues before it in a comprehensive way — not as isolated, unrelated problems. Ukraine strongly supported, as a priority, the Council’s engagement in conflict prevention and mediation, which were indispensible items in the body’s tool kit. That approach had been a driver of Ukraine’s first and only term on the Council to date as an independent State, in 2000-2001. At the same time, however, there was room for enhancement of such activities, among several others.
Ukraine considered the modernization of the Council to be an issue of exceptional international significance. Indeed, making the body more representative and balanced and its work more effective and transparent — especially with regard to the decision-making process — was vital for adapting the United Nations to the global realities of the twenty-first century, he said. Ukraine therefore supported increased representation in the Council for developing countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and strongly believed that the overall enhancement of the Council’s composition should be based on the existing regional groups.
In that vein, he said that any existing or potential formula for reform would only gain legitimacy by envisaging the representation of the Group of Eastern European States through the allocation to it of one additional non-permanent seat. Ukraine’s commitment to the Council as the United Nations’ principal organ entrusted with the primary responsibility for international peace and security would further guide its activities in the Organization, including in the case of election to the Security Council for the term 2016-2017.
FERNANDO ARIAS (Spain), associating with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said that the Security Council must adapt to the realities and demands of the twenty-first century and become more democratic, transparent, efficient and accountable. Negotiations toward that end should respect a global approach including the five key issues agreed upon and should not be artificially accelerated. The outcome ought to satisfy the broadest number of Member States possible, or the effort would be a failure. He felt that the best proposal presented for consideration was that of the Uniting for Consensus Group. There should be no increase in the number of permanent Members, but rather a formula that provided for all Member States to serve on the Council and for larger States to have longer or more frequent terms.
He advocated abolishing the veto or limiting its use to avoid abuse. To that end he suggested eliminating the veto when addressing issues of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Further, when used, the reasons for its use should be explained. To achieve equitable geographical representation, an appropriate number of long-term seats should be allocated to African countries. Also, promoting greater transparency in the Council’s working methods would result in a smoother and more efficient relationship between that body and the Assembly. Finally, he asked that a programme of work for the current session be prepared, which set out the inclusive and integrated nature of negotiations, as well as the centrality of the role of Member States.
MATEO ESTREME ( Argentina) said that there had been a trend towards an increase in the Council’s workload, and that his country was closely following such developments it would join the body in January 2013. Argentina, over the course of its mandate, would place particular emphasis on increasing transparency in the Council’s work and in it subsidiary bodies. He regretted that the report presently before the Assembly was limited to accounts of fact, and lacked analytical elements, as well as the fact that it had not been circulated in good time.
Argentina supported a reform of the Council which aimed to make it more transparent and inclusive. Such a reform should necessarily include the five agreed pillars and should be in line with relevant Assembly resolutions and decisions. As a member of the Uniting for Consensus Group, Argentina was committed to working with all States and groups in order to reach a consensus. “Only if we become more flexible can we achieve this reform”, he said in that respect. His country, and the Group as a whole, welcomed the decision of the President of the General Assembly to work with all groups on the process of reform, and trusted that, under his leadership, progress towards such a reform would be possible.
WANG MIN ( China) said that the Council had over the past year actively fulfilled the mandate entrusted to it by the United Nations Charter, including the settling of disputes by providing good offices and assisting negotiations. Describing some of the work detailed in the Council’s report, he said that the body had kept pace with the need to improve its working methods by holding open debates and dialogues with non-members, troop-contributing countries and other stakeholders. China hoped that the Council would pay greater attention to the needs of Africa in order to maintain peace and security on the continent.
The delegation also supported the Council in enhancing its authority and efficiency through reasonable reforms, he said. In that regard, the Security Council should assign priority to increasing the representation of developing countries and it should be conducive to giving more opportunity to small and medium-sized countries to participate in its decision-making. At the present moment, there was wide divergence on the issue of reform. Member States should work to “meet each other halfway” in that regard, he said, adding that imposing any artificial deadline for reform, or taking “forceful action when the time was not right”, would only exacerbate existing problems. Similarly, the piecemeal or “phased” approach “will go nowhere”, he stressed; instead, intergovernmental negotiations should continue to proceed within their main channel. Ownership by United Nation Member States was a prerequisite for the appropriate development of reform, he concluded, as well as for its guarantee of its success.
JOAQUÍN ALEXANDER MAZA MARTELLI ( El Salvador) said that Security Council reform was urgent for enhancing multilateralism. The only way to achieve significant change in the Council was to reconstruct it, with an expansion of membership in both categories. International political balance required respect for the well-being of all peoples. That required greater representation of Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean in a reformed Security Council. He subscribed to the Group of 4 proposal, which conformed to global realities and would improve working methods.
Any reform process must be based on negotiations at the intergovernmental level and be adopted by consensus or at least by a two-thirds majority of United Nations Member States, he continued, yet it had not been possible to overcome the practice of mere statements of position without real negotiations. It was essential to move beyond that stage to create a more effective body. The intergovernmental negotiation process must move to direct, text-based negotiations. International reality on the ground showed a need for reform in the short term. He urged all Member States to discuss the issue.
HALIT CEVIK ( Turkey) said that the Council needed to be made more accountable, transparent, effective and democratic in accordance with General Assembly Decision 62/557. That decision’s five key issues, namely, membership, the question of the veto, regional representation, size and the Council’s working methods should be addressed as a package to reach a comprehensive solution. Such a solution could be achieved through compromise, which required flexibility. The primary responsibility, in that regard, rested with Member States.
Further, he said that African countries must be given special emphasis in the reform agenda to achieve a more equitable geographical representation in United Nations organs. The Uniting for Consensus proposal took Africa’s legitimate aspirations into account, he added.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) agreed with the Assembly President that transparency and accountability were essential elements of the reform process. In order to achieve those results, however, the facilitator of the negotiation process was wholly depended on the flexibility of States. If such flexibility was lacking, the facilitator’s “room to manoeuvre” would be very limited. Since the intergovernmental negotiation process had begun in 2009, Mexico, along with the other States of the Uniting for Consensus Group, had sought a compromise. However it had not, to date, found such a solution.
She called for a genuine “common brainstorming session” to that end, and said that reform would not be achieved if States were not prepared to give in on original elements of their positions. Mexico was ready to begin such a process, and, along with Uniting for Consensus, had presented a compromise proposal to that end. It addressed several elements, including increasing representation on the Council, correcting geographical imbalances, improving accountability through periodic elections and making the Council more transparent, as well as addressing the matter of the veto.
OCH OD ( Mongolia) reiterated his delegation’s principled position of advocating a just and equitable expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of Security Council membership, whereby due representation of both developing and developed countries, including small States, was ensured. He also attached paramount importance to ensuring equitable geographical distribution, with an emphasis on the non- and under-represented groups, particularly Africa, Asia and Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. Only such expansion could ensure that the Council reflected contemporary world realities.
The veto right needed to be abolished eventually, he said. In the meantime, its use should be restricted, in particular by stipulating that the veto should not be used under certain circumstances. As long as the veto right existed, it must be extended to new permanent members who must have the same responsibilities and privileges as existing permanent members.
ANOUAR MISSAOUI (Tunisia) aligning with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the intergovernmental negotiations mandated by the General Assembly were the only way to approach Security Council reform in an open, inclusive and transparent manner and achieve maximum political agreement. The Council must reflect current economic and political realities to legitimately fulfil its mandate. Such legitimacy would lead to better decisions and more realistic mandates. The Council’s agenda should objectively reflect the interests of developing and developed countries. Equitable representation was at the heart of the Council; it must not become or be seen as a closed club for countries with special privileges.
At a time when major changes were taking place in the world, he said, even the Council’s permanent Members recognized the need to adapt. The Council must expand to include developing countries. In that regard, Tunisia supported the position of the African Group, as reflected in the Ezulwini consensus and also the Sirte Declaration. He supported any formula which would give developing countries in general, and Africa in particular, a proper place on the Council. In closing, he said that the Council’s relations with other United Nations organs, particularly with the Assembly, must be addressed with the same importance as reforms.
CHRISTOPHER GRIMA ( Malta), which was part of Uniting for Consensus, said that the five key issues for Security Council reform were inter-linked and their treatment as one component would ensure that reform would be conducted in a coherent and cohesive manner, providing “a reformed Council with the much-needed ownership of the broader membership”. Noting that 76 countries had joined the Organization since the last Security Council enlargement in 1965, he said that it was logical that the Council must be enlarged, with particular attention accorded small and medium-sized States. Only the Uniting for Consensus proposal had specific non-permanent seats for those States. The non-governmental organization, Platform for Change, had recognized that proposal as the most advantageous for the majority of large States as well.
He said that the Council must respond more rapidly to emerging situations through improved working methods. Subsidiary bodies, including the Sanctions Committees and Working Groups should accelerate their work. The Council must also deal with long-standing issues in a fair and balanced way, make less use of the veto and consider the interests of the wider membership. He also said the Council needed to be more transparent, with fewer closed meetings and more open briefings and consultations. He strongly appealed to delegations not to take unilateral initiatives or piecemeal approaches to save what had been achieved through negotiations to date.
MARIA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) joined with the L.69 Group, which she said had grown to become the largest, most diverse and most representative group in the Security Council reform negotiations. That Group had shown its interest and willingness to examine different approaches to enter into “real negotiations” on the urgent matter of reform. In that regard, Nicaragua also reaffirmed its full commitment to equitable representation and geographic representation on the Council. Sufficient strides had not been made in those areas, she said, and “we cannot wait any longer”.
Indeed, the delegation’s position called for a Council that was more democratic, more equitable and more representative. The time had come to be more specific with regard to the future of the reform negotiations. It would be regrettable to ignore progress that had already been made and to restart another discussion in which States would end up repeating the same positions. She called for an increase in both categories of Council membership with a total number of 25-27 members, and said that all regions — especially Latin America and Africa — must be better represented. In addition, Member States had clearly shown their preference to abolish the veto power, and Nicaragua agreed. In that respect, however, she stressed that any newly elected permanent members of the Council must have all the prerogatives and powers of existing members.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the many Council resolutions, presidential statements and field visits during the period under review underlined the gravity of challenges to global peace and security, as well as the crucial role of the Council. The international community should fulfil its responsibilities to assist the Council with building lasting peace. While some items mentioned in the report were commendable, others demonstrated the Council’s lack of action and balance. Concerning the question of Palestine, he expressed hope that the matter would be dealt with equitably and a veto would not stop the Palestinian people from realizing their legitimate rights and aspirations. In addition, he called for a Syrian-led political process that would create a space for a genuine, credible and mediated dialogue.
He said the General Assembly should have a better understanding of the Council’s actions, possibly through a document more analytical than its annual report, which better conveyed the reasoning for its actions. Additionally, an explanation of Council a member’s decision to use the veto should be circulated to all Member States. Speaking next about Council reform, he pronounced support for the roll-over of the intergovernmental negotiation process to the next session, and commended Ambassador Tanin’s work. Meetings convened by the Ambassador had resulted in in-depth deliberations on specific proposals and had helped to define and advocate the perspectives of different groups. Despite increased clarity, fundamental differences remained, specifically related to membership categories, size and veto. Thus, he urged greater political flexibility in future negotiations and consideration of all five key reform issues together. Council reform should take place through a consensus-based formula, he concluded, or, in the least, by the greatest possible political acceptance, well beyond the two-thirds majority.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan) said, that to enhance regional representation, Council membership should be increased from 15 to 25 by adding six permanent members — two from African States; two from Asia; one from Latin America and the Caribbean; and one from Western Europe and other States — and four non-permanent members including one from Africa; one from Asia; one from Latin America and the Caribbean; and one from Eastern European States. She also called for a spirit of compromise and inclusiveness to move negotiations forward with the widest possible consensus. She further recommended careful review of the latest intergovernmental negotiations on the veto.
Further, she said a change in working methods required neither amending the Charter nor attaining two-thirds majority of the wider membership for adoption. Such improvement would not limit the power of the Council nor subordinate it to the General Assembly, but strengthen it and make it more efficient. She went on to say that all proposals from Member States to increase the Council’s transparency, accountability and fairer participation should be “on the table.” It was equally important to strengthen cooperation between the Council and the Assembly. She suggested that the most crucial unresolved disputes in the Council could be discussed in the Assembly, enabling the Council to make more informed decisions in adopting resolutions. She also welcomed the increase in open sessions.
KUNZANG CHODEN NAMGYEL (Bhutan), associating his delegation strongly with the statement made on behalf of the L.69 Group, said that each passing day added to the obsolescence of a system devised for a world that had changed beyond recognition in the past 60 years. He was deeply encouraged, however, by the progress in negotiations on Council reform made in the past few years. However modest, it must be seen in the light of the need for consensus between 193 Member States. He urged greater efforts in good faith toward that goal.
He said his country’s recent experience as an aspirant for a non-permanent seat on the Council was instructive to the small States that make up more than half the United Nations membership. It reaffirmed the importance of having a larger and more representative Council that provided opportunities to contribute to the enhancement of international peace and security for all countries regardless of their size and economic capacity. The position of the L.69 Group on each of the five key issues of General Assembly decision 62/557 provided a firm basis to greatly improve the efficiency, transparency and legitimacy of the Council and would better enable the United Nations to deal effectively with the challenges of the twenty-first century, he said.
MILORAD SCEPANOVIC ( Montenegro) said the eight sessions of intergovernmental negotiations had proved to be “very useful and practical” as they had helped Member States to better understand each of the five proposals tabled. “There are really no more unknowns to any one of the proposals and, on the contrary, we have come to learn and get very familiar even with their smallest details and particularities,” he said. Yet, real and substantive negotiations were yet to start. Stressing the need for a fresh approach, he said the African common position could be the common denominator and the base building block.
Negotiation was a process of give and take, he said, calling on Member States to demonstrate a high degree of flexibility and pragmatism in order to create an atmosphere of trust and good faith that would allow them to take concrete steps toward the end goal. “Every single Member State has a stake and wants to see the Security Council reformed in a way that will allow it to be more transparent and representative and better suited to cope with global security challenges that are not lacking in today’s world,” he said.
AHMED SAREER ( Maldives) said that reform of the Security Council lay at the heart of efforts to revamp an international structure that came into being more than 67 years ago. Indeed, the Council must be expanded and restructured to reflect the geopolitical realities of today. The inclusion of both India and Japan remained an important prerequisite of any reform, he said in that respect. The thematic round of discussions, which took place during the last session, had been extremely helpful. Those “frank and open” talks had allowed Member States to assess the different viewpoints being presented and to identify points of convergence on the five hey areas of reform.
The Maldives supported the initiative presented early this year by the “Small 5” Group, which had proposed a useful guide in improving the working methods of the Council. While expanded membership should include both developed and developing counties, geographic representation on its own should not be the only requirement for membership on the Council. Other factors, such as commitment to democracy and human rights and the ability to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, should also be taken into account. The Maldives fully supported the stand taken by the President of the General Assembly to advance the reform process, and called for the widest possible apolitical acceptance by Member States in proceeding with the negotiations.
EDUARDO GÁLVEZ ( Chile) said that the presentation of the Council’s report to the General Assembly was of great importance as it gave a record of its work and ensured transparency in its management, as well as allowing some of its procedures to be improved. Chile was convinced that there was still room for the Council to refocus the report and make it a more substantive document. More coordinated work was needed between the Security Council and other parts of the Organization, as well as with regional groups. Chile also that the views of States involved in particular issues should be taken into account in the decisions taken by the Council.
The delegation regretted the decision to deal with today’s two agenda items together; the separation between them would have allowed for a better examination and analysis of each topic. With regard to the reform of the Council and the expansion of its membership, Chile hoped that through the eighth round of negotiations progress would be made with the proper political will and flexibility of States. Chile firmly believed in a broadened Security Council and reiterated its call for equitable representation. It supported an increase in both categories of membership, and in particular the participation of developing countries, even if a veto power was not extended to new members. Chile also insisted on the need for more transparent and participative working methods in order to enhance the legitimacy of the Organization. He made an urgent appeal for States to abandon “absolutist” positions, and called for the necessary flexibility in order to reach a formula that was acceptable to all.
JULIO EXCALONA ( Venezuela) associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Council continued to adopt resolutions beyond the role given it by the Charter, thus violating the principles of democracy at the heart of the Organization. Further, some of the Council’s resolutions violated the sovereignty of States by imposing models of development and Government that had not been chosen by their peoples. In addition, the Council’s report did not treat the situations in the Palestinian Occupied Territory and Syria fairly. With regard to Libya, he said that if an historian in future were to look at how the Council had handled that situation he would conclude that the Council was “an instrument of destruction”.
Further, he said, certain Council Members arbitrarily used Chapter VII and “blackmailed” other States with their military superiority, thus contributing to a more threatening world. Further, the General Assembly must not accept usurpation by the Council of its role as the world’s major deliberative body. Venezuela believed it was necessary to save multilateralism and the right of peoples to self-determination. On Security Council reform, he supported expansion to include permanent seats for developing countries, namely from Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania), joining with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African States, said that, over the reporting period, the Council had discharged its mandate satisfactorily save for a few occasions where consensus among the permanent members had proved elusive. In that regard, it was important that the Council “speak with one voice” on matters requiring its undivided attention and action. The United Republic of Tanzania believed that the Council, despite its satisfactory operation, required long overdue and comprehensive reform. “We must reform the Security Council to reflect the realities of the day”, he stressed in that regard, adding that such reform was an imperative both for the sake of its continued credibility and its legitimacy.
The United Republic of Tanzania was in favour of a reform in line with the Ezulwini Consensus, which called for two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats for Africa. However, it felt that “we should not miss an opportunity, whenever it presents itself, to undertake reforms on those issues which seem to enjoy the wider backing of Member States”. The delegation supported the convening of a high-level meeting on Security Council reform, he said. In addition, it was highly important that Africa’s views and wishes be taken into account whenever the Council decided on matters concerning the continent.
Right of Reply
The representative of Japan, exercising his right of reply in response to the statement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said his country had made serious efforts to engage actively and constructively in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as to global prosperity. Japan had been elected to the Security Council 10 times since 1956, he stressed, noting that there could hardly be any better measure or vote of confidence. Indeed, Japan believed that its policies and actions over many decades “speak for themselves”. Furthermore, Japan had demonstrated that it had the willingness, determination and capacity to take on more responsibility as a permanent member of the Council. “We trust in the judgment of other Member States”, he said with regard to its many contributions.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, responding to both the representatives of the Republic of Korea and of Japan, he said that allegations regarding his country’s satellite launch had been false and misleading. He clarified that the satellite launch had, in fact, been the full exercise of the sovereign right of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea under international law. The country was a Party to the United Nations treaty which stipulated that it was every country’s right to peaceful outer space activities.
The Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had completely rejected the Security Council’s resolution on that matter. Indeed, if the Council was serious about international peace and security, he said, it would have raised the issue of the increasing military tensions initiated by the United States and the Republic of Korea, as well as their infringement on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s sovereign rights.
The nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula was the product of the United States’ hostile policy against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he added. The allegations of the representative of the Republic of Korea were “absurd and ridiculous” considering that it had received approval by the United States to extend its missile range. That country had no legal or moral justification “to raise somebody else’s issues”, he said. Finally, he said, Japan had no qualifications to become a permanent member of the Security Council, as it had never apologized or taken action to compensate for its past crimes. That country was creating disputes with neighbouring countries and was “hell bent” on becoming a military power and repeating past crimes, he said.
* *** *