Press Conference by Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

1 December 2011

Press Conference by Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

1 December 2011
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations


on Security Council Reform


Broader involvement and greater engagement had driven forward the latest round of talks on reforming the Security Council, the Chair of the negotiations on that process said at Headquarters today.

The main message emerging from the first meeting of the eighth round of talks, held on 28 November, was that all Member States wanted to see an early outcome supported by the wider United Nations membership, said Zahir Tannin ( Afghanistan), Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, at a press conference.

“People are engaged and the momentum for negotiating is alive,” he said.  “The game has changed.  A new dynamic is felt,” he added, noting that the first meeting represented that new dynamic.  The negotiations were not a continuation of the talks held over the past year, when initiatives by Members States had included activities in New York, Italy, Mexico and Qatar.

Papers on pertinent issues had also been circulated, he added, recalling that in September, he had distributed all proposals to Member States.  General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al‑ Nasser had subsequently announced that Security Council reform would be a top priority.

Mr. Tannin said his door had always been open to ongoing consultations with all stakeholder groups, and he had tried to give Member States more time for interactive discussions, an important element in taking negotiations forward.

Asked what had changed in the positions of the five permanent Council members — China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States, known as the “P‑5” — Mr. Tannin said that a heightened level of participation had seen all P‑5 representatives expressing their satisfaction with the current progress on reform.

They all supported a solution that would be acceptable to the wider membership, he said, adding that they also supported his role as Chair.  There were fewer conditions and more encouragement of support for a solution that could win broader acceptance, he said, emphasizing that he did not see the position of the P‑5 as an obstacle if other Member States were ready to agree on something.

When asked whether other groups were willing to be flexible for the sake of progress, he said:  “If progress means agreement, we don’t have this agreement now.  But progress for me is how much we move towards an agreement.  I think we’ve moved a lot.”  However, he described “flexibility” and “compromise” as words that everyone wanted to use, stressing that negotiations had not yet reached a stage where most groups and Member States were choosing a second position.

Discussions were taking place nevertheless, he said, citing a meeting with representatives of Japan, attended by the General Assembly President, which had sought a flexible solution to reform issues.  Of course there were differences between Member States, but there was a greater inclination towards a “give‑and‑take game”, which came down to flexibility, he said, cautioning, however, that everyone had a different definition of what that meant.

Asked about his view of the Tokyo dialogue, a new initiative by Japan which for the first time invited the “United for Consensus” group of United Nations Member States, he said it was an important approach because it included States other than the G‑4 members of the Council (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan).  “It was an attempt by one of the members of the G‑4 to bring all others together and I see that as a good move,” he said.  “How it goes further, let us see.”

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.