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GA/10657

SPEAKERS URGE START TO INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM, TO BUILD ON PAST YEAR’S POSITIVE MOMENTUM, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE CONTINUES

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

49th & 50th Meetings (AM & PM)


SPEAKERS URGE START TO INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM,


TO BUILD ON PAST YEAR’S POSITIVE MOMENTUM, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE CONTINUES


43 More Member States Address Issue on Debate’s Second Day


Wanting to curtail the “contentious cycle” of consultations that surfaced perennially around the issue of Security Council reform, delegations in the General Assembly today urged moving beyond that stage and launching, in earnest, a process of substantive intergovernmental negotiations that would yield tangible progress on enlargement and other issues during its sixty-second session.


Continuing the Assembly’s consideration of the Security Council’s annual report, delegates stressed that positive reform momentum rekindled last year -- in part by five appointed facilitators who recommended a “transitional approach” –- should continue under the stewardship of General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, who had cited Council reform as a priority issue of his tenure.  He could determine, “through an objective and transparent method”, elements that would provide a basis for negotiations.


Speakers said the success of future negotiations hinged on simple elements, such as the appointment of a coordinator, the presentation of a text to guide negotiations, and a flexible methodology that would not “sacrifice substance for the sake of formality”.  Accountability, transparency, inclusiveness, and participation were essential and should be employed “in the service of effectiveness”. 


Romania’s representative reminded delegates that it was not productive to have organizational reform matters “open” indefinitely, and said the time was ripe for action.  It was better to start serious enlargement negotiations now, he said, or “call it quits, and go on about our business”.


If the Assembly decided to “go for it”, plenty of substantive preparatory work had already been done, he continued.  Most Member States had agreed that the Council should be enlarged to be more effective, and the framework for intermediary enlargement appeared to be logical under current circumstances for expanding both permanent and non-permanent membership.  Indeed, the Assembly had an historic opportunity to set the negotiating process in motion to enlarge the Council.  A more representative Council, in turn, would restore faith in the United Nations.


However, some pointed out that the reform process had been stalemated due to a general hardening of positions, and expressed concern at a transitional approach that would defer contentious, yet time-sensitive issues to a review process at a later, pre-determined date.  Djibouti’s representative, while fully supporting continued talks in the current session, said the facilitators’ intermediary arrangement might sound fine, but it suffered from oversimplification:  in place of achieving concrete progress now –- through hard choices and compromise –- it proposed a mandatory review in the future.  “Don’t postpone until tomorrow what you can do today,” he said.


Similarly, Jamaica’s representative urged States to be cautious of proceeding with a partial approach that did not address “glaring inequities” in the Council’s structure and operations, or pay immediate attention to the creation of new permanent seats.


To that point, the representative of the United Kingdom said the Security Council must become more representative, but also no less effective or capable of taking difficult decisions.  He supported permanent membership for Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, and permanent membership for Africa.  Reform of the United Nations, in general, and the Council in particular should reflect the world today.  At the same time, States must be flexible and seek as much common ground as possible.


Taking up the call for adequate representation of developing countries on the Security Council, Lesotho’s representative underscored that, although the Council had predominantly focused on Africa, the continent’s representation “had not come close” to reflecting its interests and perceptions.  He supported the Common African position, which was driven by a strong desire to empower a region that faced the greatest number of crises relating to international peace and security.


The representative of Singapore, “a small State with no aspirations for a permanent seat on the Council”, nonetheless emphasized that the role of small States in general on the Council should be considered.  Small States had little opportunity to serve regularly, while some never served at all.  It was important to ensure that a review and improvement in the Council’s working methods was not simply geared to accommodating the interests of larger countries and middle powers.  Small States, which constituted the majority in the United Nations, should be taken into account through open, inclusive and transparent negotiations.


On reforming the Council’s working methods, delegates called for eliminating the use of veto, as it was anachronistic to the rights of States and contrary to multilateralism.  Adequate coordination among the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly was also important for maintaining balance among the United Nations organs.


The representatives of Ghana, Barbados, Jamaica, Venezuela, Uruguay, Lebanon, South Africa, United Kingdom, Solomon Islands, Sweden, Maldives, Libya, Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Benin, Spain, Papua New Guinea, Mauritius, India, Chile, Philippines, Hungary, Ukraine, Norway, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Slovakia, Honduras, Ethiopia and Belgium also spoke.


In other business, the General Assembly also decided to extend the work of the Sixth Committee (Legal) by one meeting until 19 December.


The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 14 November to conclude its debate.


Background


The General Assembly met today to continue its annual joint consideration of the report of the Security Council and the question of equitable representation on the Council and an increase in its membership.


Statements


LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) welcomed the Security Council’s growing engagement with the African Union in all aspects of peacekeeping, since that cooperation was essential to effectively resolving the conflicts remaining on the continent.  He commended the Secretary-General’s efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis through the effective implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement, as well as the Council’s resolution establishing the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.  There was hope to be found in the situations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Burundi.  However, Somalia remained in turmoil, with no end in sight to the bloodshed and misery caused by factional fighting and the activities of extremist groups.  The African Union Mission in Somalia was severely handicapped by inadequate funding and logistics.  To pave the way for its transformation into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, the international community should heed the Council’s call for a broad and inclusive political process in Somalia, as well as for international assistance.


The Council should continue to deal with country-specific issues, as well as thematic debates, he said.  Thematic debates provided non-Council Members the opportunity to participate in important meetings on issues relating to the maintenance of peace and security, while country-specific missions enhanced Council members’ understanding and appreciation of the situation on the ground.  The Council should continue to work towards a lasting peace in the Middle East and maintain its commitment to the fight against terrorism in all its forms.


Substantive reform guided by the principles of democracy, the sovereign equality of States and equitable geographical representation would enhance the credibility of the Council, he said.  A reformed Security Council should be transparent in its activities and more responsive to the interests of the general membership in matters deriving from its mandate under the Charter.  In closing, he reiterated his delegation’s support for the Ezulwini consensus, the Sirte Declaration, and Africa’s request for two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats on the Council.


CHRISTOPHER HACKETT ( Barbados) said the changing face of the world required a changing United Nations.  On the development side, the Economic and Social Council had been revitalized.  To address human rights issues, the Organization created the Human Rights Council.  However, there had been no change in the structure and function of the Security Council.  The increasing intensity of the pace of activities, as well as the volume and scope of the issues that came before it, required its urgent reform.


He continued, saying after 14 years of informal discussions and consultation on the item of Security Council reform, and a mandate from the 2005 United Nations Summit, it was now time to begin intergovernmental negotiations.  A reformed United Nations Security Council should have an increase in membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, and those new members should come from both the developed and developing worlds, including greater representation from small island states.  Additionally, Member States should limit the use of the veto, moving to eventually abolish it.  Finally, they should enact a mechanism timed to review its progress after a reasonable amount of time. 


Achieving success in those negotiations, he said, would require a strong commitment on the part of all Member States.  Together, they needed to create a reformed organ with an expanded membership that better reflected contemporary world realities, possessed a set of transparent and formalized working methods, and provided greater accessibility to its work by non-members.  That would help increase the legitimacy of the Security Council and make it a more effective and responsive body.


RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica) reiterated that there had been recognition that many initial positions vis-à-vis Security Council reform were not attainable, and he called on nations to show greater flexibility in order to “curtail the contentious cycle of consultations” and routine placement of the issue on successive General Assembly agendas.  Any reform formula must have the support of more than just a majority of States; it must attract the widest possible acceptance and include ratification by the permanent five.  Furthermore, the solution must address the question of access, particularly for developing countries.


He urged States to be cautious in proceeding with a partial approach that did not address “glaring inequities” in the Council’s structure and operations.  He was concerned that a transitional arrangement now being proposed sought to expand only the non-permanent seats, deferring to a later stage creation of new permanent seats.  Also, there were serious issues surrounding the proposals for creating new non-permanent seats and an intermediate category, such as who would be eligible and for what duration.  Proposed amendments to the Charter must be of a long-term duration.


On the veto, he said, until it was abolished, States could agree on ways to enhance accountability for its use and set limits of the scope for application.  Regarding expansion, he did not see much difficulty in reaching agreement in terms of additional seats.  He emphasized that expansion should take place in both categories.  On working methods, action could be taken on the egregious deficiencies that impeded access for non-Council members.  There was no question about the urgency for intergovernmental negotiations to start.  In the absence of consensus, he urged States to “summon the political courage” within the sixty-second session to “put to the test” a resolution that could garner the widest possible support.


AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said the report of the Security Council continued to be just descriptive -– a chronological compendium of sessions and documents that did not evaluate the advances of the Council or the difficulties of its work.  A broader and more analytical report to Member States, which made clear the way in which decisions were made, needed to be prepared.


Continuing, she said matters related to Africa once again occupied a prominent place on the Council’s schedule, as did counterterrorism.  The United Nations needed to address Africa in an integrated fashion -– dealing not just with security, but its economic and social problems.  Additionally, stemming terrorism meant securing stability in the Middle East.  That required a two-State solution regarding Israel and Palestine, in which the Palestinian people lived in an independent Palestine and were given the chance to realize their self-determination.  On another note related to terrorism, Venezuela demanded the immediate extradition of known terrorist Luis Posada Carriles from the United States, in keeping with Council resolution 1373.


Turning to reform, she said Venezuela believed a larger membership, the elimination of the veto, and further transparency of the working methods would help the Security Council operate in a greater spirit of democracy.  The Council needed to foster greater participation of non-Member States through public meetings and open debates, in order to improve its accountability.  Sanctions were an exceptional matter, and there was a concern that the Council had employed them without first exhausting all diplomatic means.  Finally, the veto was anachronistic to the rights of States and contrary to multilateralism.  It should be eliminated.


GUSTAVO ALVEREZ ( Uruguay) said that the Council’s report presented an orderly compilation of that body’s work for the year.  At the same time, it still suffered from some of the deficits about which Uruguay had complained in the past, including a lack of in-depth analysis of the Council’s decision-making, as well as a dearth of information on the work of the Council’s subsidiary bodies.  Nevertheless, the Assembly’s annual review of the report did add to the Council’s transparency.  He also said that his delegation believed that the Council should step up its efforts to reform its working methods, in line with the wishes of the Organization’s wider membership.


Finally, on reforming the Council’s structure, he supported expanding the permanent membership to include Brazil, as well as India, Germany and Japan.  He also supported an increase in non-permanent members.  At the same time, Uruguay stood by its belief that the right of veto should not be extended to new permanent members.  That was a principle that Uruguay had made known at the very founding of the Organization, when its delegation had called for all members of the Council to serve on that body on an equal footing and without special privileges.


NAWAFA SALAM ( Lebanon) noted that the Security Council held 224 meetings and 192 presidential sessions last year, no doubt due to the increasing number of conflicts in various parts of the world -- of which Africa and the Middle East played a great part.


Continuing, he said that, in 1978, the Security Council adopted a series of resolutions that created the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to remove all foreign occupation of Lebanon and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority.  Since 2004 and 2005, in the wake of the crime of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the Council established the special tribunal to send a clear message to the instigators of that crime they would not enjoy impunity.  All of that made Lebanon an Arab beacon.


However, he said, Lebanon could not fully appreciate international support while Israel continued to breach Lebanon’s sovereignty, by land and air occupation in the South.  Further, reform of the Security Council required more equitable representation and an increase in membership.  Member States had agreed on change, although they had not come to an agreement on the kinds of solutions.  In order to break the vicious cycle, so delegations would not come back to this Assembly to take up reform again, it was incumbent that the issue be addressed immediately, possibly taking up those items that did not require a Charter amendment, as an important first step towards a more objective, representative and just Security Council.


BASO SANGGQU ( South Africa) said the Security Council remained engaged in many parts of Africa, and stimulated debate on such important issues as security sector reform, the role of women in peacekeeping operations and the relationship between the Council and regional organizations in keeping with the Charter.  However, its inability after 60 years to play a meaningful role on the issue of Palestine was a serious threat to its credibility.  He hoped that the Council would transcend its divisions and discharge its Charter-based mandate to maintain international peace and security.  The global mandate of members was to advance peace worldwide, without certain members claiming such issues as anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, Kosovo and Western Sahara for their own.


He adhered to the African position on Security Council reform, calling for expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members, so that it would be more democratic, legitimate, representative and responsive.  He called on the President of the General Assembly to initiate intergovernmental negotiations and determine, through an objective and transparent method, the elements commanding the widest support to serve as the foundation of those negotiations.  He also called on the Assembly’s President to periodically inform Member States of progress in achieving concrete results on Security Council reform.


ANDREAS D. MAVROYIANNIS ( Cyprus) said the format of the report should have better facilitated the involvement of the wider membership, and its primary objective should have been to associate non-Council members in a thorough evaluation of the Council’s work.  In general, the Council could interact more frequently and systematically with the Assembly to outline developments regarding its work.  Substantive input on the work of both organs should be exchanged on a systematic basis, and should include the transfer of expertise, lessons learned and intelligence.  The goal was not to determine a hierarchical relationship between the two organs, but rather the consolidation of a mutually reinforcing relationship with a view to maximizing their overall potential and effectiveness.


He said the current phase in Security Council reform required action, as opposed to the reiteration of positions.  The success of future negotiations hinged upon simple elements, such as the appointment of a coordinator, the presentation of a text that would serve as a basis for negotiation, and a flexible methodology that would not sacrifice substance for the sake of formality.  Member States were willing to negotiate on reforms, because it was in the best interest of all that the Council functioned effectively and enjoyed the maximum degree of legitimacy.  Accountability, transparency, inclusiveness, and participation were key elements of reform, but should be tested against and employed in the service of the cross-cutting notion of effectiveness. 


It was not feasible, he said, for all the various proposals on the expansion of the Council to be implemented.  However, it was impossible to ignore the geopolitical realities of the current time or the need to afford a louder voice to countries representing developing countries and emerging actors.  Reform should be reached through the application of broader considerations and not through the extrapolation of specific demands.  As such, he suggested a modest, pragmatic and provisional reform to improve the situation in the short and medium term, while providing valuable lessons and best practices along the way.  Such an arrangement would be revisited and reviewed after a predetermined period of time, so as not to pre-empt a more definitive reform.


MR. SAWER ( United Kingdom) said that international institutions should reflect the world today, rather than the world as it was.  Reform of the United Nations in general and of the Security Council in particular was pivotal to progress.  He welcomed intergovernmental negotiations on the issue, and looked forward to a detailed proposal from the President of the General Assembly, which would provide the basis for moving forward.


He said that the Security Council must be more representative, but no less effective or capable of taking difficult decisions.  He supported permanent membership for Germany, Japan, India and Brazil and permanent membership for Africa.  Member States must be flexible and seek as much common ground as possible in reforming the Council.  Further, his country would consider an interim solution.  He also called for improving the Council’s working methods, and stressed the importance of consistently implementing the reforms agreed to by the Council in 2006.


COLLIN BECK ( Solomon Islands) expressed satisfaction that the President of the General Assembly had made Security Council reform one of the top five priorities of his term.  He said that the relationship between the Security Council and regional and subregional organizations must be defined, making sure to maintain the centrality of the Council’s role.  On Security Council reform, he said that the Council must be more responsive to today’s realities.  Further negotiations must be result-oriented, transparent and inclusive.  All parties must be open-minded and flexible.  The process must conform to General Assembly rules, with a two-thirds majority sufficing to effect decisions.


He proposed merging the written positions of various groups, issued over the 14 years of negotiations, into a single text, where their commonalities permitted, as a basis for negotiations.  It could be supplemented by a questionnaire or straw poll in the General Assembly in an effort to reach out to all Members.  He proposed the following issues for negotiation:  expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats on the Council; working methods; veto; the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly; and the relationship between the Council and regional and subregional groups.


ANDERS LIDEN ( Sweden) called for reforming the composition, size and working methods of the Security Council, so that it would reflect today’s realities.  The Council must be inclusive –- it was obvious that the African, Asian and Latin American and Caribbean regions should be better represented -- and perceived as fair and legitimate.  Reform of the Council was long overdue.  It was time for result-oriented negotiations.


He was open, he said, to an increase in the number of both permanent and non-permanent members based on the broadest possible agreement.  The Council must be able to act swiftly.  Veto power must not be expanded; rather, he proposed a veto-free culture on the Council.  Mechanisms were needed to make further changes in the Council, as the world continued to change.  He also said that an interim solution should be considered if a permanent arrangement could not be agreed upon.  Reform of the Council’s working methods to make it more open and transparent could go forward, even without immediate agreement on its composition.  He called for all negotiating parties to be creative, have an open mind and show flexibility.


AHMED SAREER ( Maldives) said the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations were as relevant and valid today as they were in 1946, but the challenges that confronted the Organization in the globalized world were not the same as when it came into being six decades ago.  The United Nations had already implemented numerous reforms over the past few years.  However, the proposed reforms of the Security Council, the organ entrusted with maintaining international peace, had unfortunately eluded Member States without any tangible results.


Continuing, he said his delegation believed reforming the Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the modern world was central to upholding the reputation of the United Nations as a credible and effective Organization.  That included the expansion of the Council’s membership -– both non-permanent and permanent -– to reflect the growth of United Nations representation and its present cultural diversity.  Maldives also believed in enhancing Member States access to the Council, both in terms of increasing their chances to serve as members and, while not members, involving them in the Council’s work.  And, any enlargement should address the under-representation of developing countries, as well as small States.


Finally, he said, while security matters vary from State to State, for the Maldives the threats posed by global climate change weighed heavily –- to the point of the survival of small States, including his own.  Climate change had become an issue of international peace and security that required the urgent and paramount attention of all organs of the Organization, including the Security Council.


BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said, despite significant contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council had not yet achieved all that had been planned.  Integrated measures to settle the situations in parts of Africa, Haiti, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Middle East were much appreciated.  However, lack of international consensus on the issue of non-proliferation had led to a dramatic weakening of the collective security system.  The Council should consider new approaches to the problem, specifically, the adaptation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to new realities.


The United Nations remained at the forefront of the international fight against terrorism, she said.  She called on the Counter-Terrorism Committee to elaborate specific and comprehensive recommendations to develop partnerships among Governments, the private sector and civil society.  Efforts to increase the capacity of the United Nations to act in precarious security environments should be reinforced, as well as the Organization’s efforts to help post-conflict countries to achieve lasting peace and stability.  The complex nature of new conflicts required preventive action by the United Nations.  The Security Council, Member States and regional groups should work cooperatively to ensure an effective response, while promoting development at the same time.


Turning to Security Council reform, she said the Council should be revitalized by the addition of new permanent and non-permanent members on the basis of equitable geographic representation and respect for the sovereign equality of all Member States.  In particular, Asia, Africa and Latin America should have a wider representation.  Since joining the Organization in 1992, Kazakhstan had not yet served as a member of the Council.  During its 15 years of membership, her Government had made important contributions to international peace and security and, as such, she expressed her hope that the Assembly would support her Government’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the Council in 2011-2012.


GIADALLA A. ETTALHI ( Libya) said that Security Council reform remained an “intractable matter” for the international community.  There was an urgent need to address how to render the Security Council more balanced.  The African continent had been adversely affected by the measures that were enacted after the Second World War, with the organization of the Security Council being achieved with the absence of most African countries, as many of them were suffering from colonialism and racism.  Today, African countries constituted more than a quarter of the United Nations Member States.  Africa’s rights had to be recognized with a just and fair representation in the Security Council, with permanent membership just like other continents.  That would include two permanent seats on the Security Council, with veto rights, and five non-permanent seats.


Any reform process of the Council would be of no significance unless it dealt with the issue of veto rights, he continued.  Veto rights had been misused in so many cases, at the expense of just causes and the rights of oppressed peoples.  Also, no reform process would be of any use unless it prevented the Security Council from interfering in the General Assembly’s mandate, as stipulated in the Charter.  In addition, the contents of Security Council reports did not provide a clear picture of what occurred in the Council, and did not show the Security Council’s commitment to abide by General Assembly resolutions.  Attention had to be given to the reasons that prevented the Council from taking strong positions on important issues in international peacekeeping and security.  In conclusion, he underlined Libya’s full cooperation in dealing with this important issue.


YOUCEF YOUSFI ( Algeria) said that the report of the Security Council demonstrated a lack of will by the Council to take into account the expectations of Member States who looked for changes in both its content and delivery.  The Council continued to disregard demands from the General Assembly for special reports in accordance with articles 15(1) and 24(3) of the Charter, as well as for improved communication between the Council and the other principal organs.  The report further indicated a busy agenda and recurrent desire to expand its areas of competence, to the detriment of the other principal organs.  Responsibility for problems must be shared among the major bodies, he said.


The need to make the Security Council more representative and democratic should not lead to precipitous negotiations, he said, noting that it was more important for them to be successful.  Negotiations should be open, transparent and inclusive, which could only be ensured by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly working with the President of the General Assembly.  Open-ended negotiations should begin from the initial positions expressed by each group and the broadest possible agreement should be the result of negotiations, rather than their starting point.  The time remaining in the sixty-second session was sufficient to come to negotiating terms, without setting artificial deadlines.  He called on Member States to renounce development of any parallel process.  Algeria would participate in negotiations from the position of the Ezulwini Consensus, confirmed at the African Summit in Sirte.


ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY ( Indonesia) said that, as the world went through one of its most turbulent and uncertain periods, the United Nations was at a critical juncture.  Geopolitical upheavals in some regions and grinding poverty in others, climate change and an inequitable social and economic order, all cried out for a “judicious and equitable” world order that would help everyone address those collective challenges.  With that in mind, she stressed that the Security Council, as the principle United Nations organ for the maintenance of international peace and security, should be able to effectively tackle modern global problems.


It could only do so if its composition mirrored twenty-first century realities and its work was duly mindful of the interests of the developing countries in which the majority of the world’s people reside.  “The Council’s legitimacy is essential.  The Council represents the voice of all its members and not just their individual interests,” she said, stressing that the Council would therefore need to be restructured following the principle of “equality for all States”, with members potentially being selected from their respective regions.  Instituting such a paradigm would be the only way to ensure the Council’s legitimacy and gain the trust and respect of all the peoples of the world.  Moreover, such a regional approach would better reflect collective positions and not just State interests.


She said that Indonesia regarded the comprehensive reform of the Security Council’s membership and its working method as fundamental for bolstering peaceful international relations, as well as an integral element of the broader United Nations reform process.  Indonesia was willing to consider the various proposals so long as they were grounded in democracy, accountability and fairness, and led to strengthening the representation of developing countries.  She added that substantive changes also needed to be made in such areas of the Council’s operations as membership categories, country representation criteria, use of the veto, transparency and working relationship with other United Nations organs.    


HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said that his delegation appreciated the vital contribution and the pivotal role played by the Security Council in the maintenance of world peace and security.  The Assembly’s annual review of the Council’s work contributed to the transparency of that body’s activities.  The Council’s annual report was quite comprehensive, but should be more substantive and analytical by, among other ways, providing justification for and the rationale behind the various decisions taken.  It was important for the Organization’s wider membership to be apprised of the Council’s decisions, as it impacted on the entire international community.  That would also be in keeping with efforts to ensure that the Council was more transparent.


Highlighting some specific aspects of the Council’s work during the past year, he said that, while his delegation had been pleased that the Council continued to hold thematic discussions and that it continued its tireless efforts in many conflict-affected areas and regions, its monthly consideration of the situation in the Palestinian Occupied territory and the wider Middle East had had little impact on the ground.  Violence continued unabated and deaths of civilians and destruction of infrastructure were mounting, particularly on the Palestinian side.  The Council’s report “lacked substance” on that issue, despite the body’s monthly briefing.  The Council must improve its credibility by enforcing its authority on that question.  It must be seen to discharge its responsibilities in maintaining peace and security in that region.


On Council restructuring, he said that his delegation believed that any reform of the United Nations would be incomplete without the “long overdue” reform of the Council.  He thanked former Assembly President Sheika Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa for her efforts to reinvigorate the debate on Council reform and the discussions over the past year certainly showed an emerging consensus.  They only difference appeared to be in approach.  Malaysia, for its part, supported a transitional or interim approach and believed that such a move would not distract the Assembly from the ultimate goal of reforming the Council.  “We see much value in taking smaller steps to reach our destination, rather than a risky giant leap that would cause us to fall,” he said, adding that a midterm review of progress following the implementation of such measures would provide an opportunity to address shortcomings and keep the reform discussion moving ahead.


LEOBHANG FINE MAEMA ( Lesotho) said the increase in the number of open and public debates held by the Security Council during the reporting process was a positive measure the Council took to improve its transparency, as well as its effectiveness.  However, such a measure still did not respond to the call that world leaders made to the Council at the 2005 World Summit to enhance its accountability to the entire membership of the United Nations.  In Lesotho’s view, the regular presentation of more informative reports, particularly with regard to Council decisions, would augment its effectiveness and transparency.  Furthermore, the Council should maintain a clear focus on only those issues that fell within its mandate and avoid encroaching on issues that fell within the mandates of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.


Continuing, he said his delegation considered the working methods of the Security Council of great importance and urged better access to the work of the Council for those States that were not members, particularly developing countries.  Additionally, as the report had highlighted, in the last few years the Council focused mostly on Africa, yet Africa’s representation in the Council did not come close to reflecting the continent’s interests and perceptions.  That was an unacceptable status quo.  The Common African Position on Council reform was not driven by the interests of one country, but a strong desire to empower a region that faced the greatest number of crises relating to international peace and security.


MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said that while the Council’s report provided a comprehensive listing of its work, it failed to note the instances where the Council’s efforts fell short of expectations under its mandate.  Further, the Council had not made any real efforts to press ahead with changes to its working methods or to enhance its transparency, despite calls for such change by the Organization’s wider membership for decades.


“The failure of the Council to improve its image and credibility in the eyes of the general membership, as well as in international public opinion, greatly lies in the manner by which it functions,” he said, adding that there were many instances where the Council had failed to honour its responsibility as regarded the rights of non-members.  Those included, among others, pursuing a trend of selective notification of its meetings, failure to convene daily briefings, and restricting the participation of the general membership in some open debates.  The Council was also continuing disturbing trends, such as resorting quickly and unnecessarily to invoke the use of Chapter VII of the Charter, and threatening sanctions in cases where no such action was necessary.  More alarming were the cases were certain permanent members of the Council used the body as a mere tool of its foreign policy.


Among other deficits, he noted that the Council was continuing to encroach on the prerogatives of other main organs, such as the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, over the objections of a majority of Member States.  Equally disturbing was that the Council had been “rendered incapacitated” in several cases where action had been urgently needed, including Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.  Indeed, the period under review had been marked by the Council’s inaction regarding the Zionist regimes crimes against the Palestinian people, and yet another resolution on the matter had been vetoed by the United States.


It had also been marked by a politically motivated campaign orchestrated by a few of its permanent members, taking “unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable action” in adopting resolutions on Iran regarding its peaceful nuclear programme, which presented no threat to international peace and security.   Iran believed that the Council’s action in that regard ran counter to the Charter.  Moreover, since Iran’s nuclear programme was for peaceful uses, the issue did not fall under the Council’s purview.  In fact, the right path was through dialogue and technical cooperation within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


Turning to Council reform, he said that serious changers were required if that body was to regain its credibility and become more democratic.  He stressed that the Council’s composition did not reflect modern realities, and that situation should be addressed and resolved “in any meaningful reform of the United Nations”.   Iran believed that such reform would be possible only by adequately addressing the question of under-representation of developing countries, as well as adequately and satisfactorily addressing the question of representation of the world’s nearly 1.5 billion Muslims.


CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO HERNANDEZ ( El Salvador) said the presentation of the report on the Security Council, although a constructive and valid opportunity to foster a dialogue of cooperation within the Council and other principle organs of the Organization, needed more elaboration in its analytical content in order to offer a full evaluation of the crises situations faced by the Council.


Continuing, she said the report’s assessment of increasing membership offered new prospects when it came to dialogue on Security Council reform, which might be possible to the extent Member States remained flexible.  However, that dialogue had to be based on tangible possibilities.  Due to all the unresolved issues, El Salvador also advocated the more active participation of permanent and non-permanent members in the deliberations of the working group on Security Council reform.  The General Assembly could play a significant role in providing a working intergovernmental process and help overcome the stagnation on the topic.


Finally, she said international security had changed since 1945 and the Council needed to reflect the new balances of power and the political reality.  In reform, El Salvador urged the Council to pay major attention to the question of the veto, which provided the main principle for substantive progress.  He also pressed for consideration on the question of equitable geographic representation, as it was essential to increase the Latin and Caribbean presence.


BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU (Zimbabwe) called on the Security Council to submit a more comprehensive and analytical annual report to the General Assembly, and expressed concern at the Council’s encroachment on the work of other principal organs and their subsidiary bodies.  He was encouraged by the growing agreement on the need to expand the Council, so that it would be more democratic, legitimate and credible.  Developing countries, in particular, must be better represented.  Both permanent and non-permanent membership should be expanded to reflect current political realities.  He called for two permanent seats, enjoying the same powers as other permanent members, and five non-permanent seats for Africa on the Council, based on regional proportionality.  Reform in working methods of the Council must be accompanied by structural reform.


To deliver on security, economic and social development, the international community needed a balanced power structure in the Security Council, coupled with more democratic global governance institutions, he said.  The interests of all countries and regions must be taken into account.  Transparency and consensus were essential to mutual trust and confidence on the issue.


ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said that the question of equitable representation in the Security Council seemed to grow more pressing with each passing day, particularly when one measured current lightning-fast geopolitical changes with the snail’s pace at which change occurred at the major international governance institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the Security Council.  If the world was to act collectively against threats -- such as conflicts, poverty, environmental degradation and the spread of HIV/AIDS -- the only legitimate and viable option was the United Nations.  And, where threats to international peace and security arose, the Security Council was expected to respond promptly, adequately and in a non-selective manner.


He said that, in its current form, the Council was not a representative body.  Rather, it continued the legacy of the Second World War and there had been little or no change in its power structure since its inception.  The reform process was currently stalemated, not as a result of one country, group or region, but due to the general hardening of positions by all.  Briefly highlighting the major proposals on the table, including the “unyielding stance” of the Council’s permanent five members on the issue of the veto, he said that all sides should remember that they had agreed at the outset that the status quo was unacceptable and that flexibility was key to achieving tangible results.


He went on to say that the facilitators that had been appointed last year to refocus the negotiations had come up with a transitional approach to Security Council reform, by which issues that could not be agreed upon would be deferred to a review process at a predetermined future date, while States continued to refine their original proposals.  That so-called “intermediary arrangement” might sound fine, he said, but “it does suffer from oversimplification”:  in place of achieving concrete progress now, by making hard choices and through compromise, that arrangement proposed a “mandatory review” as a solution to the stalemate.


In effect, that meant that what could not be negotiated today would be deferred to the review, and none of the stakeholders would have to give up their original positions.  “Instead, let us heed the well-tested saying:  don’t postpone till tomorrow what you can do today,” he said, stressing that Djibouti fully supported continuing negotiations during this session, building on progress achieved last year, with a view to achieving concrete progress on Council reform, which was a part of overall United Nations reform.


JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) noted that Africa took up a significant portion of the Security Council’s agenda, and welcomed the Council’s work with the African Union.  The Council‘s efforts must become more systematic and effective, particularly in the area of peacebuilding.  The Council should visit countries on its agenda, to that end.  He hailed the decision to deploy a hybrid mission to Darfur.  He also urged the continuation of international tribunals in the fight against crimes against humanity and impunity, and urged the Council to consolidate the lessons learned from those tribunals.  As their efforts approached completion, fugitives from their justice must not be forgotten.  The African Union should be considered as a repository for the records of those tribunals in Africa.


He praised the Council’s thematic debates and hoped that they would give momentum to continuing the work of the Council in those areas.  On reform, he said the Council should become more representative to enhance its legitimacy and authority.  Africa must have two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats to allow adequate representation for its subregions.  There should also be an equitable distribution of seats to developing countries and geographical regions.  Working methods must also be improved.  The General Assembly’s clear mandate for the next phase of Security Council reform, which must lead to concrete results, was intergovernmental negotiations towards a more representative, more transparent, and more efficient Council.  The General Assembly President should conduct the negotiations, and it was possible that agreement could be reached by the end of the current session.


INIGO DE PALACIO ESPANA ( Spain) said the General Assembly should opt for a formula for Security Council reform that could obtain the greatest political acceptance possible among Member States and well above the required majority in the General Assembly.  The delegation of Spain, together with the rest of the delegations that make up “United for Consensus”, believed new negotiations should use the framework provided by the Open-ended Working Group, which would allow all nations to express their views in a just and open manner and build on results achieved so far. 


He said the dialogue undertaken during the last few months under the Working Group of the General Assembly was the only way to resolve the issue of Security Council reform, and the two resulting reports related to the work achieved during the previous session provided a useful tool for the beginning of a negotiating process.  Additionally, along with a number of other delegations, Spain had supported finding a provisional agreement –- the so-called “intermediary approach” –- which would be subject to revision, in its path to reaching the broadest possible support.


Finally, he said, in this session, the Open-ended Working Group needed to hold consultations for the necessary drawing of the framework and the modalities of negotiation, which would hopefully begin soon, but without artificial and unrealistic deadlines.


ROBERT GUBA AISI ( Papua New Guinea) said that reform of the Security Council, which was seen by world leaders at the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit as an essential part of overall United Nations reform, could make that body more representative, efficient and effective.  It would also enhance the legitimacy of its decisions, he added.  In order to facilitate a fair and transparent reform process, Papua New Guinea believed that intergovernmental negotiations should begin immediately, starting with a straw poll or circulation of a questionnaire to get the pulse of the membership and identify elements that commanded the widest possible support.


Once that information was gathered, negations could begin right after, with a view to achieving progress on expansion of both categories of membership, ensuring greater representation of developing countries, as well as transition economies and small island States, improving the Council’s working methods, and making provisions for a review.  He said that the Assembly must also agree on a periodic review mechanism, so that the current General Assembly President and those that succeeded him could inform Member States about the progress achieved.  Finally, he stressed that the reform process must advance the core interests of the majority of Member States, and adequate representation in both membership categories must be given to countries form Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.


SOMDUTH SOBORUN ( Mauritius) began his statement with a few comments on the Council’s report.  By presenting that report as a simple chronological catalogue of events and activities, he said, the Council was not living up to its mandate to be open and transparent in its work.  Therefore, to be more helpful to the wider United Nations membership, the Council’s report should be, among others, more analytical in the assessment of the actions and decisions taken by the Council.  The Council itself could hold an open meeting to discuss the report and enlighten Member States on its decision making processes, most of which were hashed out and finalized behind closed doors.  He added that a quarterly or semi-annual, or even “special” report could be submitted to the Assembly, so the Assembly could discuss the Council’s work throughout the year.


On Security Council reform, he said his delegation believed that even though the Assembly appeared to be at a loss as to which of the many diverse proposals would best provide the path to change, “optimum ground has been covered that could provide the necessary elements for starting intergovernmental negotiations”.  Indeed, Member States appeared to agree that, among other things, there could be no meaningful reform of the Council without expanding both categories of membership, there should be a review of the right of veto and that there should be greater representation for developing countries and small island States.


He went on to highlight the interim approaches suggested by the group of facilitators tasked with getting the pulse of Member States on the question of Council reform last year.  That panel had acknowledged that such transitional approaches had not yet been defined, and its report had been rife with vague references and precepts like “a large number of States” or “overwhelming majority”, when it highlighted the various proposals and positions currently on the table.  Obviously, such phrases did not adequately convey a clear picture of what was at stake.  Further, he noted that the intermediary approach proposed by the facilitators was not necessarily different from the one that had led to the expansion of the Council’s non-permanent membership –- and subsequent stasis -- in the early 1960s.


“It is not my delegation’s intention to repeat the same sort of exercise in the present changed geopolitical world realities,” he said, adding that the facilitators’ recommendations also contained the “seeds” for further perpetuating the Council’s historic injustice regarding Africa.  He went on to note that the right of veto had become an anachronism and should be reviewed.  Finally, he said that Mauritius supported the common African position –- the Ezulwini Consensus –- and continued to support the calls for a State from the Latin American and Caribbean region to hold a permanent seat on the Council.  It also supported a permanent seat for India.  It was high time for the Assembly to begin intergovernmental negotiations on all those matters, he stressed.


MIHNEA MOTOC (Romania) said that it had been decades since the last enlargement of the Security Council, and soon, it would be decades since the Assembly started discussing, “open-ended”, how to go about the next enlargement.  Telling the Assembly that it wasn’t very productive to have matters regarding organizational reform and revision “open” indefinitely, he said the time was ripe for action.  “It is […] clear that we either start serious enlargement negotiations now, or we should better call it quits, and go on about our business.  At least we will have stopped pretending,” he declared.


If the Assembly decided to “go for it”, plenty of substantive preparatory work had been done already.  Indeed, the majority of Member States agreed that the Council should be enlarged to be more effective; the Assembly already had a framework for an intermediary enlargement that was garnering wide support and appeared to be the logical approach under the current circumstances for expanding both categories of Council membership; and several draft resolutions had been tabled on the issues, including a fresh resolution from September warranting negotiations on Council reform during this session.


He said the Assembly now had an historic opportunity to set the negotiating process in motion and ensure that it delivered an enlarged Security Council.  A representative enlargement would restore the faith of countries worldwide in the Organization.  Stasis, on the other hand, would hurt the Organization badly.  Inaction would mean that the Council had stood still for 40 years, as if the cold war had never ended and as if the era of globalization had never dawned.  “Failure would also mean that we have not been able to get our act together here in New York,” he added, reminding Assembly delegations that they had been charged by their leaders at the 2005 World Summit to provide them with proposals on which they could take decisions.


If and when Member States began intergovernmental negotiations, Romania would seek, among other things, talks that were politically sustainable regarding expanding both permanent and non-permanent membership in the Council, to build confidence among States by taking into consideration equitable geographical distribution, and look to preserve the Council’s distinctive features so that it could continue carrying out its duties in an effective and decisive manner.  In order for the next enlargement to find acceptance, it was necessary to include everyone in the decision-making process, including Eastern European States.


NURIPAM SEN (India) said that the “tale” of Security Council reform appeared to be one without end.  It had been quite interesting that the debate had begun on Veterans Day, because there were countless veterans of this discussion in the Assembly.  Turning to the Council’s annual report, he highlighted the concerns other speakers shared about the Council’s increasing tendency to encroach on the work of the other main United Nations organs and its tendency to set up ancillary judicial bodies, which it simply did not have the power to do.


He also reiterated the concern that the report had been heavy on information, but skimpy on the details.  Further, some small Member States had said that the Council was becoming increasingly inaccessible, and it was true.  At the same time, the Charter stressed that all Member States had the right to participate in the Council’s work.  So, in some matters involving the Council, the Charter could not be implemented as regarded the rights of non-permanent members.


So, what was the solution?  How were the Council’s Charter obligations to be checked?  How was balance to be restored?  All roads looked to be going nowhere, all at once.  He said that some among the “Uniting for Consensus” coalition had called for an increase in non-permanent membership, but that move would not necessarily be enough to check the powers of the permanent members.  Moreover, an increase in only permanent members should perhaps entail a review of the new appointees to ensure they were addressing the concerns of the wider membership.


Sadly, he said, the Assembly had only been able to push any real Council reform through during the 1940s, when it had set the procedures for the election of the Secretary-General.  So, unless some radical steps were taken, he did not see how the process could come to a successful solution.  The only way to arrive at a view that had the widest possible support was to start concrete intergovernmental negotiations.


He urged delegations to listen to the statements that had been made over the past two days and to promote a fair, transparent and objective process to arrive at a comprehensive “package of agreed elements”.  India believed that negotiations should commence, even though some might be nervous about the prospect.  Whatever side of the fence delegations were on, it was clear that inaction was unacceptable and perhaps even morally suspect.  India looked forward to the General Assembly President laying the foundation for such talks.


HERALDO MUNOZ (Chile) said he just arrived from the cold of the glaciers in Antarctica for the General Assembly and the heat of the Security Council debate.


Continuing, he said that a number of colleagues knew that Chile had long been a proponent of Security Council reform, which would enhance its credibility and legitimacy.  While Member States had taken steps in reform, those steps had not been enough, and reform of the Council constituted a key building block in reform of the United Nations –- reform mandated by heads of State at the 2005 summit.


On that reform, he said the current composition of the Security Council bore no relation to the world order –- it needed to be more inclusive of developing countries.  Further, the Council required the adoption of more transparent methods.  During the sixty-first session, Member States gained momentum and there was progress, especially in the consideration of an idea concerning an intermediate approach.  That did not mean abandoning the ideal reform, but the current state of the Security Council was not acceptable.  A compromise solution would break the paralysis.  Chile believed that the time had come for intergovernmental discussion –- new consultation exercises would be unproductive.  However, without constructive result-oriented negotiation, there would be no reform, which could mean waiting decades again for the right goodwill among States.  Member States had to take action in the coming weeks and months.


HILARIO G. DAVIDE (Philippines) said that the Security Council’s strictly factual annual report needed more analytical content, which non-members would find more valuable, since information on events of the Council were already available as official records.  On the reform of the Council itself, he said Member States should adopt those proposals on which they had agreement, leaving the rest for later.  Doing so would help avoid delay.  One area where possible agreement could be reached without much debate was on the Council’s working methods.  The issue of access, particularly relating to due process to States under Security Council review, as well as consultations, transparency and coordination or cooperation with other organs of the United Nations, should be included in whatever intermediary arrangements that might be agreed upon.  On enlargement, he voiced support for the enlargement of the Council in both categories of membership, based on equitable geographic distribution that reflected current geopolitical realities.


GÁBOR BRÓDI (Hungary) said that interaction between the Security Council and the General Assembly needed to be enhanced.  All Member States agreed that United Nations reform could not be meaningful without reform of the Security Council.  The years of consultations and deliberations by the Open-ended Working Group had made clear the positions of Member States on Council reform.  The time had come to start intergovernmental negotiations on the basis of a flexible and creative mandate, taking into account the views of all Member States.


He agreed with the General Assembly President that the last report of the Open-ended Working Group should guide the membership in choosing the items to be negotiated.  Comprehensive intergovernmental negotiations should take up the questions of expansion and improved working methods of the Council, and be based on a transparent and flexible mandate from the General Assembly.


KEVIN CHEOK (Singapore) said it was time to break the cycle of repetition that had marked the debate on Security Council reform over the past two years.  Previous discussions had raised ideas and options that shed light on various complexities and potential problems.  However, there remained a divergence of views and no position had yet garnered consensus.  Though not advocating a specific course of action, he suggested two ways of moving the process forward.  One option was for a group of countries, no matter their persuasion, to put up a draft resolution for consideration and negotiation.  That would allow Member States to calibrate their approach and express their concerns or support accordingly. 


The other option, he continued, would be for the President of the Assembly to assume a direct role in seeking a solution acceptable to the broader membership.  That way might lessen the divisiveness of a draft resolution, though it would place a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the President.  Singapore, as a small State, had no aspirations for a permanent seat on the Council.  However, the role small States, in general, played on the Council should be considered.  Small States had little opportunity to serve regularly, while some never served at all.  It was important to ensure that a review and improvement in the Council’s working methods was not simply geared to accommodating the interests of larger countries and middle powers.  Small States, which made up the majority of the United Nations, should also be taken into account, and the best way for that to be done was through open, inclusive and transparent negotiations.


VICTOR KRYZHANIVSKY (Ukraine) noting that the international community continued to face numerous daunting challenges that directly related to the Security Council’s main sphere of responsibility -- the maintenance of peace and security –- he encouraged the Council’s permanent and non-permanent members to find compromise on a number of difficult issues.  The credibility of the United Nations would always be measured by its ability to adequately respond to threats in any region of the world. 


No organization was better equipped to deal with those issues, and the United Nations should lead global efforts to address global challenges, he said.  Yet, it needed to take further steps on the path of reforming and improving its mechanisms to make the Organization more efficient, effective and relevant in the twenty-first century.  Ukraine, which considered the 2005 World Summit a milestone event in the United Nations reform process, believed the Outcome Document remained the road map by which to strengthen the United Nations.  He expressed hope that Security Council reform, which was a key element in the wider Organization’s reform, would be expedited.  Making the Council more representative and more balanced, and making its work more effective and transparent, would be vital.


He said his country based its position on Council reform on several principles.  First, the reform should be implemented in strict compliance with the purpose and principles of the Charter.  Second, the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership should be enlarged, particularly by adding developing countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Third, owing to its own growth, the Group of Eastern European States should have an additional non-permanent seat.  Fourth, reform should result in improved working methods, and those countries that contributed most to the Organization should be more involved in the Council’s decision-making process.  Fifth, the veto power of the permanent members should be eliminated.  There was merit in moving from discussion to negotiation, he said.  Also, the Council’s interaction with the wider United Nations membership, particularly in the areas of peacekeeping and applying sanctions, could be improved.


JOHAN L. LØVALD (Norway) said that Norway’s main priorities were to ensure that the Security Council operated coherently and efficiently, and that the composition of the Council reflected the current configuration of the United Nations membership.  Consequently, Norway supported an expansion in both categories, and welcomed any “constructive proposals” that could break the current “deadlock”, he said.  If the reform process initiated in 2005 were to succeed, the Member States needed to show flexibility and seek compromise, and yet also establish a process that commanded the broadest possible support, in order to ensure a legitimate and credible outcome.


Concrete proposals were needed in order to maintain focus and bring discussions forward, he said.  Norway was open for such discussions that did not prejudge any final arrangements.  The President of the General Assembly should guide this “transparent and inclusive” process.  Norway’s overarching objective was to find solutions that would secure the continued legitimacy of the Council and provide a broader representation of the different regions -– without at the same time compromising the efficiency of the Council.  Norway was open to discussing all proposals that aimed at that, because reform was both timely and necessary.


SOLVEIGA SILKALNA (Latvia) said while lacking analytical content that might have stimulated more substantive debate on Security Council reform, the report of the Security Council was useful as reference material.


Consideration of Security Council reform had taken place for well over a decade, she said, and Member States were aware of the complexity and sensitivity of the issue and the need for a steady approach.  At the same time, the lack of concrete results in reform had had a corrosive effect on other ongoing processes within the United Nations.  The report adopted by the Open-ended Working Group in September revealed the extent of support for renewed efforts towards Security Council reform, and provided a solid base for carrying forward during the sixty-second session.  The General Assembly needed to begin preparations, within the current session, for intergovernmental negotiations.


MARTIN PALOUS (Czech Republic) said the report of the Security Council to the General Assembly was a testimony to the increasing challenges faced by the Council, the key body of the United Nations system.  Other recent reports clearly showed that the number of issues on its agenda continued to grow, and the burden on the shoulders of its members -– both permanent and non-permanent -– weighed heavier and heavier.  Therefore, in the interest of all the United Nations Member States, the Security Council needed the ability to act in an open, transparent, effective and democratic manner.


Over the past 14 years, the Czech Republic, he said, had repeatedly expressed its view that only through structural reforms could the Security Council address global challenges such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  These structural reforms should encompass the expansion of membership in both categories, better representation and regional equitability. 


The Czech Republic delegation believed that, without being stubborn or dogmatic in moving the reform process forward, the main elements of the G-4 proposal constituted a sound basis for future negotiations.  However, negotiations required flexibility.  During the sixty-first session, Member States achieved some important progress and introduced some innovative ideas, including the concept of an intermediary approach, which could open a new path towards a solution and avoid an impasse. 


TIINA INTELMANN (Estonia) said Security Council reform remained a pressing issue in the overall United Nations reform process, and the Council’s reform needed to add more legitimacy and credibility to the body’s decisions, not hamper its capability in adapting to the challenges of the twenty-first century.  However, any Security Council reform proposal required the largest possible political acceptance -– and flexibility on all sides -– to overcome the current stalemate.


Continuing, she said enlarged membership and equitable geographical representation should be the fundamental principles guiding the reform in the area of non-permanent membership.  Any increase in that membership, however, should ensure an enhanced representation of the Eastern European Group by the allocation of at least one additional non-permanent seat in the enlarged Security Council.  Further, Estonia supported the reform of the working methods and was convinced that the expansion and working methods should not be viewed as inseparable; efforts to improve working methods should continue irrespective of progress in expanding membership.


Finally, she said, given the fact that the reform process had lasted for more than 10 years, it was important to create a new political momentum for possible negotiations, which required high-level political involvement from the outset.  The negotiations -– if started -– necessitated transparency and the contribution of all Member States in the deliberations.


JORGE URBINA ORTEGA (Costa Rica) said that the Assembly’s annual review of the Council’s work should be a chance to strengthen the relationship between the two bodies.  Sadly, that was not the case, as Member States again found themselves in a discussion about the Council’s deficiencies, particularly that its annual report did not provide sufficient analytical information to generate an in-depth discussion.  At the same time, Costa Rica was not naïve, and understood the difficulties in putting together a comprehensive report.  But, such difficulties should not prevent States, particularly non-members of the Council, from obtaining detailed information on that body’s decision-making process and working methods, at the very least.


As a newly elected non-permanent member of the Council, Coast Rica had taken the position that it would represent those States that had rarely, or never, served on that body.  “We will not forget that we are only temporary members of the Security Council, but that we are permanent members of the General Assembly,” he asserted.  As for Council reform, he said that Costa Rica, as a member of the so-called “Small Five” (S-5) coalition, stood by its position that reform of the Council’s working methods was essential to overall revitalization of that body.  Further, Costa Rica supported expansion in the Council’s non-permanent seats.  It did not support extension of the veto to new members, thus extending the privileges already held by a select few to yet another exclusive group.


He went on to remind the Assembly that when negotiations on Council reform began in earnest, all stakeholders should work assiduously to right the historic wrong that had been perpetrated against African States, whose entire continent remained absent form the Council’s permanent membership.  He urged all delegations to walk together along the path of negotiation, and to pursue the quest for common solutions, not the aspirations of a few.  The common objective was a democratic and representative Council capable of responding quickly and effectively to peace and security challenges.  That could only be achieved by avoiding confrontation and self-interest.


DAW PENJO (Bhutan) said that Security Council reform had been on the agenda for nearly a decade and a half with proposals presented, including those for improvement in the Council’s working methods.  The current session was mandated to achieve concrete results in Security Council reform through intergovernmental negotiations, building on progress already made, and on the positions and proposals of Member States, a mandate he welcomed.


He requested that the General Assembly President initiate those negotiations without delay, and that he determine, through an objective and transparent method, those elements commanding the broadest support to serve as a basis for negotiations.  That was the only way to achieve Security Council reform and enhance its legitimacy and credibility.  He called for expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories, for greater representation of developing countries and better access for small States.  He further called for a comprehensive overhaul of the Council’s working methods for greater transparency and inclusiveness.


PETER BURIAN (Slovakia) said his delegation believed that enlarging the Council’s membership to reflect the realities of today’s world was equally as important as reforming that body’s working methods.  Both aimed to improve the Security Council’s legitimacy, authority and effectiveness.  Like other delegations, Slovakia believed that neither one of those essential reform elements should be held hostage to the other.  Concrete progress along each track was the best way forward.  In the meantime, the intermediary approach, with a mandatory follow-up review suggested by the facilitators, was a meaningful way to move forward on the matter. 


“What we need now is an intergovernmental process of negotiations that can come up with a possible road map out of the current stalemate,” he said, adding that his delegation looked forward to the Assembly President’s recommendations on that matter.  On the issue of increasing the Council’s relevance, authority and effectiveness, he said that Slovakia, which had served as a non-permanent member of the Council in 2006 and 2007, strongly believed that the body must do more in the area of conflict prevention.  It could no longer merely react to emerging challenges or ongoing conflicts.  It could no longer just come up with post-conflict remedies or peacekeeping missions.  The Council must also strive to promote dialogue.


IVAN ROMERO MATINEZ (Honduras) said Honduras supported any change that would update the work of the Security Council, as all United Nations organs needed to operate in a more democratic and participatory fashion, and reflect a reality far distant from the norm under which the United Nations was originally conceived.  In that vein, the delegation attached great importance to the Council’s reform, especially as it pertained to greater representation for Latin America and African countries, which would make it a more balanced body.


Continuing, he said Honduras believed the Open-ended Working Group did excellent work in examining the potential reform of the Council and it should serve as a guide, and its facilitators’ analysis and discussion remained valid in the upcoming negotiation.  Additionally, adequate coordination among the Security Council, ECOSOC and the Assembly was important to maintain the balance between the United Nations bodies.


All Member States agreed to Security Council reform, he said, and had invested many years in it -– they now needed to go into greater depth.  The international community wanted to see an Organization that kept pace with the rhythm of its times.  The time had come for a Security Council that reflected the modern world.


FORTUNA DIBACO (Ethiopia) said that the report of the Security Council was informative in terms of how much the Council had done, but she would have liked more analysis of the issues.  She also hoped that the report would be made available earlier, in the future, to allow time for a more considered response.  She said that Security Council enlargement and the principle of equitable representation were critical to overall United Nations reform.  She noted the progress made during the sixty-first session, and expressed the hope that the President of the current session would provide guidance and direction to keep the momentum going until a solution acceptable to all stakeholders was found.


The Council’s working methods also needed improvement, she said, adding that future consultations should be conducted on a transparent and inclusive basis.  The interests of all stakeholders deserved equal consideration, she said, urging the Open-ended Working Group and everyone involved in facilitation to give that due recognition.  She called for Security Council reform to be accorded high priority during the current session, and was prepared to engage in consultations to make progress towards achieving tangible results.


JOHAN VERBEKE (Belgium) said that there were some who claimed that the Security Council was one of the most conservative institutions in the world, particularly with regard to its composition, while others called it one the most effective of the United Nations organs.  As a non-permanent member of the Council, Belgium saw truth in both those statements.  Any reform of the Council should take into account two fundamental elements:  the Council must be able to adapt and still maintain its effectiveness.  Improvement in its working methods was essential.  Some work had been done in that regard, but more remained, particularly in providing access to the Council by non-member countries, especially those directly affected by its decisions.


In addition, it was imperative that the Council better reflect geopolitical realities.  That would enhance the Council’s legitimacy.  The Open-ended Working Group had clearly identified the key parameters for Security Council reform last year.  It was now time for intergovernmental negotiations.  To achieve tangible results, consultations should be held in national capitals at the highest level, conducted by a special high-level envoy, to ensure the “ownership” implied by the direct involvement of heads of State.  The high-level envoy would serve as a catalyst to accelerate the process.  The envoy would then present a proposal, enjoying the broadest possible support, which would serve as the basis for further intergovernmental negotiations within the General Assembly, whose final decision should be taken before the end of its sixty-second session.


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For information media. Not an official record.