Speakers, Voicing Frustration at Lack of Progress, Call for Security Council Reforms to Reflect Current Political Realities
Reform of the Security Council, long overdue, needed to reflect current political realities, delegates told the General Assembly today as it held its annual debate on the matter and the manner in which that body could become a more democratic, transparent and effective organ, tasked with delivering worldwide peace and security.
Introducing the debate, General Assembly President Sam Kahamba Kutesa (Uganda) reaffirmed that reform of the body was one of his top priorities. However, the process had been a “long and winding” one. He called for a renewed commitment from Member States, underscoring that a broadly representational, efficient and transparent Security Council would further enhance its legitimacy and the implementation of its decisions. He also welcomed the appointment of Courtenay Rattray (Jamaica) as the new Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations to help the reform process move forward.
With almost 50 delegations participating, many noted that it had been 50 years since the Council underwent its first and only reform, and almost 10 years since the 2005 World Summit, where world leaders had agreed to initiate a reform process.
There was an almost universal call for the continuation of intergovernmental negotiations, with many Member States asking for an initial text, based on the five guiding principles outlined in General Assembly resolution 62/557, to be used as a starting point. However, speakers expressed frustration at how little had been accomplished, with many calling for the compromise and flexibility required to arrive at a consensual platform.
The representative of Brazil, speaking for the Group of Four (G4) countries, Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, nevertheless, refuted the claim that consensus was necessary prior to starting consultations. Remarking that none of the other United Nations processes required previous consensus, he stressed that the negotiating text needed sufficiently wide, but not necessarily universal, agreement.
With the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations approaching, it simply could not be “business as usual”, said Saint Lucia’s representative, who spoke on behalf of the L.69 Group. Observing that more than 100 Heads of State and Government had called for urgent reforms of the Council, she said that the process could not move forward without a mandate from the General Assembly President to conduct negotiations immediately. The Group’s countries had been able to achieve significant convergences with the African States to form a common position, a step that would avoid the “piecemeal” approach, and help speed the process.
Making the Council more representative and democratic were words that echoed frequently throughout the day, with Sierra Leone’s representative, speaking for the African States, also emphasizing that equitable distribution of membership would entail addressing the historical injustice that left Africa the only continent not represented in the Council’s permanent membership, and under-represented in its non-permanent membership. Africa should have two permanent seats on the Council and the right to exercise a veto, he added.
The representative of Italy, speaking for the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, suggested an increase in the number of elected seats, with special attention to be given to small States and African countries. Furthermore, no new permanent seats should be allowed, as it perpetuated the trend of sitting on the Council forever.
However, few agreed on how many members should be added to the Council, and the criteria by which they would be selected. The Russian Federation’s delegate called for a “compact” body whose number should not exceed the low 20s, with the delegate of Liechtenstein, acknowledging that he stood between the two most extreme positions, suggesting adding a category of long-term selection of seats to the Council for eight or 10 years.
Still, the representative of the United States said, rather than basing membership on geography or size, new members should be chosen for their willingness to commit to the maintenance of peace and security, and their ability to exercise the heavy responsibility that came with serving on the Security Council.
Yet, as Hungary’s delegate pointed out, Security Council reform seemed to be at a standstill, with Member States in a “self-inflicted time loop”. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but to get there, we have to start agreeing on something,” he said.
Also delivering statements today were representatives of Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Guyana (for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Kuwait (also speaking for the Arab States), Belgium (also speaking for the Netherlands), India, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, France, Algeria, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria, Germany, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nicaragua, Egypt, Tunisia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Peru, Maldives, Libya, Benin, Burundi, Papua New Guinea, Congo, Viet Nam, South Africa, Solomon Islands, Nepal, and Jamaica.
The General Assembly will convene again at 10 a.m., on Friday, 14 November on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.
SAM KAHAMBA KUTESA (Uganda), President of the General Assembly, introducing the debate on the reform of the Security Council, said thus far the process had been “long and winding”. At the 2005 World Summit leaders had expressed support for Council reform that would result in a body more broadly representational, efficient and transparent. That reform, in turn, would further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions. Noting that last year more than 100 delegations expressed concern about the lack of progress in the matter, he asked for renewed commitment from all Member States to the next phase of intergovernmental negotiations.
Given the profound changes the world had undergone, and the new and emerging threats to international peace and security, he said that the Organization should continue to adapt since its founding 70 years ago. As the discussions moved forward, Member States should ensure that the debate was not a mere repetition of previously stated positions, a dynamic that had characterized the intergovernmental negotiation process in the past. He then thanked Ambassador Zahir Tanin (Afghanistan) for spearheading the discussions in previous years, and welcomed his new appointment of Courtenay Rattray (Jamaica) as the new Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, noted with concern the lack of important results after 10 rounds of negotiation on the question of equitable representation and an increase in number of the Security Council members, among other matters. While a convergence of views had emerged, major differences still persisted. Reform of the Council should be comprehensive, addressing all substantive issues relating to membership, regional representation, the Council’s agenda, its working methods and decision-making process, as well as its use of the veto.
He went on to say that an enlargement of the Council should lead to a more democratic, representational, accountable and effective Council. Transparency, openness and consistency had been neglected on numerous occasions. In recent years, the Council had been too quick to threaten or authorize enforcement action in some cases, while being silent on others. It had increasingly resorted to using Chapter VII of the Charter for addressing issues that did not necessarily pose an immediate peace and security risk. Council-imposed sanctions remained a serious concern to the Movement, he said, stating he rejected the use of those as a tool to pursue national political interests and agendas. It was necessary, he underscored, that non-selectivity, impartiality, and accountability be upheld, and for the Council to keep within the powers accorded to it by Member States and the Charter.
TROY TORRINGTON (Guyana), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and with the L.69 Group, said that reform of the Security Council was urgently needed. For over two decades, the issue of equitable representation and the increase in the Council’s membership had been debated. Time and again, positions had been expressed, but after 10 rounds of intergovernmental negotiations, there was little to show for the efforts expended. That had to change. The international community had a collective responsibility to bring forth meaningful reform. The objective of reform had to be towards making the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, more democratic, accessible, and effective.
Merely reiterating positions did not qualify as intergovernmental negotiations, he went on to say. The next round of negotiations had to be qualitatively different, conducted on the basis of a text that could be used as a basis for line-by-line and paragraph-by-paragraph negotiations. Options had to be based on an objective assessment. There should be an expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of members, from 15 to 27, and the role of developing countries should be advanced in both categories. There could not be a reform of the Security Council’s membership without a permanent seat for Africa. There should also be a special seat for a small island developing State.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Group of Four (G4) countries, said the Assembly’s sixty-eighth session had brought important developments to the intergovernmental process. Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan believed it was imperative to start the first meeting of the next round of intergovernmental negotiations with a text on the table and refuted the claim that there must be prior consensus before drafting a working document as an “anti-UN” argument. The Assembly President’s statement in September highlighted that a negotiating text needed sufficiently wide, but not necessarily universal, agreement. Noting that the G4 remained ready to start real negotiations at any time on Council reform, he asked the Assembly President to empower the new Chair by putting forward a negotiating text that did not prejudice any positions or outcome.
Given the prevailing view among Member States and civil society that the Council was not capable to respond satisfactorily to specific crises around the world, there was a growing sense of frustration arising from the paralysis in the reform efforts, he said. Next year would mark 50 years since the first and only time that the Council had been reformed, 15 years after the Millennium Summit, and 10 years after the 2005 World Summit when world leaders had unanimously called for an early reform of the Council. The G4 would continue to work towards achieving the “much needed reform” in close cooperation with all Member States.
MENISSA RAMBALLY (Saint Lucia), speaking for the L.69 Group, stressed that expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of Security Council membership was imperative to better reflect contemporary world realities, and achieve a more accountable, representational, transparent and relevant body. After ten rounds and seven years of intergovernmental negotiations, nothing had changed on the subject, except for the momentum placed by the leadership of the General Assembly. In 2009, 140 countries, far more than two-thirds of the Assembly’s membership, had made a formal and written submission to the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations to initiate a text-based negotiation process. Countries were repeatedly airing statements of known positions and continuing to make pleas for such negotiations.
With the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations approaching, it simply could not be business as usual, she stressed. The process would only move forward if the President of the Assembly mandated the Chair to conduct negotiations immediately on the basis of a text tabled with full authority and backing. Allowing the self-defeating argument in favour of achieving consensus before the talks would only suit the interests of limited objectors. During the High-Level segment of the current Assembly, more than 100 Heads of State and Government called for urgent reforms of the Council. The Assembly, as a matter of courtesy, should provide them with feedback on achievements when they gathered for the seventieth anniversary summit. As a Group with perhaps the largest convergence of likeminded countries from the developing world, the L.69 Group had been able to significantly enhance convergences with the African Group and forge a common position. It was a position that embraced comprehensive reforms and had deliberately avoided the “piecemeal” approach that some detractors had used to hold the process hostage.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), speaking for the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said that recent discussions, including the last round of intergovernmental negotiations, had highlighted the principles that should lead to reform of the Security Council. The best way to make the Council more representational, democratic, and accountable was to increase the number of elected seats. New permanent seats allocated on a national basis would only allow a limited number of countries to occupy seats forever, thus creating a more exclusive Council. For several years, small States which represented almost one fourth of the Organization’s membership, and African countries had been seeking a greater presence on the Council. Elections were the primary instrument through which all Member States could be heard, on an equal footing and with dignity.
“Uniting for Consensus” was the only negotiating group that had already officially tabled two concrete proposals for the Security Council reform, he pointed out. “We support a compromise solution,” he said, and a proposal was being worked on that focused on the creation of new seats, with the possibility of a longer duration on the Council and immediate re-election. That would allow extended periods on the Council for those who had the desire and the capacity to contribute more. The Group had also begun a preliminary series of informal meetings with other negotiating groups to explore possible common ground. Heeding the call for text-based negotiations, the Group also stood ready to work in that direction with “Rev2”, the only document that had the valid support of the whole membership.
VANDI CHIDI MINAH (Sierra Leone), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that a reformed Council must conform to the principles of equitable geographical distribution and maintain the balance in its relationship with the Assembly, as envisaged in the Charter. He reiterated the need for the Council reform to address the historical injustice that left Africa as the only continent not represented in its permanent membership and under-represented in its non-permanent membership. Paradoxically, the Council devoted 70 per cent of its time to dealing with issues affecting the continent, which also provided over a quarter of the United Nations membership.
Africa was in principle opposed to the veto, he said, but as long as the right existed, it should be made available to all permanent Council members. The continent should have no less than two permanent seats, with all prerogatives and privileges of the permanent membership, including the right of veto, and five non-permanent seats. The African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s candidates. The actual negotiations had not really begun, he noted, highlighting the need for a work plan, a timeline for negotiations and the modalities by which agreements on given issues would be reflected in a text for subsequent adoption by the Assembly.
Mansour Ayyad S.H. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait), speaking for the Arab States, said the Council had to be more representational and transparent. There had been a number of initiatives, but in spite of that, it was necessary to accelerate reform. The determination of a deadline was an obstacle to the process and intergovernmental negotiation was the only right place to debate the matter. As a starting point, the process should include all Member States’ proposals. Any changes and linkages among the proposals should be organized by the proposing country and the process should guide the new Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations in his work to achieve consensus.
He said that the arbitrary use of the veto had harmed the credibility of decision-making in the Council. The right of veto was a way of getting around responsibilities and had been used to protect illegal practices against the Palestinian Authority. Procedures must be taken to make the Council more transparent and effective. Permanent rules should be adopted instead of temporary ones. He also called for a limited number of closed meetings, the publication of Council meetings and for auxiliary bodies to provide information on their activities. The Council should stick to its mandate. Enlargement of the body should include permanent representation.
BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium), speaking also for the Netherlands, welcomed the important work accomplished during the last session of the General Assembly, and highlighted the non-paper produced by the Advisory Group established by the President of the sixty-eighth General Assembly on Security Council Reform, the debates on the five clusters of Security Council reforms and cross-cutting issues.
It was clear where opinions diverged and where consensuses were found, she said. No one was waiting for another year of repetitive debates. This year, more than ever, business as usual was no longer an option and there was a need to start real negotiations on the basis of a text. That text would be the starting point for negotiations that would ultimately converge rather than diverge. It would depend on Member States’ determination to achieve the goal of a more effective, transparent and accountable Security Council reflecting the geopolitical realties of the twenty-first century.
ALEXANDER A. PANKIN (Russian Federation) said that the question of Council reform was one of the most important on the agenda of the United Nations, since the result of the reform process would determine the architecture of international security. As a permanent member, his Government noted the need to make the Council more representational. But efforts towards reform must not hinder the Council’s ability to effectively react to emerging challenges. Calling for a “compact” Council membership, whose optimal number should not exceed the low 20s, he added that ideas that would infringe on the veto were unacceptable. His Government supported the idea that reform must be owned by all Member States, and was prepared to look at any reasonable option to enlargement, including the so-called intermediate option, as long as it was based on the broadest possible consensus. There was no room for artificial or symbolic deadlines or debates, or attempts to resolve the problem with the single stroke of a pen.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that delegations found it easier to “endlessly repeat” their well-known positions on Council reform rather than signal concessions that would allow the process to move forward. In terms of concrete proposals for the expansion of the Council, Liechtenstein stood by a model it had proposed that included a new category of long-term elected seats, with terms of eight or 10 years, and the option for States to stand for immediate re-election. The country had also proposed a so-called “flip-flop” clause, under which States that unsuccessfully sought election for the longer-terms seats would be barred from standing for election for the existing two-year seats for the duration of what would have been their term of office. A mandatory review of the mechanism would take place after two terms. That model was an “intermediate” approach that sought to bridge the gap between those who favoured expansion in the two existing categories and those who only wanted to expand the number of non-permanent seats. As far as achieving acceptance in both the Assembly and through the ratification process, Liechtenstein remained convinced that such a path was the only viable option for expansion of the Council.
ANN ELIZABETH JONES (United States), observing that the United Nations had grown from 51 to 191 members, said the challenges facing Member States were more diverse than ever. The Council needed to be able to face current realities. It was critical that reform followed the broadest consensus possible. While open to modest Council expansion in permanent and non-permanent membership, she said the question as to which countries might be chosen should be based on their willingness to commit to the maintenance of peace and security, and their ability to exercise the heavy responsibility that came with Council membership. The intergovernmental negotiation process was the most appropriate forum for reform. She voiced hope that, working together, the Member States could find the broadest way forward, in line with the ideals that were central to the founders of the United Nations.
ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI (India), associating his delegation with the L.69 Group, G4 and CARICOM, urged the General Assembly President to empower the newly appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations with a text on the basis of which real negotiations could take place. Underlining how essential such a text was, he stressed that the process should not be perceived as biased just because a text was on the table. With no text on the table, Member States looking for early reform of the Council “would surely have just cause to detect bias” against them. The vast majority of participants in the Negotiations supported expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats, and such support should not be ignored. No forward movement could take place without complete consensus on early reform. The Council was a “seriously impaired organ”, without the will or resources to address the litany of crises dotting the international landscape. The Council could not act with credibility, even in its area of core competence, because of its unrepresentative nature. To become more effective, early reform had to be implemented urgently and effectively.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said that his Government’s position on Security Council reform, which had not changed, supported new permanent member seats for Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan as well as permanent African representation and expansion of the non-permanent seats. Disagreement on whether or not to extend veto rights was an obstacle to real progress on Security Council reform. Any reform should not reduce the Council’s capacity to deal with threats to international peace and security, he said, stating he did not support the extension of veto rights to new permanent members. The French initiative for veto restraint was interesting, he noted, adding that he was “appalled” by the cynical way in which the veto had been used since 2011 to enable perpetuation of mass atrocities by the Syrian regime. To be meaningful, the initiative would need the united support of all permanent members of the Security Council. The range of different and opposing views should not distract the international community from efforts to make the Security Council better reflect the modern world.
MARITZA CHAN (Costa Rica), reiterating her country’s commitment to work with Member States in the reform process, asked for the strengthening of the multilateral process, and pointed out that her delegation had provided clear arguments for in-depth, comprehensive reform of the Council, and its legitimacy, effectiveness and transparency. There should be a spirit of constructive and flexible procedure among Member States. There should also be a careful expansion of the non-permanent category of membership and the option to hold Council positions for two consecutive years. Non-permanent members would be more accountable, thus increasing the chances of being elected, a situation that would benefit small countries. She voiced concern that the document that was prepared by the Advisory Group would be used as a tool in the process when, in reality, it was the summary of a few; it could not and must not serve as a basis for such work. The intergovernmental process had precedence over any process or parallel text. She asked that they abide by the revised document of resolution 62/557, and address the five core issues, based on the proposals of the Member States, in a clear and open manner that would attract the broadest support possible.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said the Council must be reformed in accordance with the changing geopolitical realities of current times. That should be through the holding of periodic elections, and by adding members to the Council. A single election with indefinite membership terms on the Council ran counter to the spirit of the Council, and would not allow it to be effective in addressing world challenges. Referring to the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, he said he believed that longer-term elected seats could serve as a viable solution. Any reform formula must receive the widest support of Member States. He also expressed support for the underlying goals of General Assembly resolution 62/557. Reform must be comprehensive and touch on all five key areas of reform.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said the world was facing an enormous opportunity as the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations approached. Next September would also mark the fiftieth anniversary since the Security Council was reformed for the first and only time. At that time, the United Nations had 117 Member States. Today, despite the addition of 76 countries, Council membership remained the same. The Council should reflect the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century by expanding both permanent and non-permanent membership. More countries, most notably the least represented regional groups, namely Africa and the Asia-Pacific, should be on the Council. The Intergovernmental Negotiations was the only forum where all Member States could negotiate for their shared goal of Security Council reform. However, in spite of efforts made, discussions were at a stalemate. Member States must find a way to launch “real” negotiations on the basis of a text. In other matters, he applauded the French proposal to refrain from using the veto in instances of mass atrocities, and expressed hope that other permanent members would follow suit.
WANG MIN (China) said that recent years had witnessed changes in the international situation, and increased global threats to mankind. Member States had ever greater expectations of the Security Council, which had important responsibilities on behalf of all. Reasonable reform would help the Security Council better serve peace and development. He said that his Government had always supported reform of the Security Council, and had given priority to increasing representation of developing countries, especially Africa, as well as allowing more countries, especially small and medium-sized ones, to have more opportunities to serve in the Council. It was necessary to abide by principles of unity, ownership of the process by Member States, and democratic consultations. Only in-depth consultations among Member States would stand the test of time. Reform of the Security Council was a thorny issue, and the key to achieving progress lay in the hands of Member States. Only when they rose above differences would reform move ahead on the correct track.
NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand) noted broad agreement among Member States on several aspects of Security Council reform. The only issue holding back reform was expansion of the permanent membership. In that regard, he said he was open to all ideas or proposals, including the expansion of both categories of membership or the introduction of the so-called interim or intermediate options. A text-based negotiation on reform could work, but there first needed to be agreement on the principle and a possible way forward on expansion of the permanent membership. Certain States were sceptical about the need to add more permanent seats and that made it difficult to reach consensus in the short term. Long-term, aspiring permanent members needed to prove they had the capacity and commitment to strengthen the body and maintain international peace and security. They could potentially do so through an interim solution, whereby they served on the Council for three to five years, with possibility of re-election and review of the permanent membership after the second term. Such interim seats should not affect expansion of the non-permanent membership. He called for fresh approaches at the Intergovernmental Negotiations because “repetition of known positions leads us to nowhere”.
FRANCOIS XAVIER DENIAU (France) said Assembly discussions on Council reform had been going on for almost two decades, yet there had been no progress. The discussions at the sixty-eighth session had demonstrated that the majority of Member States did want reform. Negotiations based on a text should be the next move. The Organization’s seventieth anniversary must be used to bring States to an agreement. The Council had to do a better job reflecting the realities of the world, and in maintaining peace and security. New powers, which would be able to make significant contributions to the Council’s actions, should assume a permanent presence on the Council. He expressed support for Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan as permanent members and a strengthened presence of African countries among permanent and non-permanent members. A large number of States supported the French initiative on voluntary restraint whereby the five permanent members of the Council would refrain from using the veto when a situation of mass atrocity had been noted. That action did not require any Charter amendments. He said that he would continue to mobilize support to maintain the reform momentum already in play, and would continue to advocate at the same time for comprehensive reform.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and Arab Group, called for the current session to increase the pace “for a more frank and lively debate” on reform marked by flexibility, compromise and decision, and generating the necessary political will to produce reform in line with the 2005 World Summit’s vision. As a member of the African Union’s Committee of Ten, he promoted the African Common Position and aimed to correct the historical injustice of being the only continent without permanent representation on the Council. Circumstances in Africa had changed considerably since 1945 when the United Nations was formed, and since 1963, when the first reform took place. In line with the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, Africa should have two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats, with all their prerogatives and privileges. He was concerned at the failure of the Intergovernmental Negotiations to achieve concrete results and supported use of Rev.2 as a text basis for negotiations.
JUAN MANUEL GONZÁLEZ DE LINARES PALOU (Spain), associating himself with the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said that having worked for a long time on reform, he had learned that strength came from unity. All Member States shared the objective of a more effective and democratic Security Council, and if the international community were to achieve that, new ideas had to be entertained. A modern version of the Security Council that was more representative, with more influence, where Africa and small States could make their voices heard, was needed. The situation called for more than additional Council members. There needed to be the possibility for all Member States to have a seat on the Security Council periodically. The number of elected seats had to be increased; that would make the Security Council more accountable to all Member States of the United Nations. More permanent seats did not have to be created, as to do so would be creating a more exclusive Council. A more accountable and effective Council was needed, and those things went in tandem. He said that he believed in a Security Council that was based on merit and not privilege, voicing support for the proposal by the Group to create seats where Members served longer and could be immediately re-elected.
MATEO ESTREME (Argentina), associating his delegation with the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said the discussions had been an opportunity to engage in an exhaustive review of the five core issues, which were an inseparable part of one package. There was an absolute need to reform the Council, because without it, the Council would lose its relevancy and effectiveness. The intergovernmental negotiation process allowed the visibility of divergent aspects. Reform should not allow for new permanent members, as permanent seats were not a clear guarantee of participation. Any formula of reform must be based on the principle of elections. On the issue of veto, his country had voiced a firm position since 1945 that eliminating the veto was not possible. However, he said he was not open to perpetuating it or extending it to other members. A comprehensive solution needed to be sought. In any negotiating process, intractable solutions would not lead to viable outcomes. There was currently a chance to make progress, and all delegations should work towards innovative solutions and a more democratic presence in the rotation of non-permanent members and reformulation of the process.
RICARDO ALDAY GONZÁLEZ (Mexico), associating himself with Italy’s statement on behalf of the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said that reform of the Council required urgent action, and that was why France and Mexico had convened a segment on the use of the veto in situations in which war crimes or genocide had been committed. Throughout the negotiating process, the “Uniting for Consensus” Group had reviewed reform models that could meet expectations of most Member States; it wanted additional seats based on equitable geographic representation and the possibility of immediate re-election. His Government envisioned a Council with 26 members, in which, in addition to five permanent members, there were six from Africa, five from Asia, four from the Latin American and Caribbean Group, three from the Western European and Other States Group, two from Eastern Europe, and one representative from small island developing States or small States.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ (Colombia), associating himself with the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said the reform process had taken much longer than he had wished. Nevertheless, it had been constructive to create a dialogue. Over the 10 rounds of negotiation, the need to show compromise and flexibility were pillars upon which progress could be based. It was time to explore the possibility that this would be a more expedited process, in observance of the process laid out in resolution 56/557, and he invited all delegations to show flexibility and openness. His country had always called for the Council to be more representational, accountable and transparent. It was no longer possible to conduct business as usual, and the Intergovernmental Negotiations were the best way forward. Those discussions would lead to a Council that would be more able to deal with new realities. Developing countries could not continue to be underrepresented on the Council, and more spaces should be created for all States to be able to participate on the Council.
BOLA A. AKINTERINWA (Nigeria), associating his delegation with the African Group and the L.69 Group, said it was a paradox that past efforts to move Council reform negotiations to a text-based stage had been fraught by a lack of consensus. That had rendered the annual rounds of negotiations a “mere academic exercise”, resulting in no particular achievement. As 10 years had passed since the 2005 World Summit, there should be a progress report, alongside a negotiation text, for leaders to consider when they meet at the 2015 Summit. As demonstrated at the past intergovernmental negotiation, it was obvious that the overwhelming majority of delegations supported expansion of the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership. Therefore, what was required at that juncture was to advance to the stage of real negotiations, with the aid of a working document. For that reason, his country expected text-based negotiations during the eleventh round of negotiations. Otherwise, there would be no marked departure from the last 10 rounds.
HEIKO THOMS (Germany), associating himself with G4, said the demand for an ex-ante consensus text, before negotiations had even started, would not lead to any results. That was not in line with the usual United Nations working methods and had caused a sustained stalemate in the reform process. All transparent negotiations aimed at results required a negotiation text. The need to reform the Security Council was obvious and long overdue as it did not represent the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. Yet, overcoming the current paralysis by merely reforming Council working methods without a real, structural reform “is an attempt to cut the proverbial Gordian knot with a sword: it cannot succeed”. The United Nations seventieth anniversary in 2015 was a historic opportunity. It would mark the first time in 50 years since the last Council reform; 20 years since the beginning of the reform debate; and 10 years since Heads of States and Governments called for an “early reform” of the Council at the 2005 World Summit.
JA SONG NAM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the impartiality of the Security Council and its competence as to whether it could contribute to global peace and security or not would be judged by its attitude on the matter of the “US-south Korea” joint military exercises. The Council should disapprove of high-handedness and arbitrariness of a few specific countries, and ensure openness, transparency and non-selectivity in all activities. Furthermore, the representation of the Non-Aligned Movement Member States and other developing countries in its membership should be increased. He also stressed that Japan was “totally unqualified to be a permanent member” of the Security Council “under any circumstances”.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the need for an expansion of the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership, and a better geographical representation. He disagreed with the use of the veto based on the current structure; it should be regulated so as to prohibit it from being used “unjustly and against the wishes of the majority”. In view of improving and enhancing the Council’s work, his country had put forward several proposals to, among others, increase the coordination between the Council and troop-contributing countries, and to have regular consultations between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. He also called for the institutionalisation of monthly consultations between the Assembly President and the Council President, and reiterated the importance of text-based negotiations on the Council reform.
MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan), associating himself with the “Uniting for Consensus” Group, said that the Council reform would be delivered on the basis of an agreement among States on the substance, and not as a result of procedural short-cuts or manoeuvers. As rigidity in positions had stunted progress in the past 20 years, flexibility to explore the common ground was necessary. Concerning the Council’s membership expansion, he opposed new permanent seats, as the purpose of the reform was not to “embed new centres of privilege within the Council, but to democratize it” by aggregating and promoting the interests and aspirations of all nations. Furthermore, the Council must expand its non-permanent seats, as more than one third of the United Nations membership had never had the opportunity to sit on it. He also briefly commented on the use of the veto and the Council’s working methods.
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary) stated that Security Council reform seemed to be at a standstill. Member States seemed to be in a “self-inflicted time loop”, forcing an “artificial amnesia” on themselves. Not even written records of new proposals could be made. It was crucial to build consensus, not camps, but consensus had to emerge at the end of the process on the substantive issues of reform and could not be a prerequisite for all elements of the process, including procedural issues. All new proposals should also be compiled in a written format. The next logical step would be to produce one draft text that could become the basis for substantive negotiations. Meetings should be held at regular intervals producing new drafts, narrowing down differences, and reducing the number of outstanding issues. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but to get there, we have to start agreeing on something,” he concluded.
KUNZANG C. NAMGYEL (Bhutan), associating herself with the L.69 Group, said that it was imperative to reform the Security Council to make it more representational, transparent and accountable. However, despite the overwhelming support for reform, not much progress had been made, and the lack of a working document had made it difficult to engage constructively in real negotiations and address all issues. The expansion of the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership, and improvement in its working methods, were necessary to further strengthen and enhance its legitimacy and functioning.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), aligning himself with the L.69 Group, expressed his support for equitable representation in the Council. Flexibility and a spirit of compromise were needed to achieve Council reform. As much needed to be done, it was essential to redouble efforts in order to fulfil the mandate given. Member States were united in the common purpose of achieving a lasting reform, he continued, calling on the Assembly President to define a clear mandate for the negotiations. The overwhelming majority of Member States agreed on the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members, to reflect the current world situation, which would result in a more representational and transparent Council.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) associating his delegation with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Arab Group, applauded the reform of the United Nations, especially the Council, as it enabled the Organization to respond to current challenges. Underscoring his commitment to the joint African position and to the veto issue, he said the world had recognized the historical injustice committed on the African continent. The effectiveness of the Council’s work called for a response to the African demands. Constructive efforts to achieve a resolution on the Council’s reform should be led by the principles of accountability, equality and transparency. Negotiations should culminate in a reform aimed at making the Council effective in addressing issues related to peace and security. The composition of the Council should be more representative of the Organization’s Member States, he continued, calling for the negotiations to bridge the differences between them.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), associating his delegation with the African Group and the Arab Group, said that intergovernmental negotiations were a unique and appropriate institutional framework to deal with the question of Security Council reform in an open manner. Equitable representation in that body would lead to better implementation of decisions. An enlarged Security Council should focus on expanding its composition among developing countries. Reiterating his support for the African position in the Ezulwini Declaration, he said it was high time to resolve the current situation that deprived the African continent of representation. He also voiced support for the legitimate demands of Arab countries for representation in the Security Council. Reform of the Security Council had to be comprehensive and inclusive, and needed to address all fundamental questions, including veto rights, to garner the broadest possible support.
RY TUY (Cambodia), associating his delegation with the Non-Aligned Movement, and welcoming the adoption of the oral statement on the question of equitable representation, said that it was vital to build momentum from the last round of consultations. The United Nations today was completely different from the one created almost 70 years ago when only 51 countries existed. The Security Council, as a body, mandated with the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace, should represent current world realities. The Council should be expanded to include both permanent and non-permanent members, and its reform should be done in a manner to include representation equitably and geographically from all Member States, including developing countries.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia) said that the discussions on Council reform so far had not led to a narrowing of differences. To advance the process in a meaningful manner, Member States should exercise greater political flexibility to consider intermediate options that might lead to potential convergence. Regarding the use of the veto, his country advocated its abolishment, and could, as a step towards that, support a mechanism for regulating or managing it. The veto should not be exercised under Chapter VI of the Charter, and there should be a requirement of two concurrent negative votes of permanent members to prevent the adoption of a Council decision. He also noted the good intentions behind the proposal for a high-level audit of endeavours to achieve early reform of the Council, but reiterated the need to fully observe and preserve the nature of informal negotiations as a membership-driven process.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said that reform of the Council was urgent and necessary. To ensure that the Council could live up to its mandate, it was the responsibility of the Assembly to adopt necessary reforms. The international community could not constrain itself by reiterating well-known national positions. A negotiating text that could overcome entrenched positons was needed. Moving forward to real negotiation work would not be possible unless deadlines were set aside, and replaced with real commitment, with a focus on inclusivity. His Government reiterated its conviction for reform of the Council to incorporate more non-permanent and permanent members, and fair regional representation. But the expansion should not be so broad as to weaken the Council. Regarding the veto, permanent members should undertake a commitment to evaluate limiting veto rights. It was important that the international community moved towards concrete reform of the Council’s working methods.
JEFFREY SALIM WAHEED (Maldives) stressed the urgent need for Council reform, for which all Member States were equally responsible. The world had changed dramatically since the establishment of the Organization, yet the Council had only been reformed once. Its legitimacy was no longer derived from the will of the few, but of the overwhelming majority. The small island developing States were vulnerable to climate change, which was a critical issue in international peace and security. All States must address the long-term security threat posed by climate change by supporting equal representation on the Council, inclusive of those States affected by climate change. To that end, he called upon the Council to fulfil its responsibilities under the Charter by representing the will and interests of the larger membership. Nations should not be judged by the size of their populations and the might of their armies, but on the will to resolve peace and security for all.
IBRAHIM O. A. DABBASHI (Libya), aligning himself with the African Group, said maintaining the Council’s central role in peace and security required that its work be carried out in relation to current realities, which differed significantly from when the Charter was signed. After 10 rounds of negations, no substantial change had taken place, he noted, calling for practical measures to advance the negotiation process. Historical injustice committed against the African continent must be addressed. Africa must have a permanent seat on the Council, which was a right to be recognized and not negotiated. African issues comprised one-third of the Council’s agenda, and African Group members more than one quarter of the United Nations membership. He therefore asked for two permanent seats, with all privileges of permanent members, including veto, and two non-permanent seats, to be assigned to African countries. Any expansion of the Council must include one permanent seat for the Arab Group. The reform should also focus on the Council’s working methods, guaranteeing its transparency and avoiding secret negotiations, when possible. Until the right of veto was abolished, its use should be limited to crimes of war or foreign occupation. The participation of countries under discussion should also be encouraged. Fixed rules of procedures should replace provisional rules. The Council’s relationship with other organs should be strengthened, he said, calling for increased consultations, as well as for a quarterly report to the Assembly on issues threatening peace and security.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) said that the reform of the United Nations system and the Council was an essential requirement that had to be met. The current composition of the Council no longer reflected international society. If the body did not increasingly involve States in its work, it would no longer be in a positon to contribute viable solutions to sustainable development and other challenges. Associating himself with the statements delivered by Saint Lucia on behalf of the L.69 Group, and Sierra Leone on behalf of the African Group, he said that after so many rounds of intergovernmental negotiations, the current round had to be based on a condensed text that many had agreed upon, which would facilitate deliberations. Common ground existed, and increasing agreement could be seen, in terms of positions. The veto was one of the key aspects of Council reform, and one to which Africa gave great priority, that the reform should help correct historical injustices to which Africa had been victim. The Ezulwini Consensus had stated unanimous consensus on that matter, which was a minimum requirement. Situations in African States accounted for 60 per cent of the Council’s agenda.
ALBERT SHINGIRO (Burundi), associating himself with the African Group, insisted on the need to speed up the reform process, particularly the number of permanent and non-permanent seats. Several negotiation cycles held since 2009 had not established a base text from which to negotiate. Such a text would not be an outcome document. Everyone could propose changes. The text would evolve over time. Since 2005, many African Heads of State had reaffirmed the need to make the Council more democratic, more transparent, more accessible and more legitimate. It was crucial to correct the historical injustice against Africa, the only continent not represented in the permanent category. Agreeing with the Ezulwini Consensus, he said that Africa should have two permanent seats, with veto powers, should the veto remain, and two non-permanent seats.
ROBERT GUBA AISI (Papua New Guinea) fully supported the statement made by Saint Lucia on behalf of the L.69 Group, and also acknowledged the statement by Sierra Leone on behalf of the African Group. It had been 10 years since the summit where all the international community’s leaders called for the reform of the Council. One fact remained true, that the full United Nations Membership, including the five permanent Council members, agreed that reform of the Council needed to happen. Despite ten rounds of intergovernmental negotiations, a written text still did not exist. The eleventh round of negotiations had to start on the basis of a text, which should be introduced with the authority of the Assembly President.
RAYMOND SERGE BALÉ (Congo), associating with the statement by Sierra Leone on behalf of the African Group, said that the common position of Africa on Council reform was well known, as Africa was the only continent that was not represented among the permanent members of the Council. Welcoming the broad understanding that Africa’s legitimate claim had, he said that the time had come to build more open alliances, and to start discussions to establish points of convergence. The deadlock needed to be broken, as the world needed a Council that was more representative. The seventieth anniversary of the United Nations was a good time to consider swift reform of the institution. It was clear that political will was a key element, without which compromise could not be reached.
NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam) said that reform of the Security Council should be given adequate attention so that the Council could effectively perform its functions as the primary body in maintaining international peace and security. It should be enlarged in both categories of membership to ensure that it truly represented all Member States as stipulated in the Charter. Developing States should be more adequately represented. The Council’s working methods should also be improved to ensure greater democracy and transparency. In that light, she welcomed the Council’s recent practice of conducting more regular “wrap-up” sessions and public briefings on its work for Members not on the Council.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), reflecting on those who had spoken before him on why the Council needed to be reformed, said that the Council was not transparent, undemocratic and stuck in a bygone era. Even some of the Council’s permanent members agreed on the need for reform. The question was how to make that happen. Resolution 62/557 identified five key areas needing to be addressed for reform. Those could serve as the basis for a text on which negotiations could begin. The veto was a major issue. The five permanent Council members had expressed their views, and had difficulty extending that power to newer members. The common African position held that there should be no veto, but that if it would it exist, it should be extended to others. However, the veto was not the major problem. The major issue was the present composition of the Council.
HASAN SH J Y A ABULHASAN (Kuwait), associating himself with Iran’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the Arab Group, said that numerous initiatives for reform of the Council had stalled. The challenge should prompt the international community to make further efforts towards affirming collective action. Any proposals aimed at expanding the Council had to command general agreement or at least the greatest possible measure of consensus. His Government’s position was that reforming the Council was needed to render the work of the Organization more balanced and complementary. Any ideas put forward to reform the Council had to stem from a commitment to enable the body to reflect international reality, which has changed since 1945. The veto had to be placed within constraints that codified its use. Intergovernmental Negotiations were the only forum to achieve agreement on Council reform.
HELEN BECK (Solomon Islands), associating with the L.69 Group, said that Council reform was crucial to the multilateral system, and that tangible progress was needed moving towards the seventieth anniversary of the Organization. Last year, then Assembly President John Ashe had formulated a document based on the five key elements for reform, identified in resolution 62/557. That document should be put forward as a text for negotiation. She called on all to come to the table with a vision that would ensure that reform would occur. The veto should be abolished, but as long as it lasted, it should be accorded to all members. She supported enlargement of both categories, with special attention given to regions that were not represented and under-represented. In addition, the relationship with the Assembly should be improved.
Mr. BHATTARAI (Nepal) said the key words of the reform debate were transparency, legitimacy, and the Council’s relationship with the Assembly. He supported expansion of both categories of membership. The historical wrong done to Africa must be corrected, and developing States must be represented. Permanent membership for India, Japan, Germany and Brazil would reflect present-day realities. Non-permanent members should come from all regions and sub-regions. Small developing landlocked countries should be included. The veto had outlived whatever utility it had had, and should be abolished. Even as it continued to exist, it should not be used to create tiers of membership. The ideal number would be around 24 members, as that would ensure that each country would have at least one opportunity to preside over the Council in its two-year term.
COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said that it was without question that the collective endeavour to accomplish reform of the Council represented one of most challenging processes the international community had pursued. It would be impossible to achieve results without hope that reform would eventually be realized. That which might appear beyond reach was in fact well within the international community’s grasp.