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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1745
          17 November 2000
     Assembly Again Confronts Issue of Security Council Reform

    Veto, Permanent Membership, Equitable
    Geographic Representation among Points Raised

    NEW YORK, 16 November (UN Headquarters) -- Sadly, while clear and general agreement on reform of the Security Council appeared within striking distance, progress continued to founder over the strong opposition of a relatively small number of Member States, Australia’s representative told the General Assembly this morning, as it took up this session’s consideration of the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.  

    She said some opposed an expansion of the permanent membership because they feared an impact on their perceived relative influence.  Others opposed any reform of the veto, not out of concern to improve the decision-making and credibility of the Council, but to protect old privilege.  

    Her country was not unrealistic about the difficulties involved, she said. However, on each of the key issues, something close to general agreement was emerging.  That included expansion in both categories of membership, allowing for five new Permanent Members form both developed and developing countries and, to a certain extent, restraint in the use of the veto and ultimately to its abolition.  

     The representative of the United States said that there was, regrettably, not even an emerging consensus on how to proceed on the vexing and fundamental issues, such as the proper balance in representation between developing and developed countries and appropriate and equitable geographic representation.  Those issues remained unsolved not because of lack of commitment within the membership, but because they were exceedingly difficult issues.  The United States had in April explicitly expressed willingness to consider proposals resulting in a Council containing slightly more than 21 members.

     His country wanted a better Council, he said, but was “completely unwilling to jeopardize the current one” to reach that goal.  Japan and Germany, because of their political and economic roles on the world stage, deserved to be Permanent Members.  His country believed that the veto had real value in helping the Council maintain international peace and security, and was integral to the Charter and to the United Nations itself.  It would continue to oppose any effort to limit it.  

     Senegal’s representative said institutions that did not evolve with the times lost their efficacy, credibility and even their representative quality.  He emphasized the need for expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of members.  African countries must have at least two permanent and two non-permanent seats, according to a rotation system within Africa itself.  

     Discussions in the Working Group had shown that the great majority of States considered the right of veto to be anachronistic and discriminatory, and wished for the ultimate abolition of the concept.  He suggested that a debate should be held with the five Permanent Members on the right to veto only, so that a solution to that source of concern could be found in an atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation.

     From an Asian perspective, Bhutan’s representative supported India and Japan, the economic and population giants, for permanent membership in the Council.  Selection to the permanent category should mean the ability to fulfil larger international responsibilities than other Members of the United Nations.  Permanent Members should also make substantially larger contributions to United Nations budgets.

    Also this morning, the Assembly decided without a vote to include an agenda item entitled "Observer status for the Economic Community of Central African States in the General Assembly" in the agenda of the current session, and to allocate it to the Sixth Committee (Legal).

    The representatives of Croatia, Mexico, Viet Nam, Japan, France, Singapore, Algeria, Germany, Ukraine, Cuba, Ireland, South Africa, India and Guatemala also spoke.

    The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its debate.

    Assembly Work Programme

     The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this morning to consider the fourth report of the General Committee (document A/55/250/Add.3) recommending addition of the item "Observer status of the Economic Community of Central African States" and to allocate it to the Sixth Committee (Legal).

     The Assembly would also take up consideration of the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.

    Adoption of Agenda and Organization of Work:  Fourth General Committee Report 

     Before the Assembly was the fourth report of its General Committee (document A/55/250/Add.3), recommending to the Assembly the inclusion of an agenda item entitled "Observer status for the Economic Community of Central African States in the General Assembly". 

     The Assembly decided, without a vote, to include the item in the agenda of the current session and to allocate it to the Sixth Committee (Legal).

    Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in Membership of  Security Council and Related Matters

    Statements

     IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said equitable representation, credibility, democratic conduct and efficiency in the Council remained the top priority for his country.  The Council’s credibility suffered from arcane working methods.  The Council must enlarge both categories of membership, and its working methods must be further democratized.   He proposed five more permanent seats, of which two would go to industrialized countries and three to developing countries.  Regarding rotation in the permanent posts, he said it was up to the regions to come up with their own arrangements provided they were based on consensus.  Out of four non-permanent seats,  one should go to Africa, one to Asia, one to Latin America and the Caribbean and one to the Eastern European region. 

    He favoured abolition of the veto.  If that was not possible, he supported reduction of veto power and the use of a double veto.  In the interim, all Permanent Members should have the same rights and obligations.  He also favoured expansion to 24 seats.  The issue of periodic review must be a part of the reform package.  

     PABLO MACEDO (Mexico) said that on 12 September the Secretary-General referred to the issue of Security Council reform and stated that “the minority, often a very small minority, should not withhold its consent unreasonably”.  His Government took note of the Secretary-General’s statement, and drew attention to two very small minorities —- one minority made up of “pretenders” of reform, hoping for a permanent post in the reformed Security Council; and a second, composed of the current five Permanent Members.  While the five Permanent Members were clinging to antiquated rules that were anachronisms, Mexico remained deeply committed to reform and was eager for it to be comprehensive.  In addition to enlargement of the Security Council, his country hoped for modifications in its working methods.

    The Government of Mexico did not favour the status quo and, to that end, had presented concrete proposals, seeking at all times to foster the democratic values of equality, justice and transparency.  Unfortunately, Mexico’s amendments met with the intransigence of the small minorities that had held the reform hostage.  The proposals did not receive consideration from the entrenched minorities, nor were the amendments studied.  It was ironic, he went on, that "the Security Council, the most visible organ of the United Nations, should be the least democratic part of an Organization that was established on the basis of sovereign equality of States". 

    Mexico would continue to seek limitation of the veto.  He urged the five Permanent Members to listen to the voice of reason and accept that some of their prerogatives had become obsolete within the current international environment.  The Secretary-General had observed that democratization had taken root as a universal norm, and he believed the moment had come to apply the same criteria to the institutions of the United Nations.  The will of the majority must triumph, he said.  Historically, the current Permanent Members were not elected but emerged as a result of the configuration of power born at Yalta and confirmed in San Francisco.  The question of their status had never been subjected to a vote.  How could democracy be discussed under those conditions? 

     PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said that her country was not unrealistic about the difficulties at stake:  they were inherently complex and political in nature, and considerable national interests involved .  However, on each of the key issues, something close to general agreement was emerging.  That included the expansion in both categories of membership, allowing for five new Permanent Members from both developed and developing countries.  A degree of agreements had also been expressed regarding restraint in the use of the veto and ultimately its abolition.  Furthermore, the Council’s working methods must improve in transparency and inclusiveness, while preserving the Council’s prerogative to conduct its meetings in camera where that was justified by the sensitivity of an issue.  She pointed out that substantial and welcome progress had been made in that field in the past two years.

     Sadly, while those contours were clear and general agreement appeared within striking distance, progress continued to flounder over the strong opposition of a relatively small number of Member States to one or another of those elements.  Some opposed an expansion of the permanent membership because they feared an impact on their perceived relative influence.  Others opposed any reform of the veto, not out of concern to improve the decision-making and credibility of the Council, but to protect old privilege.  Australia was not an aspirant to permanent membership, she said.  No parochial Australian interests would be served by agreement to one reform model over another.  Australia’s interest lay in strengthening the Council, and by doing so, strengthening the United Nations.  

     Australia attached great importance to equitable geographic representation, and believed that the erosion of equitable representation since the Council was last expanded in 1965 must be reversed to prevent the further erosion of the Organization's credibility, relevance and effectiveness.  Australia’s opposition to the veto reflected a position held since 1945, she said.  Concerning the issue of periodic review, Australia did not support the principle of periodic review out of a masochistic sense of anticipation of another round of protracted negotiations in 10 or 15 years.  Australia supported it for practical reasons, as it could be an important circuit-breaker in the current negotiations, reassuring all Member States that the reforms agreed upon were not locked in for perpetuity.  It was also a vital mechanism for accountability, ensuring that the Permanent Members of the Council, old and new, upheld their responsibility under the Charter to act on behalf of the wider membership.  Furthermore, it reflected the reality that the world was not a static place, and the composition of the Council would have to be adjusted again at some point in the future to reflect further geopolitical change. 

     OM PRADHAN (Bhutan) said some of the United Nations establishments remained terribly outdated –- the Council being one of them.  During the Millennium Summit it was pointed out that for the United Nations to enjoy unquestioned legitimacy, the Council needed urgent reform to reflect current realities, and not those of the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

     From the Asian perspective, he supported India and Japan, the economic and population giants, for permanent membership in the Council.  He realized that only a handful of countries could be Permanent Members.  Selection to the permanent category should mean the ability to fulfil larger international responsibilities than other Members of the United Nations.  Permanent Members should make substantially larger contributions to United Nations budgets.

     He called for the expansion of the Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.  It was equally important that developing countries be given adequate representation in both categories.  Veto power was closely linked to the issue of expansion.  He shared the view of the Non-Aligned Movement that the veto should be curtailed, and that the Charter should be amended so that the veto power should only apply to actions taken under Chapter VII of the Charter.

     NGUYEN THANH CHAU (Viet Nam) felt that the General Assembly had now arrived at a very crucial juncture.  During the Millennium Summit, the heads of State and government called for intensified efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council.  Viet Nam believed that settlement of the issue would be a major achievement in the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration.  While the Open-ended Working Group had held numerous meetings and informal consultations, the views of Member States remained divided on the fundamental, namely expansion of the membership, increase in number of the permanent seats, the question of the veto and enhanced transparency in the work of the Council.

     His Government sought reform of the Security Council to ensure that it would be more representative and accountable and its work more transparent and more legitimate.  Viet Nam supported the increase in both permanent and non-permanent categories of the membership of the Council, favouring an expanded Council of 24 Member States.  Moreover, developing countries must be represented appropriately.  On the veto issue, his country shared the position of the Non-Aligned Movement that measures should be taken to curtail the application of that power as an interim step until it was finally eliminated.  In conclusion, he said "now, more than ever before, the United Nations must ensure that it can assert its ability to reform itself and move forward with tangible steps in this regard."

     YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said there was a clear and broad convergence of views on the need to expand both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council.  Attention should now be focused on two major questions of importance:  the optimal size of the expanded Council, and the veto.  As for the size of the expanded Council, due consideration should be given to the fact that the number of members had not changed since 1965, while the United Nations membership had grown by 72 countries since then.  The need to reform the Council to ensure that it was truly representative of today's international community was beyond dispute.  It had been Japan's position that a membership of 24 would redress the imbalance while maintaining the Council's effectiveness. 

     On the question of the veto, it was clear that an overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States wished to restrict its use.  It was therefore encouraging that one Permanent Member had shown some willingness to consider restraining the use of the veto in certain situations.  Japan hoped that all the Permanent Members would be more attentive to the views put forward by other United Nations Members, and would make every effort to advance discussion of the question.  He pointed out that while the Open-ended Working Group had been engaged in deliberations for the better part of a decade, the nature and scope of the Security Council's work had undergone a profound change.  The Council was now being called upon to take a more comprehensive approach to questions of international peace and security by addressing the root causes of conflict, which included economic and social as well as political and military issues.  Recently, the Council had endowed peacekeeping operations with mandates that encompassed nation-building activities and the establishment of civil administrations, in addition to the traditional military and civilian police activities.  Those developments clearly underlined the need to expand the Security Council. 

     Moreover, there was a conspicuous decrease in the financial burden borne by the five Permanent Members.  Their share of the regular United Nations budget had decreased from 64 per cent in 1965, at the time the Council was last expanded, to just 38 per cent at this time. Their share of the peacekeeping operations budget had decreased from 63 per cent in 1974, to 47 per cent.  That decrease reflected the significant changes that had taken place in the international community, and must likewise be reflected in the composition of the Security Council if that important body was to retain its credibility. 

     JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said his country's position on the expansion of the Security Council had been clearly expressed by President Jacques Chirac during the Millennium Summit.  President Chirac had stressed that reform was indispensable, and that an expansion was required in the two categories of members, permanent and non-permanent.  He had also pointed out that expansion must not only benefit the developed countries but also developing countries.  That position was the result of France’s recognition of new realities reflected by new emerging political forces.  However, the Council must be allowed to play its role effectively and to take decisions when peace and international security were at stake in humanitarian crises, or during massive violations of human rights.

     Many delegates had expressed similar sentiments, he said, urging that reform and expansion of the Security Council were indeed indispensable.  Some progress had already been seen in the adoption two years ago of resolution 53/30, stipulating that any decision of the General Assembly on the item necessitated a two-thirds vote.  There had also been some progress in the working methods of the Council, in terms of transparency and public sessions.  When France held the Council Presidency, the Internet was used in order to promote a sense of transparency.  He also stressed the importance of increased transparency in the Sanctions Committee.

     TAN YEE WOAN (Singapore) said that for the eighth time, Security Council reform was being debated, and for the eighth time, the General Assembly would probably not get anywhere.  If the Security Council was to move from primary responsibility for international peace and security to global peace and security, there had to be a serious change of mindset among Council members, especially the Permanent Members.  To carry out their responsibilities seriously, they would have to put global interests ahead of national interests. But if more Permanent Members were added and behaved like the current Permanent Members –- assuming all the perks and privileges without taking on any specific responsibilities, such as greater financial role –- then the United Nations would never be rescued from the financially crippled state it had been in for more than a decade. The great irony of the United Nations was that many wanted a permanent place in a key organ, but none wanted to take care of its financial health.  Was it in the United Nations interest to give away its valuable veto power without assigning commensurate responsibilities? 

     The veto, she continued, had grown into an enormous instrument which, while rarely used formally, had dictated the nature of decision-making in the Council.  The failures of the Council in the tragedies of Rwanda and Srebenica, for example, could be traced directly to the veto.  However, Singapore was a political realist, and did not believe that the veto could be abolished in a reformed Security Council.  At its core, it served a useful purpose.  It would be disastrous for the United Nations to launch or authorize a war, as it did with Iraq or Yugoslavia, against any nuclear Power.  The veto could provide a reality check, which was sometimes needed in international relations.  However, the veto needed its checks and balances, and must also be linked with the principle of accountability.  Last year, the Foreign Minister of Germany advocated that a Permanent Member be asked to explain to the General Assembly the use of a veto.  This year, Singapore would like to suggest that the principle be extended to the informal use of the veto. 

     The five most powerful members of the international community in 1945 were not the five most powerful members in 2000.  The structure of the United Nations should not be based on a frozen picture of the international Powers of 1945, it should be flexible.  That was why Singapore had said that when general agreement was reached on the expansion of the Security Council, Japan and Germany would naturally qualify as new Permanent Members.  The challenge was to ensure that the needs and interest of the world's population were given due weight.  However, to be completely honest, the debate on Security Council reform was warped.  The debate was controlled and managed by very few actors:  the permanent five, whose only interest was to preserve their privileges in perpetuity; and a small group of major and medium Powers, who believed that they had arrived and deserved the same privileges.  The interests driving the debate were privilege and power, not the needs and interests of the global community.

     ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said the report of the Working Group indicated that discussions had been detailed and objective but failed to result in tangible and measurable progress.  Despite legitimate frustration, he was convinced that the general dynamic in favour of reform had to be maintained and that discussion in the Working Group must continue.  The Council had taken positive steps to improve relations with the Assembly and increase the number of public debates.  He hoped those initiatives would be incorporated in the rules of procedure of the Council.  The Council must continuously consult with Member States directly or indirectly affected by conflicts, and give representatives of organizations such as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) a chance to air their views.

     He reiterated his country’s view that each Member State had the right to call for public Council meetings and take the floor.  Restricting the right to take the floor was not democratic.  There was also a worrying tendency in the Council to deal with matters not of its responsibility or in its mandate.  The body was thus being transformed into another Third Committee or a body of the Economic and Social Council.  

     The question of the veto was intrinsically linked with enlargement of the Council.  It was a complex and controversial issue.  The simple threat of veto had been exploited by countries for their own interest.  The veto power denied the principles of democracy and equality between States.  It was an anachronism, and there was a need for restriction of the privilege to questions addressed in Chapter VII of the Charter.  Regarding enlargement of the Council, he said a broad majority wanted a fairer representation of developing countries.  The Non-Aligned Movement had proposed an enlargement limited to non-permanent members.  The majority of questions the Council dealt with today related to developing countries and to African countries in particular.  He felt a reformed Council of 26 members would be more representative.

     DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) said there was a need for a more representative Council with expansion in both categories.  The reform should take into account the justified interests of the developing world, a more accountable Council with a review process, a reform of the veto to make the Council more democratic, and a reform of its working methods to make the Council more transparent.  The substance of reform had been discussed for seven years, but there was a lack of procedure.  “We do not lack words, but action”, he said.

    It had been possible for a minority of Member States in the Working Group to block agreement on the issue of reform.  The only positive outcome of that deplorable development was that the original version of the Vice-Chairmen’s draft had become an annex to the report, and thus gave an untouched picture of the Bureau’s views and assessment.  He recommended that that paper be studied.

     The Millennium Summit and the current Assembly Debate had proven that there was a broad basis for the reform issue.  Even specific elements, such as the enlargement of both categories and the need to reform the veto, were mentioned by an impressive number of Member States.  “We must transform these verbal commitments into deeds”, he said.

     VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that with the slow pace of Security Council reform, there was a real danger that the issue might become one of the so-called “frozen” items on the General Assembly agenda.  Reform must be based on strict compliance with the norms and principles of the United Nations Charter:  equitable geographical distribution of non-permanent seats in the Council was a principle to which Ukraine attached particular importance.  Ukraine could not agree to any comprehensive reform proposal that did not take into account the interests of the Group of Eastern European States.  Their under-representation provided convincing arguments in favour of their claims for allocation of one of the additional non-permanent seats in an enlarged Council.

     As for creating new permanent seats in the Council, he maintained that countries able and willing to take greater responsibility, including financial responsibility, in the maintenance of international peace and security, and enjoying the necessary international authority and support at both regional and global levels, were qualified to be given that status.  The use of the veto bore direct relation to the effectiveness of the Council, he said.  Ukraine strongly believed that under present political realities, the veto right was utterly obsolete.  Sometimes the mere existence of the veto prevented the Council from exercising its Charter responsibilities. 

     Significant progress had been achieved in improving the working methods of the Council and increasing transparency in its activities.  Ukraine would continue to encourage the Council to move further towards a new phase in its relationship with Member States, on whose behalf it took the decisions in the realm of peace and security.  The non-members of the Council, parties to the dispute, and major troop-contributing countries must be provided with broader opportunities to influence Council decisions.

     BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said that Council reform was the most delicate task in the United Nations because of its probable impact on the future of the Organization.  To begin with, the Council was neither democratic, nor equal nor representative.  Nor could it be effective with its present composition and methods of work.  Such realities could not be ignored, nor was there any reason for more optimism, since each international crisis gave evidence of the weaknesses of the Council.  For example, the present crisis involving the occupied Palestinian territories found the Council totally paralysed by the opposition of one Permanent Member.  Thus, it was clear: today's Security Council was efficient only in preserving the interests of the Permanent Members.

     Since 1945 the number of Member States in the Organization had quadrupled.  But the number of Member States in the Council did not increase for 35 years, when it rose to 15 from 11, in spite of the addition of 76 new Member States to the United Nations.  Cuba felt that the developing countries, which represented two-thirds of the 189 Member States, were under-represented in the Security Council; that situation must be rectified.  Regarding the increase in both permanent and non-permanent seats, his Government favoured at least two more countries from Africa, two from Latin America and the Caribbean, and two developing countries from Asia.

     The veto occupied a central place in the reform process, because it was an anachronistic, anti-democratic privilege that should disappear.  The opposition of one Permanent Member could prevent the will of the other 188 Member States being carried out.  No one could seriously maintain that the 290 times the veto had been exercised were in the interest of the international community.  The need for greater transparency in the work of the Council was also urgent.  Cuba welcomed the increase in public Council debates, but informal consultations continued to be the rule rather than the exception.  He hoped that next year the United Nations would be honouring the mandate approved by the heads of State and government during the Millennium Summit:  intensifying efforts for real Security Council reform.

     IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) said institutions that did not evolve with the times lost their efficacy, credibility and even their representativity.  Many issues remained to be addressed on the question, including the composition of the Council, the expansion of the two categories of members and the use of the right to veto.  The composition of the Council must involve democratization in both representation and efficacy.  There was still a wide gap between those who wanted an expansion of the two categories of members, and others who would accept only the expansion of the non- permanent seats.  He reconfirmed Africa’s position on the issue, and emphasized the need for expansion in both categories of members.  African countries must have at least two permanent and two non-permanent seats, according to a rotation system operating within Africa itself.  There was no disagreement on the issue in Africa, he said, despite recent rumors to the contrary. 

     As for the right of veto, discussions in the Working Group had shown that the great majority of States considered the veto to be anachronistic and discriminatory, and wished for its ultimate abolition.  He suggested that a debate should be held with the five Permanent Members on the right to veto only, so that a solution to that source of concern could be found in an atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation.  Many delegations had spoken about the need to improve the working methods of the Council in terms of transparency and legitimacy.  In the interest of keeping the Council up to date with current realities, he highlighted the need for periodic reviews.  He also stressed the commitment of African countries to the reforms, as they represented a historic opportunity for Africans to be represented in this main organ of the United Nations.

     RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) recalled the Millennium Summit, where heads of State had resolved to intensify efforts to achieve comprehensive Security Council reform.  For the first time now, the Assembly was considering the report of the working group on Council reform.  That report indicated increased interaction between the Council and the Working Group.  It also indicated progress in the Council's working methods, with regard to holding public meetings and enhancing transparency.

     His country's views on Council reform were well known, and he would only reiterate general principles.  First and foremost, the Council needed to better reflect contemporary global realities through a more representative membership.  Further, reform must strengthen the Council's effectiveness, which meant a moderate enlargement to avoid hampering efficiency.  However, the enlargement should encompass both the permanent and non-permanent categories.  No new categories should be added, and the opportunity for smaller States to serve should not be diminished.  Consultations with the general membership should be broadened and made more transparent, and the question of the decision-making process must be addressed before meaningful reform could take place.

     While the high degree of political sensitivity about aspects of reform must be recognized and factored into the solution scenario, he said that should not obscure the wide degree of commonality over approach and substance.  The veto question was probably the most sensitive of all.  Two years ago, a group of small and middle-sized countries had asserted that curtailing the scope and application of the veto should be part of a global approach to Council reform.  Practical solutions not requiring Charter-based changes had been offered.  Now there was general agreement that a comprehensive reform package depended on clarifying the veto's future scope and application. Perhaps it was time for the five Permanent Members to provide an impetus toward the common goal, that of reforming the Council. 

     DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa) said that, for the developing world, the need for Security Council reform was especially critical, given the fact that many of the conflicts that threatened international peace and stability took place between, or within, developing States.  However, few delegations, especially those from developing countries, could afford to participate in an endless get-together.  It was evident that no amount of enthusiastic participation and debate would suffice if some members were not fully committed to achieving a more equitable increase Security Council membership.  A more equitable increase in the membership should improve the Council’s ability to act with credibility and with the widest support of the international community, both of which were essential prerequisites for the more effective and more efficient resolution of conflicts. 

     Many of the issues with which the Security Council had been seized were African conflicts.  However, 55 years after the birth of this Organization, African decision makers had not been afforded equal representation on the highest decision-making organ on conflict prevention.  African leaders had already made up their minds.  The African continent must be equitably represented on a reformed Security Council.  Since there had been no serious suggestions to abolish permanent membership, that required that Africa should be represented by Permanent Members. 

     JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said there was not even an emerging consensus on how to proceed on the vexing issue discussed today.  Fundamental issues, such as the proper balance in representation between developing and developed countries, appropriate and equitable geographic representation, and Council composition remained unsolved, not because of lack of commitment within the membership, but because they were exceedingly difficult issues.  Different countries and different regions maintained positions that, while rational and defensible on their own, had thus far proven mutually irreconcilable.  In the deliberations, his country had been guided by the principle that any change in the Council should contribute to a more effective Council, a Council that was reformed and strengthened, not merely expanded.

     He said the United States had, in April, explicitly expressed willingness to consider proposals resulting in a Council containing slightly more than 21 members.  Many members had welcomed that announcement as intended to generate additional momentum for reform.  But the lack of progress towards a consensus on the matter was evidence that additional impetus must come from other members as well.  Continued efforts to isolate particular aspects of overall Council composition –- such as treating the size and composition of an expanded Council as if they were independent variables -– would continue to yield only what they had yielded in the past:  “simply more reports that contain questions but no answers, and general frustration among all participants in the deliberations”.

     His country wanted a better Council, he said, but was completely unwilling to jeopardize the current one to reach that goal.  Japan and Germany, because of their political and economic roles on the world stage, deserved to be Permanent Members.  His country believed that the veto had real value in helping the Council maintain international peace and security, and was integral to the Charter and to the United Nations itself.  It would continue to oppose any effort to limit it.  Focusing on limiting or eliminating the veto was self-defeating, and would serve only to preclude progress.

     KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said that after seven years of deliberations, the Council remained unrepresentative and an anachronism, continuing to conduct its business through superannuated and non-transparent working methods.  A measure that would impart legitimacy and balance to the Council and would reflect contemporary reality, would restore the Council’s credibility and equip it to confront the challenges of the times.  A comprehensive package, including expansion of the Council’s membership, improvement in its working method and reform of its decision-making process, could bring about such a renewal.  Developing countries could not continue to be marginalized when the Council’s actions were primarily focused on them and the manifold impact of those actions were felt by them.  The Non-Aligned Movement, the single largest group of Member States in the United Nations, continued to be unrepresented in the category of Permanent Members.

     The Council would now interpose itself in integrated peace operations, he said, where instruments of development, poverty alleviation and addressing core social challenges were being amalgamated to give the Council sharper tools to pursue its remit of maintaining international peace and security.  Notwithstanding the questionable validity of the liberal interpretation behind the Council’s expanded role, it was clear that the objects of the Council’s attention would be the vast majority of developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  They who would have only a peripheral say in the formulation of the Council’s mandate, which would determine the activities of a host of United Nations and other bodies.  Developing countries could not be expected to be bystanders applauding the Council’s actions from the sidelines.  He stressed that creating additional categories of membership based on rotation would not meet the essential aspirations of developing countries, as they would than be relegated to a subsidiary and discriminatory status.

     The manner of selection of the new Permanent Members must be uniform, and all new Permanent Members must be designated together by the General Assembly, which was the only forum that could elect them.  No restriction should be imposed on the role or the authority of the General Assembly in that regard.  India’s commitment to all aspects of the Organization’s work was total and immutable.  He continued to be confident that the membership would conclude that India possessed the necessary attributes for permanent membership of an expanded Security Council.

     LUIS RAUL ESTEVEZ-LOPEZ (Guatemala) said that Member States needed to confront the task of reforming the Security Council not just with proposals pertaining to the various matters involved, but with political will as well, because the exercise required concessions from all sides.

     He outlined the central points of Guatemala's position on reform, which held that the Council should be more representative and more democratic, thereby better reflecting the contemporary international order.  The Council should also adopt more transparent methods of work.  It should be an organ in which the various regional groups continued to play a role that would enable its composition to be established in a more equitable manner in geographical terms, thus guaranteeing better representation for developing countries.  Guatemala also felt that the veto power granted by the Charter should be limited to action under Chapter VII of the Charter, and that Council reform should be effected as a package deal.

     He concluded by stating that it was imperative for Member States to intensify their efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Council in all its aspects.  In that regard, Guatemala's principal objective was to strengthen multilateralism and the United Nations.  

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