DELEGATES IN DAY-LONG GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE
CONCERNED ABOUT LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN
SECURITY COUNCIL WORK METHODS
NEW YORK, 15 October (UN Headquarters) -- As the General Assembly continued its discussion of the work and reform of the Security Council today, speakers expressed concern about the continued lack of transparency in the working methods of the organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Iraq’s representative noted that for the past 12 years, the Council had devoted much of its time to discussing the situation in his country, in keeping with the interests of two States which practised their hegemony over the Council without any consideration for the humanitarian or legal aspects of the United Nations Charter. While Iraq had implemented all the unjust resolutions required of it, the Council continued to discuss the country’s situation behind closed doors.
In that connection, several speakers welcomed the Council’s decision to hold an open debate on the Iraq question tomorrow, during which the general membership would have an opportunity to express their views on the matter.
Canada’s representative felt that in one crucial area, the Council was actually regressing. The non-elected permanent members had arrogated to themselves privileges that were not found anywhere in the Charter. They were meeting openly while excluding the elected members, treating non-permanent members like second-class citizens and passing some draft resolutions on Iraq to the media before distributing them to non-permanent members.
Italy’s representative noted that when the Council’s decision-making process became too opaque, its decisions lost authority and lent themselves to contradictory interpretations that weakened their implementation. While the search for consensus might seem a time-consuming process, when collective security was at stake, it was necessary to develop an informed, common assessment that would allow the sharing of responsibility. It was necessary to avoid creating an impression of inaction, especially when a serious threat was imminent, and equal care must be taken not to create the impression of selective or partial approaches.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Syria, Kuwait, Slovenia, Sweden, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ukraine (on behalf of Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Chile, Venezuela, South Africa, Gambia, Guatemala, Tunisia, Czech Republic, France, Bahrain, Ghana, Croatia, Angola, Austria, Jamaica, Australia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Turkey, Norway and Armenia.
The Observer for Palestine also spoke.
Tomorrow, 16 October, the Assembly will meet at 10 a.m. to continue its discussion of the Security Council and to consider the report of the General Committee, as well as the elimination of unilateral extraterritorial coercive economic measures.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its consideration of the report of the Security Council and the question of equitable representation on, and increase in, the Council membership.
For further background information, see Press Release No. GA/10080 of 14 October.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) recalled that during his country's presidency, the Council had held many meetings pertaining to different parts of the world and had introduced a monthly meeting on the Middle East. The Council had deployed intensive efforts to deal with the "ticklish" problems of Africa, with a view to settling conflicts there. Syria had left no stone unturned in conducting Council deliberations with a view to reaching positions that served peace and ended war. The dispatch of missions to hotbeds of conflict was important in assessing situations on the ground at first hand, and the Council had achieved tangible progress.
Yet, the Council had failed to follow up on the implementation of its own resolutions and had been unable to maintain international peace and security, he said. Israel had rejected and ignored its resolutions, the implementation of which the Council should have insisted upon. There should be no double standards in the Council’s enforcement of its resolutions by all States, he stressed.
Beginning tomorrow, the Council would begin discussing the Iraq issue, he said. Despite the sensitive nature of that matter, the Council so far had not discussed it in open session, as was expected by the international community. Emphasizing the need to deal with the issue within the realm of international law, he said that the logic of "stick and carrot" was not in line with the United Nations Charter and did not serve the aspirations of the international community. He also called on Iraq to implement all Council resolutions relevant to that country.
MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said that for the past 12 years, the Council had devoted much of its time to discussing the situation in his country in keeping with the wishes and interests of two States, which practised their hegemony over the Council without any consideration for the humanitarian or legal aspects of the Charter. Even though Council resolutions relating to Iraq were unjust, the country had implemented all of them, yet the Council continued to discuss the situation in Iraq behind closed doors. The Council also disregarded all that the country had been subjected to in terms of violations of its sovereignty.
Pointing out that Iraq had agreed to the unconditional return of United Nations inspectors, he said that when the United States realized that that action would deny it the opportunity to invade and occupy Iraq, it had prevented the inspectors' return and begun talking about a draft resolution, which would pave the way for American aggression. That was a blatant threat to international peace and security that undermined the very basis of international relations, he said, adding that the Council must adopt counter-measures to guarantee Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Stressing the need to phase out the use of the veto, he called for rules and measures to guarantee transparency and for an expansion of the Council's membership. The International Court of Justice should be the body to interpret the articles of the Charter and it should also control Council resolutions, he said, adding that the Council should not be used to further the interests of one State. Furthermore, non-members of the Council should be informed of discussions relating to international peace and security and members should not vote on conflicts to which they were a party.
MANSOUR AYYAD AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait) said that the Working Group’s discussions confirmed the need to reform the Security Council and that there was consensus to make it more interactive and reflective of the present reality. But despite the recognition of the need for change, there had been no agreement on the changes to be made. Discussions on that matter were highly repetitive, he said, noting that for progress to be made a specific deadline must be set in which to carry out the necessary changes.
Notwithstanding the nature of the discussions, progress had been made in the Council’s mode of operation, he said. On its own initiative, the Council had introduced specific changes, which could also provide cues for the type of changes that should be made in the future. In expanding the Council’s membership, he emphasized that it should not be made so big that it became unwieldy. In addition, adjustment of the Council’s size and composition must be done in such a way as to ensure equitable geographic representation. Seats should be given to those who had already contributed to the Council’s work and clearly demonstrated that they could facilitate the realization of its mandate.
Change should enhance the Council’s working relationship with other United Nations organs, especially the General Assembly, he said. In relation to the veto, he urged that clear criteria, as recommended by the Working Group, be established for its use. Whatever changes were made, they must be accepted by all and should not hinder the Council from reaching consensus and keep it from being more effective in the future.
ROMAN KIRN (Slovenia) said that the Security Council’s quick and decisive action following the attacks of 11 September 2001 had shown that the Council was capable of such action. On the questions of terrorism and Afghanistan, the Council had made a correct, timely and wide response not just on its own behalf, but on behalf of the international community. Moreover, in the specific region of South-East Europe, much progress had been realized and tangible results achieved due to United Nations involvement. That had strengthened the perspective and responsibility of countries in the region, making overall stabilization efforts more sustainable.
Welcoming the focus on transparency in the discussion of the Council’s report, he said that one of the most important achievements had been the meetings with troop-contributing countries. Improved transparency was also visible in the greater number of open meetings, briefings for non-member states and the Security Council’s Web site. Moreover, the dispatch of missions to areas under consideration should be encouraged, as they could be a tool of preventive diplomacy and assist in the turn from a culture of reaction to one of prevention.
On the subject of reforming the Security Council, he noted that the world had changed substantially and dramatically and that if the Council wanted to achieve the first goal of its existence, it should be representative, reflecting the reality of a globalized international community. While progress had been made on working methods and transparency, the basic question of how that progress would be reflected in the Council’s Rules of Procedure remained.
INGA ERIKSSON FOGH (Sweden) said that reform was needed to further strengthen the Security Council, whose credibility and legitimacy were at stake.
Sweden had taken an active part in efforts to achieve far-reaching reform and remained committed to that aim. The achievement of concrete results was crucial for the Council’s continued relevance, she added. Efforts should be made to strengthen the Council’s ability to work effectively, negotiate in good faith and reach decisions. The necessary actions must not be hindered or blocked by a veto or threat of a veto.
She said that her country favoured an enlargement of the Council to make room for a greater representation of Member States. The need for reform should be met by the broadest support possible, and Sweden would continue working constructively in the Open-ended Working Group with the goal of bringing about an early decision on expansion.
Sweden also welcomed the views presented in the section on "Stalled process of Security Council reform" in the Secretary-General’s report.
MOCHAMAD S. HIDAYAT (Indonesia) said his Government had strongly condemned the bombing in Bali over the weekend and the authorities were doing their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice. He acknowledged the expressions of sympathy offered to his country.
He said that although the Council’s report opened with an analytical segment, Indonesia hoped for a more substantive rather than a historical recounting of events as they happened during the year. On the Council’s working methods, the report referred to the increased number of open meetings. Indonesia looked forward to sustaining that momentum towards greater openness in the Council’s deliberations. The views of non-members were not properly reflected in the Council’s decisions, he noted. When non-members offered their views in an open meeting, it was because they wanted their views on peace and security taken into consideration by Council members, who were in a position to convert them into policy.
On reform, he expressed disappointment at the fact that the Working Group had not made progress on the substantive aspects of the process. The time had come to make progress in making the Council more transparent, democratic, representative and effective. If that objective was put before narrow national or group interests, it would be possible to accelerate consensus on the substantive questions, he added.
ALOUNKÈO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said there was growing impatience and weariness over the fact that another year had passed since the Working Group’s creation and yet there had been no progress. In light of current and recently emerging threats to international peace and security, the Council’s role and the need to reform it to reflect today’s global realities had never been more relevant. Everything possible must be done to solve the reform question, he stressed.
Calling for an increase in both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories, he stressed that any effective reform should include measures to make it more transparent in its working methods, particularly with regard to its decision-making processes. Also, the curtailment and eventual abolition of the veto must be a priority, he said, adding, however, that given the complexity of this issue, a solution should be found that was acceptable to all.
VALERY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine), speaking behalf of Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova, said that although there was a tendency to criticize the Council, it was acknowledged that it required strengthening in order to fulfil its international role. Crediting the Council with seeking to improve its working methods and be more transparent, he said the increased number of its open meetings and its more frequent consultations were important for accountability. Member States could influence its decisions and much of what it had achieved had come through the contributions of rotating members who represented new blood.
In handling many dramatic conflict issues, the Council appeared more consolidated in carrying out its work, he noted. Among its major achievements had been the creation of the Counter-terrorism Committee and its actions in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan. Peace had also been strengthened in the Balkans, he said, ascribing those successes to the unity among Council members. However, the fragile peace in the Balkans must be closely monitored, he pointed out.
On the other hand, he expressed dissatisfaction with the Council’s failure to resolve the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia. The so-called frozen conflicts in territories of the former Soviet Union had been left as unhealed scars and for a decade they had been destabilizing the region as a whole. In the Middle East, resolutions had been adopted that could bring about peace, but instead of complying with them, the protagonists had stepped up the violence.
Calling on Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions, he noted that the Working Group on Sanctions had not yet presented its report. Its failure to do so by the November 2000 deadline was due to lack of consensus. There should be a compromise outcome to those deliberations, he said. He recommended that the Council meet periodically for a strategic review of its work.
PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), noting that the Council discussed most issues in the informal format and held open meetings only to adopt already agreed-upon resolutions, said that presented a serious problem because a handful of countries dealt with the most important issues of peace and security. Above all, the Council should ensure that resolutions were not used for the political objectives of specific countries and that informal consultations were confined to procedural matters.
When the Council adopted resolutions on sanctions or the use of force, special reports containing the background and contents of resolutions should be submitted to the General Assembly as early as possible, he said. Individual States should be prevented from using or threatening force against other Member States without explicit United Nations resolutions or by invoking coercive power. Noting that the United Nations did not exercise any power –- politically, militarily or financially -– over the United Nations Command on the Korean peninsula, he expressed the hope that due attention would be given to redressing that situation.
To improve and strengthen its work, the Council should be decisively reformed to make it more just and democratic through increased representation for developing countries, he said. Deliberations were required on the issues of closed meetings, the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly and the need for regular review of the Council’s work. All matters must be decided by consensus through full participation and negotiation by all Member States, he stressed.
KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar) said that his country, as an advocate of multilateralism, took special interest in the report of the Security Council. Myanmar was happy to see the improved format of this year’s report, and urged the Council to build upon that improvement. Hopefully, future reports would contain a strengthened analytical part.
Noting with satisfaction that the Council had continued its measures to lend greater transparency to its work, particularly its periodic wrap-up sessions, he expressed appreciation for the increased number of public meetings and called for even more open meetings.
He stressed that the views of the general membership should be considered on important issues that affected everyone since the successful implementation of Council decisions required the support of all Members States.
Regarding the adoption of Council resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the Counter-terrorism Committee in the wake of 11 September, he said that the Council had demonstrated the value of multilateralism. Myanmar would like to see a Council that was more representative, transparent and democratic and was heartened that most members of the Working Group favoured limiting the use of the veto to matters taken up under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
Cautioning against partial solutions, he said that any final decisions on Council reform should be in the form of a package agreement consisting of an expanded membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, as well as a comprehensive set of other recommended measures.
J. GABRIEL VALDÉS (Chile) said that while the new format of the Council’s report represented progress, it still did not reflect the substance of the Council's work or the realities it faced. Highlighting the speed and effectiveness with which the Council had responded to the attacks of 11 September 2001, he said that during the period under review, cooperation between the Council and other organs of the United Nations had been important to addressing the challenges facing the Organization. New threats and challenges to the maintenance of international peace and security were emerging almost daily and reality would sooner or later impose upon States the need to intensify their efforts to reform the Council. It could no longer continue to reflect the circumstances following the Second World War.
While expressing appreciation for the attention the Council had given to the Middle East, he noted that the use of the veto had hindered progress in that area. The situation in Iraq also represented a special challenge to the Council, which should adopt united decisions on that issue. He welcomed the decision to hold an open debate on Iraq.
He said that the meetings between the Council and troop-contributing countries were an excellent mechanism to include participating States in decisions relating to peacekeeping operations. He also recognized the Council’s dedication to such issues as the protection of civilians in armed conflict and small arms. Collective international security, he noted, lay in the commitment of States to international cooperation.
SERGIO VENTO (Italy) pointed out that when the Council’s decision-making process became too opaque, its decisions lost authority and lent themselves to contradictory interpretations that weakened their implementation. The search for consensus and the gathering of the broadest possible support for a specific line of action might seem a laborious and time-consuming process, but when collective security was at stake, an informed, common assessment must be developed that would allow the sharing of responsibility at the international level.
Ultimately, it was necessary to avoid creating the impression of United Nations inaction, especially when a serious threat was imminent and certified, he said. Equal care must be paid not to create the impression of selective or partial approaches, as making the Council appear vulnerable to accusations of double standards would erode its credibility and weaken its decisions.
With regard to reform, he said that the issues of representation and effectiveness should be dealt with in tandem. One could not imagine changing the size or composition of the Council without at the same time carefully considering the consequences of any expansion formula. Those calling for an increase in the permanent membership should offer convincing reasons on at least two points: first, the political and not merely financial entitlement and authority for obtaining that privilege; and second, the impact of such an expansion on the decision-making process, in terms of both efficiency and transparency. Indeed, new permanent members would only add to the present shortcomings of the Council, he pointed out.
ADRIANA PULIDO SANTANA (Venezuela) expressed satisfaction with some of the themes addressed in the report of the Security Council that were important to her country, including those relating to women, peace, security, armed conflict and small arms.
Regarding reform, she called for public interactive sessions in which the Counter-terrorism Committee could improve its work even further. Venezuela did not share the optimism of other Member States on Council reform since yet another year had elapsed without substantial progress. Calling for the elimination or regulation of the veto, she said that without addressing that subject, the Council could not be reformed into a democratic and transparent body.
The need for reform had become urgent, especially in the current international circumstances, she emphasized, adding that the Security Council should not remain distant from the process of major change that required it to be in accordance with the international community and with the present international realities.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said his country supported the expansion of the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership because, as the Secretary-General had stated, it was insufficiently representative. He said his country was keen to gain a better understanding of the reasoning behind many of the Council's critical decisions. As Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa had put forward recommendations to help resolve the Middle East Crisis, but the Council had not responded.
On a related matter, he said his country welcomed the increased number of open Council meetings, which allowed for the participation of non-members in its work. The Council’s new working methods were also a cause for satisfaction. In addition, South Africa supported the Secretary-General's call for the Council to codify its practices and move beyond provisional rules of procedure to standard ones, which would make for greater predictability in its actions.
He said the cooperation between the Council and other United Nations bodies and international agencies, especially in handling post-conflict situations, was to be encouraged. Further, he stressed the need for the Council to ensure that multilateralism did not become a vehicle for the strong to prevail over the weak. Moreover, the use of sanctions should not increase the suffering of civilians caught up in conflict situations. The Security Council and indeed the General Assembly could not be party to increasing the humanitarian suffering of civilians who were caught up in situations of conflict.
The credibility and respect the Council had gained would determine whether it remained the universal repository of the world’s efforts in the maintenance of peace and security, he said. As such, South Africa was dismayed by the exclusion of non-permanent members from consultations on pressing issues. Those members sat on the Council by virtue of their having been elected by the General Assembly and their exclusion was, therefore, totally unacceptable, as it had the effect of eroding the Council's authority and legitimacy.
CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON (Gambia) said the Council had had many impressive achievements during the period under review as it sought to put out the fires of war. While it had succeeded in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, there were still festering problems in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal’s Cassamance region.
He said his country also appreciated the Council’s interaction with the Economic and Social Council, prompted by the work of that organ’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Africa to build the necessary economic props for security and stability to take hold in Guinea-Bissau. The Gambia was also grateful for the Council’s letter of support to the Bretton Woods institutions on its behalf.
Pointing out that the Council still had a full conflict-management agenda, he said that in the Middle East its resolutions for permanent peace had been ignored. He called upon all States to abide by the principle of the Charter and resolve conflicts peacefully.
The Gambia supported Council reform along the lines suggested by the 1997 Harare Declaration of the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government. The Council’s membership should be increased to 26, with Africa having two permanent and five non-permanent seats. Also, the Working Group on restructuring should complete its work with minimum delay to bring about greater transparency in the Council’s work, particularly in relation to sanctions and travel bans. Governments and individuals must be provided with justification for Council action, as that would allow them the opportunity for redress in keeping with the demands of democracy.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that the report of the Security Council should be a tool enabling the General Assembly to play its role as the main organ for deliberation, the adoption of policies and representing the United Nations. While this year’s report was better, in terms of both length and content, it did not fully meet the requirement to keep the Assembly up-to-date on the programme of work of the Council in the period under review.
There had been significant advances in the Council’s work, he said. This was reflected by the evolution of events in Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region, Afghanistan and the Balkans. It also showed increased transparency through the work of the United Kingdom ambassador in his role as Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373, through the perception that members of the Council represented the membership of the United Nations as a whole, and through the holding of more public meetings and the perception that even permanent members were now more sensitive to criticism of the closed nature of the work of the Council.
However, he added, the relationship between the organs of the United Nations still left much to be desired. The concentration of decision-making power in the Council had occurred at the expense of the General Assembly’s authority. Moreover, two crucial tasks remained unaccomplished: the ongoing reform of the working methods of the General Assembly and the reform of the composition of the Security Council.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia) said the analytical approach used in the introduction of the report of the Security Council should be applied throughout, so that a clearer understanding of the Council’s work and the rationale behind its decisions could be understood and, therefore, evaluated. Adjustments could be recommended where appropriate. This would increase the Council’s transparency and credibility.
He said current threats to international peace and stability were so complex and intense as to require a real system of collective defence to be defined. The Council must establish a true equilibrium among the permanent and elected members of the Council. There must be real communication and interaction with the non-members of the Council, with the same priority being accorded to all issues on its agenda. National interests must not dominate decision-making. Policies relating to sanctions, should be harmonized and rationalized, taking humanitarian considerations and the provisions of Article 50 of the Charter into account.
The overwhelming majority of States demanded enlargement of the Council, he added. The proposal to expand to 24 or 26 members was reasonable. This expansion should include both permanent and non-permanent members. To be more democratic and representative, the following criteria for enlargement could be followed: geographical representation; countries’ economic significance and financial contributions; human magnitude of highly populated countries; the use of systems of rotation; and identities and culture. Moreover, as the veto was unlikely to be completely eliminated, it should be limited by requiring at least three permanent members to oppose a resolution.
HYNEK KMONÍČEK (Czech Republic) said that while the report’s new format was not revolutionary, it was more user-friendly and turned the document into a very useful overview, including its introductory wrap-up section. Another considerable improvement was the adjustment of the time period covered by the report. In general, the improvements introduced deserved to be acknowledged as positive developments leading to greater transparency and accountability, although they still fell short of expectations.
Unfortunately, in the area of equitable representation and increase of membership, the picture was rather gloomy, he noted. The atmosphere in the Open-Ended Working Group had not improved and its progress on "Cluster I" issues had been perhaps more stalled than ever before. The Czech Republic favoured enlargement in both categories of membership as well as some reduction in areas where the veto could be applied, possibly through voluntary commitments by permanent members and other steps, which did not necessarily require Charter amendments.
He said it would be helpful to narrow down the range of options repeatedly discussed in the Working Group on issues such as the use of the veto and numbers for enlargement of the Council. There were already enough options to choose from and it was now necessary to move closer to the core of the matter, he added.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) noted that the Council had made rapid progress in improving its working methods and its report had reflected that positive evolution. The report was now more concise and overlapped less with other United Nations publications. The Council had also, over the past year, demonstrated its ability to innovate and improve. Council members had pursued a policy of transparency, as shown by the record number of public meetings held during the past year. Beyond the number of meetings, it was the quality of those discussions that counted, he pointed out, adding that tomorrow’s discussion on Iraq would enable Member States to express their views before the Council made a decision.
On the transparency and accessibility of the Council’s work, he said the Council had continued its meetings with troop-contributing countries. Those meetings must provide further opportunities for dialogue among Council members and countries providing troops for peacekeeping operations. Regarding Council expansion, France wished to see an increase in both permanent and non-permanent members and supported the inclusion of Germany, Japan and India as permanent members.
The record of the Council’s work in the past year seemed positive overall, he noted. At the same time, it was necessary to make continued progress on the question of sanctions, which the Council had learned to make better use of. Sanctions today were more targeted and had better follow-up. Also, Africa continued to dominate the Council’s work, he said, pointing out that, having led a Council mission to the Great Lakes, he had seen at first hand how useful such missions were in enabling Council members to witness the realities on the ground.
MOHAMMED SALEH MOHAMMED SALEH (Bahrain) recalled that in 1983, the Council had taken the first steps towards reform, which was deemed urgent and important. Referring specifically to the need for an increase in the Council’s membership, he said its membership should reflect the increased membership of the United Nations as a whole.
He said the increase in the number of Council resolutions reflected a growing agenda, which had become much more diversified. A number of new bodies had also come into existence in recent years, which would have an impact on the Council's work. Noting that nine years had been spent trying to determine the nature of the reforms required, he said the Council should avoid double standards. Permanent members should also avoid using their veto, which had the effect of rendering the Council impotent. Reform was of concern not only to Member States, but it also engaged the attention of many non-governmental organizations that had put forward their own proposals on how the Council should be changed to deal with a world full of threats.
He pointed out that as 2002 came to an end, the Working Group would soon celebrate its tenth year. That should serve as an impetus for the Working Group because it had already put forward hundreds of proposals, but with no results to date.
Speaking about the report, he welcomed the changes that had made it more succinct and less redundant. Its contents, nevertheless, had to be improved and made more useful for delegations. That would save time and money, he added
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada), noting the greater readability of the Council's annual report, said the analytical overview contained in its introduction should be continued. Also, several proposals on reducing duplication, size and cost had been realized. However, there was still room for progress in ending the Council’s preference for closed sessions and private Secretariat briefings. It should also introduce genuine, interactive debate.
Applauding the Council's increased attention to the problems of Africa, its sustained interest in the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the excellent work of the Counter-terrorism Committee, he also commended the increased number of public debates and private meetings that were open to all members. However, while private meetings were sometimes necessary, they should not be the norm. Moreover, transparency and accountability were important as some criteria for performance and evaluation were reasonable for a body with such critical responsibilities. Urging the Council to pay attention to the opinion of the general membership, he said that on issues of great principle or political impact, consulting the broader membership should be automatic.
In one crucial area, the Council was actually regressing, he added. The non-elected permanent members had arrogated to themselves privileges found nowhere in the Charter and were meeting openly while excluding the elected, non-permanent members, who were treated as second-class citizens. Some draft resolutions on Iraq had been given to the media before the non-permanent members, he added. One such resolution would sanctify a privileged role for the permanent members, both as an entity and as individual members.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) called for more information on the problems that the Council encountered in carrying out its responsibilities, noting that there had also been too little information on sanctions. Stressing that the Council must be more responsible, accountable and transparent, he also pointed out that the report was virtually silent on the Council's interaction with non-state and non-governmental entities, which was important in a globalizing world. More information was also needed on Council missions to conflict areas.
Encouraging the Council's open meetings and welcoming its periodic wrap-up sessions, to which non-member States were invited, he also applauded the establishment of a mechanism to further improve cooperation between the Council and troop-contributing countries. Ghana equally endorsed the Council’s interaction with regional organizations, he said, noting that the regional dimension could sometimes be useful in dealing with conflicts.
Because the Council's effectiveness depended on cooperation among all Member States, the Council must be more representative, he emphasized, adding that reform must be hinged on the principles of democracy, sovereign equality of States and equitable geographical representation. A reformed Council should be more transparent and responsive to the interests of the general membership, since all States were obliged to share the burden of maintaining international peace and security. Further, Ghana opposed the veto, which stifled discussion and circumvented the need for consensus.
JASNA OGNJANOVAC (Croatia) said that the new format of the report of the Security Council was more reader-friendly and organized and had been transformed into a genuine working instrument. The analytical introduction was especially welcome. The Council was encouraged to further develop new improvements in its future reports.
She said the Council’s response to the threat of terrorism after 11 September 2001 had demonstrated the real value of the Council. The transparent manner in which it was done enabled all Member States to be fully involved in the process and to unite forces in the global struggle against terrorism. The lessons learned from this process should be taken into account in future discussions and decision-making. Moreover, the timely response of the Security Council to the situation in Africa had placed a once grave threat to international peace and security on the side of success stories in this report. In order to have more positive developments like this, the Council had to ensure the full implementation of all its resolutions.
Unfortunately, she added, there had been little progress in the context of increasing the membership of the Security Council and other related matters. Although many members were ready to undertake serious reform on the Council’s composition and work, others had remained reluctant. Fundamental changes in international relations and the new challenges faced today required an innovative approach and a global, effective response. In that context new resolve and energy were needed to move the negotiations of the Open-Ended Working Group forward.
ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), noting that this year’s report was more readable, better organized and less bulky, despite the Council’s increased activity, said there was still room for improvement in the report’s presentation, in the Council’s working methods and in procedures to enhance transparency, cooperation with other United Nations bodies and non-Security Council members, particularly those concerned with matters under discussion.
Supporting the African position on the Council’s composition, the expansion of its membership, and the increase in non-permanent seats allocated to Africa, he said the present international situation called Council members to renew their unequivocal commitment to the United Nations Charter in dealing effectively with threats to international peace and security. Concerted and collective action remained the best mechanism to deal with such threats. Moreover, it was important that all members implement all resolutions fully and that they preserve multilateralism, collectivity, responsibility and the rule of law in order to uphold international law and order.
As the guarantor of international peace and security, he said, the Council had discussed issues of international terrorism, the Middle East crisis, Afghanistan, the Great Lakes crisis, Angola, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, East Timor and others. In view of the resurgent wave of violence in the Middle East, Security Council efforts to facilitate a return to the negotiating table would be welcome.
GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria) said an adequate flow of information towards non-members was a necessary prerequisite to understand and assess how the Council was dealing with political issues and should, therefore, be facilitated as much as possible. The presidency of the Council should play a crucial role in keeping the general membership fully informed about the deliberations of the Council. In that regard, the monthly forecast on the work of the Council constituted a useful tool for the daily work of delegations. Also, the increase in public meetings underlined the willingness of the Council to take into account the views of Member States and to use it as a basis for the Council’s decision-making process.
He said the experience of peacekeeping operations had clearly underlined that the Council could act successfully only if it was engaged in a substantial dialogue with Member States. In that regard, as a traditional provider of troops, Austria welcomed the efforts of the Council to increase the number of meetings with troop-contributing countries and, thus, to improve cooperation and coordination between the Council and those countries at an early stage in the consideration of peacekeeping operations.
STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica) said the record showed that significant work had been done in monitoring peacekeeping operations to promote peace and harmony in war-torn areas. That activity had been reasonably successful and should remain an important priority for the Council. He was, however, less satisfied with the Council’s efforts in relation to the Middle East, where renewed violence required specific and urgent attention. The Council’s approach could be more proactive in containing the conflict and in advancing negotiations for a peaceful and durable settlement of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, he said.
The Council exercised its responsibility on behalf of the international community, acting in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, he pointed out. Therefore, it was important that it further the broad interests of the Organization’s membership and not specific national interests. Regrettably, in relation to a number of matters, and especially in connection with issues of the moment, there were unfortunate tendencies in the decision-making process, which indicated a differentiation of roles between permanent and non-permanent members based on the pre-eminence of the veto process.
He said it was regrettable that after 10 years, the reform process had stalled as a result of deadlock within the Open-Ended Working Group. However, it was important not to abandon the process and to reactivate the Working Group as well as to consider approaches that might lead to the adoption of some reforms, he stressed.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said that valuable lessons could be learned from both the East Timor and Afghanistan experiences, which could help guide the Security Council in the future. Three lessons were particularly pertinent. First, the quality of leadership was crucial. Mr. Brahimi’s contribution to bring together the Bonn Agreement and taking forward its implementation, particularly through the holding of the Loya Jirga, had made an enormous difference to Afghanistan. Likewise, East Timor had been very well served by the excellent leadership provided by Mr. De Mello.
Second, he continued, a creative and flexible division of labour was necessary to deal with complex emergencies. In Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the Coalition forces and the United Nations had worked together in a very effective way, doing together what none could have done alone. Similarly, in East Timor, in the initial phase of the crisis, regional countries had to shoulder responsibilities that the United Nations could not immediately meet.
Third, complex emergencies did not end with holding of elections or other symbolic events. The international community and the Council needed to remain engaged, judging astutely how best to hand over responsibilities to new polities and how best to ensure that investments did not vanish in a precipitous rush to find an exit.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said that the Council, in 2001, had one of its most active periods of work, as was reflected in its report. He worried that the report was limited to giving a brief summary of what had been done. He would like to see a more analytical report with more substance. He expressed gratification at the fact that the Council had made consensus the guiding principle of its work. The Council had had to deal with increased outbreaks of violence, which had threatened international peace and security. However, the progress made in many areas, including East Timor, had been encouraging.
It was also encouraging that the Council had made progress in the areas of the Great Lakes region, Angola, Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Balkans. It must intensify efforts to address the situations in Somalia, Cyprus, Prevlaka, West Africa and Western Sahara as well as the situation in the Middle East. Eight years of debate on Council reform was sufficient. What was needed now was a "meeting of the minds" to resolve the stagnation in the Working Group. Only with the elimination of the veto could the Council become a genuine forum for deliberations. A more democratic, transparent and effective Council was needed.
ELADIO LOIZAGA (Paraguay) said that the shorter version of the Council report and its analytical introduction should be encouraged so that the document could become substantive and useful for all members. In terms of transparency, while more public meetings and wrap-up sessions had been held, the most important, substantive decisions still took place behind closed doors. Moreover, issues of vital importance to international peace and security were discussed solely by the permanent members. The Council should not be allowed to become an instrument used by a group of States or driven by a unilateral actor, he stressed.
Reiterating his country’s firm belief in multilateral action, he said that the adoption of Council resolution 1373 (2001) demonstrated that the Council could meet new challenges and act in a transparent manner. The goodwill and cooperation of all Member States were needed for effective implementation of that resolution.
Reform aimed at increasing the Council’s efficiency, effectiveness and working methods could not be deferred, he said. The Council must be more democratic, representative, equitable and transparent, in keeping with the spirit of the day. Both the permanent and non-permanent categories should be expanded, to include additional members from both the developed and developing countries. Special account should be taken of the latter, which were currently underrepresented. Moreover, the veto should eventually be eliminated, he said, adding that as a first step, its use should be limited to Chapter VII questions.
ÜMIT PAMIR (Turkey) enumerated the positive developments in the Council’s annual report, including its shorter length, its introductory section, which outlined the Council’s work within a given period, and the curtailment of duplications, which had resulted in a more streamlined document. Another positive development was the Council’s decision to undertake an interactive debate on the results of the Assembly’s consideration of its report.
As to the Council’s working methods, he expressed satisfaction at the increased number of open meetings, which placed Member States in a better position to channel their views to the Council on several issues. The joint meetings with troop-contributing countries and "wrap-up" sessions were also welcome steps, although there was room for the institution of a mechanism for improved interaction with non-members and other actors, particularly those directly interested in or affected by whatever subject was under consideration. Hopefully, the Council would consider codifying the recent changes in its practices, he said.
On the subject of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Council, he said his country had advocated comprehensive reform since the establishment of the Open-Ended Working Group and called upon all members to recommit themselves to Council reform with renewed dedication and political will.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway), calling for a more a more representative Council, said its enlargement was necessary to ensure greater equitable geographical distribution. The Council’s work should also be more transparent, he said, noting that while progress had been made in that area, as witnessed by the increased number of public meetings, more work was required for further progress. Recalling that under the Millennium Declaration, all Member States had undertaken to intensify efforts to achieve comprehensive Council reform, he noted that it had proven difficult, nevertheless, to move forward on how to go about that reform.
Expressing concern that the Working Group had not achieved broad consensus, he hoped it would soon reach a successful conclusion. It was necessary to focus on ways to safeguard the Council’s unique contribution to world affairs. Political will was required to achieve better representation on the Council. Norway supported enlargement in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, as they both ensured continuity and representation in the Council’s work.
MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia), calling for greater transparency in the Council's internal decision-making procedures, said it had been revealed at the Millennium Summit that most Member States supported an increase in both the permanent and non-permanent membership, in conformity with the principles of equality of States and equitable geographical representation. New permanent members should be able to make major contributions, both financially and politically, and two seats to be allocated to developing countries, he added.
He called for regional representation on the Council, especially for Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, which were currently underrepresented, as well as for non-permanent seats for Eastern European countries. In addition, the Council should ensure that its resolutions reflected the historical background to conflicts in order to facilitate their implementation. As for the veto, it should be used sparingly, he added.
Stressing that reform should not rob the Council of its vitality nor diminish its effectiveness, he said the present permanent members should come up with constructive proposals to harmonize the majority of States on that issue. The United Nations had never lacked proposals leading towards reform, but what was required in the present circumstances was the political will.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, Observer for Palestine, said that on a positive note, the Security Council had held many open meetings on the Middle East situation during the reporting period, adopting four resolutions, including one that envisaged two independent States -- Israel and Palestine. Yet there had also been many serious, negative aspects of the Security Council’s consideration of that situation. The United States had vetoed one resolution and refused to consider other drafts on the situation, he noted. Because of owing to the actions of one permanent representative, the Security Council had been unable to address the South African proposals concerning a Council mission to the region, he said. Moreover, it had been unable to stand up to Israel regarding the fact-finding mission concerning the events in Jenin earlier this year.
Israel had not implemented Council resolutions 1402 (2002) or 1403 (2002), he pointed out. He said that over the years, the Council had adopted 37 resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, 27 of them concerning the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by the Geneva Conventions. Yet Israel had not abided by any of them.