21 July 2006

General Assembly Resumes Debate on Security Council Reform, with Several Divergent Proposals Still under Consideration

More than 50 Speakers Address Proposals; Suggest No Genuine United Nations Reform, without Restructured Council

NEW YORK, 20 July (UN Headquarters) -- With several divergent proposals on the table since March on the reform of the Security Council's composition and operation, and with no agreement in sight, the General Assembly today resumed that debate; with broad consensus emerging that, despite recent significant restructuring, without Security Council reform, there could be no genuine United Nations reform.

The recent progress on important reform issues had been "good and commendable", but, the one big reform issue not yet touched "sticks out like a sore thumb", Germany's speaker asserted.  A United Nations that claimed to have reformed itself without having brought the Security Council into the twenty-first century would continue to lose authority and credibility around the world.  The "missing pieces" of United Nations reform should now be put in place.  The 15-year discussion of that question should finally be transformed into a respective decision for action, about which there was overwhelming agreement.  There was also general agreement that reform of the working methods must be accompanied by structural reform.  Germany had co-sponsored the so called "G-4" draft text calling for, among other things, an increase in the Council's membership from 15 to 25, by adding six permanent and four non-permanent members.

Japan's representative told delegates that the so called "S-5" proposal last March, which invited the Council's consideration of several steps to enhance its accountability, transparency and inclusiveness, said the proposal had "captured wide attention" of the Member States interested in improving the Council's working methods.  The recommended measures of the Council's Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions had been a modest, but meaningful first step by the Council to improve its procedures had been taken.  Regarding expansion, the different positions regarding the size, scope and modalities of enlargement must be overcome, so as to garner greater support than that of the G-4 draft of last year.  He continued to maintain the cooperation framework of the G-4, but the group was not yet able to offer any new proposal.  The time was approaching to restart the process of serious negotiations, with a view to reaching a solution.

Certain countries that had originally sponsored another approach in 2005 known informally as "Uniting for Consensus" -- Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Malta, Mexico and Pakistan -- later lent support for the S-5 proposal.  Among them, Costa Rica's representative, today called for Council reform by everyone and for everyone.   The Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions had submitted insufficient measures, including improving the reports or periodic briefings of the Council.  For example, it had not sought to redress the fact that those briefings and reports were designed to obscure the Council's work and not reveal it.  The S-5 approach, on the other hand, called for analytical, thematic reports on all current subjects, especially on peacekeeping mandates and sanctions regimes.  It was also imperative, as per that draft resolution, that a consultative mechanism be established between the Council and the non-member States, in order to include them in the decision-making process.  As for the veto, its use in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of humanitarian law constituted "true complicity" in those criminal acts.

Algeria's representative, on behalf of the African Group, which, in July 2005, had submitted a way to enlarge the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories by granting Africa a total of seven seats, and increasing overall membership from 15 to 26 (document A/59/L.67), said that, Africa was determined to redress the historical injustice of being the only continent that lacked a permanent representative on the Council.  Africa wished to ensure its legitimate right to be fully represented in all decision-making organs of the United Nations; and, full representation meant no fewer than two permanent seats on the Council with all the privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto, and the addition of five non-permanent seats for Africa, with the African Union given the responsibility of choosing those countries.  To enhance the Council's legitimacy and effectiveness in addressing peace and security threats, reform must address both its expansion and the improvement of its working and decision-making methods, aimed at greater transparency and accountability.

Pakistan's representative had co-sponsored the so called "Uniting for Consensus" text of July 2005 (document A/59/L.68), which would enlarge the Council to 25 members, with the current permanent five -- China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States -- remaining the only permanent members, with 20 more elected as non-permanent members with due regard for, among other things, their contribution to the Organization in the maintenance of peace and security.

He said the proposal was an honest effort to secure a genuinely representative enlargement.  Under the plan, each region would be able to devise its own arrangements for ensuring the representation of large, medium and small States.  Any decision promoted through self-centred initiatives and artificial deadlines would be divisive and likely to be stillborn.  The new "power realities" of the world were more complex, and at least a score of States were now in a position to contribute more fully and actively to the Council's mandate.

Despite the increasing call to deal with the issue of Council reform, the speaker from the Netherlands said, Member States were hesitant to replace the existing power structure with a new fixed power structure.  Any solution should, therefore, reflect the fact that the world was dynamic and, today's likely candidates for a permanent seat could be different ones tomorrow.  He pointed to a growing interest in pursuing a transitional solution that would enable some countries and underrepresented regions to assume increased responsibility for world affairs.  Such an arrangement might last for 10 years, during which time Members could serve in the Council on a longer-term basis, such as five years, with the possibility of a renewal of their seats.  It was hard to imagine any solution in which the veto power would be extended to new Council Members, but, a temporary solution could include a path to discussions on that very issue, culminating in a thorough review after the 10-year period.  During the interim period, discussions could and should continue on finding a durable solution.

Additional speakers in today's debate were: the representatives of Armenia, on behalf of Eastern European countries; Egypt; Switzerland; Italy; South Africa; Jordan; Nicaragua; Liechtenstein; San Marino; Cuba; Portugal; Sweden; Botswana; Peru; Mauritius; Denmark; Uganda; Nigeria; Brazil; Russian Federation; Indonesia; Colombia; Jamaica; China; Argentina; Czech Republic; Ecuador; Belgium; Iraq; Qatar; Guatemala; Iceland; New Zealand; Mongolia; Finland; Australia; France; Poland; Singapore; Spain; Senegal; Ghana; United Kingdom; Bulgaria; Slovenia; Chile; and Mexico.


The General Assembly met this morning to consider the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.  In a letter dated 27 June 2006 to the Secretary-General and the United Nations membership, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson ( Sweden) recalled that, at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders stated their support for the early reform of the Security Council as an essential element in the overall effort to reform the United Nations.  Against that background, a number of Member States have expressed their interest in addressing, once again, the important issue of Security Council reform at a plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

Through his Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Eliasson said he has consulted the regional groups, as well as Member States on this issue.  He has ascertained that there is "widespread support" for holding, such a meeting at an early opportunity.  In view of that, he stated his intention to convene such a plenary, confirming in a letter to the Secretary-General dated 7 July that he is holding the meeting on 20 July to discuss Council reform, saying, "I expect the meeting to be constructive and to assist us in achieving progress in the reform of the Council".

Several resolutions on the issue have been tabled, all of which involve amending the Charter.  On 11 July 2005, the "Group of Four resolution" (document A/59/L.64) was introduced by a representative of Brazil.  The Group also includes Japan, Germany and India, all of whom are aspiring to become permanent members of the Council.  The proposal would have the Assembly increase the Council's membership from 15 to 25, by adding six permanent and four non-permanent members.  The new permanent members would be elected, as follows:  two from African States; two from Asian States; one from Latin American and Caribbean States; and one from Western European and other States.  The four new non-permanent members should be elected, as follows:  one from African States; one from Asian States; one from Eastern European States; and one from Latin American and Caribbean States. 

A second text (document A/59/L.68), tabled on 26 July 2005 and co-sponsored by the Member States known as "Uniting for Consensus" -- Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Spain and Turkey -- would have the Council consist of 25 members, with France, China, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States remaining permanent members.  The General Assembly would elect 20 other United Nations members as non-permanent Council members, with due regard to their contribution to the Organization in the maintenance of international peace and security, and to the other purposes of the United Nations, and to equitable geographical distribution.

An African Union proposal, dated 18 July 2005 (document A/59/L.67), would enlarge the Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, by granting Africa two permanent and five non-permanent seats, and increasing the Council's membership from 15 to 26.  The 11 additional seats would be distributed, as follows:  two permanent seats and two non-permanent seats for African States; two permanent seats and one non-permanent seat for Asian States; one non-permanent seat for Eastern European States; one permanent seat and one non-permanent seat for Latin American and Caribbean States; and one permanent seat for Western European and other States.  The new permanent members would have the same prerogatives and privileges, as those of the current permanent members, including the right of veto, as the text states.

A proposal submitted by Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland (document A/60/L.49), known as the "S-5" invites the Council to consider several measures in the following categories, with a view to enhancing the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of its work:  relationship with the General Assembly and other principal organs; implementation of decisions; subsidiary bodies; use of the veto; operations mandated or carried out by the Council; relationship with regional arrangements and agencies; and integration of new members of the Council.  Regarding the use of the veto, the draft recommends that a permanent member should explain its veto at the time of the rejection of any given draft resolution, and then, that explanation should be circulated as a Security Council document to all members of the Organization.  Furthermore, no permanent member should case a non-concurring vote in the sense of Article 27, paragraph 3, of the Charter in the event of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Earlier, on 21 March 2005, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a report entitled In Larger Freedom (document A/59/2005), in which he endorsed the two models for reforming the Security Council first presented by his High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change of 2 December 2004 (document A/59/565).  The first model provides for six new permanent seats -- two each from Africa and Asia, and one each from Europe and the Americas, with no veto being created.  Three new two-year term non-permanent seats would be divided among the major regional areas.  The second model provides for no new permanent seats, but creates a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats, and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas.


YOUCEF YOUSFI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the current gathering provided the opportunity to restate the African common position on Security Council reform, as outlined in the Ezulwini Consensus, contained in the Sirte Declaration, and reaffirmed by the Khartoum and Banjul Summits.  To enhance the Council's legitimacy and its effectiveness in addressing threats to international peace and security, reform must address both the expansion of the Council's membership and the improvement of its working and decision-making methods, so as to achieve greater transparency and accountability.  Africa was determined to redress the historical injustice of being the only continent that lacked a permanent representative to the Council.  Africa wished to ensure its legitimate right to be fully represented in all decision-making organs of the United Nations.

He said that, as far as Africa was concerned, full representation meant no less than two permanent seats with all the privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto, and the addition of five non-permanent seats, including two additional ones for Africa.  The responsibility for selecting Africa's Council representatives and the criteria for choosing them should be the responsibility of the African Union.

ARMEN MARTIROSYAN (Armenia), speaking on behalf of the States members of the Group of Eastern European states eligible for non-permanent membership of the Council, said that making the Council more representative and balanced and its work more effective and transparent was vital in adapting the United Nations to the realities of the twenty-first century.  The issue of Council enlargement was of particular relevance to the Eastern European Group.  Its Member States were, by all accounts, underrepresented in the current structure of that body.  In fact, since 1991, the Eastern European Group had more than doubled its membership, with, most recently, the Republic of Montenegro joining the United Nations as its 192nd Member.

Therefore, it was the Group's common and long-standing position -- expressed, inter alia, in the Letter of the Chairman of the Group of 29 February 2005 (document A/59/723) -- that any increase in the non-permanent membership of the Security Council should ensure an enhanced representation of the Group by the allocation to it of at least one additional non-permanent seat in the enlarged Council.  Existing regional groups should be retained for the purposes of the distribution of seats and for election to the Council.

THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany) said that, the recent progress on important reform issues had been "good and commendable", but the one big reform issue not yet touched "sticks out like a sore thumb".  United Nations reform without Security Council reform not only would not be complete, but would not work.  That was not because the Council was more important than other United Nations bodies, but, because its work was interlinked with and affected the entire Organization.  Everyone knew that General Assembly revitalization and reform of the Security Council's working methods would not work without a reformed Council.  Peacekeeping and peacebuilding would become more effective once the Council's decisions were deemed more "legitimate".  The outside world, to a very large extent, identified the United Nations with its most visible organ, the Security Council.  A United Nations that claimed to have reformed itself without having brought the Council into the twenty-first century would continue to lose authority and credibility around the world.

Noting that the question of Security Council reform had been discussed now for more than 15 years, he said that, whatever the differences of opinion, there was overwhelming agreement that reform was necessary and a decision should be made soon.  The United Nations membership was also in agreement that reform of the Council's working methods was not enough; structural reform was also needed.  The so called "S-5" proposal on the working methods had the great merit of concentrating the most pertinent proposals and of creating a coherent approach to that reform.  To a large extent, the "S-5" suggestions were also included in the "G-4" proposal, but, while there was compatibility on substance, he had doubts on the procedure.  Specifically, he wondered whether the "S-5" proposals would be effectively implemented without structural reform.  Both categories should be enlarged.  Indeed, the proposals now on the table of the General Assembly were all compatible in that sense.  The ideas presented by the so called "Uniting for Consensus" group during the last session had not been retabled.  Meanwhile, general agreement to enlarge only the non-permanent category was not in sight, let alone a consensus as the name of that group implied.

The missing pieces of United Nations reform should be put in place, he urged.  Together, Member States should find a way to make that reform a reality.  While everyone should be forward-looking in their approach, no one should dwell on the differences of the past.  The results of intense debates in recent years should be acknowledged, and on that basis, and with open-mindedness on all sides, reform could be achieved.  The issue now was to move on the proposals to finally transform the 15-year discussion into a respective decision for action.  He remained open to further discuss his reform proposal with all those genuinely interested in reform, and to consider possible amendments, with a view to broadening the basis of support, he offered. 

MAGEB ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said that the Security Council had failed to address tragic events that threatened international peace and security, mainly from lack of unanimity among its permanent members.  That led to the paralysis of the Council.  The interrelationship existing between the current impasse in the work of the Council and efforts to expand the membership and improve its working methods should therefore be kept in mind.  He was fully committed to the African common position and the proposals submitted by the Non-Aligned Movement.  The Council needed to reflect the current political realities, with emphasis on granting developing countries, in particular in Africa, their long overdue representation in the permanent and non-permanent categories.

He said efforts to improve the working methods still fell short regarding transparency and accountability.  During the current session, the Council had increased its attempts to encroach on the prerogatives of the Assembly.  There were also valid concerns regarding the process of the selection of the Secretary-General.  While the concept of incrementally increasing the Council's membership should be considered, such consideration should take fully into account the legitimate right of Africa to be adequately represented on the basis of the African common po0sition.  Any proposal that fell short of that would not succeed.   The African draft resolution provided the only viable solution.

While supporting the approach reflected by the "S-5", he stressed the importance of moving simultaneously on two tracks.  He said references contained in the S5 draft regarding the use of veto were insufficient.  The veto should not only be curtailed in cases of genocide or massive crimes against humanity, but also not be allowed in cases were a ceasefire between two belligerents is pursued.  Moreover, the selection of the Secretary-General should not be subjected to the exercise of the veto.  Although somewhat frustrated by the lack of progress made in the open-ended working group, he still believed that group provided the only viable mechanism to deliberate the issue of Security Council reform.

PETER MAURER (Switzerland) said that Switzerland, together with Costa Rica, Jordan, Singapore and Liechtenstein, had prepared a draft resolution (document A/60/L.49), which sought to respond to the expectations of many Member States who wished to be more involved in the Council's work.  Those expectations were justified for the following reasons; all United Nations members were seized with the way in which the Council exercised its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security; all States contributed, according to their capacities, to the financing of peace operations and many contributed troops; and all Member States had to implement the Council's decisions in accordance with the Charter's Chapter VII.  Improved working methods was also very much in the Council's interest.  By involving Member States more closely, the Council strengthened not only the effectiveness of its action, but, also its legitimacy and its authority to act in the name of all.  The five countries that tabled that text all favoured enlarging the Council, although their views on the best model were not identical.  Expansion of the Council and improving its working methods, however, were two distinct aspects, which should be treated in separate, but parallel processes.

Concerning the veto right, he said that the Swiss people had decided four years ago that the moment had arrived for their country to become a full member of the United Nations.  At the same time, they wondered whether the Organization was in a position to achieve its goals, and they deplored the fact that the right of veto had paralyzed the Council in important situations.  While Switzerland now had a largely positive view of United Nations activity, the blockages caused by the veto remained the main criticism.  He realized that the right to veto would have to follow the tortuous route of amending the Charter.  With or without a veto, the support of the great Powers and their willingness to play an active part were essential to the success of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security.  The use of the veto had declined considerably since the end of the cold war period, but, it was still used excessively.  It was not acceptable that its use, or threat of use, should paralyze the Organization in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, or in situations of serious crises requiring resolute international action.  He sought a more selective use of the veto and he opposed the allocation of new veto rights, as that would further complicate the decision-making process within the Council and increase the risk of paralysis.  He also sought improvement in the working of the Council's subsidiary organs, particularly the sanctions committees, as well as rapid improvements to the procedures for establishing lists of persons and entities targeted by sanctions.

MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy), also speaking in his capacity as the focal point for "United for Consensus", said time was ripe for reform and, therefore, for negotiations.  In order to succeed, negotiations would have to be pragmatic, with flexible positions, inclusive and result-oriented, preserving, along the whole process, the ownership of all Member States.  If the political will was there, time was ripe for at least allowing for an incremental type of reform, which would not prevent further reform, such as, for instance, regional representation.  Without repeating the position of the "United for Consensus", which was well known, he appealed strongly to all Member States "to finally engage in negotiations, with a constructive and flexible approach".

He said there were three options regarding Council reform.  The first one was to do nothing.  The second was to pursue what would be, in members' view, the best, the optimal model.  That approach, however, would prevent any flexibility in negotiation positions and would take another 15 years.  The third option was to focus on those elements that would allow for an early reform.  That kind of reform implied that striving for the optimal reform would not have to be given up.  Aspects that could not succeed among the membership at large would have to be sidelined.  A divisive reform would weaken the Organization.

One principle should guide all in their search in good faith for a breakthrough on the issue, and that was the principle of Member States ownership of the house.  As the "Group of 77 developing countries and China" had said, "the right of every Member State to have an equal say in the decision-making of the Organization must be upheld".  That principle, based on the Charter, should be kept at the centre of negotiations regarding a comprehensive Council reform.  The motto in those negotiations should be, "courage, pride, dreams, achievements".

SIVUYILE MAQUNGO ( South Africa) said that the objective of Security Council reform should be that of creating a Council, which was truly representative of the membership and able to respond effectively to international crises.  Threats, associated with the current international security environment, had exacerbated the difficulties confronting the Council.  The manner in which the Council dealt with those threats was still far from comprehensive and, the exercise of the veto by the permanent five made the resolution of those threats a prerogative of the few.  A reformed Council should be able to address collective security concerns in an even manner and be accountable to the entire United Nations membership.

He said that, any proposal to reform the Council must equally address both its enlargement and the improvement of its working methods, while making the body more representative, effective and democratic.  For that reason, his delegation opposed any approach that addressed only one element of Council reform.  Equally, any approach that sought to differentiate between representation from other regions and Africa would, also, not be appropriate.  Africa must be represented in the Council in the same capacity as other regions.

He said there had been calls to continue the discussion of the expansion of the Council within the open-ended working group.  Since its establishment, the working group had remained deadlocked, particularly on the vital issue of Council enlargement.  The General Assembly would be failing in its responsibility if it were to delegate the reform of the Council back to the working group.

He said that, the demand from Africa of two permanent seats with veto rights and five non-permanent seats on the expanded Council was informed by the fact that it was the only continent without permanent representation in the Council, despite the fact that its agenda was predominantly African.

KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said there were two clusters of issues in Security Council reform -- improvement of the working methods and, the expansion of its membership.  The draft resolution presented by the G-4 countries last year, contained specific provisions on working methods, and the March 2006 "S-5" draft resolution, which proposed even more ambitious measures, captured wide attention among Member States.  Another development on the working methods issue was the actual work done within the Security Council through its subsidiary body -- the Security Council informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.  On 19 July 2006, the Council adopted a Note by the President concerning the improvement of the Council's working methods.  The Note was a modest, but meaningful first step by the Council.

On the question of expanding the membership, he said that, there still existed differences of positions with regards to the size, scope and modalities of expansion.  To achieve Council reform, a concrete proposal was needed, which overcame some of the differences and was, thus, capable of garnering greater support than that afforded by the G-4 draft resolution last year.  Japan continued to maintain the cooperation framework of the G-4, though, at the present juncture, it was not yet able to offer any new proposal or specific modification to the original G-4 proposal.

He said various groups and countries continued to discuss Security Council reform, including most recently by the African Member States.  It was hoped that the time would soon come when all Member States moved actively and positively, with open-mindedness and flexibility in search of a solution that could enjoy broad support of the membership.

BASHEER F. ZOUBI ( Jordan) said United Nations reform must be continuous and dynamic, but, it should emphasize the need to reach positive results.  There was no harm in starting gradually and incrementally in reforming or expanding the Security Council.  Jordan supported expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members, on a democratic basis.

He said that, he attached importance to achieving reform in a rapid manner.  Switzerland had made some proposals, which could guide the Council in its efforts.  Along with Switzerland and three other countries, Jordan had promoted a draft resolution in view of the difficulties of expanding the Security Council.  It was time to adopt a clear consensus on methods and mechanisms that would optimize its work, and enhance its significant role.  The efforts of that group of five countries was not an attempt to encroach, but, was part of their conviction and confidence.  He hoped the efforts would be taken into consideration.

Expanding the Security Council and reforming its working methods were equally important, but linking them was not advisable, if progress was hoped for.  Addressing both items in a separate manner would be more effective.

MARIA ELENA CHASSOUL ( Costa Rica) agreed with most previous speakers that the Council required a thorough-going reform.  That body of limited composition must become more transparent, democratic, representative and effective.  Since its first meeting in 1946, the Council had been consolidating practices and routines that were contrary to those principles.  In light of the responsibility of its members to represent all United Nations Member States, the Council members had demonstrated a frustrating deadlock and it had, thus, never changed its practices.  The great symbol of that deadlock was the still outstanding "item 6" on the agenda of its very first meeting, namely, adoption of the rules of procedure.  In order for the General Assembly to motivate the necessary changes, her country along with Jordan, Liechtenstein and Sweden, had introduced resolution L.49, or the so called "S-5" proposal.

She said she sought to reform the Council's working methods in a way that did not necessarily correspond to any national interest, or provide any particular benefit to Costa Rica.  Rather, she was seeking benefits for all, leading to a situation of "shared gains", and not a "zero sum" gain.  She, thus, called for reform by everyone and for everyone.   The Working Group on Documentation and Procedures had submitted insufficient measures.  For example, it had not taken a decision on the presentation of reports or periodic briefings of the Council.  The proposal for a report every six months did not, by itself, guarantee better briefings.  The format of the reports were not very analytical, but, instead, designed to obscure the Council's work, rather than reveal it.  It was indispensable, therefore, as pointed out in L. 49 that the Council present analytical, thematic reports on all current subjects, particularly the setting up or concluding of peacekeeping operations or sanctions regimes.  The Working Group had also not replied to the need for a true dialogue with other members of the Organization.  As pointed out in her draft resolution, it was imperative that a permanent, consultative mechanism be established between the Council and the non-member States, in order to include them in the decision-making process.

Finally, the Working Group had not addressed the problem of the veto, she noted.  It was high time that "reason win the day" and that the Assembly move towards regulation of the veto, with a view to its eventual elimination.  If unanimity should fail in the Council, then the will of one member should not prevail over the will of many.  The use of the veto in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law was unjustifiable and constituted "true complicity" in those criminal acts.  The L. 49 text urged the Council's permanent members to abide by the Charter and not to exercise the veto in cases so clearly contrary to the Organization's noble goals.  The "S-5" proposal was "gracious, cautious and respectable", and it was high time that the Assembly send a unequivocal message to the Council that it could not continue operating without greater transparency and democracy.

FRANK MAJOOR ( Netherlands) said that, despite the increasing call to deal with the issue of Security Council reform, many complicating factors remained.  One that was perhaps less often expressed was that, Member States were hesitant to replace the existing power structure with a new fixed power structure.  Any solution should, in that view, reflect the fact that the world was dynamic and today's likely candidates for a permanent seat could be different ones tomorrow.

He said that, there was a growing interest in pursuing a transitional solution that would enable some countries and underrepresented regions to assume increased responsibility for world affairs.  Such an arrangement might last for 10 years, during which time Members could serve in the Council on a longer-term basis, such as five years, with the possibility of a renewal of their seats.

It was hard to imagine any solution in which the veto power would be extended to new Council Members, but a temporary solution could include a path to discussions on that very issue, culminating in a thorough review after the 10-year period.  As for the number of Council seats, a temporary arrangement could either make the ultimate choice or take a more gradual approach.  While proposed permanent arrangements remained on the table in the form of draft resolutions, a temporary arrangement would increase the likelihood of a broad agreement, while realizing the necessary adaptations sooner.  During the interim period, discussions could and should continue on finding a durable solution.

EDUARDO J. SEVILLA SOMOZA ( Nicaragua) said that, the United Nations had been created in a much different world from today.  Given the larger number of its members, particularly from developing countries, and changes in international relations, the United Nations bodies had undergone significant changes in their working methods in order to adapt to modern times.  The Security Council was no exception to that adaptation.  Although the number of Member States had almost quadrupled since 1945, the increase had not been reflected in the Council's integration.  The Council membership was increased, once, in 1963, from 11 to 15 members.  It was indispensable to expand the Council again, to make it more representative and, to give the decisions it made more legality.

He said that, 15 years of discussions and debates had not enabled the international community to reach agreement on the nature or content of such reform.  Expanding the number of members would better reflect current geopolitical realities, allowing more equitable representation of developing countries.  Expansion should enable an increased response capability to global threats and challenges, as well as a Council with strengthened authority and effectiveness.  The search for consensus was essential to reaching that goal.  Various proposals offered different approaches.  His delegation would support a harmonization of the criteria, leading to a vote in September, or October.

He said that other aspects should also be dealt with, including working methods and a revision in how decisions were made.  Consensus was fundamental to finalizing positions, but that should not weaken or polarize Member States.  A more stable Security Council that was more representative of the international community must be created.

STEPHAN BARRIGA ( Liechtenstein) said that, the Organization would greatly benefit by addressing the Council's working methods first, thereby creating the necessary momentum for that body's enlargement and treating the two topics with the same level of intensity.  It was against that background that his country had presented the "S 5" resolution contained in document A/60/L.49 together with Costa Rica, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland.  The strong support that many States had expressed to that text, in principle, confirmed the view that there was a strong need for reform of the working methods of the Security Council and, that the Assembly had a catalytic role to play in that respect.  The fact that using the word "encroachment" had "somewhat become the flavour of the season" made it clear that a more balanced relationship between the Council and the membership at large was indeed what most States wished for.

The "S-5" resolution addressed precisely that question, he continued.  The initiative aimed at creating a more constructive and cooperative climate, and at preventing antagonistic discussions, such as those that had taken place over the past few months.  He did not think that competence and power within the United Nations system were a pie, which could be evenly divided between the two most important organs.  Quite the opposite: improving the relationship between the Assembly and the Council would make both organs stronger and more relevant.  The Council's efficiency was one of its biggest assets, clearly.  His delegation did believe, however, that if the Security Council activities were more consistently guided by the principles of accountability and legitimacy, as called for in the Summit Outcome, its efficiency needed not suffer.  At the same time, its effectiveness would improve as a result of better implementation of its decisions by Member States.

Turning to the Council's Working Group on Documentation, he said that, by revitalizing it, the Council had itself acknowledged that change was needed.  Reform from within was the ideal solution.  However, his delegation had hoped that the outcome of the Group's work would be available sooner, to be commented on during the current debate.  He, nevertheless, noted with satisfaction that the "S 5" initiative had already had a positive impact and hopefully would continue to do so.  There was a continued need for action -- in parallel and in support -- by the General Assembly.  The importance of reform on working methods could not be overstated.  A stronger reflection of the views of States that were not members of the Council was a necessity and ultimately in the interest of the Council itself.

As far as enlargement was concerned, he said that his delegation had concluded a while ago, and that none of the proposals currently on the table would succeed.  The Assembly, therefore, needed new ideas, possibly new alliances, and a stronger role of States and other actors, which did not have an immediate interest in the difficult question of Security Council reform.  There must be an open and sober discussion of all aspects of Council enlargement, of the concepts of size and "permanency", including in ways deviating from the ones currently established in the Charter.  That required openness on the side of the proponents of models currently on the table.

DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) said it was obvious to the vast majority of Member States that an enlarged, more representative Council was in the best interest of all.  The "S-5" draft resolution L.49 was an important step towards improving the working methods of the Council, but it was not enough.  The world was at a chilling and unproductive standstill, while impatience and mistrust was brewing among Member States.  Why not attempt to try again under the leadership of our very able President Ambassador Eliasson to restart negotiations with an open mind and resolve to succeed. The world community must find the courage to mediate such crucial reform, so that everyone concerned would be at least partially satisfied.  At the current point, there were two choices -- continue with the existing Security Council, or create a more viable one.  "The choice is up to us", he said.

AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDRY ( Pakistan) said that, Security Council reform should be the outcome of open and transparent negotiations, and should be accepted by the widest possible agreement.  Any decision promoted through self-centred initiatives and artificial deadlines would be divisive and likely to be stillborn.  Security Council reform must cover both its enlargement and its working methods.  The Council should be enlarged to make it more representative, but, that should not be the result of merely adding a few self-nominated "new powers" as additional permanent members.  Without veto rights, such permanent membership would be unlikely to change the power realities in the Council, and the interests of the rest of the United Nations membership would continue to be underrepresented and ignored.

Moreover, he said, the new "power realities" of the world were more complex.  At least a score of States were now in a position to contribute more fully and actively to the maintenance of international peace and security.  A host of smaller States had emerged, and they comprised the vast majority of the United Nations membership.  Their adequate representation on the Council was essential, as their perspectives were often more closely aligned with the principles of the United Nations Charter than those of larger States with specific national interests.

The "United for Consensus" reform proposal was an honest effort to secure a genuinely representative enlargement of the Security Council.  Under the plan, each region would be able to devise its own arrangements for ensuring the representation of large, medium and small States.  It could also accommodate the representation of regional and subregional groupings of states.  The African position of creating permanent seats for the African region was more in concert with the "United for Consensus" proposal.  Pakistan was ready to work with Africa and Member States of other regions to promote an equal and non-discriminatory approach for all regional groups with regards to their representation on the Council.

NUÑEZ MORDOCHE ( Cuba) said that council reform was an essential part of United Nations reform, overall.  It was not possible to speak about the Organization's true reform until there was genuine reform of the Security Council, which would guarantee that it acted in the interests of all Member States, in accordance with the Charter.  With its current composition and working methods, the Council was only effective in preserving the interests of some of its permanent members.  Moreover, when hegemonic interests of its members prevailed, as in the case of Iraq, the Council had been ignored, and then obliged to accept the humiliation of a plundering.  The Council was not democratic, equitable, or representative.  While the United Nations had attempted to establish accelerated time lines for dealing with other issues, such as management reform and the authorization of various mandates, reform of the Council remained sidelined.

She said that, everyone knew that there was a minority group of countries that had no interest in reforming the Council, because they benefited from the status quo.  But, a great majority attached a high priority to that reform, and that majority position could not be ignored.  She supported a reform of the Council based on a broad and integrated approach, which dealt with its expansion and working methods.  Those could not be artificially separated and dealt with in a fragmented way, because of their interrelationship.  Regarding enlargement, she favoured extending the membership in both categories; she was not in favour of creating other categories of membership.  The fundamental objective in expansion should be to correct the insufficient representation of the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Council.  The fact that they lacked adequate representation in the Council had worked to the detriment of that body's interest, its authority and its credibility.  At the very least, in the category of permanent members, two seats should be given to Africa, two to developing countries in Asia, and two to Latin America.  Only then would the Council's composition come closer to the geographic equitable distribution to which the Organization aspired.  In addition, the new members should have the same privileges enjoyed by the current members, and all should be designated to join the Council simultaneously.

Given that it did not seem possible at the moment to eliminate the veto, the new permanent members should also be accorded that right, she continued.  Reform of the Council could not be limited only to increasing its membership, but, also to addressing a "deep" change in its actual working methods, in order to ensure true institutional transparency in its work, returning that body to the functions established under the Charter.  She was greatly concerned by the Council's growing tendency to consider subjects and assume functions outside its mandate, usurping the role given to other bodies particularly the General Assembly.  The so called changes made in recent years to the Council's working methods were really more about form than about substance.  Negotiations took place behind closed doors and often fundamental decisions were adopted outside the framework of the United Nations and then, presented as a 'fait accompli', to the rest of the Council's members.  The Assembly's working group on Council reform was the ideal framework in which to fully examine the various proposals on the table.

JOAO SALGUEIRO ( Portugal) recalled that, in December 2004, the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change had acknowledged that "the paucity of representation from the broad membership diminishes support for Security Council decisions" and that there was a need "to bring into the decision-making process countries more representative of the broader membership, especially of the developing world".  The Secretary-General had reaffirmed in his 2005 report In Larger Freedom that "no reform of the United Nations would be complete without the reform of the Security Council".  Following those two landmark reports, three draft resolutions were tabled on the question of Security Council reform, and in September 2005, world leaders had considered that early reform of the Council was an essential element of the overall United Nations reform.

He said that, among the principles that should guide those efforts, was that the reform must include concrete and ambitious proposals on both enlarging the Council and its working methods.  A "working culture" had developed over the years in the relationship between the Council and the membership at large, as well as with the Secretariat, which the Charter had not foreseen.  That body's working methods should be more open, transparent and inclusive.  The recently approved outcome of the Council's informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, if properly implemented, would constitute progress in the right direction.  A decisive improvement in the current status quo demanded action through joint structural and working method reforms.  Expansion and working methods were "two sides of the same coin".  Expanding the Council should occur through an enlargement of the existing two categories of permanent and non-permanent members.  The preservation of the impediment of immediate re-election of non-permanent members guaranteed the chances of accession to the Council by the vast majority of the United Nations membership, comprised by more than 100 small- and medium-sized States.  Concerning the veto, the requirement for concurring votes, as established by the Charter, should be expanded beyond the current permanent members.

ULLA STRÖM ( Sweden) said that, her country had advocated reform of the Security Council since the early 1990s.  For the Council to remain the primary body of our collective security system, its legitimacy and effectiveness must be assured.  The Council should be expanded with new members, allowing a stronger representation from regions such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Any reform of the membership of the Council should, however, be subject to an effective review mechanism.  The Security Council must be an effective body, able to act quickly and in a transparent way.  For that reason, the veto power should not be extended to new members.  Instead, a veto-free culture should be promoted.  The Council's working methods, transparency and its dialogue with other United Nations bodies must be strengthened.

SAMUEL OUTLULE ( Botswana) said the maintenance of international peace and security was not a matter of political and diplomatic prestige.  It was a huge responsibility, which should not belong only to a few.  Africa, therefore, demanded, as a matter of principle, permanent representation at the horseshoe table.  He said that, he was not demanding representation for Africa alone, but, also fully supported the legitimate demands of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for permanent membership.

He said it took a village to find solutions to the most intractable problems of international peace and security.  There could be no justification for demanding democracy at the national level, while at the same time denying the right to democratize international institutions.  The status quo had no justification on grounds of efficiency and effectiveness, which would be tantamount to justifying dictatorship or one-party state rule on the grounds that a democratically elected parliament would be unwieldy and dysfunctional.  Botswana fully recognized that not all Member States could be represented in an expanded Security Council.  It was, therefore, willing to be represented by brothers from Africa and the wider international community.

He said that 60 years ago some countries could do without the United Nations; today, no nation could afford to exist in a world without it.  In the field of peace and security, there were no national interests, only common challenges, which required collective efforts.

OSWALDO DE RIVERO ( Peru) said that, the reason that the Council had not been modified was because that was an issue affecting the distribution of global power.  The global power had only been modified, as a result of great geopolitical cataclysms, wars, overextension of empires and economic and technological decadence.  The great Powers were not elected; they originated from history.  That lack of realpolitik in the approach to Council reform had probably been the main cause of the paralysis.  The raw reality was that the United Nations could only work and reform itself on the basis of a realistic estimation of power.  Any reform of the Council must be initiated with a minimum consensus among the current permanent members and extend democratically, with broad consultations among all Member States.  That was the right political methodology.  The process must begin with a minimal formula, which had no possibility of veto.  No one could pretend that the new permanent Powers in the Council could be elected by the Assembly without a minimal previous agreement among the current permanent members.  Not doing so would depart from the political realism that was needed in such a reform process, and which had an impact on the current world power distribution.

She said that, she supported Council reform, but she criticized the non-realistic methodology.  Expansion should be through a wide consensus, and, in that regard, Brazil among others, had her support as a possible permanent member.  A better way to reform the Council's functioning was to make it effective in confronting crimes against humanity.  Nothing discredited the Council and the United Nations more than the inertia in facing ethnic cleansings, massive human rights violations and genocides, as in the case of Darfur.  The Council should have more permanent and non-permanent members and be more representative, but, if it did not face the issue of crimes against humanity, its reform would be useless.  To improve its functioning in that regard, the five current permanent members must reach a "gentleman's agreement" not to use their veto when the Secretary-General or regional organizations requested its action to prevent crimes against humanity, massive human rights violations, genocides and ethnic cleansings.  An approach that emphasized circumstantial political problems and the modernization of the security apparatus over economic and social gains would not succeed, and later, could destabilize weak democratic Governments that had emerged with the Council's help.

SOMDUTH SOBORUN ( Mauritius) said that, the wide spectrum of views expressed on the subject so far provided the Assembly with compelling reasons for an urgent need for equitable representation on and expansion of the Council.  "We cannot afford to continue playing the game of "stay put" on this important subject year in and year out."  A status quo is definitely not in line with the Summit decisions of 2000 and the Outcome Document 2005, he said.

The reform of the Security Council was intertwined with other reforms at the United Nations, he continued.  Reform of the other organs of the system, however good, would not achieve the desired results, so long as significant changes were not introduced in the structure and working methods of the Council in a comprehensive manner.  It was imperative that the Council opened its select club of permanent members to accommodate the legitimate claims and aspirations of an ever-changing world to better reflect the geopolitical realities and diversity, balance of power and global stability.  Above all, that was what the United Nations was all about.  By delaying a decision on a meaningful reform of the Council, the Assembly ran the risk of creating among the Member States "a reform pessimism", which, at the end of the day, could have damaging results.  Over the last 10 years, Member States had expressed sufficient views on reform.  It was high time, therefore, that the Assembly seriously consider bringing the issue to a fruitful conclusion, in the wider interest of the international community.

"Let us step back for a minute and ask ourselves the question -- for how long shall we continue to deny almost 3 billion people of the world a fair and just representation on a permanent basis at the Security Council?  And why should they be denied?", he asked, adding that it was unacceptable that Africa should continue to be denied its logical claim for permanent seats.  It was the only continent not represented in the permanent membership of the Council.  Furthermore, the demand of Latin America in that regard was equally fully justified.  Moreover, by any criteria, India, the largest democracy on the planet, more than deserved a permanent seat in the Security Council.

ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ ( Denmark) said that, the conclusion of the sixtieth General Assembly session was fast approaching, and so far, it had only made limited progress on Council reform.  The present composition of the Council was a reflection of a world that no longer existed.  The Council must continue to play a decisive role in the promotion of peace, security, respect for human rights and democracy.  But, to do so required more effective and broader representation.  She supported expansion by increasing the membership in both categories, and by including developing and developed countries as permanent members.  By doing so, voices representing the broader membership would be much stronger, thereby enhancing the legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness of the Council's decisions.  Effectiveness was meant in the sense that the collective pressure to adhere to Council decisions would increase.

She said, however, that Council reform went far beyond the question of expansion; it was also very much about addressing its working methods.  More transparency and inclusiveness was needed in its work, as that concerned the Organization's general membership.  In that regard, she welcomed the work being done by the Council to improve its working methods.  That had included efforts to enhance its efficiency and transparency, as well as stronger interaction and dialogue with non-Council members.  The issue had been on the agenda for some 13 years.  It was time now to move from reflection to action; it was time to compromise.  A stronger United Nations was needed -- a United Nations better suited to address the new threats and challenges the world was now facing -- and reform of the Council was an integral part of that effort.

FRANCIS K. BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) said that, Africa's position on the issue was clear and unambiguous -- no fewer than two permanent seats with a veto, and five non-permanent seats.  Despite other proposals, Africa maintained its position, based on principle.  It was the only continent without a permanent seat on the Council, despite its size and influence.  True, the existence of veto-wielding powers on the Council was an anomaly and anachronistic, and ideally, that arrangement should not be emulated by extending the veto right to new members.  But, as long as the veto existed, Africa did not want to join as a second-class permanent member.  Thus, the new permanent members should also have the right of veto, but at the second stage of Africa's "fight" in that regard, its members would strive to abolish the veto and have a truly democratic Council.  It should meanwhile be possible to tackle a less problematic issue, namely the expansion of the number of non-permanent members.

Also possible, he said, was to improve the working methods, since that did not involve amending the Charter.  In that regard, he was of the view that the draft resolution on that question (document A/60/L.49), submitted by Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein and Singapore, deserved support.

SIMEON ADEKANYE ( Nigeria) said it had always been Nigeria's view that United Nations reform would not be complete without an increase in the size and the composition of the Security Council.  Such reform should accommodate the legitimate claim of Africa to representation on the Council in the permanent membership category.  That outcome would reflect new realities and thereby enable the Council to gain in stature and credibility, as well as ensure that its decisions attracted wider support from the international community.

He said the issues raised in Security Council reform remained clear.  It would do a great disservice to our Organization if Member States continued to prevaricate on the matter.  He respected requests for consensus, but equally recognized that societies rarely allowed a lack of consensus to inhibit decisions.

He said reform should bring gains to all regions and address the fundamental imbalance of the Security Council composition.  Nigeria maintained an open mind in addressing that imbalance.  For such negotiations to bear fruit, they must be based on the recognition that, as the only region without a representative in the permanent membership category, Africa's legitimate aspirations should be addressed.  Nigeria, therefore, identified with those Member States whose initiatives took into account Africa's primary interest and concerns on Security Council reform.

RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said that, only a profound reform that corrected the current structural imbalances and created a more democratic and representative Security Council, with new permanent and non-permanent members from both the developed and developing world, would confer on the Council the degree of credibility and legitimacy necessary for it to more effectively address the new threats and challenges it faced.

Nearly all members of the Organization agreed that there was a pressing need for change, and a large majority had emerged with similar or coinciding views on what a reformed Council should look like.  Brazil continued to work within the context of the G-4 and, with a view to a Council expansion that reflected the group's basic positions.  The most important aspect of Council reform was that of membership and representation.  That did not mean belittling the need for updating and adapting its working methods.  Unless the question of membership was adequately dealt with, however, fundamental issues, such as the imbalance in representation and the need for more legitimacy would remain.  Any partial solution would simply perpetuate its legitimacy deficit.

He said the common goal should be a reform that corrected the historical imbalance in the Council's composition, which today excluded entire regions of the developing world from the permanent member category.  The search for consensus must not become, as some would like, an end in itself.  Consensus in a reform process should be sought on the basis of majority positions.  All points of view should be respected.  Consensus was indeed desirable, but the recent creation of both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council was a reminder that consensus was not really required by the Charter, nor was it politically indispensable.  It must not serve as an excuse not to make a decision.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that, there were large differences over the different models for reforming the Security Council, and no idea had gained sufficient support.  It was in the interests of all not to allow measures that would increase Security Council membership, while negatively impacting other elements of reform.  Without a reform of the Security Council, overall reform of the United Nations would be incomplete.

He said his delegation's basic position had not changed.  It would conscientiously consider any sensible approach to enlargement, if it was based on the broadest possible agreement, beyond the required two thirds of the General Assembly.  A key element was the need to increase the effectiveness of the Council and give it a more representative character, but not at the expense of its effectiveness, since it maintained international peace and security.  His delegation recommended a limited membership.  It would be counterproductive to limit the prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto.

On 19 July 2006, the Security Council adopted the President's Note, which laid out some positive developments.  If the initiative to improve the working methods of the Council was not based on consensus and the support of all its members, it would not be a positive agreement on all reform aspects.  He hoped that would not be the case.

REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia) said that, overhauling the Council's working methods deserved the same attention as the issue of expansion.  The question of representation was of the greatest importance to ensure that the Council, in the course of the overall reform process, carried with it the credibility of the entire international community by becoming more efficient, transparent and accountable.  In the past, regrettably, the methods adopted by the Council in its work, such as unscheduled debates, selective notification about some debates, and a reluctance to discuss certain issues in open debates, had left many Member States with a lot of questions.  Those flaws should, and could be, corrected.  The ability of the Council to maintain international peace and security would be strengthened, if it encouraged greater participation and contributions by Member States.  The Council was currently taking steps to address the concerns in that regard.

In addition, he said, the Council should increase the number of open meetings, at which the views of Member States were heard as inputs to the Council's work.  There was no doubt that the Council's credibility would be further strengthened, if it also engaged in regular, substantive exchanges of views with the other major organs particularly the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  Along with consultations between Council members and non-members, that would deeply enrich the pool of information and ideas that the Council could tap in its decision-making.  Briefings by special envoys, or representatives of the Secretary-General, or the committees of the Council should take place, as much as possible, in an open format.  It also served the Council to strengthen its relationship with troop contributors through regular interaction, rather than during the "crush" of mission planning or mandate negotiation.  The Council should also keep in mind its Charter mandate.  It must scrupulously avoid the temptation to address thematic issues within the purview of the Assembly, or EOCOSOC.  In the interest of accountability and the spirit of the Charter, he reiterated his concern about the quality of the Council's annual report to the Assembly.  More in-depth information and analysis was needed. 

MARIA ANGELA HOLGUIN ( Colombia) said that, the zeal to reform had detracted from negotiations aimed at lasting consensus.  The move from negotiation to intergovernmental consultation had weakened the capacity for agreement and mutual understanding.  Whereas negotiation allowed one to know and appreciate another's perception, consultations through facilitators and speeches did not allow for the same degree of interaction and understanding.  Thus, intergovernmental negotiation should resume again and in that way to build trusting relationships based on cooperation.  Only that way would it be possible to have solid organs responsive to the "transcendental" challenges faced today.  The need for Council reform was more valid than ever.  The use of closed "formals" to reach agreements had not yielded positive results in the past, nor was that process a basis on which lasting agreements could be built.

She stressed that reform of the Council outside consensus would only bring greater divisions.  Moreover, the Council would gradually lose its legitimacy if it sustained a composition that perpetuated privileges, rather than operating on the principle of sovereign equality and the reality of the present global order.  Reform of the Council must be inclusive and transparent.  An open and direct negotiation between States must prevail until a formula, satisfactory to all, was found.  The "Uniting for Consensus movement", had proposed a formulation that sought to integrate the majorities through a regional autonomy, aware of the particularities of each group.  The proposal was based on giving each region the capacity to present the members that would best represent it in the Council.  The plan was democratic, it allowed for accountability, and it was flexible and fair.  It gave regions the importance they held in the world today.  It was an effort, in good faith, to avoid an "all or nothing showdown".  Through committed and direct negotiation between States, it would be possible to reach consensus.  That would help rebuild the trust largely lost in the last few months.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica ) said that, now that there had been progress on reform, including in the areas of peace, development, human rights and certain institutional aspects of the work of the Secretariat, there should now be some real movement in terms of the security aspect of the equation.  It was necessary for the Council to be reformed, in order to make it more open, transparent, democratic, accountable and effective.  It was also, only logical that the Council should reflect the contemporary international community as a whole based on equitable geographic representation, and the increased representation of developing countries.  It was on that basis that Jamaica had taken the position that there should be expansion in both categories of membership of the Council, with increased representation from all regional groups.  As a principle, there should be no discrimination in the rights, privileges and status accorded to new members of the Council.

Among the recent improvements in the work of the Council, he mentioned the information provided by its presidents on the procedure and process for the selection of a new Secretary-General to lead the Organization.  The Permanent Representative of Japan had been conducting consultations within the Council on ways of improving its working methods.  His delegation continued to underscore the importance of transparency and accountability in the work of the Council.  It was also imperative to reaffirm that the development of norms related to international law, as well as treaty-making, were best left to the deliberations of the Assembly and the involvement of the wider membership.  The division of labour between the two organs must be respected.  In accordance with the Charter, it was important that the Council consider and act upon matters, which were an immediate threat to international peace and security.  The Council should be prepared to take urgent action in situations, which endangered the lives of civilians, and had the potential to result in humanitarian crises.  In all such situations, the permanent members of the Council should be prepared to act in an even-handed manner, and limit their use of the veto.

He added that it was now time for decisive and not incremental action on the Council reform.  In essence, reform should seek to enhance the legitimacy of the Council through an expanded membership, which would reflect balance and diversity, and was based on respect for the principle of equitable representation.  To be truly effective, however, the reform should go beyond expansion towards a fundamental realignment of the existing hierarchal structure of the Council, which, as currently constituted, merely perpetuated the disparities in the global distribution of power and wealth.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that, a more effective Council was in the interest of all Member States.  To strengthen the Council's role and authority, through reform, was conducive to enhancing the United Nations role, promoting multilateralism, and accelerating the democratization of international relations.  Towards that goal, he had all along supported the Council in its conduct of necessary and rational reform.  Since the beginning of the year, his delegation had reiterated that fact on many occasions.  Emphasizing three key points, he said that Council reform should be carried out on the basis of broad consensus.  A proposal that was acceptable to the overwhelming majority of Member States had not yet emerged; however, on the basis of previous proposals, efforts had intensified to reach a broad consensus.  He supported all measures that would conduct the reform in a step-by-step way, and on the basis of that broad consensus.

He said that Council reform should not just focus on expansion.  The purpose of the reform was to enhance the Council's authority and representation.  Thus, it was appropriate to both enlarge its composition and reform its working methods in a "practical and scientific" manner, so, as to fully reflect the constructive views of the large number of non-Council members, regional organizations and civil society.  Some countries had put forth several proposals, which deserved careful study.  At the same time, the Council should be encouraged to improve its own practices.  The key to the reform lay in improving representation from developing countries.  Reform was "not a power game", let alone a "private bargain" among the big Powers.  The large number of developing countries, especially the African countries, was seriously underrepresented.  Their voice was rather limited in the Council, with even fewer opportunities for them to fully participate in that body's decision-making.  That should be the priority in enlarging the Council.  Undoubtedly, it would be difficult to adopt a proposal that only addressed the concerns of a few big Powers, and failed to give equal treatment, or even ignored the voice of developing countries.

CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said veto power not only infringed on States' equal rights, but, also hampered the effectiveness of the Council, and the possibility of reaching consensus when confronting conflict situations.  National interests must also accommodate global interests, such as international peace and security, within the legitimate framework that was only granted by international law.  The achievements in reform were based on discussion, and on the search for global solutions and consensus.  For that reason, a positive and flexible attitude was needed.  Not a single State, not even the most powerful, was able to obtain everything it wanted, and that fact must be kept in mind during the current debate.  Security Council reform should not be approached with stubbornness and inflexibility; compromises were inevitably needed.  Intransigence had led to a dead end in Security Council reform.

The issue was not one that could be put to vote.  It was a fundamental change of an essential issue of the Charter and of the Organization.  A serious negotiation process must begin.  Increasing permanent membership as a definitive decision was an unfair solution, as well as an inefficient one.  The proposal put forward by Uniting for Consensus offered a possible way forward.  A sincere dialogue could take place within the working group or within any other informal setting, and could possibly be initiated at the regional level.  Most of the political problems that prevented the international community from moving forward resided in historical perceptions and geopolitical considerations that were present in the various regions.

MARTIN PALOUS ( Czech Republic) said that, for more than a decade, the United Nations had been engaged in attempts to adjust the Council to the new geopolitical realities, but to no avail.  The core structure of that body still reflected the situation at the end of the Second World War, some 60 years ago.  Since then, not only had new Powers and important new actors emerged, but the nature of the threats to international peace and security had changed considerably.  Today's world was facing new threats, such as terrorism, in addition to the more traditional conflicts between States, which were of no less concern.  To address those challenges effectively, the Council must become more representative, transparent and efficient.  The reform and expansion of the Council was unavoidable, and he had consistently worked towards such a change.  He shared the majority view that the absence of such a reform not only undermined the Council's ability to act, but possibly, also hampered progress in other areas of United Nations reform.

He said that, in selecting new permanent members of the Council, one should take into account the overall role played by the candidates in world affairs, their political, economic, and military strength, as well as their readiness to participate in safeguarding international peace and security, and assume greater financial responsibility for the United Nations.  Through the years, he had supported the aspirations of Germany and Japan for permanent seats, along with the allocation of other new permanent seats for Latin America, Asia and Africa.  There was no doubt that new permanent members from among the developing countries would help to enhance the Council's credibility.  Consistent with its long-term position on Council reform, his country -- a co-sponsor of the G-4 resolution of last year, continued to support the approach outlined in that text.  The proposal offered a realistic and viable model for Council expansion and upgrade of its working methods.  That model still had the potential to garner majority support.

DIEGO CORDOVEZ ( Ecuador) said he supported any effort to reform the United Nations.  Reform of the Security Council was key to enabling the United Nations to play the role its founders and current members envisioned for it.  The Council must be given greater authority, efficiency and relevance in responding to international problems.  The international community must respond to public opinion, which clamoured for the organization to respond with efficiency to the challenges that confronted peace and international security daily, and with greater frequency and severity.

He said the Security Council should be the guardian and custodian of political stability in the world, as well as the main vehicle for resolving international conflict.  In order to carry out its role effectively, the Council must urgently change its composition and bring itself up to date.  A lack of representation had most eroded the effectiveness and efficiency of the Council.  Ecuador supported any proposal seeking to change the Council's composition to ensure that it was more representative.  He also favoured proposals to improve its working methods, and supported any action that sought to reconcile different positions on that question, so that a new formula for composition of council that would please everybody can be found.

JOHAN C. VERBEKE ( Belgium) said that the lack of progress was affecting the Council's authority.  Expectations had been created at the 2005 World Summit.  He was seeking Council reform, not for the sake of reform itself, but, because of his concern about the Council's authority, legitimacy and effectiveness.  The world had changed and, with that, the centre of power.  New actors and regional Powers had emerged.  It was appropriate for the Council, whose chief responsibility was world stability, to reflect, far more than it presently had, the new geopolitical reality.  Make no mistake, however:  what could be gained in legitimacy by increasing the Council's membership could be lost in terms of its effectiveness.  Thus, it must be ensured that the increase in the numbers and nature of the new members did not decrease effectiveness.  Both aspects of reforming the Council were closely linked in determining the level of that effectiveness.  Efforts under way within the Council itself to reform its working methods were commendable, and he had listened with interest to the S-5 proposals.

Concerning the veto, he said he would prefer a nuanced approach.  To say that the veto should be abolished was too simplistic, as that right was a commitment and a specific responsibility.  Without that, the Council would be weakened.  The modalities for how the veto would be exercised, however, should be adapted.  A point of balance should be found to reconcile legitimacy and effectiveness, he said.

HAMID AL BAYATI ( Iraq) said that, while many critical United Nations reforms had taken place, other areas remained, including the reform of the Security Council and the revitalization of the General Assembly.  The issue of terrorism was one of the main challenges facing the international community, and, international efforts were required to combat it.  Iraq had now become a major launching pad for terrorists, who were claiming victims among the civilian population.  Iraq condemned terrorism in all its forms, no matter who committed it.

He said Security Council reforms should make the body more representative and transparent.  Improving Security Council working methods would allow the international community to reach consensus on enlarging the Council itself.  Of particular importance was the increase of permanent and non-permanent seats to make the Council more democratic without impinging on its effectiveness.  The Council's working methods also needed to be improved, since it impacted the interests of all member States.  Increasing the number of permanent seats affected only a limited number of states.

He said that, recently there had been an increase in the number of public meetings of the Council and the participation of non-member states when debates concerned their specific interest.  He hoped for an increase in the role of regional organizations, since most threats were regional in nature.  In considering the Council's working methods, it was also important to consider the sanctions regime and the use of the veto.  There needed to be a balance between effectiveness and the effect on civilian populations.  Sanctions should be applied only for limited periods of time and their impact should be taken into account.  Their objective was to ensure international peace and security without resorting to force.  Sanctions were not a collective punishment, but for specific individuals and regimes.  Improving the work of sanctions committees set up by the Security Council should avoid any collective punishment.

He said the veto should be limited to cases involving Chapter VII, and not be used in cases involving genocide or massive violations of human rights.  He also supported the idea of an indicative vote before an official vote, and said the right of veto should only come into effect, if two countries apply it.  Reform should reflect the balance between particular organs and their mandates.

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said that the Council should be representative, responsible, active and more transparent and flexible.  More importantly, it should be capable of adapting to the new international challenges, and better reflect the present reality.  Expanding its membership was imperative.  The United Nations had spent nearly 13 years discussing Council reform, and he sincerely supported all constructive efforts to do so.   There would be no true reform of the United Nations without Council reform.  Thus, the time had "come and gone a long time ago" for Council reform.  Its present composition was constituted in 1945, when 51 States belonged to the Organization, as compared to the 192 countries today.

He said, however, that the main principles of the Charter were still valid today.  In that context, Council reform and expansion was part and parcel of developing and activating the United Nations role.  He looked forward to more discussions among Member States in that regard, as well as to more discussions among the Council members concerning their working methods.  The Council must be representative in a way that reflected the nature of the contemporary world, especially as concerned the inclusion of the developing world.  Expanding the Council's membership, however, must not be allowed to undermine its effectiveness.  He favoured restricting or abolishing the use of the veto.

The continuous attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory must cease, he added.  The flagrant attack on Lebanon, and the complete destruction of property and infrastructure in residential areas there must also be stopped, as the number casualties among civilians were rising.  Israel must halt that "illegal bloodletting".  The Council should not discuss the matter as it moved from one crisis to another, but search for the root causes, in order to bring about a comprehensive solution.  The volatility in Lebanon would lead to an "explosion in the entire area", and impact all countries in the region.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ( Guatemala) said any reform of the Security Council should not limit itself exclusively to the number of members, but should also examine its working and decision-making methods.  Transparency and effectiveness were essential to the legitimacy of the Security Council, as was the participation of non-member states when issues of interest to them were debated.  Guatemala supported an open and accessible Council.  For that reason, he welcomed initiatives such as the one offered by the S-5, and was pleased to see that the Council had adopted some of the views in that initiative.  He supported the possibility of coordinating the work of the General Assembly, Security Council and ECOSOC.

He said he hoped for a more representative, balanced and transparent Council.  Reform would not be complete unless membership was increased.  That increase should apply to permanent and non-permanent members, ensuring appropriate geographical distribution that included developed and developing countries.  He sympathized with the aspirations of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan to become permanent members, but, also considered it essential that Africa be represented in that category as well.

HARALD ASPELUND ( Iceland) said that, an effective reform of the United Nations entailed a comprehensive reform of the Council, both in expansion of its membership and working methods. Iceland had consistently supported calls for increased transparency in the work of the Council.  Some substantive steps had been taken in that regard, such as more open briefings, meetings and debates, which he welcomed.  However, further measures were needed to improve the working methods.  With that in mind, he welcomed the so called S-5 draft tabled by Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland.  However, his delegation remained convinced that for a meaningful reform of the Council, an increase in the members of both permanent and non-permanent members of the Council was necessary.  The Council needed to be more representative, and thus, more legitimate to better mirror today's geopolitical realities.

Iceland was one of the co-sponsors of the so called G-4 resolution introduced during the fifty-ninth session, he added.  Iceland, also, fully supported the same draft resolution retabled by Brazil, Germany and India at the beginning of this year.  At the same time, the S-5 proposal was not mutually exclusive to the working methods part of the G-4 proposal.  Member States must continue to be engaged in serious negotiations on the matter.  It was essential to use the current momentum and take action soon.

ROSEMARY BANKS (New Zealand) said that, on the size and composition of a reformed Council, she continued to be guided by the same principles set out in previous statements: she agreed that Council reform was an element of the overall reform agenda, but, as in other areas of reform, she could not advance until there was sufficiently broad agreement to validate the change.   She would prefer to see a Council that was more broadly representative, effective and transparent in its operation.  Her country had not, yet, taken a position on how that should happen, and it remained open-minded to new options.  It did believe, however, that any expansion must include Japan.  There did not, yet, appear to be any emerging consensus on changing the Council's composition.  While exploration continued in that regard, she saw scope for changes to working methods, which would allow the Council to become more efficient, and, at the same time, strengthen its relationship among members and non-members.  For that reason, she welcomed the proposals submitted by Switzerland, Singapore, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica and Jordan.  She agreed with their rationale that closer cooperation between the Council and the membership at large would help the Council fulfil its mandate.

She said that, with so many serious issues currently occupying the Council, the influence and credibility of the United Nations was enhanced when the wider membership had confidence in the Council's decisions, a heightened sense of collective ownership of those decisions, and a commitment to the obligations they carried.  She supported several of the proposals put forth by the S 5.  Among them were: regular and timely consultations between members and non-members of the Council, the inclusion in its subsidiary bodies of non-members with a strong interest, and relevant expertise in their mandates.  The Council should also enhance consultations with troop contributing countries.

NEMUUN GAL ( Mongolia) said his country believed that the composition of the Security Council had ceased to reflect current world realities, such as changes in the membership of the Organization since the end of the Second World War, the collapse of the colonial system, and the bipolar world order.  Member States had different points of view on how to solve the current situation and at what pace to move.  The point of departure for Mongolia remained a just and equitable expansion of the Council in both its permanent and non-permanent membership, ensuring due representation of both developing and developed countries.  Criteria for selecting additional permanent members must include: equitable geographical distribution, a genuine commitment of the aspirant countries to the goals and objectives of the United Nations, as well as a capacity to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.  Mongolia continued to support Japan, Germany and India in their legitimate aspirations and believed that Africa and Latin America also needed to be duly represented on the Council.

He said improving Council working methods was also an essential element of the reform.  The core efforts in that area should ensure that the Council would be more mindful of the views of the general United Nations membership in the decisions that it took, and that a more harmonious, complementary and cooperative relationship exist between the Security Council and the General Assembly.  Reform of the Council should not be to the detriment of the increased authority and role of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative body of the United Nations.  Mongolia was also supportive of a so called review clause to be included in any expansion scenario.

KIRSTI LINTONEN ( Finland) said Security Council reform was an important part of the process of reforming the United Nations.  The Council must be effective in carrying out its responsibilities.  For most countries, membership on the Council was a rare and limited opportunity, even though all Member States were required to implement its decisions.

She said the number of both permanent and non-permanent members should be enlarged to take into account the realities of the twenty-first century.  She also supported a reform of the Council's working methods, in order to make the body more transparent.  She also welcomed the note of the working group, which was a good practical step in enhancing the openness of working methods.

ROBERT HILL ( Australia) said that, he was disappointed that the Summit process in 2005 had not arrived at an acceptable outcome on Council reform.  That was a missed opportunity.  However, it was not the end of the road and, along with many other states, Australia remained engaged with the process of Council reform.  A more representative Council needed to be balanced against the ongoing need for it to effectively discharge its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.  Its ability to act resolutely, decisively and quickly was paramount.  Its responsibility for collective security placed upon it the highest expectations of the international community and, it should not be enlarged in a way that would make it unwieldy or unable to make consensus decisions.  Creation of a small number of new permanent and non-permanent positions on the Council seemed to be an appropriate way to achieve that balance.

Australia considered the claims of Japan and India to be clear.  Both made major contributions to the United Nations system, either in financial contributions, peacekeeping commitments, or through a history of consistent and active engagement with the Organization.   Australia also continued to support Brazil and appropriate African representation.  It had consistently opposed the extension of veto rights to any new members.

Reform of the Council went hand in hand with reform of the Council's working methods, he said.  The workload of the Council appeared to increase in intensity and volume each year, and it made sense to review its mechanisms.  To that end, he was grateful for the S-5 proposals.  He also noted the work of Ambassador Oshima and his colleagues in the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.  A number of ideas produced could ultimately improve the effectiveness of the Council. In working towards appropriate processes for the Council, he wanted to sound a note of caution, however, saying that it was important not to jeopardize the Council's capacity to act in accordance with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as outlined in Article 24 of the Charter.  That criterion should be applied to any proposed reforms of the working methods.

MICHEL DUCLOS ( France) said it was the appropriate time to begin serious discussion of Security Council reform.  Many options had been studied over recent months, and those discussions strengthened his delegation's views that enlargement should concern permanent and non-permanent members as a precondition for achieving broad consensus.  More than ever before, France was strongly supporting Germany, Brazil, India and Japan as permanent members of the Council; however, the African continent must also be allowed to play its full role in a reformed Security Council.  Reform of the Council membership was not aimed at satisfying the ambitions of one or another party, but for all.  It would also ensure that the Council's authority was enhanced.

In addition, he said, the Council's working methods must also be reformed.  He welcomed the proposals submitted by the Japanese ambassador.  Those measures represented an important step forward in terms of inclusiveness and transparency.  Once again, it was not a question of satisfying one or another party, but an issue of improving the effectiveness of the Security Council.  France would continue to strive with the greatest possible energy for the achievement of meaningful results.

ANDRZEH TOWPIK ( Poland) said that conditions for finding a solution were better now than before, because the efforts to reform the Council had intensified in recent months, and some steps had already been taken.  In the public perception, the Security Council reform was seen as a test of the Organization's ability to adapt to new realities.  Several drafts of the solution had been presented and their advantages and disadvantages had been considered.  The two processes -- one of expansion and the other of improvement of the work methods -- were mutually complementary.  They could facilitate finding a solution to each of them and move forward the reform of the Council as a whole.  Among other things, he also welcomed the results of the work of the Council's Working Group on Documentation and Procedural Questions.  Also, in April, a productive session of an ad hoc group on equitable representation in the Council had taken place.

He saw the current debate as a resumption of the dialogue on reform, he continued.  The overhaul of the Council should cover both its composition and working methods, and should involve both categories of membership.  While approaching the category of permanent members, it was necessary, first of all, to follow the philosophy of the Charter, namely reflection of the existing realities of power.  The presence in the Council and the cooperation of the main world's actors was not only desirable, but necessary.  He supported the aspirations of those countries, which made and had been able to make particular contributions to the United Nations system.  A larger number of members should also reflect the growing United Nations membership and representation of all regions.  Broader membership of the United Nations and equitable geographic distribution should be the basic guideline for the enlargement of the non-permanent category.  An additional seat was needed for the Eastern European region, which had doubled its membership in recent years.

The idea of non-extension of the veto power to new permanent members seemed to be widely accepted and should be incorporated into a future solution, he said.  Similarly, a proposal to review the solution after 15 years had already found a broad level of approval.  The commitment to such a review assured that Member States did not create a kind of eternal structure.  To the contrary, he envisaged possible changes of circumstances and possible adaptation of today's decisions to future and unpredictable developments.  Non-extension of veto to new permanent members was a guarantee that Member States would not create new obstacles on the way to such adaptation.  It was also necessary to take into account already agreed upon and possible further changes in the work of the Council.  They should lead to closer cooperation of the Council members with non-members and regional organizations, to greater transparency and accountability of the Council, as well as greater inclusion of non-members.

VANU GOPALA MENON ( Singapore) said he supported enlarging the Council, in order to better reflect the current geopolitical realities.  Today's world was different from 1945, yet, the Council remained essentially unchanged.  If consensus was reached on its expansion, he would support enlarging both permanent and non-permanent seats, including the working methods.  He reiterated his support for the G-4 draft resolution on the question of expansion, absent the question of the veto.  Three of the G-4 countries and the African Union had resubmitted their proposals on the issue and, hopefully, there would be some progress in the near future.  The right of the veto was born of a different era.  It was a privilege and a "safety valve" conferred on the five victorious Powers from the Second World War to secure their participation in the United Nations.  With the situation different today, he opposed granting the veto to any new permanent members.  Extending the veto would complicate the Council's decision-making, and undermine the Organization's credibility.  He suspected that would only encourage the major Powers to bypass the Council to the detriment of all.  At the same time, the reality must be accepted that the permanent five members would not give up their veto right.

He said he also had strong reservations on semi-permanent seats.  That would only allow "medium Powers" to seek election to both the renewable seats, whatever their length of term, and the existing two-year non-renewable seats.  In practice, that would result in the exclusion of smaller States, which was unfair.  Even if it were possible for all Member States to compete for both categories of non-permanent seats, the net result would be similar.  That was unfair to approximately 100 small States, which had never served on the Council.  He could not support proposals that excluded or made it difficult for small countries to serve on key bodies of the United Nations.  Such exclusiveness would do nothing to improve the Council's "representativeness".

Equally important were the Council's working methods, he said.  If the aim was to make that body more effective, comprehensive reform, which included working methods, must be undertaken.  Those two aspects of the reform should be pursued on parallel tracks and not be hostage to each other.  Working methods reform was about ensuring that the Council was transparent and inclusive in its decision-making. It was about ensuring that the Council's decisions had "buy-in" from stakeholders, thereby making them more legitimate and effective.  While the current effort of the working group was commendable, it did not do enough to cover aspects dealing with interactions between Council and non-Council members.  Thus, the so called S 5 had put forward a text on that issue.

D. ÍÑIGO DE PALACIO ESPAÑA ( Spain) said the possibilities for broad representation should not increase any inequalities.  For that reason, he encouraged the creation of 10 new elected, non-permanent members, which would allow the Council to be more democratic, and for the Council to report periodically to all Member States.  All regional groups should benefit from the creation of new elected non-permanent seats, and the distribution should allow for better rotation, especially for medium or small States.  Regional groups should be able to decide mechanisms for rotation and re-election of members, though elections should still be based in the General Assembly, as established by the Charter.

He said increasing membership would be incomplete if it did not go hand in hand with a reform of Council working methods.  There needed to be a greater participation by non-member States in Council debates.  A hasty decision without broad agreement would run counter to the legitimate aspirations of a great majority of States, which favoured an expansion that offered opportunities to all, through the democratic election by the General Assembly.

The United for Consensus movement considered that only through negotiation of distinct proposals would it be possible to reach an agreement, he said.  Maximalistic positions, which sought reform that would simply broaden differences between Members, had not drawn support from a majority of delegations; so, a rigorous negotiation process must be undertaken to reach a compromise solution.  Only that type of negotiation process would allow the international community to make headway in the necessary reform process.

PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said that, today's two meetings were all the more crucial following the significant progress made following the 2005 Summit.  Member States must now ensure, in the spirit of unity and openness, that significant progress in the long-awaited reform of the Security Council will be achieved.  His delegation fully supported the common African position on the matter, which had been presented by the representative of Algeria today.  It was based on the sad fact of the injustice that Africa had suffered.  Despite its countries' massive participation in the life of the United Nations, 53 African nations had been denied participation on the Council.  That situation was particularly paradoxical, in view of the fact that some 70 per cent of the issues dealt with by the Organization related to the African continent.  That was an anomaly of history that needed to be corrected.

Africa should be accorded two permanent seats with the same prerogatives as current members, as well as five non-permanent positions, he continued.  The choice of candidates should belong to the African countries themselves.  It was also necessary to improve the working methods of the Council, ensuring greater transparency and accountability.  The reform could be achieved with the needed political will.  The Council should be better prepared to deal with the challenges of today's world.

NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana) said the Council's membership must be expanded and its working methods updated so that it would achieve higher standards of representation, transparency and accountability.  His country subscribed to the African common position, as Africa must be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the Organization.  He, therefore, reiterated the call for Africa to be allotted at least two permanent seats on the Council, with all the prerogatives, including the right of veto, as long as that right continued to exist.  In addition, Africa should get five non-permanent seats.

He said considerable progress had been achieved in improving the Council's working methods.  Ultimately, increased transparency, broader representation and participation, as well as easier access would enhance the Council's authority and legitimacy.  In an era of democratic governance, it was becoming increasingly difficult to defend a system whereby 5 of the 192 Member States had special powers and privileges.  It was dysfunctional that any one of the five could paralyze action by the most important organ of the collective security system.  As Paul Kennedy had noted, "the ever-changing nature of the international political system -- in a word, the rise and fall of Great Powers -- cannot be frozen or halted by a mere contract".

KAREN PIERCE ( United Kingdom) said that, her country remained a strong advocate of Council reform, including expansion.  The Council remained, and needed to remain, an efficient and effective body able to tackle the many modern challenges of international peace and security.  The United Kingdom was disappointed, however, that the debate on Council expansion had remained stalled for too long.  She wanted to see a Council fully representative of the modern world and of today's United Nations.  That was why her country remained strongly supportive of permanent seats for Japan, Germany, Brazil and India, on an enlarged Security Council.  She supported permanent representation for Africa and wanted to see more non-permanent seats, so that the Organization's entire membership would have more frequent opportunities to serve on the Council.  The challenge remained to find a way through the current impasse, and fresh thinking was required.

Reform was not just about expansion, she continued.  Her country had long supported attempts to review how the Council operated, in order to strengthen its effectiveness, enhance its efficiency, improve its transparency, and expand its interaction with others.  Everybody had agreed in the Summit Outcome Document that it was time for the Council to do that.  The United Kingdom was, therefore, delighted that the Council's Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions had produced a wide range of tangible proposals.  Her country had been an energetic participant in that process.  The outcomes, which -- as indicated by the Japanese delegation -- had been endorsed yesterday by the Council, would help that body work even better and would ensure that communication between the Council and the wider membership represented in the Assembly remained active and beneficial, and continued to develop.

She also noted the comments from the group of five countries -- Switzerland, Costa Rica, Jordan, Singapore and Liechtenstein -- and others, on the need for the Council reform.  "We share a common objective," she said.  Her country also believed that it was right that all members of the United Nations expressed their views and input positively into the reform debate.  Security Council reform had a bearing on all Member States and a more effective Council was in all their interests.

IVAN PIPERKOV ( Bulgaria) said Council reform should reinforce the representative character, effectiveness, legitimacy and transparency of the Council's activities.  Expansion was an essential part of the overall strategy to achieve a reformed and credible Council.  Although, regrettably, no decision on reform had been achieved, there had been a productive and useful exchange of views in both the Assembly and the open-ended Working Group, as well as in regional groups.

He said that, it was no longer acceptable that major countries and international powers were not at the table.  Also, the increased overall number of Member States strongly pointed to the need for enlargement in permanent and non-permanent categories.  Regarding the non-permanent category, his country supported an enlargement that would ensure maintenance of the balance between the permanent and non-permanent members, as well as the equitable regional distribution.  In that regard, the wish for an additional seat for the Group of Eastern European States, whose membership had doubled over the last decade, was a "legitimate and justified aspiration".

Regarding the working methods, he said that, given the regional character of most of the issues on the Council's agenda, the effectiveness of the Council's activities would increase substantively if the views of the regional and concerned States, as well as those of regional organizations, were duly taken into consideration.  A standard procedure should be established to allow for their participation in the consultations of the Council.

ROMAN KIRN ( Slovenia) said that, many delegations, including his own, had hoped for some results on the Council reform to have been achieved by the end of 2005, but, no progress had been made on the issue.  He saw no other way but to continue the discussions in a search for the widest possible agreement on the issue.  Not only did that remain the Assembly's compelling task, but, it was also widely accepted that no United Nations reform would be completed without the Security Council reform.  Therefore, the issue should be brought to the attention of the leaders at the general debate of the next session: not because Member States lacked policy vision, but rather, because they needed more political will to change.

The Council reform must be a comprehensive one and must include both enlargement and working methods, he continued.   Slovenia supported the enlargement of the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.  That was the only appropriate way for the Council to achieve broader representation, by including countries that had the most responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and to ensure adequate and equitable geographical representation of all regional groups, including the Eastern European one, whose membership in the United Nations had doubled in recent years.  Therefore, Slovenia supported the enlargement of the Council that would include an additional seat for the Group in the category of non-permanent members.

Working methods of the Council were equally important, he said.  It was necessary to increase the involvement of a wider United Nations membership in the work of the Council, and thus, to ensure greater transparency of its work.  Improved working methods were needed to better enable the Organization, including the Council to collectively address today's threats and challenges, in a globalized world.   Slovenia supported draft resolution A/60/L.49, which it saw as an important contribution to the transparency, inclusiveness and accountability of the Council's work.

HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said Security Council reform was very important within the global reform process.  Chile sought a renewal of the Council that would give it greater transparency and effectiveness.  It shared the idea of enlarging the number of permanent and non-permanent members, but, that should go hand in hand with improving its working methods and finding a new way of understanding the rights and obligations of its members.  Chile also supported bringing in new permanent members without the veto, based on the principle of equality before the law of states and democratization of international organizations.

Although total elimination of veto was far off, he said it was important to take into account intermediate measures, such as restricting its use to items under Chapter VII, and excluding cases of genocide and crimes against humanity.  Improved working methods should generate greater transparency and effectiveness.  Chile would continue to support the aspirations of small countries seeking permanent seats, such as Brazil, from its region, and would work to build the consensus that was needed for complete and successful reform of the Organization.

ENRIQUE BERRUGA ( Mexico) said that, prior to addressing the issues before the Assembly today, he wanted to express his country's deepening concern about the situation in the Middle East, and regret over the significant number of civilian casualties.  His Government supported continuing efforts aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to the conflicts that affected that region.  It was both interesting and instructive to witness the contrast between the Assembly's deliberations and the status of discussions in the Council.

Mexico's main objective was to foster a substantive reform of the Council, which would allow that body to act with efficacy and legitimacy demanded by the complex agenda of today's world; a reform that would update the composition and the working methods of the Council, so that it could efficiently tackle the threats to international peace and security.  Despite its long deliberations on the matter, the Assembly had not succeeded in coming up with a reform formula that could gather a sufficiently broad consensus and avoid a damaging division among the membership.  None of the initiatives that had been put forward held the necessary support to produce a feasible and widely accepted reform.  It was time to address the issue from a fresh and different approach.

From the systemic point of view, the Assembly's deliberations could not be guided by any other purpose than guaranteeing that the reform produced the best possible collective security system.  Whatever architecture the Member States came up with, it had to stand the test and demonstrate that it could perform significantly better than the current one in maintaining global peace and security.  From the political point of view, legitimacy, transparency, accountability and the need to update the Council's membership, the permanent or non-permanent nature of the seats and particularly the issue of the balance of power at the onset of the twenty-first century were among the elements that needed to be considered.

There was a noticeable divorce between the core needs of collective security and political considerations of Member States, he said.  A more efficient Security Council was needed and also one that was perceived as truly representative of today's world.  The structure of the Council needed to be sufficiently flexible and should be able to adjust to the ever-changing nature of the international scene.  Its composition should, at the same time, be sufficiently balanced and meaningful to strengthen its legitimacy.

In working out a solution, he stressed the importance of a shared assessment of the Council's deficiencies and strengths.  Without that, alternatives to improve the Council would not be produced.  A process of open, transparent and inclusive negotiations in which Member States elaborated on the system's current flaws and proposed collective strategies to tackle the threats and challenges was needed.  It would be useful to replicate the consultations that had taken place to create the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.  It would be useful to take advantage of the mechanism that had already proven to be effective.  His delegation invited the presidency of the General Assembly to work on a proposal to kick-off a round of negotiations that could guide Member States in shaping up the most necessary reform.  His delegation would participate in such negotiations in a committed and constructive fashion.

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