On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) Group, allow me to first express our appreciation for reiterating your will to make the reform of the Security Council a priority for your mandate fully reflective of the commitment you had made during your acceptance speech as President of the General Assembly, clearly affirming your will to advance discussions on this crucial matter.
As your letter of 22 October states, this issue is an important element in our “overall effort to strengthen the Organization” of the United Nations. An effort, I would add, more urgent now than ever, as we near the seventieth anniversary of the UN and as the Security Council faces more compelling and challenging times. On what I hope we will be able to do will depend the future and credibility of the entire UN system.
We also wish to join previous speakers in thanking China for presenting the Security Council’s annual report to the General Assembly and the United States for preparing its introduction.
These many years of negotiations have not passed in vain. We have shared our views, in a transparent and collegial way, on a particularly thorny issue that is of interest to the entire membership. Dialogue, when open and genuine, is always constructive, even if there are differences. It is precisely in the awareness –and full respect- of these persistent divisions among the membership, not only on the substance of the Security Council reform, but also with regard to how to move the process forward, that I would like to briefly summarize the key elements of the proposal of the UfC Group.
– We remain absolutely convinced that the creation of new permanent individual members would be a mistake. We invite the entire membership to carefully weigh the consequences of such a solution. In our view, it would not be in line with the interests of the vast majority of Member States, from all regional Groups. It would in fact benefit only a handful of the 193 Member States and would not be a step towards a more democratic Security Council either.
– Such an outcome would add another unjustifiable layer of “hierarchy” not only within single regional groups but also in the larger framework of the international community, exacerbating rather than reconciling severe differences and divisions.
UfC understands the aspirations of the African group for equitable representation and to play its rightful role in the work of the Council. We recognize in particular that the African demand for equal rights and for a solution to the problem of its historic under-representation is a demand on behalf of and for the entire African continent. It is not an individual pursuit of power and privilege as it is for others. We appreciate that the strength of the African position results from its unity and consensus. We also believe in regional ownership and consensus, and therefore respect that position.
We remain ready to continue working with Africa in promoting equal and non-discriminatory approaches for all groups with regard to their representation on the Council.
The Security Council, in line with decision 62/557, needs a comprehensive reform, based on all five interrelated clusters: categories of membership; the veto; size and working methods; regional representation; and the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly. Nobody would benefit from a piecemeal approach and rushed solutions motivated mainly by the desire to increase the number of seats in the Security Council. We should not fall back to the mistakes made in the past when attempts to push through hurried and divisive solutions have both failed and made the entire reform exercise even more complicated.
UfC is the only negotiating Group that has already officially tabled two concrete proposals for Security Council reform, in 2005 and in 2009, for the purpose of contributing actively to the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process (introducing, for example, the suggestion of long-term non-permanent seats, allocated on a regional basis).
UfC is open to consider also new ideas, for the purpose of bridging the gap with other groups, taking into account everyone’s proposals and legitimate aspirations.
Let me reiterate the UfC’s full commitment to decision 62/557, also with respect to the principle that the IGN is the only legitimate forum to take decisions on Security Council reform and find a solution that can garner the widest possible acceptance.
In this respect, with reference to the recent decision of creating an “Advisory Group” to the PGA on the Security Council reform process, UfC members have already conveyed their assessment in their letter of October 31st , which you have kindly agreed to respond to by meeting with us yesterday. You stressed the fact that the group would have only a consultative purpose and not be representative of any of the negotiating parties; that the Advisory Group would not have a negotiating role or a mandate to draft or streamline any negotiating document or a basis for negotiations; lastly, that the Advisory Group will not overlap or substitute the IGN. We thank you for these clarifications.
On the other hand, Mr. President, as we mentioned yesterday, there are still conflicting interpretations of the group’s mandate and some of these, stated publically by some Member States, do not seem to ensure the balance, equity, accountability and transparency that an issue of this complexity would require. In this regard, we draw your attention to our above-referred letter regarding the composition of the Advisory Group and its purported mandate, as mentioned in your communication.
Thus as a group that has hinged its negotiating activities on the respect of these principles, we deem crucial to reiterate today, before the entire membership, the firm position of UfC on this matter. In particular:
– The members of the Advisory Group, given their undeniable experience and professionalism, will undoubtedly be able to provide your Excellency with a useful contribution of ideas.
– We underscore that such a group cannot bypass the IGN process and the framework provided by Decision 62/557, as well as subsequent decisions of the General Assembly and that it must not jeopardize the membership-driven nature of this process.
– Therefore, we do not recognize the Group as entitled to perform any drafting role on behalf of other member states, including imposing any kind of negotiating text on behalf of others. This would indeed go fully counter to the membership-driven nature of the process.
Allow me to conclude by stressing that any future solution to the Security Council reform process will require bold leadership and willingness on the part of our Governments to compromise.
This approach has been at the core of UfC’s engagement in all nine previous negotiating sessions of the IGN. Unfortunately, but frankly, our efforts have not been reciprocated so far.
Nevertheless, let me reaffirm, on behalf of the entire UfC Group, that we intend to maintain this stance also at the next IGN sessions. We are determined to continue to engage with flexibility and a genuine political openness, so that together we may update the Security Council to today’s new reality, increasing its accountability, transparency and effectiveness.
Thank you Mr. President