Since the establishment of the Open-Ended Working Group on Security Council in 1993, its yearly reports, had for five consecutive years, been submitted, considered and adopted by the General Assembly. Yet, even though there is agreement on the objective to reform and to increase the Council’s membership, a clearly acceptable and ratifiable proposal, for enlargement is still eluding us.
During past general debates, the delegation of Cyprus had on the highest level, placed on record its views on this all important issue. We support the expansion of the Council by increasing both Permanent and non-permanent members, on the basis of an equitable geographical distribution of seats, whereby the present imbalance situation between developed and developing countries, may be addressed.
A criterion in according permanent seat status should be the considerable contribution to the budget, to the maintenance of international peace and security and the other purposes of the United Nations, as is the case of India in our own Asian regional group.
We feel that the enlargement is necessary in view of the increase in the membership of the United Nations. We also feel that such increase will render it more participative and more representative. Its decisions will be more credible and authoritative, as representing all the member states on behalf of which it is mandated, by the UN Charter, to act.
We are at the threshold of the new set, of one thousand years. The Security Council must be prepared to address the vast challenges of the new millennium as a guarantor of peace and security. Expanding it and improving further its working methods, would have beneficial effects, while any attempt to exclude developing countries from any strata of the Council membership, will weaken its credibility and the support to its actions.
What is needed for the enlargement of the Council, is political will and flexibility for an overwhelmingly supported decision. There is already general realization that reform of the Security Council is inevitable. We hope, therefore, that by expanding the areas of concurrence in previous sessions of the Open-Ended Working Group, we will be making positive steps forward, towards a general agreement.
Reform of the Security Council is not only a matter of composition and size. It entails also the reviewing of its working methods, so as to provide even more transparency and greater accountability to the general membership of the United Nations. The more the accountability, the stronger the Security Council.
We must welcome here the progress made in the working methods of the Security Council, especially on transparency. We view, for example, the summing up by the outgoing presidents, the briefings at the end of its meetings by the President of the Security Council and the providing of background information in its reports to the General Assembly as positive developments.
There is no doubt that more transparency is needed about the consultations in the Council’s caucus meetings, as well as information and assessment as to how or to what extent the views of non-members of the Security Council, who are participating in its debates on items of concern to them, influence or failed to influence the decision-making process.
We support the Indian proposal as to the incorporation in the Annual Report of an assessment of the Council on the usefulness and helpfulness of its own action and we are willing to discuss and consider the proposal of Germany for reporting to the General Assembly the reasons for the use of the veto.
While we understand the usefulness and positive effects of informal consultation meetings, we feel they should be used sparingly, not routinely as today. The Council must do more towards increasing the participation of non-members of the Council to its deliberations. Closed meetings frustrate such participation. In this regard, we favour the recent practice for more open consultations meetings of the Security Council to the general membership. The Council’s close cooperation with the General Assembly need further elaboration.
Thank you, Mr. President.