November 24, 2017

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly – Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council

Mr. President,

Since the establishment of the Open-Ended Working Group on Security Council in 1993, its yearly reports had been submitted, considered and adopted by the General Assembly. Yet, even though there is agreement on the objective to reform and increase the Council’s membership, a clearly acceptable proposal for enlargement is still eluding us.

During past general debates, the delegation of Cyprus had at the highest level, placed on record its views on this all-important issue. 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 also 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 imbalanced situation between developed and developing countries, will 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.

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. We understand the frustration of many countries for the lack of progress in this area. We recognize of course, the positive steps made in the open-ended working group which has clarified the positions of the different groups and individual countries. It is apparent, however, that what is needed now 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 fail to influence the decision-making process.

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 meetings of the Security Council to the general membership. My delegation has participated in open meetings of the Security Council and expressed its views on issues like “Women and Peace” and “The Situation in Africa: the Impact of AIDS on Peace and Security”.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate our view that the credibility of the Security Council hangs on its ability to see its decisions being implemented. The non-implementation of the S.C. Resolutions, especially those that have been adopted many years ago is a matter of utmost concern to my delegation. The international legality is further reinforced by the finding of solutions to international problems within the parameters and on the basis of Security Council Resolutions.

Thank you, Mr. President.