Statement by

His Excellency Raymond O. Wolfe

Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations

 at the Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on an Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and

Other Matters Related to the Security Council

Thursday, 10th April 2008

 

 

Mr. President,

 

My delegation welcomes the opportunity to participate in this follow-up meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council.

 

            This meeting will provide a basis for us to undertake an assessment of where we are and determine a clear path towards commencing the process of inter-governmental negotiations as quickly as possible.

 

            I think we can all agree, as we have so readily done on past occasions, that the need for UN Security Council reform is not just a pressing issue but one which is well over due, having regard to the fact that this item was first included in the Agenda of the General Assembly during its 34th Session in 1979.

 

            My delegation therefore believes that we should now bring to a close, the seemingly endless round of consultations, so that the initial process of intergovernmental negotiations can commence before the start of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

           

            To achieve real progress, however, Mr. President, and without any preconditions, my delegation believes it prudent to proceed on the basis of the unanimous mandate of the United Nations General Assembly decision 61/561 towards initiating intergovernmental negotiations.  This decision also stipulated that the positions of, and proposals by Member States would be taken into account in the efforts to achieve further concrete results in building on the progress achieved so far.

 

            In this regard, Mr. President, my delegation has taken due note of the text submitted by the Overarching Group.  We sympathize with their efforts to come up with some middle ground or “compromise” position.  Regrettably, however, the text produced by the Overarching Group reflects an evident bias towards the intermediate option.  In this regard, it should be noted that the assertion in the text of an apparent willingness of Member States to negotiate on the basis of an intermediate option has in no way been tested objectively.  Moreover, the text fails to take on board the position of the African Union as well as the position of other groups including the G-4.

 

            We also question the basis on which the determination was made to suggest a limit to the expansion of the Security Council to 22 members, as well as to exclude completely the option of expansion in both Membership categories.  It should be recalled that despite the diversion positions on proposed models of expansion there does exist a broad convergence of views supportive of expansion of the Security Council from 15 to around 25 members.

 

            The provision for Member States to be elected by a two-thirds majority and then be subject to challenge and recall by simple majority has in our view not been carefully thought through and remains a very troubling and faulty proposition.

 

            Regarding the elements for working methods, my delegation is still to be convinced of the merits of de-linking the expansion of the Security Council from the working methods.  We believe that the addition of new permanent members which would alter the lopsided power structure of the existing permanent members particularly from the developing countries could help to address the lopsided power structure at the higher echelons of the Security Council and to create a fresh culture of responsiveness and accountability in keeping with the demands for a dramatic improvement in the current working methods of the Council.  

 

            In any event, Mr. President, the proposed elements for working methods should conform strictly with Articles 31 and 32 of the UN Charter, which establish clear guidelines for access and participation by non members in the deliberation of the Security Council.

 

            For all the foregoing reasons, Mr. President, my delegation believes that the text by the Overarching Group can in no way substitute nor supplant the unanimous mandate of the United Nations General Assembly Decision 61/561, which must constitute the basis for the way forward.  My delegation therefore endorses with the view proposed by several colleague delegations that United Nations General Assembly decision 61/561 should serve as the guide for action by the President of the General Assembly’s Task Force and must therefore be clearly adhered to.  We also agree that the Task Force be mandated to present a document within two weeks that should serve as a basis for intergovernmental negotiations.

 

            Such a document must be in line with the mandate contained in UNGA Decision 61/561, i.e. it must build upon the progress achieved so far as well as the positions and proposals made by Member States.

 

            We further strongly support the view that the Task Force should be mandated to present its elaborated document to an informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly at which the intergovernmental negotiations would take place.

 

            Finally, Mr. President, let me take this opportunity of conveying full assurances that the Jamaican Delegation stands ready to cooperate with you, the members of the Task Force, and indeed all Member States, in the efforts to urgently advance the process towards comprehensive reform of the Security Council along the lines indicated above.

 

I thank you.