Remarks by Her Excellency Ms.Enkhtsetseg Ochir,
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations,
at the informal plenary on the
Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform,
March 17, 2009
The Question of the Veto
The last two days of discussion have demonstrated once more that the question of veto is an essential element of the SC reform in order to make it more democratic, equitable and representative. My delegation shares the view of the majority of Member States that the veto right is anachronistic and obstructive tool which undermines the fundamental principle of the UN Charter.
It should be recalled that in 1945 the veto in the voting procedure of the Security Council was opposed by a number of states. On what became paragraph 3 of Article 27 of the UN Charter, two countries voted against, 15 abstained and 3 were absent at the San-Francisco conference.
Veto raises question of equality among members and challenges the basic principle of this organization because it grants absolute power, unilateral and unlimited, to P-5. The veto defies accountability and invites undemocratic and abusive practices. It is worth recalling that such an abuse was practiced much too often to block admission of new Member States to the world Organization. Out of 261 vetoes used in the SC since 1946, 59 (or one fourth!) were cast for that purpose only. My country was among those 26 States that fell victim to such an abuse, both implicit and explicit, when she endeavored to become a full-fledged member of the world Organization in 1940s and 1950s.
During the Cold War period veto obstructed the work of the Security Council throwing it into the recurring paralysis. Since then veto practice has been used on a relatively fewer occasions with even three full veto-free years in 1996, 1999 and 2000 respectively. Use of veto could seem to be lessening but either the actual use of veto or the threat of its use still loom large over the functioning of the Security Council.
Ideally, veto needs to be abolished. Yet, despite the numerous calls for its elimination at the present stage of the negotiations this task remains elusive. Hence, my delegation is inclined to support attainable and realistic measures aimed at gradually restricting the veto. Pragmatic steps in this direction could involve limiting the scope of application of the veto to Chapter VII decisions, establishing criteria for its use and formalization of the explanation of the use of veto. These measures could be part of a longer process of the overall regulation of the veto with a view to eventually abolishing it.
The question of the veto is not just about discarding privileges or special rights of individual member states or struggle between haves and have-nots. It has become an issue of the credibility of the Security Council and of the UN as a whole as the world Organization strives to address the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, our principled position remains that the right of the veto needs to be reviewed and we look forward to its further constructive consideration in the intergovernmental negotiations to effectively address this essential element of the SC reform.
I thank you for your attention.