NEW YORK, 12 JULY 2005, STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR JOÃO SALGUEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, “QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION ON AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND RELATED MATTERS: DRAFT RESOLUTION A/59/L.64”
Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on the way you have been conducting the work of this Assembly in this very significant year for the United Nations.
We renew our strong engagement and commitment to work towards successful and ambitious decisions on how to adapt the UN to the 21st century, including on the institutional chapter.
I will concentrate now, Mr. President, on the question of Security Council Reform that we are addressing here today and I can be very brief as the Portuguese position is known to this General Assembly.
Twelve years ago, the Portuguese Government declared itself in favour of an enlargement of the Security Council in both categories (permanent and non permanent members) so that it would better reflect the world of today, through a rebalancing of its representativeness.
In the past, on more than one occasion, we expressed our support for the accession to permanent membership of Germany, Japan, Brazil and India.
Portugal has also been on record as supporting an improvement of the decision making process and of the working methods of the Security Council.
Draft resolution A/59/L.64 is the first concrete proposal, in decades, to try to advance the goal of Security Council reform, along the lines advocated by Portugal. Our decision to support and co-sponsor this resolution was the only option consistent and coherent with our previous positions on this subject.
We believe that, if adopted, the resolution will be a major step forward towards a more effective multilateral system with the United Nations at its centre. Indeed, we see the following several merits in the text we have before us:
- It provides an historic opportunity for the accession of developing countries to permanent membership, thus putting an end to an imbalance that should no longer exist;
- It also increases the chances of countries from all regions to be elected to non-permanent seats;
- It allows for a significant increase of African representation, including through the allocation of two permanent seats to the African continent, an issue Portugal has been arguing in favour of;
- It foresees a democratic method for the selection of the new permanent seats through elections and secret balloting;
- It widens the circle of permanent members allowing for the development of a “working culture” more open and more cooperative with the wider membership of the United Nations;
- It establishes that veto will not be exercised by the new permanent members;
- It puts forward good concrete proposals on the working methods providing for a significant and meaningful enhancement of the transparency, inclusiveness and legitimacy of the Security Council´s work, thereby increasing the Council’s effectiveness;
- And it includes a review clause ensuring that the reforms to be adopted now will be subject to an evaluation 15 years after their entry into force.
We thank you for convening this important session of the General Assembly.
Since 1994 this body has been discussing Security Council reform, namely in the framework 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”.
For many years, there has been wide agreement on the need to adapt the United Nations and its main bodies to an international context that has evolved significantly since the creation of the organization, at the end of the Second World War.
Now we have an opportunity to consider and take action on a concrete proposal that would lead to an adequate reflection of today’s world and to the improvement of the functioning of the UN.
Let us seize the momentum and make Security Council reform a reality.
Thank you, Mr. President.