NEW YORK, 11 NOVEMBER 2005
STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR JOÃO SALGUEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE JOINT DEBATE ON ITEM 9 “REPORT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL” AND ITEM 117 “QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION ON AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND RELATED MATTERS”
I would like to start by thanking you for convening this very timely meeting. We are halfway between the September High Level Plenary Meeting and the end of the year when we will have to review progress on this crucial issue of Security Council reform.
During the last session of the General Assembly, and for the first time since the establishment of the Open Ended Working Group more than 10 years ago, three draft resolutions were tabled on the question of Security Council reform.
Besides that a number of States put forward concrete ideas on this issue. All this is an indication that the need for Security Council reform is broadly shared by this Assembly.
This was confirmed in the September Summit by our Heads of State and Government who considered “…early reform of the Security Council as an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations…”.
As it is well known to this Assembly, Portugal co-sponsored the draft resolution submitted by the G4 and others. We continue to stand by the principles of that draft resolution and to consider that reform along its lines provides the better answer to the need of adapting the Security Council and the United Nations to the 21st century.
Allow me, Mr. President, to once again briefly reiterate our guiding principles in this important issue of Security Council reform:
- First, reform must comprise concrete and ambitious proposals on both domains of enlargement and working methods.
We fully understand and accept that in many circumstances the Security Council needs to work with discretion. But the Council acts on behalf of the International Community and we all have to feel we have a stake in its deliberations.
The fact is that a “working culture” developed, throughout the years, in the relationship between the Security Council and the membership at large as well as with the Secretariat, that the Charter did not provide for. This “working culture” has been a source for criticism.
We believe that a decisive improvement in this situation demands action through joint structural and working methods reforms. Expansion and working methods are two sides of the same coin.
- Secondly, enlargement should take place in the existing two categories of permanent and non permanent members, providing for more and better representativeness of the wider membership in the Security Council.
This will pave the way for an increased presence of developing countries in both categories and will allow Africa to accede to permanent membership.
In addition, the preservation of the impediment of immediate re-election from non permanent members guarantees the chances of accession to the Security Council by the vast majority of the UN membership, comprised by more than 100 small and medium states.
- On the veto question our long-standing position is that the requirement for concurring votes, established in the article 27, para 3 of the Charter, should not be expanded beyond the current permanent members of the Security Council.
- Finally, Mr. President, Portugal believes that, whatever may be the reforms that we engage in the present, a review exercise should take place at a given moment in the future – for instance 15 years - in order to assess the merits of the reforms and their impact in the work of the organization.
Let me conclude by expressing my hope that by the end of the year we will be in a position to report concrete progress on Security Council reform.
It is my firm believe that reform along the above referred lines for its reasonability, clarity and democratic nature is susceptible of gathering sufficient support in this Assembly.
A Security Council that reflects the realities of today´s world would bring a new momentum to the work of this organization.