Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at the plenary meeting of the 75th session of UNGA under agenda item 127 “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council”
We thank you for convening this meeting.
At the outset, we would like to congratulate the Permanent Representatives of Poland and Qatar on their appointment as Co-Facilitators of inter-governmental talks on Security Council reform. We assume your activity will base on the principles of impartiality and maximum account for the opinions of all states participating in this process.
We are grateful to the Permanent Representatives of the UAE and Poland. Despite the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic, they could maintain the due level of negotiations and lead the talks all the way through to their logical conclusion – adoption of UNGA decision 74/569 on 31 August, 2020.
The issue of Security Council reform lists among the most important, and also the most complicated questions on the UN agenda. This has to do with the fact that the issue touches upon the body that, in accordance with the UN Charter, bears the main responsibility for maintaining the international peace and security.
Clearly, in the year of the United Nations’ 75th anniversary, we all look into the future of the Organization, trying to outline the best tracks of its development, which is unimaginable without a Security Council reform. At the same time, we must admit that this issue has been under discussion for quite a few years by now. Member States have made some progress at the reform track, however a universal solution that would suit almost everyone has not yet come into sight
Approaches of the main players on the “reform pitch” still vary substantially. Sometimes they are polar opposites. Against this backdrop, we see no alternative to setting forth during the current session of the General Assembly of patient step-by-step work aimed at reconciling the negotiation approaches.
Our position is well-known. As a P5 member, Russia would want for the Security Council to be more representative, first of all by means of the developing states of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We have to right the historical wrong regarding Africa, the representation of which in the Council reflects neither the modern role of the continent in the global affairs, nor the total number of African States.
At the same time, efforts to extend the Council should not be detrimental to this body’s ability to give effective and prompt response to the emerging challenges. In this context, we stand for keeping the Security Council concise. Its optimal composition should be in the “low twenties”.
Any ideas that infringe the prerogatives of the permanent members of the Security Council, including the veto right, are unacceptable to us. The veto power is an important factor that incites UNSC members to look for balanced solutions. The use or prospect of use of veto not once saved the United Nations from associating itself with dubious ventures.
Reform of the Security Council is the business of all Member States without exception. The final formula of the reform must receive maximum broad support. We are convinced that the issue of the Security Council reform cannot be solved ‘arithmetically’ by holding votes on this or that model in order to get minimum required votes. Results, effected in such a way, would neither add to the authority of the Security Council in particular, nor strengthen the UN at large.
We stand ready to consider any reasonable proposal on how to extend the composition of the Council, including compromise-based “interim model”, should it receive broadest consent at the United Nations.
We expect that President of the UNGA and Co-Facilitators of the negotiations will aim their efforts at fostering the talks given that the Member States will still hold the ownership of this process.
Progress in reforming the Security Council cannot be achieved through imposing documents or initiatives that have not been endorsed by all parties to the process. Previous sessions of the UNGA illustrated that it was futile and precarious to try enforce a solution to the reform issue without due account for the broad support of the Member States.
The negotiations should run in a calm, transparent, and inclusive mode without arbitrary deadlines. We need to be mindful that in this matter there can be no artificial time frames or attempts to solve this multifaceted problem by a single dash of the pen.
We cannot fail to account for the specifics of the current situation, related to COVID-19 pandemic. It is the Member States and only them who can determine the format of the talks at this time. In any case, the Member States need to have at their disposal every tool they may need to meaningfully participate in the discussions – interpretation services in the first place.
We remain committed to achieving results within the effective format of discussions. The platform of inter-governmental talks possesses unique and yet universal legitimacy for the entire bunch of reform-related problems. Any deviation might lead to collapse of the negotiation architecture, and throw the process back for many years.
And certainly, given the current complicated situation, we do not want the inter-governmental talks on the Security Council reform to create new or exacerbate the existing division lines between the UN Member States.