Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the Informal meeting of the General Assembly on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council
Mr. and Mm. Presidents,
Russia welcomes convening of the 5th and final session of the UN General Assembly on the issue of UN Security Council reform that should discuss the progress achieved this year, and exchange opinions regarding further steps.
We are convinced the session of inter-governmental talks that is in progress now has added new elements, crucial for understanding the eventual reform. The discussion has been substantive and fruitful, the current format of negotiations proved to be relevant and up-to-date. All of this made it possible to point out issues where we can bring closer our positions.
For example, the overwhelming majority of States, including Russia, advocate broader representation of the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America on the Security Council. First of all, 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. Against this background, speculations on assigning places in the Council to regions and associations that are already well-represented seem baseless, unjust and lacking in prospect.
There is interest towards the “interim model” of the reform that envisages an extended presence at the Security Council lasting for more than 2 years. Besides, we do not exclude a possibility of extending the Council in the part of Permanent Members. However, this concept should base on a clear understanding of which countries would take a permanent place at the Council. There is an entire range of worthy candidates; however, we are yet far from clarity on this.
We heard many ideas regarding improvement of the UNSC working methods that were worth considering. There is more and more supporters of the idea that the number of mentors of dossiers on the Council’s agenda – the so-called “penholders” should not be limited to several States. It is evident that there are certain resources for improvement of the relations between the two major UN bodies – the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
However, we have to state that the discussion that have taken place does not let us say that we have come close to development of a universal formula of UNSC reform that would be able to find broadest possible support. Approaches still differ, sometimes they are opposite. For us it is obvious that we are still far from having a document that could become a fundament for further work on the language.
We have thoroughly studied the document circulated by the co-facilitators - "Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration". Though this document is not perfect, and it does not fully reflect our approaches, L.Nusseineh and C.Brown managed to accomplish the main task: they pointed out central issues for discussion, defined the prevailing trends and commited them to paper in an unbiased manner. We would like to emphasize once again that “property” in the negotiations process should only belong to the Member States.
However, our commitment to achieving results in the framework of the current discussion format remains unchanged. The platform for inter-governmental talks has both unique and universal legitimacy for the entire package of problems related to the reform. Any deviation from this might collapse the entire negotiations architecture and roll the process several years back. This should not be the case.
We have always proceeded from the assumption that the reform process that in fact is crucial for the whole world, is deep and all-encompassing, therefore it should require painstaking and patient work, whereby interests of the maximum number of Member States should be taken into consideration. It should not be a zero-some game. Otherwise, all the benevolent intentions to make the Council more representative, effective and democratic would “turn to ashes”.
Mr. and Mm. Presidents,
We commend your positive role in facilitating the negotiations and your commitment to the principle of “fair brokerage” in relations with all participants of the process. We believe the negotiations schedule that you put forward at the outset of this session is optimal. We expect all Member States to respect and observe it. We are looking forward to the discussion that will take place during the informal retreat on June 3.
In conclusion, let me point out that further advancement at the negotiations track requires painstaking work of all Member States aimed at rapprochement of our approaches, political wisdom and readiness to compromise. If we uphold these principles, we will come up with the result we need which will be acceptable for everybody.