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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2012

Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council

Statement by HE Jim McLay, Permanent Representative, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 2 May 2012

Thank you Mr Chairman.

I thank the S-5 for its presentation which, together with its other recent outreach activities, has given Member States a good understanding of the S-5 proposal, and draft resolution L.42 and we also thank you, Mr Chairman, for your efforts in convening this latest round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform. 

New Zealand expresses its support for the S-5 proposal.  We regard it as a small but very valuable step in the improvement of the Security Council’s working methods. 

Conceptually, the S-5’s proposal is very different from other previous proposals we have heard this year from the G4, the Uniting for Consensus group, the L.69 and the E-10.  Those proposals are altogether more comprehensive in their scope, addressing the broader question of structural reform of the Security Council.  Regrettably, however, this year's discussions in these Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform have shown just how far apart we are from reaching consensus on the question of comprehensive Security Council reform.  That makes it especially important that the S-5 initiative is compatible with each of the other proposals.  We agree with the S-5 that the improvement of the Security Council’s working methods cannot be conditional on a successful resolution to the question of Council enlargement.  A package solution would be good – but it is no a necessary precondition for these reforms address on

The S-5 have wisely not overreached with this proposal.  It have focused on incremental improvements on the Security Council’s current working methods which will benefit not only the operation of the Security Council itself, but also the 178 member states who are not serving on the Council. Above all, it is clear that no aspect of the S-5’s proposal requires an amendment to the United Nations Charter, with all the consequences that would flow from that.

We see are particularly encouraged that in its resolution L.42 the S-5 is building on existing achievements, in particular Presidential Note S/2010/507.  Seeking further implementation of existing achievements is an efficient way of further improving the Security Council’s working methods.

Mr Chairman,

The S-5’s proposal is consistent with three of the principles which underlie New Zealand’s policy on the broader question of Security Council reform.

First, small states like New Zealand comprise the majority of Member States, and proposals to improve the Security Council must clearly benefit those small states. Opportunities for small states to serve on the Security Council are infrequent at best. Just as we support an enhanced role for the larger, emerging powers, we also call for recognition of the role that can be played by small states.  Increases in the size of the Council, in both permanent and temporary categories will be of only limited benefit for small states if their role is not also fully recognised.  Greater transparency and openness, as prescribed by the S-5 proposal, consistently benefits small states.  

Second, New Zealand firmly believes that any proposal for reform of the Security Council is only credible if it has a reasonable chance of success - a realistic possibility of reaching the necessary consensus among Member States. The S-5 proposal has a reasonable possibility of achieving that success; and such success should bode well for further reform of the Security Council.

Third, this S-5 proposal attempts to define some parameters on the use of the veto by the permanent members. 

As clearly demonstrated this year, the General Assembly has a legitimate interest in the exercise of the veto by the Security Council’s permanent members.  At San Francisco in 1945, and at every appropriate opportunity thereafter, New Zealand has registered its on-going concern about the veto; and so we welcome the S-5 proposals. In our view, the S-5 has been careful to draft Resolution L.42 in a manner consistent with the role of the General Assembly under the Charter.  While any comprehensive reform of the veto will require recognition of today’s political realities and major compromises from all sides, the S-5 proposal is a valuable initial step in that direction.

Mr Chairman,

We are encouraged by the S-5’s inclusive approach to this small part of the much wider question of Security Council reform.  We are hopeful that, as an intermediate step, the S-5 initiative will encourage greater progress on the whole question of Security Council reform.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:49 NZDT