General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

May 2, 2012

(General Assemblyl: Statement as delivered by Ambassador Wittig on Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform)

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

I would first like to thank Amb. Seger for presenting the initiative of the S5 Group so eloquently. 

I also align myself with the G4 statement delivered by Brazil

My delegation has always stressed that an improvement in the working methods of the Security Council is a key  element in the overall reform of the Council. This is why Germany, as a member of the G4, has included this very  principle as a central element in the Short Resolution which is known to you all. 

The L.42 draft resolution presented by the S5 contains several recommendations that my delegation has supported on several other occasions - both in the General Assembly and the Security Council. 

These relate to: 

- The participation by Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission in Council debates, 

- the Chairmanship of Council subsidiary bodies, 

- the penholdership on Council products, 

- and enhancing participation in the Council’s work not only of Troop and Police Contributing Countries, but also of other member states with particular engagement in UN operations. 

Furthermore, in the L.42 draft resolution, we particularly welcome the explicit recognition by the S5 group in the preambular paragraphs, that the improvement of working methods will help to promote a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, including the increase in its membership. 

In this regard, we maintain our position that only through structural reform of the Security Council - a reform that includes new permanent and non-permanent members – will the Council be made more effective and legitimate to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Mr. Chairman,

With today’s debate, we will conclude our series of focused debates on the latest five main reform initiatives. I wish to thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the very useful initiative to schedule this round of debates.

We discussed initiatives that are very different in nature - ranging from comprehensive reform models, such as the African Common Position, to the results-oriented Short-Resolution circulated by the G4, which was supported by a wide and cross-regional group of Member States. Today’s discussion focuses on one important aspect of the five principles for comprehensive reform, the improvement of working methods. 

Colleagues will agree that the debates were a helpful contribution to clarifying positions and an important opportunity to listen closely to each other's views again. Even the Uniting for Consensus Group by now acknowledges that consensus on the issue is not only unrealistic but also unwanted. 

Mr. Chairman, 

despite existing differences, one fact has become clear: Of those delegations who participated in the debates, the overwhelming majority called for an expansion in both categories of membership of the Council – permanent and non-permanent. 

According to our records of positions taken, about 55 member states, including Sierra Leone speaking on behalf of the entire Africa Group and Jamaica speaking on behalf of the L.69 group, clearly favor the creation of new permanent seats. Only about 15 delegations spoke out against new permanent members on the Council. 

This, Mr. Chairman, is a fact that simply cannot be ignored. 

There was also strong support for further developing the Rev.3 version of your paper, in order to fully unlock its potential for the negotiation process. Germany both individually and as part of the G4 has repeatedly called for streamlinig the Rev3 text by narrowing it down to realistic options, in order to enable real negotiations. 

We have also suggested other ways to determine the level of support among the UN membership for key principles of Security Council reform, such as through a straw poll. 

As expected, we have heard much criticism for our proposals to finally move from words to action. But we have not heard any constructive alternative. Let me be clear: to simply continue our debates for yet another year without any tangible progress is not an alternative. 

We must make use of this round of intergovernmental negotiations to achieve real progress. We call on you, Mr. Chairman, to make use of the mandate given to you to help us take this step. 

Thank you.

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