General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Security Council Reform

Nov 15, 2012

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Wittig on General Assembly Agenda Items 30 and 117 on the Security Council Annual Report and Reform of the Security Council)

"Thank you Mr. President,

I would like to join my colleagues in thanking Ambassador Puri of India for introducing the Annual Security Council Report and Ambassador Osorio of Colombia and his team for compiling the report. Having done the same last year as July Security Council President, I can attest to the arduous work that this entails.

Of the numerous issues on the Council’s agenda last year, the situation in Syria stands out. Unfortunately, it does so because of what the Council did not do, rather than what it did. We deplore the Council’s failure to agree on an effective common approach. This has further aggravated the plight of the Syrian people. And it led many in the international community and in our respective national publics to ask: Is the Security Council in its current form still able to live up to the responsibilities that the UN Charter has entrusted it with?

This has also added to an already growing frustration among Members States with the deadlock on Council reform. Last year, in this very General Assembly, even partial, modest progress was made impossible on the improvement of the Council’s working methods. Something we sincerely deplore.

Against this background, we would have preferred two separate debates to be held on the Annual Report and on Security Council Reform, given that both issues merit undivided attention of the General Assembly.

Mr. President, 

On 9 October, the G4-Ambassadors transmitted to you a letter containing the Joint Statement made by the G4 Foreign Ministers in the margin of the General Debate. The letter was also shared with all member states. I thus need not repeat its content in detail. Let me reiterate, however, the dedication of the G4 Foreign Ministers to achieving together an early reform of the Security Council. The Ministers also called for a concrete outcome in this GA-session and expressed their commitment to continue to work to this end in a spirit of flexibility and in close cooperation with other Member States. 

Germany, individually and as part of the G4, stands ready to continue our engagement with you, Mr. President, Chairman Tanin and Member States. 

The strong support for real reform – and this is what the G4 stand for – was again evident during the last round of negotiations. The majority of those delegations taking the floor – from small and large countries, from the developing and the developed world clearly called for an expansion of the Council in both categories, permanent and non-permanent. 

Mr. President, 

We look forward to the resumption of the Intergovernmental Negotiations as soon as possible. We welcome your decision to reappoint Ambassador Tanin as our Chairman. We are confident that he will continue to steer the process forward in an objective and result-oriented manner.  

The agenda for the negotiations is clear: The Chairman has submitted his assessment of the process thus far as well as a set of constructive proposals on how to move the process forward. 

The proposals were circulated by your predecessor to all member states and were acknowledged by the General Assembly in its oral decision in September. They are now on the table and form an integral part of the negotiation process. Let us begin discussing these proposals and see how we can best make them operational. We are confident that this will help us to finally move towards real negotiations on this important matter.

Thank you."

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