This is a report on discussions concerning the use of the veto as it has been used, and what members considered to be the most appropriate steps to taketo remedy this situation. Further reports suggested that the only way to lobby for change regarding the veto was for public opinion to be well informed, and for pressure for change to be stimulated amongst the democratic voters of the five nations with the veto powers. If britain acced to this change the rest would have to follow suit or risk isolation. We can make it happen. We can choose people who will do what we wnat done, not what they want done. This document makes for some interesting reading, and is a starting point for this exploration.

17 November 2000
Press Release GA/9826

ASSEMBLY CONTINUES CONSIDERATION OF SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM: DISCUSSES PERMANENT AND NON-PERMANENT COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP AND USE OF VETO

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its discussion of the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.

During the debate speakers expressed their opinions on a variety of topics, including possible increases in permanent and non-permanent membership in the Council, the use of the veto and changes in the Councilís working methods.

Seven years of negotiations and debates on Security Council reform had been intellectually enriching but sterile in producing results, Uruguayís representative said. It was pointless to insist on increasing the number of permanent members. Although the intrinsic value of such proposals might be good, it was necessary to acknowledge that they no longer served any purpose. The time had come to explore new avenues and devise new formulas. The lessons of the past seven years called for a more realistic and flexible attitude.

The representative of Papua New Guinea, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Forum countries, said small States should not be marginalized in Council reforms. They should be considered equal partners in the development of initiatives to secure international peace and security, regardless of wealth, size and sophistication of military, on-ground involvement in peacekeeping, or financial contribution to the work of the United Nations.

Costa Ricaís representative said the serious difficulties encountered in peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and in East Timor must be confronted. The Councilís ineffectiveness was attributable to the fact that its present structure did not reflect the current composition of the international community, nor the present distribution of power between nations. The Council must express not just the military capacity of the international community, but also its economic influence and moral authority. Reform should also involve investment in development, education, health, human rights and democracy, because they represented a direct investment in future peace.

The representative of Pakistan said there was no dissent over increasing the Council's non-permanent membership, but progress had been blocked by a small minority seeking to promote their own narrow national interests. There also was no clear description of what aspirants to permanent Council seats were after. Was there a new category of second-class permanent membership without a veto envisioned? Could the general membership be asked to support expansion in the permanent category without knowing what was being supported? he asked.

The representatives of Thailand, Antigua and Barbuda (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Hungary, Slovenia, Honduras, Philippines, Malaysia, Lesotho, Iran, Panama, Paraguay, Nicaragua, United Republic of Tanzania and Lithuania also spoke.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its debate.

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Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its debate on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters. This morningís meeting is the Assemblyís third session on the subject. Yesterday, the Assembly heard from 58 speakers.

Statements

PETER DONIGI (Papua New Guinea) speaking on behalf of the following Pacific Forum countries: Australia, Fiji Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Island and Vanuatu, said that it was in the interest of all Member States to contribute constructively and flexibly to the world of the Open-ended Working Group as it strove to build general agreement on a comprehensive package of reforms. He noted that at the Pacific Islands Forum held in October, Forum Leaders had agreed to explore the creation of a separate regional group of Pacific States within the United Nations. They were conscious that the present regional group system had outlived its usefulness. Perhaps reconfiguration of the regional groups, possibly making them smaller with more effective policy coordination role, would be a means of cutting the Gordian knot that countries were currently facing.

Speaking as a delegate of Papua New Guinea, he said that there must be an enlargement of the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council. Small States should be considered as equal partners in the development of initiatives to secure international peace and security for all humankind, regardless of wealth, size and sophistication of military, on-ground involvement in peacekeeping, or financial contribution to the work of the United Nations. Small States should not end up being marginalized in Security Council reforms.

In a reconfiguration of the Security Council, he continued, his country would anticipate that each subregion must be represented on the Security Council. What should be considered was some discussion of the composition of the subregions. This would form the basis of an objective discussion on the size of the expansion of the Security Council. The implications for world peace and security would therefore be a primary function of the countries of the subregion in the first instance. It also meant that the Security Council would become engaged when all avenues for reaching a peaceful outcome at the subregional level had been exhausted.

ASDA JAYANAMA (Thailand) said that a comprehensive reform package needed to be addressed and agreed upon. The package basically involved three well- known elements: the Councilís size and composition; its decision-making progress; and its working methods. He said there was already agreement that the Council be expanded, and Thailand believed that both permanent and non-permanent categories must be expanded, with the proviso that new permanent members include developing countries. While attaching importance to equitable geographical distribution, he also felt that new permanent members must have the ability and desire to share and make contributions, financially and politically, to the United Nations. By this criteria, he believed that Japan was a worthy candidate to be a new permanent member.

He said that to the overwhelming majority of the United Nations, the heart of the problem was the modification of the veto, and whether new permanent members should be accorded veto power. With the sole exception of the permanent five members of the Council, Member States found the veto and its present practise outdated and unacceptable, as it ran counter to the democratic character of the United Nations. On this issue, he asked why the permanent five needed to retain their veto power in the present form?

The way of moving forward on the issue of the size and composition of the Security Council was to find a formula that ensured greater equity in the Councilís expansion. As to the issue of the veto, it was a question of recognizing and modernizing oneís moral and political responsibility. Responsibility here meant that those who had the veto must demonstrate their willingness to limit its use. The last and maybe the most important factor was leadership, more specifically leadership of the permanent five. Given their privileged position, it was incumbent upon them to exercise the leadership that was expected of them if they really wished the Security Council reform to move forward.

FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said that while there was a unity of purpose on how to achieve the objectives of the Member States regarding Council reform, they had been incapable, after so many long and difficult negotiations, of reaching an agreement. It was clear that a profound understanding of the problem had been made and that some progress in the elaboration of rules on practices and methods of work of the Council had been seen. His Government did not regard this failure as a cause for discouragement. Uruguay would persist in trying to reform the Council to adapt to todayís needs and realities, as well as to make it more representative, more democratic, more responsible and more transparent.

Continuing, he said the seven years of negotiations and debates had been intellectually enriching but sterile in producing results. He believed that it was pointless to insist on increasing the number of permanent members. Although the intrinsic value of such proposals might be good, it was necessary to acknowledge that they no longer served any purpose. The time had come to explore new avenues and devise new formulas, he said. Whatever formula was submitted must respect certain basic principles, notably sovereign equality of States. The existence of unequal institutions in an intergovernmental body conspired against the proper functioning of the institution.

The veto, he said, had never been used to respond to the collective interest of the international community, but only to satisfy the national interests of the permanent members. He called for eliminating, or at least regulating, its use. The second principle his country assigned great importance to was the representative character of the Council. In closing, he said reforms should not impact the Councilís effectiveness. Moreover, the lessons of the last seven years called for a more realistic and flexible attitude.

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PATRICK ALBERT LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said his group supported, by and large, the position of the Non-Aligned Movement in regard to a balance that would include both developed and developing countries. It remained open to negotiations, emphasizing that the underlying motivation be based on the principle of equitable representation. The contentious veto-item was directly linked to the matter of increasing the Council's membership. The CARICOMís fundamental view was that the veto was anachronistic and anti-democratic and should therefore be abolished. For the time being, a restriction on the use of the veto to issues falling under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter could be considered.

Periodic reviews regarding the composition and functions of the Council could have great merit, he said. Some of the Group's States had proposed it should happen every 15 years. "While engaging in this exercise for a more democratic and effective Council, we must likewise explore to its fullest extent the role of the General Assembly under the United Nations Charter in strengthening international peace and security", he said.

MADINA B. JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said the debate on this issue had been going on for too long, for nearly seven years, no responsible collective decision had been taken. The working group had failed to work out a unanimous approach on a package of reforms, including the question of equitable geographical distribution and the increase in the membership of the Security Council. Kazakhstan still believed the Council must be more representative, and its work more accountable and more transparent. Kazakhstan supported an increase in both permanent and non-permanent members, on the basis of equitable geographical distribution and respect of the sovereign equality of all Member States of the United Nations.

Kazakhstan supported the inclusion of Germany and Japan as permanent members of the Council, taking into consideration the substantial contribution they made to the United Nations budget, as well as their significant role in many activities of the United Nations. There should also be permanent Council membership for designated major developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as an increase in the number of non-permanent members. The use of veto, like any other provision of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, must be linked to the principle of accountability.

JEAN DELACROIX BAKONIARIVO (Madagascar) said while it was true that the Security Council could be congratulated in some ways, for example, for the increase in public meetings and information sessions at the end of meetings, substantial issues, such as the size and composition of the Security Council and the right of veto continued to worry and frustrate the majority of delegations, including his. The reinforcement of the Councilís credibility by basic reforms needed to be founded on the principles of democracy, the sovereign equality of States and equitable geographical representation. Like the majority of Member States, his believed that the maintenance of the status quo would only have a detrimental effect on the functioning of the Council, and would risk engendering a crisis of confidence in the capacity of the Organization to preserve the collective security system established by the Charter.

His delegation, taking into account the changes in the international landscape since the creation of the United Nations, believed that the number of permanent and non-permanent seats should be enlarged. In that context, Africa, which represented not only the majority of Member States, but also the majority of questions debated at the Council, should be better represented. This new millennium should see an Africa who did not just submit to the decisions of the Council, but who acted as a responsible actor in the maintenance of international peace and security. If African States had more responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security by becoming members of the Council, it would favour the spread of the culture of peace on the continent.

The right of veto was one of the more complex questions regarding the Security Council, he said. Many were opposed to the maintenance of this instrument. His delegation considered it urgent to rethink this practice. His country believed that the proposition that a State explain to the General Assembly the reasons behind the use of the veto on a draft resolution merited being examined.

ANDRE ERDOS (Hungary) said that Hungaryís position on the reform of the Security Council had been laid out in both its national statements as well as joint declarations delivered by the "Group of 10", of which Hungary was part. A Council capable of carrying out its responsibilities effectively was of utmost importance to the international community. It had been said and repeated over and over that in order to achieve this aim, the Council needed to reflect the new political and economic realities of the world, one that operated in a more democratic and transparent manner and, hence, enjoyed wider support among the Member States and greater legitimacy in the eyes of the worldís peoples.

Hungary supported the enlargement of the Security Council in both categories of membership, he said. An increase in the number of permanent members of the Council by adding to it industrialized countries and countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean would better reflect the changed international political and economic landscape and reinforce the credibility of this important decision-making body. The growing membership of the United Nations equally justified the efforts to increase the number of non- permanent members.

He regretted that, in spite of some progress, the Working Group entrusted with the question of Council reform was unable to reach an agreement on the major issues before it. Since United Nations reform could not be complete without the reform of the Security Council, it was his intention to join other delegations in pushing for further efforts which could, through practical and realistic steps, lead to solutions to those outstanding issues.

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SAMUEL ZBOGAR (Slovenia) said he supported enlarging the Council in both overall membership and in the number of permanent and non-permanent members. However, some States were not ready to take a final position on the Council's size and composition. Exchange of views should continue and intensify, with the Assembly President taking an active role. Before a final decision was made on enlarging the non-permanent membership, careful calculation should ensure adequate and equitable geographic representation of all regional groups, particularly of the East European Group, whose membership had doubled in the past few years. Council reform was not simply a matter of enlargement, he continued. Questions about working methods, transparency and decision-making must also be addressed, including with regard to the veto. While there had been improvements lately in all those areas, further steps could be taken. More missions should be undertaken as tools of preventive diplomacy. The Secretariat should assist in creating a unified policy of transparency to benefit the general membership. The scope and use of the veto should be limited to satisfy both the Organization's larger membership and those who continued having use of the right.

Finally, he said, the aim of reform should be kept in mind, particularly with regard to working methods and transparency. Making the Council more representative, more legitimate and more efficient was desirable. Amending the Charter, however, was a most sensitive issue for the Organization. It was wiser to intensify discussions and negotiations than to rush into quick solutions.

BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said that Council reform was essential to the future of the United Nations. Its success determined whether humanity would have an efficient, democratic, egalitarian and just instrument for the maintenance of peace and international security. Costa Rica was firmly committed to true reform and revitalization of the Council. While he was aware of limitations, obstacles and uncertainty regarding the operation of the Council, the serious difficulties encountered in peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and in East Timor must be confronted. The Councilís ineffectiveness was attributable to the fact that the present structure did not reflect the current composition of the international community, nor the present distribution of power between nations.

Costa Rica believed that the Council must reflect the new realities of international politics in a globalized and interdependent world, he said. The Security Council must express not only the military capacity of the international community, but also its economic influence and moral authority. He called for an increase in the number of members of the Council that permitted greater representation of developing countries. In addition, his Government favoured the possibility of creating new permanent members. Nevertheless, this matter of expanding the Council was only a secondary and subsidiary aspect in the process of reform and revitalization of the organ. Many of its shortcomings were the result of flaws in its working methods, its procedures, its decision- making and its abuse of the right of veto.

There must be limits on the right of veto, he said, adding that the Council must not take over functions that belonged to the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council. Reform should also involve investments in development, education, health, human rights and democracy, because they represented a direct investment in future peace. While some countries were pessimistic about reform, Costa Rica maintained that it was still possible to achieve positive results.

EDMUNDO ORELLANA MERCADO (Honduras) said Council reform was one of the most important matters that the General Assembly would address. The United Nations had been created in response to the necessity of safeguarding peace after the devastation following the second world war. His country believed that fundamental human rights, the protection of freedom and social justice could be enjoyed only when there was peace, security and socio-economic development. Those considerations must be viewed seriously and responsibly in the reform of the Council. The Government of Honduras said, if there was no general agreement, reform must increase the number of non-permanent members. In doing so, there must be a consensus among regional groups to guarantee just geographical and equitable representation.

That the Open-ended Working Group had not completed its consultations was an indication of the many problems still existing on which consensus was required, he said. While it was necessary to satisfy the short-term aspirations of the international community, the Working Group must continue to work in strengthening the United Nations and making it capable of responding to crises caused by man or nature. There must be broader representation of peoples and nations and a more just and equitable representation in the discussions and decisions of the United Nations. In closing, he expressed solidarity with the statement of Egypt on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement and drew attention to the Millennium Declaration, which put forward comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects.

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FELIPE MABILANGAN (Philippines) said that the Open-ended Working Group remained the sole deliberative body on Security Council reform. Unfortunately, however, while recognizing some progress on cluster II issues, discussions on cluster I issues were slow if not completely stalled. All of the members of the United Nations should strive to bridge the chasm that divided the Working Group. The perpetuation of the status quo would only serve the interests of the permanent five. The Philippines believed that the Council must become truly representative of the aspirations, values and hopes of all the countries of the world to remain credible in the eyes of all. That would mean three things: the expansion of its membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories, transparency in its working methods and democracy in the decision-making process.

The international community, particularly the permanent five, must deal with the question of the veto, or all the intended reforms in the Council would be rendered meaningless, if not totally unattainable. In fact, as some delegations had pointed out, a compromise on the veto would be a watershed for the other questions of reform, particularly the expansion of permanent membership. Perhaps a formula could be discovered for compromise by simultaneously meeting the concerns about the veto and the need to expand the permanent membership of the Council. Pragmatic solutions were within reach, if only the international community worked towards them.

SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said the Council had been set up as an oligarchy of five permanent members, the rest given voice as non-permanent members serving two-year terms on a rotating basis. The only change since 1945 had been the addition of five non-permanent memberships in the mid-1980s. The Council, however, must be constructively and collectively reformed in keeping with the global trend to promote democracy, participation, transparency and accountability. The principle of the equality and sovereignty of States must be the guiding spirit of the reform, he continued. There was no dissent over increasing the Council's non-permanent membership, but a small minority, seeking to promote their own narrow national interests, had blocked progress on the question. Increasing the permanent Council seats would not meet the legitimate need of small- and medium-size States to participate in the Council. Some States wanted an exalted status on the Council because of their high rates of assessed contributions, as if permanent membership was available to the highest bidder, while others wanted it based on geographical representation. Only Africa was eligible for that collective choice, the other claims being narrow by definition and driven by ambitions for power and status.

He said there was no clear description of what aspirants to permanent Council seats were after. Was there a new concept planned of a second-class permanent membership without a veto? Regional permanent seats on a rotational basis with the veto had also been put forward. Could the general membership be asked to support expansion in the permanent category without knowing what was being supported? At how many members did regional permanent membership stop?

Seven years of debate had shown no agreement on permanent membership, he said. The position of the Non-Aligned Movement should be embraced. The non- permanent category should be expanded, which would meet the general membership's major demand. Similarly, since the veto was the primary obstacle to a truly democratic Council, and progress on that issue was also blocked by a minority of States, in the short term it should be restricted to actions under Chapter VII. In the long term, it should be eliminated, since it was obsolete.

MOHAMAD YUSOF AHMAD (Malaysia) said one of the most pivotal aspects of the reform of the United Nations was the modernization of the Security Council. Indeed, during the Millennium Summit, world leaders had resolved to intensify efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Council in all its aspects. It was therefore the shared responsibility of Member States to translate that commitment into reality. Embarking on such reform would entail the search for a more representative, democratic, transparent and efficient Council. In fact the Open-ended Working Group had discussed many proposals, from a new Council composition, to the question of the veto. Clearly, ideas and proposals were not what was lacking; rather it was the necessary political will to propel the reform process forward to a successful conclusion.

He went on to say that there was a clear desire to enlarge Council membership to reflect the dramatic increase in United Nations membership. It was important to note that expansion should take into account the legitimate interests of developing countries -- the largest majority within the United Nations -- which under the Council's present structure were grossly under- represented. His delegation supported expansion of the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories. If there was no agreement on expansion of the permanent membership, in the meantime, the Council should be enlarged in the nonpermanent category.

Without the necessary reform, he continued, the Council would remain an anachronistic institution which reflected the outdated realities of the immediate post-World War II era. The existence of the veto had rendered the Council undemocratic in its decision-making processes. The veto had been at the core of the Council's inaction in the face of crisis situations in Bosnia, the African Great Lakes Region and Kosovo. He hoped that some creative way of managing the veto, pending its eventual elimination, would be embraced by the permanent members.

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PHAKISO MOCHOCHOKO (Lesotho) said that while there was general agreement on the need for systematic changes, consensus continued to elude Member States on the scope and content of the reform process. Nowhere was that more evident than in the case of the Security Council, the most powerful body within the United Nations system. In spite of some significant improvements in certain areas of its work, the Council was still seen as unrepresentative of the general membership of the United Nations, unaccountable for its activities and far less effective than it could be.

He said it was thus not surprising that developing countries, which comprised the majority of the Organization's membership, continued to complain about the Council's bias, lack of transparence and pursuit of regional or political interests to the detriment of the wider membership. Those complaints continued to cast doubts on the sincerity of the permanent member's efforts to reform the Council. It was therefore important for today's debate to provide a strategically outlined road map for the future work of the Open Ended Working Group. This was not just an opportunity to identify solutions, he added. Above all, it was time for a rededication to the spirit of dialogue necessary to reach required compromises for building a more effective and representative Council.

The challenge, he continued, was to find a balance between the imperatives of true representation in the Council on one hand, and ensuring that body was not rendered ineffective or unwieldy on the other. The solution to that complex problem lay in reconciling the inherent tensions between effectiveness and legitimacy in the Council. His delegation's view, one shared by many others, favoured increasing regional representation in both categories -- for the under- represented people of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean -- in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical distribution. Among African delegations, the position was well known that the Continent should be allocated no fewer than two permanent seats on the Council. The Council's composition should also reflect today's economic realities. Thus, the bid for permanent seats by Japan and Germany, major players in the global economy and, respectively, the second and third largest contributors to the United Nations, could not be ignored. He added that the Working Group must also identify ways to deal with the issue of the veto. The cold war era was a grim reminder of how the veto could paralyse the Council.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the impasse or lack of progress in the expansion of permanent membership of the Council should be viewed as a direct product of the enormous importance of the issue and not perceived as obstructionism. If agreement was not reached on the expansion of permanent membership, then the expansion should be limited, for the present, to the non- permanent seats. The process of reform should not be subject to any predetermined and superficial timetable. Any attempt to impose a premature, hasty decision would run the risk of harming the very delicate process that was so important to all Member States. The Open-ended Working Group, with the same format and rules of procedure, continued to be the appropriate forum in which to pursue the efforts at reform.

Due to the importance of the Councilís reform, and while respecting the principle of equality of all Member States, all efforts should be made to reach the broadest possible agreement, he said. The membership of the Council should be expanded to at least 26, so that the developing world could be better represented. The opinion of the vast majority regarding the veto as an undemocratic instrument should be heeded. The general support for limiting and curtailing the use of the veto, with a view to its eventual elimination, must explicitly be reflected in the final outcome of the Working Group.

RAMON A. MORALES (Panama) said that all who had spoken on this issue had emphasized that seven years had been spent on the consideration of Security Council reform. It was necessary to face the remaining obstacles head on and hold frank discussions. Panama had appealed to Member States to agree that the Security Council needed to be more democratic, more transparent and congruent with the interests and aspirations of the international community. The composition of the Council must be more equitable and representative; however, it was essential that the increase in membership did not increase inefficiency.

Panama attached great importance to the report of the Working Group on this matter and welcomed the recommendation that the Assembly decide the means by which the Working Group would continue its work. He pointed out that the balance of power of 1945, a bi-polar world, no longer existed. The veto had lead to the permanent five avoiding their responsibilities when it was in their national interest to do so. The atavistic veto was an obsession that had no place in a globalized world. Partiality could also lead to paralysis. Work should continue on the reform of the Security Council, beginning with issues of broad support and using a step-by-step approach regarding more controversial aspects of reform.

JORGE LARA-CASTRO (Paraguay) said that it was necessary to democratize the Security Council and come up with a new system which would renew confidence in it. Reform was a democratic and representative choice, but could not be viable unless the international community asserted political will that would guarantee broader geographical representation and restrain those who decided world policy on the basis of the veto and hegemonic interests. While there was a multiplicity of views and the matter was complex, there was an awareness that reform could not lag behind in a world where there were accelerating changes in the international make-up.

Transforming the Security Council could be seen as ambitious, he said. The resistance of some countries made it difficult to reach compromises. The delay in the adoption of a decision on the future composition of the Security Council was of great concern to Paraguay. Its enlargement could not be postponed. The gradual process of democratization must begin with an increase in both categories of members, including developed and developing countries, giving consideration to the fact that the latter were under-represented. The fundamental objective of the Security Council must be to rectify this under- representation. The veto rights of permanent members should be gradually eliminated. The veto was sometimes seen as an inherent asset of the great Powers, so those who did not enjoy the right of veto must at least implement a control mechanism which would limit the arbitrary use of that privilege.

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MARIO H. CASTELLON DUARTE (Nicaragua) said that, at the Millennium Summit, statements had emphasized that it was essential to intensify the effort to reach a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects. Ever since the Working Group had been created, many opinions had been heard. After seven years, there was still no clarity about which reforms could be adopted. The General Assembly was the appropriate forum to continue to discuss the matter, but it was essential to show flexibility and political will so that the Security Council could be adapted to the modern age and granted greater legitimacy. That would ensure that all States would feel truly represented in this organ.

Nicaragua supported the enlargement of the Security Council due to the large increase of members of the United Nations since 1945, he said. He agreed that the enlargement must take place both in the permanent and non-permanent categories, and that due consideration be given to geographical distribution. He said that he only supported an increase in non-permanent members if it was not possible within the permanent category.

He said that five new members must be added to both permanent and non- permanent categories. The total number of seats must not exceed 25. Nicaragua supported the nomination of Japan and Germany, as well as the geographical representation of regional groups. He added that new permanent members must enjoy the same rights, such as the veto. Denying new permanent members the veto right would create a third category of States, create confusion and exacerbate the existing inequalities within the United Nations.

DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said Africa needed special consideration when it came to expansion of the Council. It was the continent with the largest number of Member States in the United Nations. On the right of permanent members to exercise the veto, he said the same privilege should be extended to any new permanent members who would join the Council. The issues of expansion and veto were integral parts of a common package. As a first step, the exercise of the veto in the expanded Council should be restricted to issues considered critical for the maintenance of international peace and security.

He said lack of action on the issue of Council reform would send the wrong signal to the international community. The Assembly could not back-pedal on an issue that was clearly stated during the Millennium Summit. Any continuing failure to fulfil the aspirations of the majority will only generate disillusionment and undermine the very ideals and institutions we seek to promote, he said. He wondered if there would be any incentive to the Working Group to proceed with the deliberations.

GEDIMINAS SERKSNYS (Lithuania) recalled that, at the Millennium Summit, a majority of Member States had raised their voices for reform of the Security Council. The fundamental principle for Lithuania on that issue was to find compromises acceptable to all. The Council must be enlarged in both categories, while retaining the current ratio of one permanent member for every two non- permanent members. Each regional group must be given a new non-permanent seat, and in this regard, Lithuania would insist that the group of Eastern European States -- which had doubled in size over the last decade -- be given at least one additional non-permanent seat.

He said that any new permanent seats should be allocated to industrialized and developing countries proving to be key players of their regions, and whose input into the maintenance of security and stability was indispensable. On the veto, he said it was undemocratic in principle and, therefore, the main obstacle to Council reform. The veto right must be curtailed and eventually abolished.

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