Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform
February 21 2012
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for convening today’s meeting. Your leadership to have a series of meetings to discuss the initiatives submitted to you in the last session of the General Assembly provided us with momentum to seriously consider what are pros and cons of each initiative, and to facilitate the Member State driven process.
The Council’s recent failure to take action on Syria is another testament of the need for reform. For the organization to effectively and expeditiously respond to the imminent issues of international peace and security, its composition, together with its processes, must reflect today’s reality, not that of 65 years ago. Time is running short for Security Council reform.
It is my privilege to be the first speaker from the G4 members. I would like to thank Italy for its statement on behalf of the UFC members. It helped us to further understand the position of the UFC. I trust that the G4 and UFC share the urgent need for Security Council reform. The G4 and UFC, I believe, are of the strong view that today’s reality should be reflected in the composition of the Council.
The UFC position described by Italy is very clear. Put simply, no expansion of the permanent seats. The UFC stressed that expanding the permanent seats would be undemocratic and leaves the core of the Council untouched. On the other hand, as you know, we, the G4, stress that the strong support for expansion in both categories should be the basis for further negotiations. It is our view that in order to make the Council more democratic, effective, representative and legitimate, it is
necessary to reform the central core of the Council, namely the composition of the existing permanent membership. Leaving the core of the Council intact is tantamount to leaving the legacies of 65 years ago to prevail in the 21st century. Also, let me recall that African countries are not represented in the permanent category. Without Africa represented in the permanent category, a reformed Council could not be deemed democratic or legitimate.
These are the very reasons why the G4 initiative stresses expansion in both categories, permanent and non-permanent. Expansion in both categories realizes a democratic and effective Council with greater representation of the current composition of the Member States.
Let me make some remarks from Japan’s national perspective. The way to realize expansion in both categories may vary. In 2005, the G4 submitted the draft resolution, A/59/L.64. Since last year, we have been seeking support for a short resolution, putting forth agreeable simple principles to the general membership. We have been tackling this issue in a flexible manner to realize our ultimate goal of expansion in both categories. The G4 always remains open-minded and is ready to discuss Security Council reform with all Member States, including the UFC members.
As you may recall, Japan held the Tokyo Dialogue in November last year. We invited all G4 members, 3 members from UFC, namely Italy, Mexico and Republic of Korea, as well as African members and some others. As such, we are ready to discuss with the members including with those which have different positions. We are ready to move forward.
We have been discussing ‘what we want’ for almost two decades with no fruit. Let us become objective, realistic and result-oriented. Let us start considering ‘what we can’ achieve. There is not much time left. Further stalemate just leads to other failures of action by the Council, which critically undermines the credibility of not only the Council but also the United Nations as a whole.
The UFC has been floating their model of the ‘Italy-Columbia’ proposal, which was again circulated last week. In the last meeting, Italy said, “It is not a ‘take it or leave it’ proposal”. I appreciate the UFC’s attitude of ‘compromise’ and ‘flexibility’. The question is to what extent can you be flexible and accommodating to other ideas. With such a proposal, are the UFC members prepared to explore diverse possibilities and discuss various models, such as a ‘stepping stone’ model with a comprehensive review which includes consideration of categories? On top of that, it is not clear how the UFC intends to ‘operationalize’ the said proposal. What is the UFC’s plan of promoting its initiative in concrete terms? I would like to hear the UFC’s response to these two fundamental questions so that our discussion becomes more productive and result-oriented.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate our sincere hope that all Member States continue to discuss the matter seriously and constructively through the intergovernmental negotiations, and highly expect the strong and enduring leadership of Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Tanin, to guide us through fruitful discussions in search of a solution for real reform.