Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations (on behalf of G4), at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on Agenda Item (122): Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council

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Thank you, Mr. President.
 
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of Four: Brazil, Germany, India and my own country, Japan.
 
I would like to express our sincere appreciation to you for convening this important and timely debate.  I welcome your intention to “promote a credible process to address the reform of the Security Council,” as you mentioned in the General Debate in September. You can count on our full support in making this a “credible process.” I would also like to congratulate Ambassador Kaha Imnadze of Georgia and Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates on their appointment as co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. The Group of Four stands ready to support you in undertaking your important role.
 
Mr. President,
 
The reform of the Security Council is long overdue. If we truly seek to preserve the credibility of the process, of this august assembly, and indeed of the entire United Nations, there is no more time to lose. This is the first message I would like to convey to you today.
 
To underline the urgency of making real progress, let me just name a few landmarks in the long history of efforts to reform the Security Council:
  • In 1979, a request was submitted for the inclusion of the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council” on the agenda of the General Assembly.
  • This year marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of General Assembly resolution 47/62 in December 1992, which requested the Secretary-General to invite Member States to submit written comments on this issue.
  • The World Summit Outcome of 2005 clearly states that Heads of State and Government support early reform of the Security Council.
  • Finally, at the end of the current session, it will have been ten years since the General Assembly adopted decision 62/557 to initiate the Intergovernmental Negotiations.
 
Sadly, despite all these efforts, we are still very far from where we should be.  Nonetheless, Mr. President, we were encouraged to hear you say upon election as President of the General Assembly that “there is a high degree of accord that the time is ripe to transform the Security Council into a twenty-first century body.” The Group of Four fully agrees. The Group will spare no efforts to translate these words into action under your able leadership, and in cooperation with other Member States.
 
Mr. President,
 
My second message is this: text-based negotiations should be initiated immediately. This is precisely the process we use to translate words into action here in the United Nations.
 
164 out of 193 Member States, an overwhelming majority, support the commencement of text-based negotiations. The Group of Four has already underlined this fact in its statement at the GA plenary in July this year. I also appreciate the initiative that the Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines took on behalf of the L.69 to submit a letter which clearly articulates this fact and sets the record straight on the overwhelming view of this assembly.
 
The time for simply repeating statements and emphasizing differences is over. With this in mind, I respectfully ask the President of the General Assembly to grant the co-Chairs full support for initiating text-based negotiations without further delay. This is not a mere request of any particular group of countries but a necessity to ensure the credibility of the process. After all, what other negotiations in the history of the UN have continued for decades without a text?  
 
The positions and proposals of Member States are reflected in the framework document and its annex, which provide a basis for negotiations. Additionally, the paper issued by the co-Chairs during the 71st session entitled “Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration” can also serve as a reference. The necessary and logical next step is to prepare a concise and operational negotiation text, preferably in the form of a draft resolution.
 
We need to launch text-based negotiations now, and indeed as early as possible within the current session, to allow sufficient time for meaningful progress for the remainder of the session.
 
Mr. President,
 
Lastly, I would like to emphasize that early reform of the Council is needed in order to make it more legitimate, effective and representative, reflecting the realities of the 21st century.
 
In order to achieve this objective, enlargement in both the permanent and non-permanent categories is required. There is broad support from Member States for this means of expanding Security Council membership. Enlargement should consider the contribution of Member States to the maintenance of international peace and security, and it needs to enhance regional representation in the Security Council by ensuring that the concerns and aspirations of unrepresented or underrepresented regions are adequately taken into consideration. In particular, the historical injustice that Africa has suffered should be redressed through representation both in the permanent category and in the non-permanent category.
 
Mr. President,
 
Secretary-General Guterres is taking bold and necessary steps to reform the United Nations across its three pillars, to render the United Nations fit for the 21st century. The Group of Four supports his efforts. Another indispensable element of reforming and strengthening the United Nations must be the reform of one of its principal organs, the Security Council. In the Secretary-General’s own words, reform of the United Nations will not be completed without reform of the Security Council.  Progress in the Security Council reform is critical, and all the elements are present. We need to put them together, and we can succeed. We must succeed. The legitimacy, effectiveness, and representativeness of the Security Council are at stake– and with them, the maintenance of international peace and security. As President Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
 
Thank you, Mr. President.