Saturday, May 28, 2011

UN Security Council Reform

With different groups holding steadfast to their respective positions regarding reform of the Security Council, the President of the General Assembly today called for a “compromise” on the issue, at least a temporary one.

“Probably it is not possible actually to find a solution where one of these different groups will get the total of their aspirations,” Joseph Deiss told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“We should try to make some reform that could not be final, that means that (it) should be reviewed at some time, but that could bring something which improves the situation in a way that every country can say our own possibility to be a member sometime in the Security Council is improved,” said Mr. Deiss, who heads the 192-member Assembly.

Security Council reform has been under discussion for over 17 years, with the key issues being the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council’s working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly.

The 15-member Council comprises five permanent members with veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 non-permanent members with no veto, who are elected for two-year terms.

Mr. Deiss repeated his concerns that unless the Council is reformed to reflect modern political reality, the entire UN could lose credibility and be marginalized with important issues being discussed in other forums.

In response to a question on the possibility that the Assembly would vote to admit an independent Palestinian state, Mr. Deiss said that the Security Council must recommend new members, without a veto from any permanent member.

“So the General Assembly cannot take the initiative but we are ready to do our work as soon as a recommendation of the Security Council would be addressed,” he said.

“It must be recalled that General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 already provides for the creation of two states, one Arab, one Jewish, at the end of the British Mandate in Palestine,” he added.

(UN Press Release)

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