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Meeting of the informal plenary of the General Assembly on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters - Statement by H.E. Ambassador Giulio Terzi Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations (New York, 2 September 2009) [Photogallery]
02/09/2009
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Mr. Chairman,
 I would like to renew my personal appreciation for your successful and effective leadership.
1. I have to confess my difficulty in entering today’s discussions according to the format that you indicated in your letter of July 16 and subsequent communications.
The July 16 text established that a meeting must, “revolve around what has commanded the most support from delegations speaking up during the meetings so far, namely the model with an expansion in both current categories including its different varieties.”
 So we have been called upon in this third round to dedicate one of the three scheduled meetings to a specific model. A model – but which model? The African? The G4’s? The Philippine’s? Or others? – that has inexplicably been privileged over the many other proposals on the table, and, to make matters worse, on the basis of a presumed level of support. This is, Mr. Chairman, an arbitrary choice that has little to do with the inclusive and comprehensive manner in which you have thus far conducted the negotiations. There are at least three good reasons why such a discussion should not have been held:
a) Quite frankly we do not think that anyone, not even the Chair of the negotiations, has the right to privilege one key issue over all the others, if this is not accepted by everybody. And is not what the Member States in their various groups have requested;
b) The model of enlargement in two categories, as defined in the July 16 letter, does not actually exist as a model. Just as the proposal for an enlargement in only one category does not represent a model. In reality these are very general definitions within which there are numerous views: only in some cases true models. Within the position favorable to an expansion in two categories, for example, there is a broad range of views that are sometime diametrically opposed.
 To give you a concrete example: we have heard talk about an expansion in two categories both to support new seats on which a privileged few would be seated forever, and, on the opposite side, to propose new seats defined as permanent but in reality having a mandate for a maximum of five years, non-renewable.
 Moreover, while we discuss of expansion of the Council we cannot leave aside the question of the veto. New Council’s members with or without veto are two completely different things. Therefore, the veto issue alone should bring us to discuss at least two different categories of permanent seats. Moreover, I have heard some colleagues talking about the need to enlarge the Council only in the categories established by the Charter. But the G4 ask for an enlargement of permanent seats with no veto, and this category is not existent in the UN Charter.
 To qualify the expansion in both categories as a model is a deformation aimed at giving one specific group of Countries an advantage over all the others. In truth, this is a conceptual simplification that seeks to combine at least eight different types of seats (we should speak, instead, of enlargement in various categories). In other words, it’s an empty shell;
c) By the same logic, it is clearly a deformation to posit a presumed level of support in favor of a presumed model of expansion in two categories.
 Where are the numbers, Mr. Chairman? If there is a count, we would be pleased to be made aware of it in the spirit of transparency that has characterized these negotiations.
 And what criteria have been followed? Have those who declare themselves in favor of two categories, but want “permanent seats” with a maximum term of five years – a position that is very close to that of UfC – been counted among the supporters of an expansion in both categories, or in only one?
 And have the Countries that say they are favorable to the creation of regional seats been included in your computation of the level of support?
 The truth is, Mr. Chairman, that none of the models has the necessary numbers: not that of UfC, nor that of the G4, nor that of the African Group, nor those promoted by other groups of States. For this objective reason the approach we must take is not to force our hand in favor of one model over the others but rather to find common ground among them. We call upon all Member States to show the flexibility and openness necessary for this process to move forward. In this spirit UfC has embraced a proposal advanced by Countries from every group to explore at an ad hoc meeting an intermediate approach, about which we will speak tomorrow.
2. Since we have been called on to speak of an expansion in both categories – but, I repeat, we must speak of various categories – before concluding I wish to dwell on some aspects of this approach in light of what has emerged in these months of negotiations. As we underlined yesterday, the negotiation brought out two urgent demands from Member States: that the Security Council be more effective; and that it be more representative.
 To expand the Council to new national permanent members would mean betraying both demands:
-- A more representative Security Council is one in which the greatest possible number of United Nations Member States can recognize themselves, also through the concrete possibility of being seated periodically in the Council. To assure instead a national seat to five or six Countries, for eternity, would do nothing to make the Council more representative – except for the five or six privileged few.
 A good 77 Countries, as underlined by the distinguished Permanent Representatives of Saint Lucia and Malta, for example – more than one third of the entire membership – have never had the chance in their history to become members of the Council. For them it is a club of oligarchs with a big “off limits” sign in front. Enlarging the Council through national permanent seats would perpetuate this logic of exclusion.
-- The representation deficit directly impacts lowered effectiveness. The Council’s effectiveness is of a political nature: its decisions have to be believed in and endorsed by the membership in order to produce the desired results. In other words there has to be a bond of trust that can only be rooted in genuine accountability. Something that the new national permanent seats would be unable to assure, since they would not undergo the scrutiny of the General Assembly.
*   *   *
 There is no objective possibility to identify five or six Countries that, more than others, can advance superior claims to a permanent seat. The so-called key actors on the international scene are far more numerous than the four celebrated “great pretenders.” The influence of these actors, in today’s world, changes at unprecedented speed, due to both political and economic factors.
 If those demanding national permanent seats wish to refer to objective criteria, it is clear that the assigning of such seats would be valid exclusively on the basis of two conditions: that they be subject to elections, and that these elections be periodic. Only the periodic approval by the membership can assure a constant assessment of respect for these criteria. The very distinguished Representative of Brazil said that we don’t need criteria but just a vote of the “peers” in the General Assembly. So, how does Brazil justify the fact that the UN Charter does set criteria for the election of the non permanent seats? Do we ask less for the permanent, and more for the non permanent members? 
 The idea of creating new national permanent seats, as we know, originally is rooted in economic factors. In the early 1990s, in fact, some Countries argued that the emerging economic powers should enter the Security Council. If economic capacity is a criterion, however, it is in net contrast to the idea of permanence. For a concrete example, look at the list of the top contributors to the UN budget, how it has changed in the past 20 years, and the trends it indicates: there are Countries on the quick rise and Countries on the decline. For these very reasons, it is hardly a coincidence that six out of the top eleven contributors are Countries that closely sympathize with the positions of UfC.
 Those laying claims to new permanent seats today will find themselves in the space of just a few years flanked by new emerging powers that also aspire to a privileged seat. A reform that opens to new national permanent seats would give life to a Security Council destined to age very rapidly. After a few seasons we would find ourselves facing new pretenders lamenting again the lack of representation in this body.
The idea of expanding the Council to new permanent members, in short, does not work. And it is no accident that the G4, despite their “powerful means,” have still not succeeded in breaking through. Their aspiration, despite their insistence, continues to not be shared by a sufficient number of members of the international community. Another lesson that we have drawn from these months of negotiations is that one of the greatest obstacles on the road to reform that we all consider urgent is the aspiration of a small group of Countries to national permanent seats.
 Greater flexibility on this point and the willingness to seek a compromise solution one more time continues to be the only way for the negotiation to reach a positive outcome.
 This must be one of the fundamental points on which to focus the discussions in the 64th General Assembly to finally be able to approach the shared model of reform to which we all aspire.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.