Statement to the General Assembly by H.E. Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet Permanent Representative of Belgium on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium on the issue of “Security Council Reform”

date: 27 June 2013

Statement to the General Assembly
by H.E. Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Belgium
to the United Nations

on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium
on the issue of “Security Council Reform”

New York, 27 June 2013

Mr. President,

I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium.

I would like to thank you for convening this meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform.

As we have already stated before: the momentum that was created during the 66th GA session got lost and we are not convinced that we are truly back on track: we only had one meeting this year and it is already more than two months ago.

The slow progress of our process might give the false impression that Security Council reform is not a very urgent topic. However, in the many years we have been discussing this, the ultimate goal of our endeavor has only grown in importance: a modernized, more legitimate but still effective Security Council, which reflects the geopolitical realities of the 21st century and contributes to a more credible United Nations and a reinforced international system.

It is therefore all the more deplorable that this session of the General Assembly has not brought any progress.

Mr. President,

As we have said so often before: the current status-quo is not an option. In the 2005 World Summit Outcome, there was a clear consensus among world leaders that an early reform of the Security Council is an essential element of overall efforts to reform the UN in order to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent.

You are quite right in saying in your letter that we need to focus on possible areas of convergence and links between the different reform models. However, at this moment, the only area of overall convergence seems to be the need to extend the number of non-permanent members.

To finally make progress, we need to look beyond our narrow national interests. We have to search for compromises that have the capacity to garner the largest possible support for a reform.

Therefore, we cannot limit ourselves to considering convergences. We have to go one step further and consider the outlines of a possible comprehensive package deal as an outcome of our discussions and negotiations.

The Netherlands and Belgium continue to believe that we should take a look at Ambassador Tanin’s proposal to have a genuine give and take based on a concise working document that is, at the same time, broad enough to be accepted as a starting point by all parties. Our Chairman called this “the next logical step”, and he was quite right in doing so. Any country that is in favor of an early reform of the Security Council should also be in favor of the elaboration of such a document.

In April we made some suggestions on how to produce a working document to start negotiations. I will not repeat them, but I would like to stress that the Chair of our intergovernmental process, Ambassador Tanin, should play a key role, in close coordination with the member states. We need to give him our full trust, without giving up on the membership-driven principle of our process. The Netherlands and Belgium reiterate their readiness to assist.

Mr. President,

In your letter you wrote that you will decide on the next steps during the 67th session of the GA based on what you hear today.

We believe there may still be time for another meeting, on the condition that it has a more focused theme than today’s debate. Possible topics could be: a concise working document that can serve as a basis for negotiations and how to realize it; and / or a deeper look into different intermediate models.

Lastly, the Netherlands and Belgium think that we may have to start looking at the decision to extend the mandate of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform.

In order to make any progress we should keep in mind that there will be no reform without compromises from all sides. Making concessions will be necessary. If we are not prepared to do so, one wonders whether at this point in time, it makes sense to continue with our debates.

In any case, I can assure you, as well as the very dedicated Chair of our negotiation process, Ambassador Tanin, of the full support of the Netherlands and Belgium, to any effort to make real progress on the important subject of Security Council reform.

I thank you.