Security Council Reform: Statement by Ambassador Jan Grauls on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium to the General Assembly
H.E. Ambassador Jan Grauls
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United Nations
on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium to the General Assembly
on the issue of “The G4 proposal for Security Council Reform”
New York, 26 January 2012
I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the Netherlands and Belgium.
I would like to thank you for your letter of December 29, which, among other things, proposes five meetings between today and the end of April to discuss each of the five existing Member States initiatives on Security Council reform.
The Netherlands and Belgium think that this is a prudent yet sensible approach, which will hopefully allow us to get a clear idea of each of the proposals and, more importantly, how they are perceived by the membership. In our view, the process suggested by the Chair also reflects the sense of urgency among the Membership and the wish to envisage next steps in this laborious process. Ideally, the end of this process should be an outcome document that unambiguously reflects where we stand, and that shows ways ahead.
Today, we take a closer look at the G4 proposal on a moderate expansion of the Security Council in both categories of membership, permanent and non-permanent, and an improvement of its working methods.
Both the Netherlands and Belgium have supported this proposal from the very beginning. And we are not alone on this: the G4 draft resolution has the written support of more than 80 member states, and a significant number of member states have orally expressed their additional support.
We will continue to support this proposal because we believe that, at this moment, it may well be the only concrete option for real progress, provided that all parties look at it with the necessary flexibility and openness. The G4 proposal should not be considered as a Charter changing document. In our view, it is designed as a vehicle that can get negotiations really going. It will set an incremental process in motion, which could eventually lead to a lasting and balanced deal on Security Council reform along the lines of the existing mandate.
The Netherlands and Belgium do not agree with those who claim that the G4 proposal is divisive or that it takes on a piecemeal approach. Rather, it seems to us as being realistic, operational and results-oriented. It is true that it tackles just two of the five Security Council reform issues, but this does not mean that it disregards the other topics. It will provide a start for talks, which can then also focus on the other issues.
The G4 proposal does not say anything about possible veto rights for new permanent members, nor does it refer to the existing veto rights. We believe that is a wise approach, since the veto is a highly sensitive issue. In later negotiations, it will have to be dealt with as part of the negotiating process. However, the Netherlands and Belgium are of the opinion that an extension of the veto power to possible new Permanent Members of the Security Council would in the present circumstances not benefit the efficiency of the Council. We should not forget that, in the end, this whole reform should lead to a more efficient Council.
The G4 proposal does say something about the working methods of the Security Council. As we have mentioned many times before, real progress has already been made in this field during the past years. I would like to commend, once again, both the S5 and the Members of the Security Council for their efforts in this regard. The improvement of the working methods of the Council is an ongoing process. We should not allow this process to become the victim of a lack of progress on other issues.
As stated during our intervention in the previous debate in November last year, the Netherlands and Belgium are ready to see if there are other proposals that we can discuss if it turns out that the necessary support for the G4 proposal would not exist. However, we do have the distinct feeling that, of all proposals and ideas about Security Council reform, this is the one that can count on the broadest support among the members of the UN. This is also the most concrete proposal, which can form the basis of real negotiations. We would therefore encourage the G4 to move it forward, as a further step.
We hope that this broad support will be somehow reflected in an outcome document after discussing all five Member States initiatives. We are convinced that under your able chairmanship and with the support of the PGA, we will be able to finally make some progress. Only that way will we be able to preserve the credibility of the United Nations and sincerely improve the legitimacy of the Security Council.