Global Policy Forum

Germany: Statement by Ambassador Dr. Martin Ney, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany

22 June 2009


Informal Plenary of the General Assembly on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council


Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to begin by reiterating my delegation's gratefulness for your relentless efforts in guiding this process of intergovernmental negotiations. We will continue to support your work and we deeply appreciate your commitment to a meaningful and prompt reform of the Security Council.

Mr. Chairman,

It is in our common interest to avoid having an exchange today that mirrors what took place in the first round of negotiations. Let me thus be very brief on the topics of the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, the question of the veto and working methods, in so far as they have been addressed in March and April already. After doing so, allow me to share with you a few thoughts on how to further advance our discussions in the third round.

Regarding the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, my delegation supports focusing our future discussions on options ii and iii as outlined in paragraph 15 a of your overview paper: more substantive and analytical reporting by the Security Council as well as regular consultations between the Presidents of the principal organs could enhance the interaction between the Council and the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me emphasize one consideration regarding the question of the veto: this issue is indeed important, but let's not elevate it to the point where it threatens to become a stumbling block for the entire reform project. Let's instead approach the issue of the veto with the flexibility, the pragmatism and the realism necessary to find a workable solution. If we were to create the Security Council from scratch today, we would probably be able to agree on a solution very quickly. In a situation, however, where the task at hand is the reform of an existing institution, far-reaching solutions are simply not feasible.

My delegation considers it a realistic approach to create new permanent members with the right of veto, who will in a legally binding manner commit not to exercise the veto until a review conference takes up the question of the veto. Such an approach could be combined with a political debate on how to best reduce the political relevance of the veto.

As today's debate demonstrates once more, the question of the veto is a difficult one. It is not, however, the linchpin of the whole reform project, and we should not allow those member states who intend to slow down our common reform project to misrepresent it in such a way.

Mr. Chairman,

In paragraph 17 - the paragraph on working methods - , your overview paper reflects interesting proposals on improving the access of non-Council members to the work of the Council. We welcome more detailed discussions, both on increasing the transparency of and the information on the work of the Council as well as on improving consultations of the Council with non-members. Let me make one procedural remark on working methods as well: Improving the working methods of the Council is essential for the quality of the reform as a whole, and we must not lose sight of the issue. The necessity to reform the working methods is, however, another question that should not be abused as a pretext for burying the overall reform debate in discussions on minute details.

Mr. Chairman,

In the two rounds of negotiations we are completing with our exchange today and tomorrow, all delegations have reaffirmed well-known positions.
We have, however, also seen some movement: A large majority of member states reiterated their commitment to the reform process and their will to proceed on the basis of the guidance given by you, Mr. Chairman.

Several member states from different groups and regions made concrete proposals on how to focus our negotiations in the future in order to achieve progress. They proposed to concentrate our negotiations on those options that enjoy support large enough to eventually garner the widest possible agreement.

With regard to the categories of membership, those options are clearly the expansion in both categories - paragraph 14 b i - and the intermediate model - paragraph 14 b ii of your overview paper. Those should be the primary topics of our negotiations in the third round. In order to further converge our views, we do not need to drag on other options that are supported by only a small minority of Member states.

Mr. Chairman,

In decision 62/557, which you rightly describe as our lodestar, we gave ourselves the mandate to negotiate - and that is to negotiate, not to reiterate, not to ventilate, not to deliberate.

We agreed to negotiate, and that means in the UN context to express our positions based on a text similar in language and style to the document that is intended to be the final outcome.

With our lodestar, decision 62/557, already nine months old and close to the end of its existence, it is time to concentrate our exchange on such a text in the third round. Such a text could be a revised version of the overview paper. Such a text could also be a composite paper presented by you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman,

With the end of the 63rd General Assembly approaching, we should all concentrate our energies on focusing our exchange in the next round on the majority options.

That is the way towards a convergence of positions. That is the way to achieve progress.

Thank you.


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