Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan in the General Assembly on the Report of the Security Council ; and Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters : joint debate
(15 November 2012)
I would like to thank Ambassador Hardeep Puri, President of the Security Council, for presenting the Report of the Security Council to the General Assembly.
- I would also like to convey our appreciation to the delegation of Colombia for coordinating the preparation of the introduction to the report Ė a process that also involved a consultative meeting with general membership.
- Pakistan supports the efforts to improve the analytical and qualitative value of the Councilís annual report. The statistical data and other information contained in the report is a useful compendium for quick reference and overview of the Councilís work during the reporting period. We appreciate the hard work done by the Secretariat in this regard.
- The interest and active participation in this debate today confirms the reportís value. Of course, there is room to enrich and sharpen its analytical content. The general membership closely follows the Councilís proceedings. Today, therefore, is an opportunity to review and comment on the Councilís performance in carrying out its primary responsibility to maintain of international peace and security.
- The report shows the range of the agenda of the Security Council - from country-specific to regional situations, from terrorism to non-proliferation. It also covers thematic issues: the rule of law; protection of civilians; women and peace and security; children and armed conflict Ė issues that cut across many situations on the Councilís agenda.
- Peacekeeping and peace-building have proved to be effective tools for the Council to deal with the several conflict and non-conflict situations. Sierra-Leone and Burundi are success stories. We have witnessed progress in Liberia and Cote díIvoire.
- As a major participant in UN peacekeeping missions, Pakistan is proud of its own contribution to the international efforts in these situations and elsewhere in Africa.
- Recently, we have also seen some setbacks. The Council has been trying to redress the difficulties in Guinea-Bissau, recurring problems in the DRC, and the eruption of the crisis in Mali. The interplay of the situation in Male with the wider Sahel region has received the Councilís close attention. And all these processes have reinforced comprehensive and holistic approaches underpinned by regional cooperation and international support.
- The Councilís sustained engagement with the regional organizations contributed to the positive developments in Somalia. The result is regional consensus and cohesion on a situation that had been abandoned as intractable. The African Union (AU) has worked in tandem with the Security Council to resolv outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan.
- The Councilís continued engagement with Haiti remains crucial. The swift movement towards stability in Timor-Leste has enabled it to graduate from the agenda of the Council. We in the United Nations can all take pride over this achievement. This is a job well done.
- In Afghanistan, the UN plays an important role. It is poised to play an even greater role in the years to come, especially after 2014.
- The Council has been deliberating on the situation in the Middle East, a region where the quest for peace and stability continues. The situation in Syria has added new complexities and uncertainties.
- For its part, Pakistan will continue to support efforts for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict that reflects the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. It is the international communityís collective responsibility to prevent escalation of the Syrian situation and its spill-over to neighboring countries.
- It is regrettable that there has been no movement on the agreed two-state solution for the longstanding Palestinian issue, though it has been debated frequently in the Council. It is ironic that the Councilís own resolutions have not been respected most notably on the construction of settlements in the occupied territory and the blockade of Gaza. We have consistently urged Council members to demonstrate greater political will to ensure implementation of the Councilís resolutions. Pakistan supports a sovereign, independent, viable and contiguous Palestine State living side by side with all its neighbours in peace and security.
- Divisive approaches and positions undermine the Councilís authority and vitiate the environment for decision making. Pakistan believes that unity within the Council will enable it to take effective collective action. We support efforts to foster consensus and promote cohesiveness in the Council so that we can work for the overarching common objective of international peace and security.
- Views of the general membership on the work of the Security Council are of fundamental importance for the Council itself to review its performance and to make necessary improvements where required.
- Apart from this annual debate, the general membership should have more opportunities to give its feedback throughout the year. Open meetings of the Security Council are important because they allow participation of non-Council members.
- As a current non-permanent member and serving for the seventh time in the Council, we can say candidly that there is room for improving the Councilís working methods, particularly in regard to transparency and inclusiveness. Non-permanent members, who are elected by the General Assembly and are therefore accountable to the general membership, have an added responsibility to help improve the Councilís methods and procedures. Pakistan has therefore actively contributed to the discussion on this subject in the Council and in its Working Group on documentation and other procedural questions.
- I now turn to the second item on the agenda today: Security Council reform.
- Pakistan supports a comprehensive reform that would make the Security Council democratic in composition, effective in decisions-making and accountable to general membership.
- We believe that reform of the Security Council should transcend the current global power politics.
- Reform should not only be based on contemporary realities but also take into account the likely changes in the future. Our approach should be dynamic, not static or anachronistic.
- Pakistan believes that modest expansion of the Council by adding new electable seats would make it more representative and transparent as well as ensure its relevance to present and emerging global realities.
- New seats based on periodic elections will also make the Council more equitable, diverse and plural in terms of representation; as well as more open and accountable to reflect the aspirations of the general membership. Such a reform model would enhance Security Councilís ownership and increase its credibility.
- Security Council reform remains a contentious process. No single model enjoys the requisite support of Member States. To make progress, it is essential to explore common middle ground through flexibility and compromise.
- Originally, Pakistan sought expansion in non-permanent category only. But now, Pakistan, along with other members of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC), supports the proposal for long-term seats as explained in ďItaly-Colombia PaperĒ. The fact is this is the only compromise proposal on the table.
- Our proposal does not serve the interest of its authors but offers a collective bargain to reform a UN organ whose ownership is shared by all Member States.
- Our proposal has the capacity to absorb and accommodate the present and future realities.
- In a rapidly changing global geopolitical landscape, our proposal rises above individual national ambitions. It reflects political configuration of the real world, in which a few large States, a number of medium sized States, majority of small States, and regional organizations will be able to play their role effectively to promote international peace and security.
- The Italy-Colombia paper is a realistic basis for forward movement in the reform process. Unlike other proposals on the table, it is not a take-it-or-leave-it offer. It provides a framework for real dialogue on an achievable final outcome.
- The proposal also serves the dual purpose of a modest expansion of the Council, while ensuring wider representation for regional and cross-regional groups like the African Union (AU) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
- With a view to building bridges, we will continue to reach out to various groups, including the Forum of Small States (FORSS) and African Group. Pakistan, as member of the UfC, wishes to engage closely with diverse groups, to share and understand one anotherís perspectives, and to pursue our common objectives.
- We respect and support the African Common Position (ACP). Africaís just demand for permanent presence in the Security Council is on behalf of the entire continent. It is, therefore, different from those who seek a permanent seat for themselves. We see adequate space in the UfC reform model to accommodate African position as a ďSpecial CaseĒ based on Continent-specific seats. We strongly believe that any solution that excludes Africa or African participation will be incomplete and, therefore, untenable.
- Under your Presidency of the General Assembly, real progress towards Security Council reform is possible.
- We welcome your letter of November 9th and appreciate the wide consultations you have held. We agree with you that ďpredictability and full transparency remain essential ingredient in the ongoing processĒ.
- We welcome the re-appointment of Ambassador Zahir Tanin to chair of the Inter-governmental negotiations (IGN). The issues on the table are sensitive; and positions divergent. It is our earnest hope and appeal to the distinguished Chair to be attentive to all viewpoints and concerns. Transparency is a pre-condition for effective and inclusive work. The IGN schedule should be formulated through consultations, under the overall guidance of the President of the General Assembly. We stress the member-state driven nature of the negotiation process. Proposals and recommendations that have not been mandated or agreed upon by the membership cannot be a basis for further work.
- An important lesson learnt in the last two years of IGN process is that divisive tactics, piecemeal approaches, showdowns on issues of choice, and claims of majority-minority only prolong the impasse and vitiate the atmosphere for negotiations. We must avoid these pitfalls in the current session.
- The reform process cannot be held hostage to individual national pursuits of permanent seats through self-serving drafts, which have failed to garner any support. It is time to proceed with the spirit of flexibility, based on agreed principles of GA decision 62/557.
- I conclude by recognizing the commendable role of President of the Assembly in steering the process of Security Council reform. He has a focused, hands-on, fair, impartial, and inclusive approach. We admire this and support you effort. We assure you of our fullest cooperation.
Thank you Mr. President.