Statement by Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the General Assembly Debate on agenda item 122: “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council”
November 07, 2017

Mr. President,

It is a great pleasure to see you preside over this important debate on the vital question of equitable representation and increase in membership of the Security Council. We count on your sagacity and wisdom in guiding our discussions during the current round of the IGN process.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by Ambassador Cardi of Italy, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group.

My delegation also congratulates the distinguished Ambassadors of the UAE and Georgia on their appointment as co-chairs of the IGN process. We assure them of our full support in moving this process forward.

Let me also commend Ambassador Khairi and Ambassador Jinga for their transparent and inclusive approach in steering the process during the 71st session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

Over the years, we have become used to hearing a litany of complaints from a handful of delegations about the slow pace of the reform proces

They argue that the IGN process has become a means to perpetuate the status quo, rather than a vehicle of change; that it has become an end in itself.

Taken at face value, this view has much merit, but we cannot but marvel at these delegations for liberally blaming others when the responsibility for the impasse lies squarely on them.

These countries seek a privileged and unequal status for themselves, anchored in power politics, which is in sharp contradiction to the democratic spirit of our times.

Even more telling, while they remain firmly wedded to their own positions, they ask others to be flexible.

It is equally disingenuous for them to invoke the majority principle in seeking membership of the Council, when they deny the same principle to the larger membership of the United Nations, in holding them to account.

It is not a lack of will on the part of the many, but a lack of will on the part of a few, that remains the most persistent stumbling block in the way of achieving a more representative, transparent, accountable and effective reform of the Security Council.

Mr. President,

Decision 62/557 lays the overarching framework and mandate for intergovernmental negotiations -- a membership-driven process with the aim of achieving comprehensive reform on the five equally important and interlinked issues; to be facilitated in good faith, with mutual respect, and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, with the objective of achieving the widest possible political acceptance of the membership.

These are not just noble aspirations but agreed parameters for reform.

Yet what we have unfortunately seen is the repeated tendency by some to sidestep consensus through quick fixes and procedural maneuvers. Such attempts not only turn the process into a majority-minority calculus and undermines mutual trust, it also betrays a lack of common understanding over the ‘fundamentals’ of the issue.

Seeking to introduce a ‘text’ into this chasm will not bridge our differences, it will accentuate them. We would be better served in not chasing this chimera.

What is required is not setting artificial deadlines, but instead, to heed the call for flexibility and readiness and to find common ground.

The UfC has lived this ideal, by calibrating its position to reflect the interests and aspirations of all member states - small, medium-sized and large. It is time for others to show the same spirit of compromise and flexibility.

Mr. President,

Pakistan’s views on Security Council reform are well known. We are firmly opposed to the creation of new permanent seats, as they are contrary to the universally agreed principles of democracy, accountability and transparency.

After all, permanent membership remains at the core of much that is flawed about the existing Security Council. It is therefore, counterintuitive to us that an expansion in the Council could be advocated as a means to address its inherent dysfunctionalities.

This could, at best, be a measure to promote the self-serving interests of a few, who deride the permanent membership as an anachronism, yet stand ready to embrace it in the same breath. It cannot become the rationale for a well-meaning and comprehensive reform effort.

An enlarged permanent membership of the Security Council would also compromise its efficiency and effectiveness.

At a time when growing and complex challenges to global peace and security warrant firm and clear action by the Security Council, an enlarged permanent membership, operating on the basis of the least common denominator, would erode the standing of the Council, not strengthen its role, as some would have us believe.

On the other hand, expansion in the non-permanent category of membership, based on equitable geographic distribution and a system of fair rotation, a solution that Pakistan favors, is both fair and just, and is supported by all member states and groups. This should serve as a natural point of departure for any reform of the Council.

It also speaks to the imperative of reflecting contemporary realities. As contemporary realities are tied to the present, how can a ‘permanent’ status be bestowed upon an ‘impermanent’ state. This inconsistency can only be answered by longer-term non- permanent seats with possible re-election.

Similarly, an expansion in the non-permanent category will foster a wider and fairer rotation within regional groups. What is needed are seats for the regions, not seats merely claimed on their behalf.

On the issue of regional representation, we fully respect the Common African Position, which voices the demand of an entire continent, as inherently different from the demand for permanent seats in pursuit of narrow national ambitions.

In conclusion, Mr. President, let me reaffirm that Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment towards a comprehensive reform of the Security Council. Anything less would be a great disservice to the United Nations and the inspiring vision that it espouses for our collective humanity.

I thank you.