General Assembly Agenda item 121: “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other related matters”
(New York, 30 October 2015)

Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan
to the United Nations

Mr. President,

Let me say, at the outset, how pleased my delegation is to see you chairing the General Assembly during its landmark 70th year. You can count on our support in fulfilling your responsibilities.

Pakistan fully associates itself with the Statement delivered by Italy, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group.

I would also like to congratulate Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg, on her appointment as the new Chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN). Pakistan assures her of its full cooperation.

Mr. President,

General Assembly Decision 62/557 provided the mandate for the IGN process. The goal set by this Decision was to achieve comprehensive reform of the Security Council on five equally important and interlinked issues, and seek a solution that could enjoy the “widest possible political acceptance”.

Success has eluded us thus far because the focus has been on looking for procedural shortcuts rather than on genuine efforts to bridge divergent positions on substance.

We can all agree that compromise and flexibility are the key to successful outcomes in multilateral negotiations. In evaluating the lack of progress on Security Council reform, we have to acknowledge that absence of flexibility and compromise is at the root of the impasse we face today.

A few countries have sought to promote their self-arrogated right to a privileged and unequal status. And they have maintained this rigid position since the process began about two decades ago. This rigidity and blind pursuit of national ambition is the real reason for our persisting failure to achieve a more democratic, accountable, transparent and effective Security Council. For its part, the UfC has twice revised its proposal and remains ready to engage in further dialogue.

Mr. President,

There is now a great deal of history to these negotiations. But those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Two important lessons should be kept in mind. First, quick fixes and procedural maneuvers have always come to naught; and, second, no agreements are to be found at the extreme ends of political positions. An honest appraisal of these facts will mark the first meaningful step towards reforming the Security Council.

Mr. President,

The IGN is a membership driven process. Its basis is the proposals and positions of Member States and negotiating groups. This process needs to be facilitated in good faith and in an open, transparent, predictable and inclusive manner, creating an environment that preserves mutual respect among Member States. A positive atmosphere for the IGN is crucial for Member states to engage constructively.

Mr. President,

Let me outline the basic precepts of our position on the substance of Security Council reform:

Mr. President,

It is often said that the Security Council needs to be adapted to the realities of the 21st century to enhance the Council’s legitimacy and representativeness. We agree. But some countries ignore what the objective realities are. They focus only on their narrow and contentious interpretation of political realities. This, if I may say so, is an illusion. And there are strong arguments against such an approach:

Mr. President,

Pakistan distinguishes between the demands motivated by selfish ambitions and the collective demand of an entire continent. In this regard, we have always respected the African Common Position, the Ezulwini consensus and the Sirte Declaration.

Let me reiterate, Mr. President, that only flexibility and compromise will take us closer to our goal. Fixed positions will stall and hobble our efforts. Had there ben flexibility on the part of delegations that have unjustifiably insisted on securing permanent seats, many Member states would already have played a positive role in the Security Council. Together we would have contributed to international peace and security.

A week ago, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The celebration was essentially about the Charter that we all subscribe to, which lays strong emphasis on democracy and accountability. We all pledged to respect and support it.

We hope, Mr. President, that this pledge will translate into action and will yield progress towards reform of the Security Council that is rooted in the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

I thank you, Mr. President.