|Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese mission to the UN. Photo: VNA|
The General Assembly concluded its debate on Security Council reform on November 17, with delegates calling for limits on the use of the veto by its permanent members and improved geographical distribution, particularly for Africa, on the 15‑member organ tasked with upholding international peace and security.
Namibia’s delegate echoed long‑standing appeals for Africa to have no fewer than two permanent and five non‑permanent seats in what would become a 26‑seat Council. “Indeed, it is time that the reform process addresses the obstacles caused by the imbalance resulting from the determination by some to preserve their entrenched self‑interests,” he said.
Senegal’s representative, warning against half‑baked measures, emphasized that Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat, yet it accounts for most of the issues on the Council’s agenda. Moreover, the Council must be as efficient as possible so that its decisions have legitimacy and are effectively implemented.
Ukraine’s delegate emphasized that comprehensive Council reform must address the question of the veto, given how permanent members, including the Russian Federation, have wielded that power in breach of their obligation to maintain international peace and security. As such, he called for phasing out the veto as well as immediate initiatives to limit its use, especially in situations of war crimes, genocide and other violations of international law that involve permanent members.
Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy recalled that since the UN Security Council was last expanded 55 years ago, 73 countries have joined the United Nations. In this context, he expressed support for an enlargement of the Council in permanent and non‑permanent categories with equitable geographical representation, especially for the underrepresented and unrepresented and developing countries.
He underlined the need to take into account the role and contributions of countries in maintaining international peace and security when considering the selection of new members.
The reform should contribute further to upholding international law, he said. The intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) needs to focus on the UN's long-term goals and visions, Quy noted that negotiations must be conducted in good faith, with mutual respect and in an inclusive and transparent manner.
The Assembly began its annual debate on the agenda item “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council” on November 16 ahead of a new round of intergovernmental negotiations that were cut short earlier this year by the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Also speaking today were representatives of the Philippines, Venezuela, Guatemala, Burundi, Lesotho, Congo and Malta.
The Assembly will reconvene on November 23 to, among other things, take action on a draft resolution on cooperation between the UN and regional and other organizations. It will also consider a proposal from the Secretary‑General to extend the term of office of Filippo Grandi as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees./.
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