General Assembly General Assembly

Intervention made by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative at an informal meeting of the Plenary on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters to the Council on 28 March 2018


           Thank you, Co-Chairs, for your nice introduction.  As you know, I am always elliptical in my approach.  When I was coming this morning, I had a prepared statement, but a wise colleague said that if you cannot describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are actually doing. 


2.         I think there are many wise people here and we need to understand what we are doing and where we are in terms of the process.  I think, perhaps, the best way to address that is to take your first question and try and see, in terms of the process, are we abiding by the process that we have followed so far, or are we not and what should we do to improve that.


3.         Your first question related to para III 6(j).  I do understand and must say with a bit of dismay that some delegations want deletion of this.  Of course, it is the right of every delegation to ask for what they want.  That is fair.  It is also the right of every delegation to contest what is there.  That is also normal in our practice here. 


4.       But then, let us look at what this deletion means.  We have this paper here that you have prepared.  It is largely a revision of the paper that we have been discussing all through last year of what was our understanding of the approach and the process.  All of us here agreed that if we agree on everything, we reflect that in the first part as ‘Commonalities.’  We also agreed that what we do not agree amongst ourselves, we then reflect under ‘Issues for Further Consideration.’  That is what the agreement was.  Never was an issue under consideration sought to be deleted, without addressing it. In the whole of last year, it was not done and not done prior to this meeting. Are we at a hinge point that now we are saying what I do not like, I will not even allow others to consider, I want it excluded and deleted. 


5.         We are not saying that this is a Commonality, this is only for consideration. I heard one of the reasons was it would perhaps indicate that we have all agreed that there will be expansion in permanent membership and therefore we should delete.  Let us look at the paper.  Under III 4 on categories of membership, what has been listed under that.  We just heard on4(a) several countries objecting to different categories of membership; we heard some say there are only two categories – permanent and non-permanent, yet we have mentioned under 4(a) that we discuss categories other than those two.  When you look at III 4(b), we have listed a host of options – enlargement of the Security Council with both permanent and 2-year term non-permanent membership.  How come we agreed last year, meeting after meeting, in saying this and now we are questioning in the regional representation that very fact? 


6.         Frankly, it makes no sense to me that in  Section 4, you have agreed to list all options.  In Section 5, on veto, we all agreed to list a whole series of options - if new permanent members are approved, veto might be expanded, or it will not be expanded or it may be reviewed.  We have given options in section III 4 and in section III 5.  How come in section 6, we are now objecting to options?  We would like to have clarity as to why objections are raised only in section 6.  They were in the same format that you gave which you followed very consistently in section 4, 5 and 6.  Why are we objecting only in section 6?  What does this mean? 


7.         If a group of countries decide that they do not want even a reference, what happens then?  Let us see what happens to this paper.  Another group of countries might say I do not agree to section 4(b) - enlargement of the Security Council with only 2-year non-permanent members.  A third group would say, veto might be expanded and it is should not be ‘might’ but it should be ‘shall’ - will we will start deleting everything?


8.         We heard one delegation say that they do not agree to new categories; we heard the representative of the African Union say that they do not agree to new additional categories.  But we have all accommodated ourselves to discussing this.  We keep our positions but we accommodate others’ positions.  That has been the process of the entire discussion for a year.  We cannot change that.  If we change that, then we can say ‘goodbye’ because every part of the Issues for Further Consideration will be under question. 


9.         How do we address this? I do understand there are concerns that perhaps we need to take into account of everyone.  That is a fair concern.  How do we address that?   I have a few suggestions that you could consider.


i)  Nobody, neither you, neither us nor anyone else, can get any deletion of any element in the Issues for further Consideration until all of us agree to that.  We cannot agree to this.  If you do this, we are not in a proto-negotiation stage, but in a stage of text-based negotiations.  We are ready if that is what we want to do; let us move to text-based negotiations.  I thought this is proto-negotiation where we are trying to work on convergences.  So, if you are trying to work on convergences, let us keep what is there and let me tell you why.  For eg. Let us take 6(j) first tiret – additional permanent seats for Africa no less than 2 or 2.  Supposing we delete this, please tell me where else in the document there is a reference that Africa wants 2 or not less than 2 seats. On the one hand we say we are supporting Common African Position and on the other hand we are saying delete reference to a key element of that position.  Let us look at the other suggestion.  Arab States want one permanent seat, please tell me if we delete this, where else in this document is the desire of the Arab States for one permanent seat reflected.  What we are saying now is we delete the desire of Africa, we delete the desire of Arab States.  Similarly, yesterday we heard the PR of Guyana say that he was very happy about Small Island Developing States being reflected with one seat in this section.  Now, if we delete this, where are we going to have delete a reflection of the aspirations of the SIDS delegations?  We also heard, for eg. representatives from East Europe suggesting that they would like to have one seat for East Europe.  If we delete this 6j, please tell me where else in the document is there a reference to East Europe?  So, deletion perhaps is not the way. 


ii)  Yes, amplification is the way.  There are very many models for amplification.  That is the way to go about.  So, we heard from the UfC a very interesting proposal.  My submission is that let us bring that proposal as one other option under III 6j.  Let UfCbe gracious, adjusting and willing to bring its proposal also on the table with all the other proposals.  We made this request before and I would like to make to the UfCnow that the proposal that they made yesterday is perhaps can be under the second, or perhaps it is another – a 4th option.  There is no harm in putting 4th option of the UfC.


iii)  Once we include that, we attribute it.  The representative of France yesterday said that attribution in this para would make for greater clarity because some countries feel that references to them should not be in the non-permanent category only.  But there would not be any objection if it was attributed and said you did not ask for it, but a group of countries asked for it.  We attribute everything.


iv)  There are other ways of clarification and expansion.  For eg. Let us put in a table all the options that are given.  It is not unusual for all of us to seek clarity because sometimes when we write in words, it is not as clear as it would be in the form of a table.  Let us make a table with all the proposals - for expansion in permanent category, non-permanent category, who said what, what type of non-permanent with long term, without long term. All of these do not detract anybody’s position.  It only provides clarity and we are in a proto-negotiation stage wanting to enhance clarity. 


v)  We all acknowledge that this is not going to unnecessarily influence my position or the other.  Because it would be strange that India is proposing that the UfC proposal comes on to the table.  What greater element of flexibility do you want that a country which opposes the substance of a proposal is willing to at least provide others t bring its proposal on the table which gives them an opportunity to explain and compare.  If this is the best proposal, we shall see; if this is a proposal of compromise, we shall see.  I will not get into the substance today.  But, as a process, we need to accommodate everybody’s suggestions and see which is the best and go forward.  Otherwise, we will never be able to go forward.


vi)  I am not getting into other elements.  But just the two other elements of SIDS and Arab group. How do we address them?  Maybe it is useful for the SIDS and the Arab Group to tell us in detail as to how they see their proposal.  Do they have any details of whether their proposals are rotating and if so, in which manner, for eg.  The Arab group also wants a permanent seat in addition to what is the inter-regional adjustment right now of a non-permanent seat.  It would be useful to understand if the Arab group, for this permanent seat, wants a separate region for itself; wants the current regions to be the basis; if so, under the current region, where does this fit in?  We all need to understand these things better.


vii)  Our suggestion to you, Co-Chairs, is to have a process where everybody feels included and none feels excluded. If anyone feels that their model is not there, we have no objection to model 4, model 5, model 6 coming, if they are very different.  If they are similar, it is useful to combine those models because I have heard Christian, my good friend, who is not here, many times saying that the suggestion of longer term seats of Liechtenstein and Ireland is perhaps very close to the UfC.  Maybe they are of a similar nature.  It is useful to try and club together all proposals which are similar together.  Beyond this, we cannot be more flexible.  We have heard all sorts of suggestions of flexibility, here is the greatest flexibility we offer.  All proposals on the table, all proposals to be attributed, all proposals to be brought down to tabular form in addition to the written form, because it is not acceptable to delete anything until we agree on everything.


Thank you, Co-Chairs.