Magazine article UN Chronicle

Ambassador Razali Suggests 24-Member Security Council: 10 Permanent, 14 Non-Permanent Members

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Ambassador Razali Suggests 24-Member Security Council: 10 Permanent, 14 Non-Permanent Members

Article excerpt

These are excerpts from the statement on 20 March of General Assembly President Razali Ismail, in his capacity as Chairman of the open-ended working group on the question of equitable representation on and increase in membership of the Security Council:

This proposal is drawn from the many diverse and comprehensive views that have been expressed by delegations for over three years now, as well as from statements made in the General Assembly and from the various papers presented to this working group. I have proposed an increase of membership in the Security Council from 15 to 24 by adding 5 permanent and 4 non-permanent members. No names are mentioned in my proposal. The five new permanent and four non-permanent members will be elected according to the pattern that I have described in operative paragraph 1:

* Five permanent members: one each from the developing States of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and two from the industrialized States; and

* Four non-permanent members: one each from African States, Asian States, Eastern Europe States, and Latin American and Caribbean States.

In my proposal, all aspirants are expected to declare their readiness to assume the responsibilities of permanent membership to the General Assembly. No one State will become a new permanent member unless another four in the pattern I have described also obtain the required majority of at least two thirds of votes in the Assembly. The fate of any one is therefore inextricably linked to the fate of the others, thus preventing a so-called quick fix. This, in my view, is the most democratic means of expansion in the permanent category.

Some Member States have expressed concern at the size of expansion of the Security Council, claiming that once a certain threshold number has been reached, the Council's ability to work efficiently or expeditiously ceases to exist. It is my view that the work of the Council can only be enhanced with an increase in both categories, not only because fresh perspectives are brought to Council deliberations and broader alliances created in decision-making, but also because such an expansion will strengthen the effectiveness and authority of the Council in maintaining peace and security in a rapidly changing and increasingly unstable world.

Of equal importance is the consideration that an expansion of nine will also increase the chances of the smaller developing countries to participate as members in the Security Council. It is also necessary to point out that out of an expansion of nine, six will come from the developing world, three of which will be permanent members.

My proposal decides to urge the original permanent members to limit use of the veto to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and not to extend provision of the veto to new permanent members.

I believe that such a linkage would be a first concrete step towards making the application of veto on matters outside of the maintenance of international peace and security by the original permanent members progressively and politically untenable. This proposal also bears in mind the harsh reality that members of the General Assembly cannot restrict the use of the veto by the permanent members, as this would require Charter amendments, which in themselves are subject to the concurring votes of permanent members of the Council. …

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