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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Plenary
30th & 31st Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/10172
14 October 2003

SECURITY COUNCIL SHOULD ENLARGE MEMBERSHIP, REVIEW VETO POWER TO INCREASE LEGITIMACY, EFFICIENCY, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD

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Background

The General Assembly met today to continue its consideration of the annual report of the Security Council.  It was also expected to begin consideration of the question of equitable representation, on and increase in the membership of the 15-nation body.  For background, see Press Release GA/10171 issued on 13 October.

Report of Security Council

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YURI O. THAMRIN (Indonesia) said that while the report of the Security Council was important because it faithfully detailed that body’s work, it remained little more than “a blow-by-blow account, one that could have been easily prepared by individual Permanent Missions to the United Nations, or obtained from the Dag Hammarskjold Library”.  The report contained previously publicized documents, but little analysis or explanations of the Council’s actions and decisions.  In addition, it was sent late to Member States every year, and there was a clear contradiction between its contents and the amount of time needed to process it.  Despite all the events that took place in connection with the Iraq file, just over two pages were devoted to the issue, and the report made no mention of the hostilities.

He stressed that when the Council reported to the Assembly, it was not a concession by one organ of the United Nations to another, but the fulfilment of a Charter obligation.  That obligation should be wholly and consistently fulfilled in the interest of the peoples of the United Nations by both the Secretariat and the Security Council.  However, in spite of the previous criticism, he was pleased with what the Council had been able to accomplish despite its increased workload.  He noted progress with regard to conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and counter–terrorism as some of the accomplishments.  On Africa, he said that while there was new instability in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, the Council demonstrated laudable commitment when it sent two missions to different locations in the continent at the same time.

In spite of the setbacks, he hoped the Council would find ways of encouraging the parties to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and steering the peace process carefully and with determination towards the stated objectives.  On the issue of Security Council reform, he was concerned that in the nearly 10 years since the establishment of the open-ended Working Group, no substantial progress had been made on the issue.  The events of the past year had underlined the fact that comprehensive reform of the Council was long overdue, if the decisions of that body were to continue to enjoy the support of the larger membership of the Organization.

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CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON (Gambia) ...

On the situation in the Middle East, he said that the Council should continue to be patient and become more imaginative in its search for a solution to the problem.  “Ways must be found to realize the creation of a sovereign Palestinian State, side-by-side with a secure State of Israel”.  ...

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Question of Equitable Representation on Security Council

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ABDUL AZIZ NASSER AL SHAMSI (United Arab Emirates) ...

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Deeply concerned by the Council’s continued failure to carry out its mandate and responsibilities, with regard to the Middle East, he said that it had shown a trend towards selectivity and prejudice, especially regarding Israeli aggression against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.  Israel continued to violate international law, including through its violation of Syrian sovereignty earlier this month.  Although that action had been deplored by the international community, the Council had taken no action against it, due to the position of a permanent member of the Council.  That implied a hidden encouragement for Israel to continue its defiance of international law, and sent a message to other States that aggression and violation would be allowed.

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BRUNO RODRÍGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said the illegal war in Iraq and inaction in the Middle East were among the eloquent and irrefutable examples of the fact that the Security Council was not fulfilling its duties under the Charter, nor acting on behalf of Member States.  The Council distorted the spirit and provisions of the Charter and had affected an increasingly voracious and intrusive agenda, which usurped the functions of ECOSOC, as well as the Assembly.  The body was “seriously inequitable” and had become “anti-democratic”, acting conspiratorially and from within the opacity of informal consultations.  Its non-permanent members were routinely ignored and excluded, he added.

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ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) noted the progress that had been made in the Council’s working methods, and its continuing interest in ongoing conflicts in Africa.  But, there was a lot that remained to be done to enhance that body’s work.  The Council’s report showed that inaction on the situation in the Middle East posed a serious threat to the region, as well as to the Council’s own authority.

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U WIN MRA (Myanmar) said he was glad to observe that the Security Council had reformed its working methods, including holding frequent public meetings, “wrap-up” sessions, and press releases of all statements made by the President of the Council.  He also observed that the Council’s report had dealt with priority issues such as Iraq, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa, but he felt that an analytical report would have served a “more useful purpose than a mere descriptive one”.

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