Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council
New York, 14 December 2007
I would like to thank you for convening this meeting to discuss Security Council reform and exchange views on the way forward. Japan appreciates your strong interest in Security Council reform and active engagement in the informal process to build confidence and move forward. I would like to congratulate the Permanent Representatives of Bangladesh, Chile, and Portugal on their appointments both as vice-chairs of the OEWG and as members of the Task Force.
When we consider the way forward, the starting point is the agreement contained in General Assembly decision A/61/47, adopted on 17 September at the end of the 61st session as the result of delicate and successful consultations. Most importantly, it provides that the question of Security Council reform should be considered during the 62nd session so that further concrete results may be achieved, including through intergovernmental negotiations. In the debate held in the General Assembly last month on the question of Security Council reform, most countries expressed the view that the status quo on the composition of what was revised only once more than 40 years ago was no longer acceptable. There seems to be a broad consensus that we should move from the stage of debate into intergovernmental negotiations with a sense of urgency as the next step in the reform process.
At issue now is how to organize and start intergovernmental negotiations.
First of all, negotiations cannot take place without a consolidated paper containing negotiables. What we need to do is to establish a common understanding on the elements of these negotiables. In our view, the following six elements are an adequate basis for preparing negotiables: the size of an enlarged Council, categories of membership, procedures for electing new members, the veto, review and working methods. Japan believes that the pragmatic approach for preparation of a consolidated paper for intergovernmental negotiations would be to formulate several options under each of these elements, reflecting the progress made so far and the positions of and proposals made by Member States.
I would like to emphasize that not only the facilitators' findings but also the positions of and proposals made by Member States, including mine, should be incorporated in identifying the concrete elements and options of the negotiables. I should recall the carefully drafted and balanced formulation on this important issue as contained in paragraph 21, subpara. (d) of decision A/61/47. This formulation was what made it possible for the decision to be adopted. This important understanding among Member States is reaffirmed in your letter of 6 December 2007 and in your introductory statement this morning. I welcome your invitation to interested Member States to submit their positions to the Task Force.
Japan earlier had occasion to present its position on those elements of negotiables, for instance, at the informal consultations of the OEWG at the end of February this year.
The basic position of Japan is that the Security Council must be reformed through changes that include expansion of the permanent category, so that the Council will reflect the reality of international society in the twenty-first century and function more effectively. For Japan, it is of paramount importance that this basic position be fully reflected in a consolidated paper containing the elements of negotiables. With regard to other elements of negotiables, we are ready to participate in negotiations constructively and in a flexible manner.
We hope that by discussing the roadmap and program of work for intergovernmental negotiations, we will accelerate consultations on a consolidated paper containing the elements of negotiables and arrive at an agreement no later than by the end of January next year. We very much hope that preparation for negotiations is completed by then and intergovernmental negotiations begin next February with a view to achieving concrete results by the end of the 62nd session, in line with the decision A/61/47.
As regard to the format of intergovernmental negotiations, we believe that it must be objective, transparent and inclusive. However, the OEWG is, some may argue, not the most appropriate forum for intensive and interactive negotiations. We strongly believe that once agreement is reached on negotiables, intergovernmental negotiations should take place at the Permanent Representative level in an informal plenary session of the General Assembly. In view of the importance and complexity of the issue, we hope that you, Mr. President, take direct charge of negotiations with the assistance of the members of the Task Force. The issue of Security Council reform is an essential element in the overall process of UN reform, with far-reaching consequences for other UN activities. Therefore it should be tackled with a sense of urgency. We request that frequent meetings of the informal plenary be organized to accelerate the negotiation process, in addition to the focused meetings in alternate months you kindly proposed.
My delegation urges you, Mr. President, to continue to place the highest priority on Security Council reform and exercise leadership by proactively advancing the process.
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