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

5 December 2008, New York

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for organizing the third meeting of the OEWG. I am grateful to you for your strong interest in Security Council reform and also to Ambassador Tanin for his important role as Vice-Chair of the OEWG. The efforts both of you are making to build confidence among us and move the process forward are reassuring and most welcome.

We at the UN represent the wishes of the governments and people of the Member States to create a more effective and representative global security body to reflect the reality of the 21st century. At the OEWG meetings held on 11 and 17 November 2008, Member States clearly demonstrated that they are ready to move to and participate in intergovernmental negotiations at the earliest possible date. It is the profound responsibility of all of us to minimize procedural debate and concentrate on beginning substantive negotiations as soon as possible.

During the debate on Security Council reform held in the General Assembly from 18 to 20 November 2008, an overwhelming number of Member States expressed once again their support for expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories and called for an early start of intergovernmental negotiations.

Mr. Chairman, your letter of 24 November 2008 is helpful in clarifying the role of the OEWG and in determining how to organize its work and facilitate the start of intergovernmental negotiations. We support the work plan of the OEWG as outlined in your letter, which faithfully reflects paras. (c) and (d) of decision 62/557. Intergovernmental negotiations will commence at the informal plenary soon after the Chairman of the OEWG presents the results, not necessarily a report, to an informal plenary in January 2009.

Having said that, the agenda of today's meeting is the "framework" of intergovernmental negotiations. Some member states stated in the earlier OEWG meeting that the "framework" could mean either the basis for negotiations or the venue of negotiations. Some other representatives may argue that the "framework" means the objective of reform, the guiding principles of reform, or even the objective of negotiations.

In my view, these points are already clearly defined in the 2005 Outcome Document and in decision 62/557. The guiding principle as to how to organize and conduct such negotiations is unquestionably decision 62/557. However, I will elaborate on my understanding with regard to these issues, as follows:

1) Objective of SC reform

As I stated in the OEWG meeting of 11 November, and as you, Mr. Chairman, mentioned at the beginning of the debate in the General Assembly on 18 November, the objective of Security Council reform has already been defined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Let me repeat that consensus wording: "to make [the Council] more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions". This objective was agreed upon by world leaders as a result of delicate and lengthy negotiations. Therefore, the objective of reform should be no more and no less than these expressions. I wish to strongly discourage reopening the discussion on this issue and trying to narrow or broaden the scope at this stage.

2) Objective of negotiations

The objective of negotiations is to seek a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States, as clearly stated in decision 62/557, para. (d). Prior to the adoption of the GA decision on 15 September, some Member States proposed to revise the words "a solution" to read "an agreed solution", "a negotiated solution", "a compromised solution" or "seeking a reform", etc. The proposal was also made to add "well above a two-thirds majority" after "the widest possible political acceptance". However, in the end, all of these proposals were rejected, and the current wording was unanimously accepted in the GA plenary. I see no reason to reopen discussion and modify the agreed formula contained in decision 62/557.

3) Venue of negotiations

There is no ambiguity. Negotiations will take place at an informal plenary of the General Assembly.

4) Basis for negotiations

In decision 62/557, para. (d), the General Assembly decided, building on the progress achieved thus far, in particular during its sixty-first and sixty-second sessions, as well as the positions of and proposals made by Member States, to commence intergovernmental negotiations, based on proposals by Member States. Para. (e) of decision 62/557 specifies that the positions and proposals of Member States, regional groups and other Member State groupings should form the basis for the intergovernmental negotiations.

From these formulations, it is clear that all of the basic positions and proposals made so far by the Member States must be on the table at the start of negotiations, including those of Japan and many other States proposing that the Security Council must be reformed through changes that include expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent categories.

I would like to suggest that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman prepare a paper containing options for the five clusters of key issues, covering all of the positions and proposals of the Member States.

If I may add a few words regarding the procedure for negotiations, I believe it is appropriate that the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly should be applied in intergovernmental negotiations, since negotiations are to take place in an informal plenary of the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

As I have just explained, decision 62/557 clearly establishes the "framework" for negotiations.

My delegation urges you to continue to exercise your leadership by proactively advancing the process to achieve meaningful reform at the earliest possible time.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Site other site

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