Thank you for convening this annual debate.
Since the 2005 World Summit, the call for an early reform of the United Nations Security Council has been made many times, just like there have been many appeals to make the Council more representative, efficient and transparent, in order to reflect political realities of the 21st century.
It is the end of 2018, and we still have not advanced with this reform much. As in previous years at this General Assembly debate, Latvia once again would like to emphasize that the Security Council reform is long overdue. We should all aim for strengthening the legitimacy of this important body.
As we anticipate the next round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council Reform to begin, we note some progress achieved during previous sessions of the IGN. It has helped to clarify the positions of UN Member States regarding various aspects of the reform. Those efforts include:
- the 2015 Framework Document, which reflects the positions of more than half of the UN membership;
- the elements of convergence covering some aspects of the reform, discussed in 2016;
- as well as the “Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration”, on which we have worked in last two IGN sessions.
In this regard Latvia sincerely appreciates the efforts of all former Chairs of the IGN to coordinate the IGN work. We also appreciate support of the former and the current Presidents of the General Assembly for advancement of the reform.
Despite many repeated calls to start a real, text-based negotiation process, clearly expressed during the past session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, the cycle of repeating well-known positions continued. We do not expect these negotiations to be fast and easy, however we believe that it is important to try taking a step further and start negotiations on a concrete text.
We agree that the result must be achieved through careful consensus building and must receive the widest political acceptance. Latvia is ready to take part in negotiations to achieve long awaited reform of the Security Council, which should be the true goal of our deliberations.
Moving on to specific aspects of the reform. In our view, all regions must be adequately represented on the Council to ensure its legitimacy. The reform should ensure equitable geographic distribution of both permanent and non-permanent seats in the Council, including allocation of at least one additional non-permanent seat to the Eastern European Group. We also believe that during the nomination and election of non-permanent members of the Council due consideration should be given to adequate representation of small and medium size member states.
The question of the veto, no doubt, is a very important part of the reform. Discussions on the use of this special power in certain circumstances should be continued. Yet some things should be beyond debate. Blocking the work of the Council in matters related to mass atrocities is unacceptable. Council’s permanent members should refrain from using their veto in situations of mass atrocity crimes. We support the French-Mexican initiative in this regard.
Latvia has signed the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. We are satisfied to see that so far 118 UN Member States have joined this important initiative.
We also support improvement of the Security Council working methods to increase transparency, inclusiveness and representativeness of its work. Certain positive efforts in the transparency direction, demonstrated by the members of the Council in recent years, can be noted. We believe such approach enhances Council’s legitimacy and facilitate implementation of its decisions.
To conclude, Latvia believes that the United Nations’ capacity to address the current global challenges largely depends on the political will to move forward the Security Council reform. We look forward to work with the Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations and with other Member States in order to produce progress on the reform at this GA session.