Statement by H.E. Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the UN at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and the increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council New York, 25 February, 2019
As this is the first time I am taking the floor at the IGN, I wish to congratulate you on your appointment as Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations and wish you success in this important task. Our delegation is committed to work with you and with other Member States in order to facilitate real reform.
We still hope that the Intergovernmental Negotiations can and should produce concrete outcome of real, text-based negotiation process, rather than continue, year after year, a cycle of repeating well-known positions. At the same time, we believe it is important to listen to each other and through our discussions to continue looking for possibilities to narrow differences.
For today’s discussion you have asked us to focus on three clusters of Security Council reform: categories of membership, the question of the veto, and regional representation. I would like to express Latvia’s position on these issues.
In our view, all regions must be adequately represented on the Council to ensure its legitimacy, especially as the UN membership has expanded since the last Security Council reform in 1963. 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. Latvia also supports greater representation of African countries in the Council. We 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. Given the diverging views on this aspect, we believe that discussions on the use of this special power in certain circumstances should be continued. The failure of the Security Council to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes – genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity – has severely impaired its credibility. Council’s permanent members should refrain from using their veto in situations of mass atrocity crimes. As stated on previous occasions, we support the French-Mexican initiative for voluntary restraint of the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities. Latvia has also signed the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, so far supported by almost 2/3 of UN Member States.
Latvia once again would like to emphasize that the Security Council reform is long overdue. Because, we need a Security Council adapted to today’s world. We should all aim for strengthening the legitimacy of this important body.
Of course we do not expect the negotiations to be fast and easy. The result must be achieved through careful consensus building and must receive the widest political acceptance. Latvia is ready to take part in this process to achieve the long awaited reform of the Security Council.