We appreciate the convening of this meeting and we will focus our statement on the elements included in the letter by the Co-Chairs, dated February 15, 2018. On it, Member States were asked to provide feedback and specific guidance on how “elements of commonality and issues for further consideration" can be taken forward while reflecting on the interlinkages between all five clusters and on the core principles underlying Security Council reform.
In this regard, we reiterate that the core principles underlying Security Council reform should continue guiding the negotiation process.
In the general section of the document on "elements of commonality" there is broad and strong support by Member States for a true and deep Security Council reform, which transforms it into an effective, transparent, representative and democratic body. Cuba agrees with this position, which it has reaffirmed on several occasions.
Likewise, we reiterate this reform process should be conducted by the Member States and characterized by being inclusive and participatory. All positions should be taken into account on equal terms. The process should enjoy the widest possible acceptance by the Member States.
All the documentation resulting from the negotiation process of previous years is useful, as well as the positions that we, as Member States, have expressed since the beginning of the process.
Regarding the interlinkage among all five clusters, the Security Council reform process should be based on a comprehensive and broad approach, addressing all the substantive issues related, particularly, to the five key issues, namely, the question of membership, the number of members, regional representation, working methods and the decision-making process, including the question of veto.
On the five clusters and their division between "elements of communality" and "issues for further consideration", our delegation considers:
Item 1. Categories of Membership:
On the elements contained in the "elements of communality" we consider:
1.1. To maintain as an "element of communality" the expansion of the category of non-permanent members of the Security Council: as Cuba has reiterated on several occasions, it favors the expansion of the number of seats of non-permanent members, which must have exactly the same prerogatives and rights as the current non-permanent members, without establishing selective or discriminatory criteria. The number of seats of non-permanent members elected for a two-year term must be extended to a total of at least 15.
1.2. To remove from the "elements of communality" the reference to other new categories. We reiterate that we do not favor the creation of new categories or sub-categories of members. The new categories would increase the existing differences and stimulate division among the members of the Security Council, instead of contributing to the better functioning of the Council.
On the "elements for further consideration" regarding this category:
1.3. We do not think the consideration of new categories is positive for the future of negotiations. The UN Charter clearly establishes two categories by which we must govern, permanent and non-permanent. We consider that no other new category proposal should be discussed.
1.4. We propose that the discussions on the expansion of the category of Membership, both permanent and non-permanent members for a two-year term, should be considered as an "element of communality". Our delegation recognizes the existence of different points of view among the delegations; however, we favor the expansion of the Security Council in both categories.
We already explained our consideration on the expansion of the category of non-permanent members; we will now focus on the expansion of the category of permanent members.
This expansion responds to the urgent need to rectify the underrepresentation of developing countries. Therefore, the main increase in the category of permanent members should be related to the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. At least two countries of Africa, two developing countries of Asia and two countries of Latin America and the Caribbean should enter as new permanent members.
The new permanent members should have exactly the same prerogatives and rights as the current ones, including the veto, without establishing selective or discriminatory criteria.
If the category of permanent members is not extended and only the number of non-permanent seats is extended, the existing gap between permanent and non-permanent members would be further widened; the disproportion between the representation of developed and developing countries in the Council would increase; the Council would be even less representative, and therefore, less legitimate and effective.
1.5. We agree with the parallel analysis approach among the categories of membership, the regional representation, the size of the number of members of the Security Council and the question of veto.
Item 2. Regional Representation
On the elements contained in the "elements of communality":
2.1. We reiterate that the expansion of the Council should have as a fundamental purpose to correct the insufficient representation of developing countries, particularly, of Africa.
The fact that developing countries are not adequately represented in the Security Council undermines the interests of the Council, its authority and credibility.
The current composition of the Security Council does not reflect geopolitical realities and therefore needs to be rebalanced. Developing countries are underrepresented in the Council.
On the elements for "further consideration" we consider that:
2.2. The role of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security is defined in Chapter Vlll of the UN Charter. Therefore, this should not be considered as an element to be analyzed in the process of expansion of the Security Council.
2.3. Each regional group has its internal dynamics and practices for the nomination process and endorsement of its candidates to the different positions of the United Nations, including the Security Council. This should be respected and for our delegation it does not require further clarity.
Item 3. The size and working methods of an enlarged Security Council
On the elements contained in the "elements of communality":
3.1. We agree with the recognition of the need to increase the membership of the Council to contribute to its equal representation. We ratify the importance of reviewing and improving the working methods of this body.
3.2. On enlargement, although the document states that the Member States consider that this should be done in a total range of 21 to 27 seats, Cuba considers that the enlargement of the Council should reach, not less than 26.
3.3. We reiterate that with the enlargement or not of the number of members, the working methods of the Council should be perfected for a better transparency in its work. An urgent and in-depth reform of the working methods of the Security Council is necessary to ensure that it functions as a transparent, democratic and representative body.
The Council should adjust its functions to the mandate established in the UN Charter and respect all resolutions of the General Assembly. It is further specified that:
- The Council holds more public meetings open to all Member States of the United Nations.
- The Council carries out substantive discussions on issues under its consideration, open to all Member States, in a timely manner.
- The Rules of Procedure of the Security Council should be formalized in order to increase transparency and accountability level.
- Any Member of the United Nations that is not a member of the Security Council may participate without the right to vote in the discussion of any matter brought before the Security Council when the latter considers that the interests of such member are affected in a special manner, in accordance with Article 31 of the UN Charter.
- The Council continues to strengthen its relationship with the United Nations Secretariat and with the countries that contribute with troops to the UN peacekeeping operations, through sustained, regular and timely interaction.
On the elements for "further consideration":
3.4. We reiterate that the expansion of the number of seats of non-permanent members should have exactly the same prerogatives and rights as the current non-permanent members. This includes the question of the Presidency of the Council for a certain period. This particular issue should be maintained in the section for "further consideration".
Item 4. Question of the veto
4.1. In the "elements of communality" document it is stated that the veto is one of the fundamental elements of the Security Council reform process, our delegation agrees with that.
4.2. On the proposals contained in the "elements for further consideration" section, Cuba agrees with the immediate elimination of the veto because it is an anachronistic and antidemocratic privilege.
Item 5. Relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly
On the elements contained in the "elements of communality”:
5.1. It is established that the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly should be mutually reinforcing and complementary. We would like to recall that these two bodies, although interrelated, their functions and mandates are clearly defined in the UN Charter. It is necessary to achieve a balanced and efficient relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, based on the strict respect for the provisions enshrined in the UN Charter and in accordance with the respective mandates of those bodies.
We hope to achieve a Security Council agenda that better reflects the needs and interests of the developing countries and that deals with the issues related to them without interfering in those of other main bodies of the UN.
In relation to the guidance on the evolution of the document on "elements of communality" and "issues for further consideration" we consider that the timetable proposed by the Co-Chairs is adequate.