Statement by Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba, at the Security Council Debate on the Working Methods of the Council. New York, 22 April 2010.
The position of Cuba is clear. The Security Council needs a comprehensive, urgent, and deep reform. There cannot be a true reform of the United Nations unless the Security Council is reformed.
The Council’s reform must include, necessarily, the modification of its working methods.
In recent years, there have been modest changes in the Council’s working methods, including on some of the issues mentioned in Note S/2006/507 and subsequent Notes by the President of the Council. However, most of the changes have been rather formal. Actually, at present the Security Council is not transparent, democratic, or efficient.
Regrettably, particularly in highly important issues, permanent members, and sometimes not even all of them, continue to carry out their own exercise of negotiation in private, and there they take the main decisions that are later presented as a fait accompli to the rest of the members of the Council, not to mention the rest of the United Nations membership.
Cuba considers that, at least, there is a need for the following urgent changes in the Council’s working methods:
• To increase the number of open meetings, in accordance with Articles 31 and 32 of the UN Charter. Closed meetings and informal consultations should be held only in very exceptional cases.
• To allow the State in question to participate in the discussions of the Council on issues directly affecting it, under Article 31 of the UN Charter.
• To reflect in Council resolutions and presidential statements the opinions of Member States issued in open thematic discussions.
• To ensure that non-member States of the Council have Access to subsidiary bodies, including the right to participate in their discussions.
• To formalize the Council’s rules of procedures, which have remained provisional for over 60 years, in order to increase transparency and accountability.
We note with great concern the growing tendency of the Security Council to consider issues and assume functions not incumbent on it, encroaching upon the role assigned in the Charter to other bodies, particularly to the General Assembly.
These tendencies must be urgently stopped. The Council must, as soon as possible, thoroughly review its agenda and adjust it in line with its mandate. It must strictly abide by the provisions of the UN Charter and all resolutions of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the United Nations.
The Council must duly account to the General Assembly by submitting truly analytical annual reports, as well as the Special Reports provided by the UN Charter in its Articles 15 and 24, which, so far, are regrettably conspicuous by their absence.
The question of veto is intrinsically related to the Council’s working methods, in particular to the decision-making mechanism. Veto power is an anachronistic and antidemocratic privilege that must be eliminated as soon as possible.
As long as that is not achieved, it would be important first to consider different options to limit the use of veto, such as:
• To limit the exercise of veto to the measures adopted by the Council under Chapter VII of the Charter;
• To establish the possibility to annul veto power through the affirmative vote of a certain number of members of this organ, according to the number of members of an expanded Council;
• To establish a possible annulment of veto power by majority of two thirds in the General Assembly.
I would like to conclude, Mr. President, by stressing our conviction that a more transparent Council would be a more legitimate Council. A more inclusive and accessible Council truly taking into account the opinions of Member States of the Organization, would be a more effective Council.
We already have at our disposal a wide range of concrete proposals to improve the working methods of the Council, like the ones presented by NAM. Actions are required now without further delay.