Statement by Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations at the joint debate on items 29 “Report of the Security Council” and 119 “Question of Equitable Representation on and increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters”. New York, 11 November 2010.
Cuba appreciates the presentation of the Annual Report of the Security Council. We recognize some efforts have been made to improve the quality of the Report. Nonetheless, there is still much to be done.
The Report remains basically a descriptive document that lacks the analytical and substantive approach needed by Member States to assess the work of that body. Once more, we call upon the Council to work in that direction.
On the other hand, we again wonder why the Council never submits to the Assembly the Special Reports stipulated by the Charter in its Articles 15 and 24. These Reports would be very useful as a complement to the Annual Report. Regrettably, they remain absent.
Cuba underlines the responsibility of the Council to duly account to the General Assembly. In conformity with the Charter, we have trusted this body of a very limited membership with the prime responsibility to act on behalf of Member States, not autonomously, in maintaining international peace and security.
The Security Council needs an urgent and deep reform. There cannot be a true reform of the United Nations until the Security Council is not reformed. Such reform cannot remain continuously postponed and disregarded. The demand of the majority cannot continue to be ignored.
Cuba has been actively participating in the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the reform of the Security Council. Unfortunately, a clear progress in the process is not perceived.
Despite the interest of the vast majority, it has not been possible to hold true negotiations, and there is a growing risk that we end up repeating the process of endless deliberations, with no concrete results, which for more than 15 years took place in the General Assembly Open Ended Working Group, on the Council’s reform. We must move to a stage of real negotiations as soon as possible.
Cuba considers an actual reform of the Security Council must include the following elements:
1- To increase the number of members of the Council to no less than 26 members. With that figure, the proportion between the number of members of the Council and of the United Nations would at least get closer to the one existing when the United Nations was founded.
2- The main purpose cannot be to increase for the sake of it, but to rectify the unjustifiable underrepresentation of developing countries in the Council. Cuba will not support any partial or selective increase in the membership or in the composition of the members of the Council to the detriment of developing countries.
3- The increase in the membership of the Security Council must take place both in permanent and non-permanent members. Increasing only the number of non-permanent seats would growingly widen the huge gap already existing between permanent and non-permanent members. There could not be an equitable representation in the Security Council if developing countries, including entire regions, remain totally underrepresented in the category of permanent members. How can it be justified that while over half of the agenda items of the Council refer to problems in Africa, this region still has no representative among the permanent members?
4- The new seats to be established, including in the category of permanent members, must have exactly the same prerogatives and rights enjoyed by the current seats, without establishing selective or discriminatory criteria.
5- The veto is an anachronistic and antidemocratic privilege that must be eliminated as soon as possible. As long as the veto does not disappear, at least a proper proportion of developing countries must be also able to exercise it. The entry of new permanent members without veto power would be equivalent to creating a new category of members of the Council, which is not favored by Cuba.
6- The main increase, both in the number of new permanent and non-permanent members, must go to developing countries. The category of permanent member must be granted, at least, to two countries from Africa, two developing countries from Asia, and two countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.
7- A deep transformation of the Council’s working methods is required. Although in recent years, some modest changes have taken place, most of them have been formal rather than substantive. The truth is that, at present, the Security Council is not transparent, democratic, representative, or efficient.
We advocate a Security Council in which closed-doors consultations are the exception. We hope to have a Council that addresses the matters within its mandate and does not encroach upon those of other bodies, as it occurs with worrying frequency with those of the General Assembly.
We want a Council that actually takes into account the opinions of the membership of the Organization before making decisions, and ensures real access of non-member States to this body.
Before concluding, Mr. President, allow me to comment on an important matter of procedure. In Cuba’s opinion, the convenience to continue jointly discussing agenda items 29 and 119 at the General Assembly must be seriously considered, for the future.
For obvious reasons of time, as we are forced to address two extremely relevant and comprehensive items in only one statement, the delegations must leave out many important facts and the so-much needed deep and serious review is not achieved.
While we acknowledge their interrelationship, we consider that both the Annual Report of the Security Council and the reform of that body are matters that, due to their importance, deserve to be separately discussed at the General Assembly.
I would like to conclude, Mr. President, by congratulating the delegations from Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal, and South Africa on their election to the Security Council, and wishing them all success for that important responsibility.