Cuba’s Statement at the Tenth Round of Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Reforms of the Security Council. New York, April 1st, 2014.
Almost seven decades after the constitution of the United Nations, the reform of the Security Council is one of the main challenges the Organization is facing. Let us speak clearly about this: the Security Council is neither transparent, nor democratic, nor representative; therefore, it requires an urgent and profound reform.
Unfortunately, very little progress has been made in that regard.
We are concerned about the lack of progress in the intergovernmental negotiation process for the reform of the Security Council, based on Decision 62/557 of the United Nations General Assembly.
We continuously recreate debates where known positions are reiterated without real negotiations. We need concrete results as soon as possible.
The legitimate aspirations of a vast majority to comprehensively reform the Security Council cannot be veto by a minority. The achievements of concrete progress cannot be conditioned in this process of unanimity.
Cuba supports the extension of the Security Council, both in terms of permanent and non-permanent members, with the main purpose of rectifying the insufficient representation of African, Asian and Latin America developing countries in this Organ. We will neither support any partial or selective extension, nor an increase in the composition of Council Members to the detriment of developing countries.
We support the incorporation of at least two new permanent members from Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as new non-permanent members, in order to increase the Council to no less than 26 members. The new posts, including those in the category of permanent members, should have exactly the same prerogatives and rights as the current members, without the establishment of selective or discriminatory criteria, which include the power to veto, in case this cannot be removed.
Changes in the working methods of the Council cannot be formal; the Council should act on behalf of the other Members of the Organization, according to Article 24 of the Charter of the United Nations. This involves ensuring a true participation of the Organization membership in the work and decisions of the Organ. It is worrying that the main decisions, mostly when dealing with issues of paramount importance, continue to depend on the permanent members of the Council, sometimes, not even on all of them.
Cuba reiterates its view that, at least, the following urgent changes are required in the working methods of the Council:
- Increasing the number of public meetings and make a rule out of this, in accordance with Articles 31 and 32 of the Charter. Closed-doors meetings and unofficial consultations should be held only in very exceptional cases.
- Enabling that the State in question takes part in the debates of the Council on the matters affecting them directly, in accordance with Article 31 of the Charter.
- Reflecting in presidential resolutions and declarations of the Council, the criteria of the United Nations Member States issued at open debates.
- Ensuring that countries that are not members of the Council have access to subsidiary organs, including the right to participate in their discussions.
- Formalizing the Council’s regulations, for it have been provisional for almost 70 years, in order to increase transparency and accountability.
Veto is an anachronistic and antidemocratic privilege that should be deleted as soon as possible. Until such time this is accomplished, it would be important to consider, as a first step, various options to limit the use of veto, for instance:
- To limit the exercise of veto to the measures adopted by the Council pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter;
- To establish the possibility to void affirmative veto of certain amount of members of this Organ, according to the number of members of an extended Council;
- To establish the possible cancelation of veto by majority of two thirds of the General Assembly.
The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, as early as October 18, 1995, expressed:
(…) It is our duty to resolutely strive for the democratization of the United Nations, so that the General Assembly takes its rightful place and the Security Council will cease encroaching upon its functions and acting behind its back.
The increasing tendency of the Security Council to consider matters and assume functions out of the Council’s competence is of concerned; the Council is misappropriating the role vested to other Organs in the Charter.
The agenda of this Organ should be reviewed and adjusted to the functions the Council should fulfill according to its mandate. The Council should strictly observe the Charter’s provisions, as well as all resolutions of the General Assembly, for the latter is the main Organ for deliberation, adoption of policies and representation of the United Nations.
The Council should duly account to the General Assembly by submitting truly analytical reports every year, as well as the Special Reports referred to in the UN Charter, in its Articles 15 and 24.
We are certain that a more transparent Council will be more lawful. A more inclusive and accessible Council that truly takes into account the views of Member States of the Organization will be more effective.
We already have ideas and proposals; action and political will to advance in the reform of the Security Council is required. Let us make a real exercise of negotiation without delays out of this tenth round.
Thank you very much.