49th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 2

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01-Nov-1996 01:32:35
Need for fair geographical representation on Security Council stressed as Assembly concludes phase of reform debate at the 49th plenary meeting of the 51st session.

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Fiji, Prominent Peace-keeper, Says It Is Denied Seat; Pakistan Calls For More Non-Permanent Members; Others Urge Cooperation of Major Powers.

The Security Council was not a universal body, but a representative one, Australia's representative told the General Assembly this morning as it completed discussion of the progress of its working group on Security Council reform.

The democracy of the United Nations was deeply rooted in the General Assembly, he went on to say, and the Council reported to the Assembly. It was within that context that every Member State had, and must retain, its equal voice with all others. The Council must be made up of States which met the primary criteria outline in Article 23 of the Charter which said that in the selection of Council members a country's contribution to international peace and security, along with equitable geographic distribution, must be borne in mind. The representative of Fiji said his country had contributed troops to most United Nations peace-keeping operations, yet it was denied the opportunity to sit on the Council.

The representative of Nicaragua, speaking for the Central American countries, said that Article 23 of the Charter remained valid, as it represented a broad and flexible approach inclusive of the need for equitable geographic distribution. He noted, however, that the expansion of the Council must be based on the principle of sovereign equality of all the Member States of the United Nations, as stated in Article 2 of the Charter.

The representative of Pakistan said his country strongly opposed any increase in the permanent membership of the Council, a reform which would serve the interests of only a few and strengthen the "club of aristocratic elite". Without current consensus, or a possibility of reaching it in the near future due to the intransigence of the current permanent members, he called for the expansion of the non-permanent membership as a first step.

"We seem to be going round in circles", said the representative of Nigeria. Progress on Security Council reform would be possible only if the political will existed to make the necessary compromises. It was hoped that the permanent Council membership, whose privileges were linked to obligations and responsibilities, would cooperate in the reform process.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Angola, Swaziland, Belgium, Venezuela, Malta, United Republic of Tanzania, Belarus, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Fiji, Iraq, South Africa and Peru.

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