Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, on Exchange III of the second round of Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council Reform

Fazlı Çorman 23.06.2009
Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for convening today's meeting. I would also like to thank you for your letter dated 17 June 2009 which aims to provide guidance to us for this meeting.

Mr. Chairman,

Since this is the last session of the second round of the intergovernmental negotiations, I believe it would be timely for me to comment on the current state of play and the way forward in the process of the Council reform.

It has been over four months since the intergovernmental negotiations commenced. Although these two rounds have been useful in further examining the negotiables and exploring the basic linkages among them, we believe that progress has remained somewhat limited. In fact, many delegations repeated their well-known positions and many others did not take the floor at this time. It has to be noted that the number of member states signing up for the speakers list has been declining, as we move the discussion forward. Another observation is that more or less the same member states are taking the floor at each session, whereas the majority of others are choosing not to speak at this stage.

Against this background, we believe that is rather misleading and indeed erroneous to try, as some delegations did, to make quantifications as to what constitutes a majority or a minority opinion on the Council reform. It may be true that more delegations have spoken in favour of the enlargement of the Council in the permanent category than against it. But this simple observation can not constitute a basis to propose the removal of other views and proposals from the table. This is what some delegations argued: since there were more speakers offering other views, let us remove from the table very constructive proposals that the Uniting for Consensus Group have made earlier in this forum. Can this be a healthy approach for meaningful, fruitful negotiations? This seems to be not only a hasty attempt to disregard the other views at the very beginning of a complex process of negotiations, but also a rather self-centered neglect of the overwhelming majority which many of our ideas and principles enjoy - such as the need for a comprehensive solution, the repeated pleas for increased regional representation and the growing support for an interim solution.

Mr. Chairman,

We have heard several delegations stating in this session that enhanced regional representation should no longer be one of the objectives of the Council reform, since the term "regional representation" is not explicitly spelled out in the UN Charter. Some of the aspirants for permanent seats have thus found themselves in a rather paradoxical position to call for permanent representation of their continents in the Council on the one hand and deny the notion of regional representation on the other. What they seem to overlook is the fact that a considerable number of member states is not willing to give up on the idea of a more regionally representative Council.

Likewise, some delegations reiterated in this session that the Council reform could only be genuine through an increase in the permanent seats. The same delegations then contradicted themselves by arguing that the new permanent members should enjoy the same rights and prerogatives of the 5 permanent members of the Council, including the veto right. By doing so, they continued to ignore the persistent calls for a more democratic, accountable and transparent Council.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that the current silence of the majority should not be interpreted as a sign of support for one way or another. Without actually listening to the silent majority, we cannot accurately claim what is a majority or a minority opinion. Under these circumstances, we should not dismiss or remove any proposal. As a matter of fact, many delegations - some speaking on behalf of their respective geographical groups - argued in this round that all proposals thus far made should remain on the table.

On a separate note, we should maybe consider ways to encourage the silent majority to speak up in the next round and voice their expectations from the Council reform. One can speculate on the reason why the majority of the membership still keep silent and it may well because the so-called "majority views" do not in fact meet the expectations of that silent majority. It is our strong conviction that the Council reform cannot succeed until we learn to put the legitimate expectations of the greater membership ahead of our national self interests. The joint Italian-Colombian proposal of 20 April 2009 was an attempt to provide a proxy for these greater expectations. If there is a better proxy, we stand ready to do our utmost in order to find it.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that the proposal that could garner the widest political support on the Council has not yet been put forth in this forum. But we hope that it is somewhere out there, waiting for us to find it. Let's join our forces together to search for it altogether.