Security Council

Mr. President

I would like to start by thanking my colleague from Indonesia, the President of the Security Council for the month of November, for presenting the Report of the Security Council for the period 1 August 2006 - 31 July 2007 to the General Assembly. It is clear from the Report that the serious issues before the Security Council are increasing both in numbers and scope and encompass all major regions as well as many cross-cutting thematic issues.

Let me, however, limit my brief statement to the other agenda item, namely the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.

Once again, Mr. President, we are having this debate early in a new General Assembly. In fact, we have been speaking on this issue for nearly a decade and a half in the OEWG. The impasse on this fundamentally important issue does not reflect well on the United Nations. And it is all the more lamentable as no-one disagrees with the 2005 High Level Summit when it acknowledged that early reform of the Security Council was an, and I quote: "Essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations - in order to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions."

Mr. President.

In an interview you gave to BBC recently you stated, and I quote: "Reform makes sense only if you achieve by that more transparency, more efficiency, and you reflect what is today´s world situation", end of quote. We could not agree with you more. The stakes are high and an equitable resolution on the reform questions of the Council could greatly add to comprehensive security. Our goals of reform of the Security Council are therefore far too important to abandon. We must continue to seek solutions with open minds and renewed vigor.

Throughout the years Iceland has advocated a more representative and thus a more legitimate Council through expansion in membership, mirroring the changes that have taken place in the overall membership of the United Nations and also through advocating more transparency and inclusiveness in the work of the Security Council. On this basis Iceland was one of the cosponsors in July 2005 of the resolution A/59/L.64, better known as the G - 4 proposal, which as we all know never came to a vote. In a nutshell Iceland´s position has been the following: Increase in both the permanent and the two year elected members of the Security Council, a Council totalling about 25 countries, working methods reform based on the suggestions in the G - 4 and/or the so-called S - 5 draft resolutions as well as increased representation of developing countries. Since the tabling of the G - 4 proposal we have had in depth discussions on various models and possible compromises.

The valuable work on these issues during the 61 st Session of the GA, the extensive efforts of the "5 plus 2" Permanent Representatives and inputs from all sides did frankly not produce much more formal results than the decision to continue the consideration of the issues during the present GA. However, we have the feeling that everyone now realizes more fully the need to show increased flexibility.

Ideas have been put forward, not ideal perhaps, but maybe the best possible substantial solutions at this time, as acknowledged by the 5 facilitators. These ideas need to be developed further. We are looking for new avenues, ways which have to encompass enlargement and working methods.

In the latest report of the OEWG from last September we all agreed to continue our work on Security Council Reform, including through intergovernmental negotiations during this session of the GA. We welcome this call.

If fundamental previous positions are to be changed during the forthcoming negotiations, and the idea of a defined period of transitional arrangements is to be adopted, an agreement has to be reached on a mandatory review after a specified number of years. If such compromises are to be negotiated it must be done without prejudice to original positions.

Regardless of how our negotiations will develop in the weeks and months ahead they must be marked by transparency that gives all member states equal opportunities to participate. Or as Ambassador Heller of Mexico said this morning, to have a spirit of collaboration of all states.

Finally, Mr. President.

We would like to congratulate the newly elected non-permanent members of the Security Council. Iceland, as a first time candidate, hopes to join them on the Council for their second year there.

I thank you Mr. President.

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