Plenary of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Agenda Item 122: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer,

Permanent representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

New York, 7 November 2016

Mr President,

At the outset, I wish to express my appreciation to you, Mr. President, for convening this debate and for carrying forward the dialogue on this important subject of Security Council reform. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Ion Jinga, Permament Representative of Romania and His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Khalid Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia as Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform. I also take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg for her dedicated efforts and leadership in steering the Intergovernmental Negotiations during the past year.

Mr. President,

My delegation notes that over the years, including at the previous session of the General Assembly, Member States continued to reaffirm their common desire and aspiration for reforming the Security Council to make it more inclusive, representative, legitimate and accountable. Yet strong divergence persists on how to achieve the reform, and that has meant that this process has hardly made meaningful progress up to today.

Mr President,

The Members States of the United Nations share the goal of a more representative, accountable, effective and democratic Security Council. The Maldives has been on the forefront of calls for reform of the Security Council since 1979. Similar to other Member States, the Maldives is of the view that comprehensive reform and expansion of the Security Council are essential to make the Security Council democratic in composition, effective in decision-making and accountable to the general membership.

We believe that Council reform should transcend current global power politics, and that decisions be reflective of the collective will of the general membership.

Reform should not only be based on contemporary realities but should also take into account the outcome of the Council's decisions. Making the Security Council more representative and balanced and its work more effective and transparent, especially with regard to its decision-making process, is vital for adapting the United Nations to the global realities of the twenty-first century and should be implemented in strict compliance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

Mr President,

During the high-level segment of the current session of the General Assembly, many leaders reiterated their call on the reform of Security Council. My delegation believes that as a testimony of the urgent and growing need for the Assembly to pursue substantial results. My delegation, during the General Debate, underlined the importance of fair and equitable opportunity to serve.

The Maldives believes that the expansion of the Council's membership is essential for the Council's continued legitimacy and relevance. We believe that the membership of the Security Council should come from both developing and developed countries, including from small states, and should include the participation of countries as reflective of the United Nations' diverse membership.

This is why the Maldives is seeking election to a non-permanent seat to the United Nations Security Council for the term 2019-2020. This is the first time the country is presenting its candidature for a Security Council seat since it became a member of this Organisation 51 years ago. We believe every country, regardless of size and might, must have the opportunity to serve. Because we believe that it is not size, but will to contribute that makes a difference. And because we believe that it must be intent, it must be resolve, and it must be fairness and the principle of representation that decides these opportunities. The Maldives is eager to see a contemporary Security Council that is more representative and influential, where we see a reflection of the changes that have taken place in recent years.

Mr President,

Concurrent but separate to the debate on the long-term reform of the Security Council, the current functioning and working methods of the Council are key focus areas for the Maldives as well. The Maldives strongly supports the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group's code of conduct on Security Council, which are key traits that need to be reflected in the Council's work and in its relationship with the General Assembly. According to the United Nations Charter, the Security Council acts on behalf of all of the Member States. And the Members are mandated to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.

Thus the request of Member States to be informed and, to the extent possible, be involved in the decision making process, is legitimate.  It is every Member States' right and responsibility. It generates more credibility for the Council and more ownership of its decisions.

Moreover, the Council would undoubtedly benefit from a wide range of ideas and the support of the Membership. We also ask for the elimination of the disparity between the permanent and non-permanent members, which remains a fundamental flaw of the Council, in that some negotiations and briefings have been limited to the permanent members alone.

Mr President,

The Maldives remains committed wholeheartedly to this process and call for flexibility and the widest possible political acceptance in proceeding with the negotiations. We must be united in taking forward intergovernmental negotiations and finding a solution that is acceptable to all. It is our earnest hope that consensus be achieved in this vein.

The Maldives is a firm believer in the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We are a staunch supporter of democracy, the rule of law, equality and justice.

We believe in the purpose of these United Nations, and we believe that the world needs such an organisation today, more than ever. Yet, for it to fulfil its promise, to live up to the expectations of its Members and each and every citizen they represent, to deal with the complex challenges of the world we live in, this organisation must take drastic measures to remain relevant, to reform itself.

Thank you Mr President.