Cablegate: Unsc Reform: German-Led Group Tables Proposal in Order to Spark Negotiations
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 USUN NEW YORK 000258
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/20/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KUNR UNSC GM JA IT BR IN PK
SUBJECT: UNSC REFORM: GERMAN-LED GROUP TABLES PROPOSAL IN ORDER TO SPARK NEGOTIATIONS
REF: 2007 USUN 1225
Classified By: Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, per 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) Summary. During a March 18 meeting of the German-led Over-Arching Process on UNSC reform, Cyprus presented a proposal on behalf of a small drafting group that it hoped could serve as a basis for the inter-governmental negotiations on Council expansion set to take place in 2008. The proposal (contained in para 14) calls for 22 seats on the Council overall, although Cyprus said this number, as well as most other aspects of the model, are negotiable. Japan and Brazil said the text could serve as the basis for inter-governmental negotiations if it were modified slightly. India, however, said it would be ""difficult"" to present this text because it does not address concerns of developing and small island states. African states similarly complained that the draft proposal did not reflect their insistence on two permanent seats for Africa with veto rights. None of the members of the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) bloc, which was formed to oppose the G-4 aspirants push for permanent membership, attended the German-hosted meeting. The UK and France welcomed the text as a step forward, although they did not agree with all of its contents. USUN participated in the meeting, but instead of commenting on the text, reiterated long-standing U.S. principles on UNSC reform. After the meeting, the drafting group presented the text to PGA Kerim, who reportedly plans to convene the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in a few weeks to determine if the draft commands sufficient support to begin inter-governmental negotiations. End Summary.
2. (C) COMMENT: It is tempting to view most UNSC reform discussions as just more sound and fury, signifying nothing. With the Africans and UFC opposed to some or all of the drafting group's proposal, this latest gambit may well suffer the fate of its forebears. But we see three risks on the horizon. First, in order to ""test"" the support the drafting group proposal enjoys, the PGA might agree under G-4 pressure to conduct a straw poll of sorts, which would reveal the exact level of support each model enjoys and undermine the OEWG's tradition of consensus decision-making. Second, if the PGA refuses to proceed to inter-governmental negotiations because the text does not enjoy consensus support, countries such as India might decide to table a UNSC reform resolution of their own (similar to India's L69 gambit of last year) and force a vote. This, too, would end the OEWG practice on consensus decision-making.
3. (C) COMMENT cont'd: But the biggest risk we see is farther down the road. Japan, Brazil, and Germany now seem to have effectively conceded that their aspirations for permanent UNSC membership will not be met anytime soon, and have agreed to negotiate largely on an interim UNSC expansion model. India still resists this idea but may come around if a specific proposal secures significant support. If the G-4 and UFC both eventually support an interim model with only long-duration non-permanent seats, Africa might be more willing to ditch its insistence on two permanent seats with veto rights, and settle instead for a large expansion of non-permanent seats for Africa and other regional groups. To protect the core U.S. interest of ensuring at most a modest expansion of the Council that preserves its effectiveness, we must carefully navigate the next few months to avoid that outcome, while ensuring that we do not galvanize support for a particular model because of active U.S. opposition. END COMMENT.
Germany Convenes Over-Arching Process
4. (SBU) German PR Matussek hosted a meeting on March 18 of the Over-Arching Process on UNSC reform to discuss a draft text produced by a small drafting group led by Cyprus. The
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text of the proposal is contained in para 14. The drafting group began meeting in January 2008 in order to respond to the PGA's call for member states to submit ""elements"" for the inter-governmental negotiations on UNSC reform set to take place in 2008 (reftel). Although the drafting group was initially convened by Germany, Cyprus soon took the lead, reportedly to suggest that the group was independent of Germany's support for the G-4 (Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan) model for UNSC expansion. The drafting group eventually comprised Germany, the UK, Romania, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and was chaired by Cyprus. As a result, after making brief introductory comments, the German PR yielded the floor to Cypriot PR Mavroyiannis to chair the meeting and explain the draft proposal.
5. (SBU) Although the Germans said the meeting was open to all participants, they invited only those countries that had either participated in previous meetings of the Over-Arching Process, or those whom they believed might be willing to attend. USUN estimates that roughly 50-60 PRs / DPRs attended the meeting, from Asia (we observed Bangladesh, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam), Africa (Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Tunisia), Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Panama), Europe (Denmark, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania). Of the P-5, only China did not attend. The UK was represented by its PermRep, France its DPR, and Russia by its UNSC reform expert. USUN was represented by Political MinCouns and by PolOff (notetaker).
Cyprus Explains the Draft Text
6. (SBU) Cypriot PR Mavroyiannis said the objective of the meeting was to share the draft proposal and to seek the views of the broader membership. He emphasized that the options presented in the paper do not/not reflect the national position of any one member state, including those countries in the drafting group. Rather, the drafters sought to produce a text that could serve as a basis for inter-governmental negotiations on UNSC reform, and in doing so even put forth positions that conflict with their own national positions. Nevertheless, Mavroyiannis maintained that in using the draft text as a basis for negotiations, no member state would be abandoning its own position on UNSC reform. The entire proposal was negotiable, he said, which was why so many elements in the text were explicitly placed in brackets.
7. (SBU) Mavroyiannis said it would be impossible to create a ""perfect Security Council,"" so the drafters tried to see if the current UNSC could be ""improved."" He acknowledged that under the draft text, the Western Europe and Others (WEOG) Group would have six seats and the African Group would have only five, but maintained that this was an improvement in the current regional allocation. Insisting that the text could ""not just be a compilation"" of various UNSC expansion models, Mavroyiannis admitted that there were aspects of certain UNSC expansion models missing from the draft text. But he said some of these elements, such as whether the veto would be extended to new permanent members, had not been abandoned, but just ""parked"" for the time being. Mavroyiannis stressed that the overall number of 22 seats was negotiable, explaining that if the drafters had started at 26 (the number of seats in the African Union model), there would have been no way to decrease that number during the negotiations. He also underscored the importance of the section in the draft proposal on improving UNSC working methods.
UFC Doesn't Show and Rejects Process
8. (SBU) None of the members of the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) bloc, which was formed to oppose the G-4 aspirants push
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for permanent membership, attended the German-hosted meeting. (Note: Principal members of UFC include Italy, Pakistan, South Korea, Argentina, and Mexico. End Note.) Instead, just before the German meeting was convened, Italian PR Spatafora sent PGA Kerim a letter on behalf of the UFC that outlined the group's views on a process to reach inter-governmental negotiations. The objective of the process proposed by the UFC would be to reach agreement only on an ""intermediate"" solution to UNSC reform based on the report of the two facilitators in the 61st UNGA session. (Note: This objective would rule out any expansion of the category of permanent members of the UNSC. End Note.) The Italian letter also stipulates that ""transparent and open consultations and inter-governmental negotiations"" should be conducted in the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), which operates on the basis of consensus. It also suggests that ""no unilateral initiatives or action"" should be carried out outside the OEWG.
Some G-4 Pleased; Others Less So
9. (SBU) Although Japan and Brazil proposed amendments to the draft text, they appeared largely satisfied with the effort, and said that if the text were modified slightly it could serve as the basis for inter-governmental negotiations. The Japanese and Brazilian concerns centered on amending the wording of section 4.3 to make it clear that this option would create new permanent members of the UNSC, rather than just make the proposed geographic allocation of seats permanent. Japan also asserted that there must be ""no preconditions"" to inter-governmental negotiations, and highlighted the OEWG's reliance on consensus as one such pre-condition. Indian PR Sen, however, launched a long critique of the draft proposal, claiming that it would be ""difficult to present the draft in its current form."" He complained that it neither reflects the views of adherents of the G-4 model nor the African Union model, nor does it address the need for greater representation on the UNSC by developing countries and access for small island states. Sen concluded by arguing that the text must be improved in ""radical, dramatic ways.""
Africans Still Insist on Whole Pie
10. (SBU) Although Zambia, Mauritius, and Tanzania were the only African delegates to speak at the meeting, their views seemed to reflect broader African views of the draft text heard outside the meeting. Recalling the AU's position on UNSC reform as embodied in the 2005 Ezulwini Consensus, which calls for two new permanent members from Africa with veto rights as well as three additional non-permanent seats, all three speakers criticized the draft proposal for omitting the issue of the veto. They noted that at the AU summit in January 2008, African Foreign Ministers had given their PermReps the authority to ""participate"" in the upcoming inter-governmental negotiations, but on the basis of the Ezulwini Consensus. Therefore, they said AU PermReps could not support the draft proposal if it did not include extending the veto to new permanent members. Noting that the AU proposal called for 26 members of the Council overall, Mauritius argued that an expansion to just 22 members would be insufficient to reflect adequately the views of the broader membership. Tanzania complained that Africa was not represented in either the drafting group or the PGA's Task Force on UNSC reform.
Mixed Reaction From Others
11. (SBU) Reactions from other delegations were mixed, with most Europeans welcoming the text as a step forward, and other representatives assailing its omissions. UK PermRep Sawers noted that he had joined the drafting group to move
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the UNSC reform process forward, and although the draft proposal contained several elements that do not reflect the UK position, any sense of consensus around this text would be a positive development. France also praised the ""progress"" that the draft text represented, although it expressed concern about some of the elements in the proposal on UNSC expansion and working methods. Russia reaffirmed the need for consensus on matters pertaining to UNSC reform, supported the U.S. view that the Council should address its own working methods, and asserted that any effort to restrict P-5 vetoes is not realistic. Singapore and Jamaica both criticized the draft for inadequately reflecting the views of small island states and other important constituencies. Panama also criticized the proposal for allocating too many seats to Europe at the expense of other regional groups. Romania and Denmark largely supported the draft proposal as a basis for negotiations.
U.S. Reiterates Reform Principles
12. (SBU) PolMinCouns spoke towards the end of the meeting, after the UK and France had praised the draft proposal. Noting that the draft text had just been circulated, he said the U.S. would study the details, but we wanted to make several general comments about Council enlargement. First, he emphasized that any expansion of the Council must preserve its ability to respond quickly and effectively to threats to international peace and security. This requires only a modest expansion, as decision-making with fifteen countries is already difficult enough. Second, modest Council expansion must be part of a comprehensive package of UN reform in areas such as General Assembly financing and decision-making, but we had yet to see any movement on these issues. Third, the Council itself should discuss its own working methods, not the UNGA. Fourth, it is vital to achieve the broadest possible support for Council expansion, in order to ensure that no significant portion of the membership is alienated by the result. For this reason, the U.S. believes the OEWG should be the forum to carry forward discussions on inter-governmental negotiations.
Next Steps: Spotlight Shifts to PGA
13. (C) At the conclusion of the meeting, the Cypriot PR noted that the drafting group planned to revise the proposal to reflect some of the views expressed, and then submit the revised text to PGA Kerim as a basis for inter-governmental negotiations. He welcomed other submissions to the PGA as well, although he noted that neither the UFC nor the African Group appeared inclined now to submit proposals of their own (excluding the Italian letter, which Mavroyiannis said focused only on procedure and not at all on substance). USUN subsequently learned that the drafting group submitted a slightly modified text (with just a wording change in 4.3 to satisfy Indian/Brazilian concerns) to PGA Kerim on March 20. According to the Germans and Japanese, the PGA committed to them that once he received such a submission, he would convene the OEWG to test if the proposal enjoys widespread support as a basis for inter-governmental negotiations, and then proceed to the UNGA plenary to begin those negotiations. However, the Italians told USUN that the PGA promised them to proceed to inter-governmental negotiations only if the draft text enjoys ""consensus"" support within the OEWG. With opposition from the UFC and possibly AU, consensus support would obviously be impossible. USUN also understands that PGA Kerim will be traveling for the next ten days, so he would not be able to convene an OEWG meeting until at least early April.
Text of Drafting Group Proposal
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14. (SBU) The text of the drafting group proposal is below:
Since 2005, the main claims regarding the enlargement of the Security Council could be broadly represented as follows: adding permanent seats with veto, adding new permanent seats without veto, adding more non-permanent seats. These positions have not proven reconcilable thus far and have warranted alternative thinking, which began to be elaborated by the five facilitators appointed by the President of the 61st session of the General Assembly, through their report of 20 April 2007. While the legitimate positions official1y tabled in 2005 are retained by their proponents, their lack of realization potential at this juncture has pointed to an apparent willingness to negotiate on the basis of achieving intermediate reform, through the identification of the highest common denominator at this stage.
Affording serious consideration to this emerging approach neither amounts to, nor entails relinquishing any claims. Rather, its attempt is to improve representation on the Security Council, without sacrificing its effectiveness, as compared to its current, as opposed to its desired, form. As such, for the purpose of achieving such intermediate reform, the scope of the negotiation would be narrower, focusing on points of convergence in the short-term rather than divisive elements. By engaging in negotiations to determine what is feasible in terms of Security Council reform, States are not bound by any outcome, nor does their involvement imply that the parameters of these negotiations represent, at any time, their ideal or preferred reform. What is sought at this point is an inclusive negotiation in good faith to achieve progress.
Elements for Security Council enlargement:
1. The Security Council shall be enlarged to (22) members.
2. Of these seven new seats:
a. Two will be allocated to member States of the African Group, b. Two will be allocated to member States of the Asian Group, c. One will be allocated to member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, d. One will be allocated to member States of the Western European and Others Group, and e. One will be allocated to member States of the Eastern European Group.
3. The election of member States in all new seats will be subject to regular election procedures by two thirds majority at the General Assembly in accordance with Article 18 of the Charter.
4.1."" (The seats allocated under paragraphs (a-d) (awe) of paragraph (2) above could, in principle, be fiIled by the member States elected thereon, for the entire duration of intermediate reform.).
4.2.1: (However, at (five year) intervals, any member State may chal1enge the incumbent(s) (from its own regional group) that is (are) serving In long-term seat(s) under paragraph 4,1. If this challenge is backed (by the majority of the members of that regional group, and subsequently,) by a (simple) majority in the General Assembly, the seat(s) wi11 reopen to election and all members of that regional group, including the Incumbent(s), shall be eligible.).
4.2.2. (However, at (five-year) intervals, any member State may chal1enge the incumbent(s) (from its own regional group) that is (are) serving in long-term seat(s) under paragraph
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4.1. In such an event, the seat(s) wiI1 re-open to election and all members of that regional group, including the incumbent(s), shall be eligible.).
4.3. (Seats allocated under a-d above shall be permanent).
4.4. (Member States elected to fill these seats will be able to serve for a (five) year period and (be eligible for re-election) (not be eligible for re-election)).
4.5. (Member States elected to fill these seats wi1I be able to serve for a two year period and (be eligible for re-election) (not be eligible for re-election).
5. (The seat allocated under (e) wi1l be a regular two-year non-permanent seat).
6. (At least half of the total number of seats of each regional group after enlargement (excluding the P5) will continue to be regular two-year non-permanent seats.).
7. Reform should include mandatory review after a fixed period of time, the exact duration of which must be determined before the reform comes into force and will form an integral part of the reform package. A mandatory review conference to consider the provisions set out in the paragraphs above will take place (15-years) after these provisions have entered into force.
These provisions will remain in place until a decision amending them has come into force. The provisions are without prejudice to the process leading up to, the negotiations during, or the decisions made at the review conference.
Elements for working methods
In addition to enlargement, and regardless of the time1ine for the ratification of relevant Charter amendments necessary for it, the General Assembly could simultaneously recommend concrete improvements on SC working methods, including implementation of those contained in 8/2006/507. We might, at that time, proceed to de-link the two processes. Such measures include:
a) Making available at all times information regarding the Council's meeting schedule,
b) Designating a contact point for providing information on the work of the Council to delegations of member States not members of the Council,
c) Consulting with the member State(s) directly affected by an item under examination, d) Explaining one's vote in cases where there is no unanimity, and especially when a negative vote has been cast by a permanent member of the Security Council,
e) Conducting as many of the Council's proceedings as possible in an open format and establishing mechanisms for receiving the input of member States that are not members of the Council,
f) Appealing to permanent members of the Security Council to ascertain that war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity would not be committed and that other irremediable negative developments would not occur as a result of blocking Security Counci1 action,
g) Consistent implementation of the possibility to include non-Council members in the deliberations of the Council when these concern those Member States (articles 31 and 32 of the Charter),
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h) More structural consultation with Member States when the SC discusses resolutions that require implementation by the Member States. Although the recommendations are non-binding, such consultations should be obligatory. This concerns in particular the work of the subsidiary organs of the Council, ) I) Expand consultation and cooperation with regional organizations and countries in the region, not only in thematic, public meetings, but also in private meetings,
j) Consistent consultations with potential TCC's in the early phase of a new operation, and regular substantive meetings during ongoing operations. TCC's to be invited to private meetings of the SC in which the mandate of a Peacekeeping Operation is discussed. Open participation in the SC Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations,
k) A permanent member of the Security Council using its veto should explain the reason for doing so at the time the relevant draft resolution is rejected in the Council and a copy of the explanation should be circulated as a Security Council document to all Members of the Organization.
- Options 4.J, 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 are: mutually exclusive
- Options 4.2.1 and 4.2.2 are mutually exclusive and apply only with respect to option 4.1.