Cablegate: Unga: No Surprises in Fourth Round Of


DE RUCNDT #1120/01 3481941
O 141941Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: The informal plenary of the General
Assembly met on December 7 and 8 for the first meeting of the
fourth round of intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) on
Security Council reform. 52 delegations spoke on "all the
positions and proposals by Member States." Most of the
discussion was repeated from previous rounds and from the
plenary session on November 12-13. The Group of Four (G4)
and African Group reiterated previous positions and called
for a negotiating text from the Chair while the Uniting for
Consensus (UFC) bloc re-circulated their previous proposal
from April and urged others to circulate papers. The
Philippines Perm Rep circulated several draft resolutions
which drew no substantive comments. The Chair's concluding
comments inviting new proposals clearly implied that he
continues to have no plans to table his own negotiating text.
The Japanese and Dutch Perm Reps acknowledged in their own
remarks that next steps would have to be member state-driven.
The second meeting of the fourth round is expected in
mid-January on areas of convergence. End summary.

2. (SBU) The informal plenary of the General Assembly met on
December 7 and 8 for its first meeting of the fourth round of
intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform.
As set forth in the Chair's November 16 letter to the
membership, the session focused on "all the positions and
proposals by Member States." 52 member states took the floor
during the seven hours of meetings and Italy was alone in
making a second statement during the interactive portion of
the discussion.

3. (SBU) Most delegations reiterated their positions from
previous rounds (ref B) and the November 12-13 plenary
discussion (ref A). Italy, Colombia, Slovenia, and the
Philippines reiterated and/or re-circulated their earlier
proposals. Denmark and Greece took the floor for the first
time. Denmark called for enlargement in both categories but
with no extension of the veto to new members. On the
intermediate option, Denmark voiced support but said there
must be a review clause. Greece advocated expansion in both
categories of membership, permanent and non-permanent, with
greater representation for African, Asia, and small and
developing states, but did state that they are open to an
interim solution.

Group of Four

4. (SBU) The Brazilian Perm Rep took the floor first and
reiterated Group of Four (G4) support for an expansion in
both categories and said that the intermediate model lacks
clarity. She also said that negotiations could not move any
further forward in the absence of a negotiating text and
called for one from the Chair since he enjoys the confidence
of the room. The Indian Perm Rep called on those who are not
in favor of an expansion in both categories "to reflect on
their position and acknowledge that the interest of the
membership at large, and that of the organization itself, is
best served by supporting the views that the vast majority
espouses." (Comment: The Indian Perm Rep assumes that the
"vast majority" favors his position, but he has never put it
to a formal test with a vote in the plenary. End comment.)
He, too, called for a negotiating text from the Chair.

5. (SBU) The Japanese Perm Rep argued that the current
composition of the Council could not be left unchanged since
that could lead to the erosion of the Council's legitimacy.
(Comment: USUN has argued in negotiations that the Council's
legitimacy is based on the Charter, not its composition.
Perhaps, the Japanese Perm Rep meant to refer to the
Council's credibility. End comment.) The Japanese Perm Rep
also called for a concise paper of the different positions
and proposals of member states and groups, but he suggested
that if the Chair was not forthcoming with such a paper, it
should be "Member State-driven." The new German Perm Rep
took the floor and noted that little had changed in the
debate since he was last in New York 20 years ago. He called
for a negotiation text from the Chair and suggested that

straw polls be used to identify options on which to
concentrate. Unlike the other members of the G4, he
professed a readiness to discuss the intermediate solution as
a way ahead, though not if the seats would be limited to 3-5
year terms since such members would not be "true peers for
permanent members." Again, he proposed longer-term seats of
15 years followed by a review conference to determine if
those seats should become permanent.

Uniting for Consensus

6. (SBU) The Uniting for Consensus (UFC) bloc members
reiterated their opposition to any expansion of permanent
members and voiced continued support for the
Colombian/Italian proposal introduced in April. The
Colombian delegation re-circulated the proposal and asked
that it be considered a conference document. (Note: Document
e-mailed to IO/UNP. End note.) The Italian Perm Rep
emphasized that, as a proposal, it is open for discussion and
is not a take-it-or-leave-it proposal. Most UFC states
called on other states to put forward new compromise
proposals. The Argentine Perm Rep responded to G4 calls that
the intermediate option lacks clarity and said that member
states should be discussing and clarifying the intermediate
option together, not alone.

7. (SBU) In response to the Indian statement that the "vast
majority" supports expansion in both categories and the
German proposal for straw polling, the Italian representative
reminded both, during the interactive portion, that they
could go to a formal plenary meeting at any time to count the
actual support they have. Apart from that, there are no
other mechanisms in the informal plenary to count support for
one option over another.

African Group

8. (SBU) Nine African states spoke, led by the Sierra Leone
Perm Rep, who chairs the African Group in New York. All
espoused the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration which
call for two permanent seats for Africa with full veto rights
and a total of five non-permanent seats in an expanded
Council of 26. A number reiterated that the African Union
would determine which African states would sit in those
seats. Most African states joined the G4 in calling for a
paper from the Chair outlining the proposals from all member
states. The Nigerian representative did acknowledge that
there remain questions on the size of the Council and varying
calls for an increase between 20 and 26 seats. The South
African Perm Rep questioned the intermediate option's
viability saying he doubted that the Charter could be amended
and ratified twice. The Egyptian Perm Rep, always trying to
check forward movement on this issue, noted that if certain
groups receive more permanent seats (i.e., Europe) then
Africa reserves the right to ask for another permanent seat
(beyond the two it currently requests). He also suggested
limiting the use of the veto so that it cannot be used for
the election of the Secretary-General, war crimes, crimes
against humanity, and genocide.

9. (SBU) The Libyan Deputy Perm Rep, after espousing the
common African position, reiterated the Libyan proposal to
replace current Council permanent members with regional seats
filled by the African Union, ASEAN, the European Union, the
Russian Federation, the United States, and the League of Arab
States with all or none holding the veto. (Note: He did not
mention a Latin American regional organization or China. End
note.) He also suggested, without providing additional
details, that providing Africa immediately with a permanent
seat would "help the success of the negotiations." (Note: We
understand that the Libyan delegation has unsuccessfully
tried to convince the African Group to put forward a
resolution that would only add one permanent seat for Africa
to the Council. We understand there is currently no
consensus in the group to deviate from the Ezulwini Consensus
and Sirte Declaration. End note.)



10. (SBU) The UK and the France reiterated their support for
permanent membership for Brazil, India, Germany, Japan, and
an African state and pressed for greater focus on the
intermediate option which could lead to permanent seats after
a review. The French Perm Rep also called for a permanent
seat for an Arab state. Both said they would welcome a
negotiating text from the Chair. The Russian Perm Rep gave a
long statement reiterating the Russian position on all of the
five key issues and endorsing the Chair's approach of finding
convergence. He, too, suggested a closer look at the
intermediate option. On the veto, he cautioned against
changing any of the current permanent member's prerogatives,
but said it is possible to look at options for new members
but only after determining the membership of an enlarged
Council which should number in the low 20s. The Chinese
representative called for an expanded Council with greater
representation for developing states.

Effect of Lisbon Treaty

11. (SBU) There were several references during the meeting
about what impact the recent entry into force of the Lisbon
Treaty might have on the reform process. The Italian
representative suggested that it is time to seriously
consider such a major development. The Portuguese Perm Rep,
a G4 supporter, also referred to the treaty: "The Lisbon
Treaty brings the Members of the European Union further
closer (sic) and established mechanisms providing for a
better external representation of the Union. Somehow, these
new realities will have to translate in the manner the
European Union interacts with the Security Council." The
Dutch Perm Rep suggested that the concept of regional seats
in the Council be explored at a review, especially whether
such seats should be permanent and which regions should be

Other states

12. (SBU) As he did last spring, the Philippines Perm Rep
circulated a number of proposals in the form of draft
resolutions on restricting the veto, affirming the full
plenary jurisdiction of the General Assembly vis a vis the
Security Council, Council working methods, Council rules of
procedure, and categories of membership. (Note: Proposals
e-mailed to IO/UNP. End note.) Similar to last spring, no
delegations commented on the specifics of the proposals aside
from the fact that they had been presented by the
Philippines. The Palau representative called the Security
Council "archaic and untenable" and called for a modernized
Council that can react to the sea level rise threatening his
state and other island states.

13. (SBU) The Dutch Perm Rep called for a "mixed"
intermediate option of 8-10 year seats with a review after
two terms. He called for permanent members to voluntarily
commit to certain restrictions on the use of the veto. He
said all member states should be able to submit their views
in writing to the Council. (Note: All member states can
already do so by writing a letter to the Security Council
President and asking that the letter be circulated to the
rest of the Council. End note.) Lastly, he urged member
states to draft the negotiating text, saying, "no paper, no

Next meeting

14. (SBU) At the end of the meeting, the Chair, Afghan Perm
Rep Tanin, reminded delegations that he is always ready to
receive proposals in writing, especially from "innovative
coalitions." He announced that the next meeting would be in
mid-January on "areas of convergence."

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>