Cablegate: Unga: Sc Reform: Fourth Round Ends; Chair To


DE RUCNDT #0061/01 0341512
O 031512Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: The informal plenary of the General
Assembly met on January 19 and 20 for its second and final
meeting of the fourth round of intergovernmental negotiations
to discuss "areas of convergence." While the 52 delegations
and one observer who spoke covered the subject of the
meeting, the liveliest discussion focused on a December 23,
2009 letter sent to the Chair by 140 delegations. The letter
spearheaded by two Group of Four (G4) members -- Germany and
Japan -- asked the Chair to draft a text to identify areas of
convergence. While the Chair did no drafting in advance of
the January 19 meeting, he agreed to do so for the fifth
round, which will not likely commence until April.
Throughout the meeting, interventions focused on which
delegations had not been asked to sign the letter (many
Uniting for Consensus delegations) and which had signed it
and why. The limited discussion of areas of convergence
focused on the veto, working methods, and the Security
Council's relationship with the General Assembly. G4 and
African Group members also underscored their convergence on
an expansion in both categories. Ambassador Wolff and the
Russian Perm Rep both underscored that positions remained
quite far apart and there were more areas of divergence than
convergence. Only eight African Group members spoke during
the session, with several indicating interest in modifying
the African common position at the African Union Summit to
allow for greater negotiating flexibility. See para 14 on
likely next steps. End summary.

2. (SBU) The informal plenary of the General Assembly met
on January 19 and 20 for its second and final meeting of the
fourth round of intergovernmental negotiations on Security
Council reform. 52 member states and one observer (Holy See)
spoke during the seven-hours of meetings on January 19 and
20. All five permanent members spoke, while only eight
African Group members intervened. While the session was to
focus on "areas of convergence," as set forth in the Chair's
November 16, 2009 letter to the membership, many delegations
also focused on a letter 138 member states sent to the Chair,
Afghan Perm Rep Tanin, on December 23, 2009. (Note: During
the session, there were announcements that two more countries
had signed the letter, bringing the total to 140. End note.)
The 12/23 letter, spearheaded by Japan and Germany, requests
from the Chair a "text with options to serve as a basis for enable the informal
immediately embark upon negotiations on the basis of such a
text, in order to identify areas of convergence and to find a
solution that can garner the widest possible support among
member states."

3. (SBU) The Chair, in his January 13, 2010 letter to the
membership (copy e-mailed to IO/UNP), acknowledged receipt of
the 12/23 letter and included a copy of it, but demurred on
producing a text. The Chair said he would carefully study
the appeal as "we move towards a text-based fifth round."
During his opening remarks on January 19, the Chair noted he
had also received letters from the African Group, the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab
League, the Small Five States (S-5), and the Uniting for
Consensus (UFC) groups, reacting to the December 23rd letter,
but he did not circulate those letters to the membership.

UFC reacts sharply to 12/23 letter
but welcomes compilation text

4. (SBU) The Pakistani Perm Rep was the most vocal UFC bloc
member deriding the 12/23 letter. He questioned why the
organizers of the letter did not circulate it to all member
states for signature and alleged that most UFC members had
specifically not been invited to sign it (Argentina, Italy,
Malta, Mexico, Spain, Turkey), though he admitted that the
Indian Perm Rep had discussed the letter with him personally
in Copenhagen in mid-December. The Italian Perm Rep said
that while his delegation had not been approached to sign the
12/23 letter, they might have signed it with a few edits
(i.e., the letter contains no mention of Decision 62/557).
The Pakistani Perm Rep did rhetorically question those

delegations that signed the letter, insinuating that they had
misunderstood what they were signing. He raised the
Italian/Colombian proposal and reminded the Chair of the UFC
request that it be circulated as a conference document and
challenged the G4 to submit their own proposal. He
encouraged all member states to introduce proposals and then
have member states gather in a "partisan committee" to try to
effect compromise, not to eliminate proposals. The Italian
Perm Rep expressed bafflement as to why the Chair had decided
to circulate the 12/23 letter to the membership and not any
of the others. He wondered if Tanin had been swayed by the
large number of signatories. He underscored that any
document from the Chair must include all five key issues from
Decision 62/557. The Mexican Perm Rep asked EU member states
what effect the Lisbon Treaty would have on Security Council
representation by European states. (Note: He did not receive
an answer. End note.)

5. (SBU) The Costa Rican Perm Rep delivered the most
personal attack on the Chair during the session. (Note:
Costa Rica is a Small Five States (S5) member that hews
closer to the UFC position on expansion than other S5 members
who favor an expansion in both categories. End note.) He
criticized the Chair for not circulating the other groups'
letters and suggested such a decision had compromised the
Chair's objectivity and suggested that the President of the
General Assembly (PGA) should resume chairmanship of
intergovernmental negotiations. He also said that any
increase in permanent seats in the Council must retain the
current ratio of two non-permanent seats for every one
permanent member. (Note: The Indian Perm Rep later
challenged the ratio, saying that when the Council was first
created the ratio was six non-permanent members to five
permanent members. End note.)

G4 refers to letter and presses for
negotiating text

6. (SBU) G4 members in their remarks emphasized the 140
states who did sign the 12/23 letter and the need to work
toward a concrete outcome. The Indian Perm Rep said that the
only signal the letter was meant to send was to those who
were opposed to reform and that they should re-consider their
position. Germany urged the Chair to provide a paper to
serve as a negotiating basis and noted that they had hoped to
have such a paper before this session and the African Union
Summit to facilitate a discussion on areas of convergence.
G4 members uniformly highlighted an expansion in both
categories as a major area of convergence between the G4 and
African Group positions. Brazil also highlighted the need
for an improvement in Council working methods. The Japanese
Perm Rep identified the following areas of convergence: a
reformed Council in the mid-twenties with some restrictions
on the veto; working methods reform; and respect between the
Council and the Assembly on each other's distinct role. He
said there was no convergence on an extension of the veto to
new members and that the concept of equitable geographical
distribution should not undermine the primary concept of a
country's contributions to the maintenance of peace and
security. He, too, urged the distribution of all groups'
letters, and called for the Chair to put forward a text
expeditiously to allow the membership to move forward to
substantive negotiations. (Comment: The Japanese had
commented bilaterally that they are open to a text that
includes all positions and proposals, including those of the
UFC, and are not seeking to narrow down the options at this
point, unlike other delegations calling for a negotiating
text. End comment.)

Many signatories of 12/23 letter
call for text of all proposals

7. (SBU) Throughout the session, those who had signed the
12/23 letter explained that they had signed it with full and
complete understanding of its contents. The majority of
these states also called for the Chair to produce a composite
paper incorporating all member state proposals. Indonesia

called for the text to highlight areas of convergence. The
Cuban representative said that while all member states should
have been invited to sign the 12/23 letter (Cuba signed it),
it had breathed "some dynamism into the process." The St.
Vincent and the Grenadines Perm Rep also noted that while all
states should have been invited to sign the 12/23 letter, the
fact that they were not did not invalidate it since it was
only a letter to the Chair, not a decision. The Mauritian
Perm Rep said that the largest convergence amongst member
states is on the need for a text.

Some discussion of areas of convergence

8. (SBU) The majority of member states briefly highlighted
an enlarged Council in the mid-twenties; the need to enhance
the Council's working methods; and the need for greater
accountability to the general membership as the main areas of
convergence. Others added the need to abolish the veto or
extend it to all members as other areas of convergence. As
stated previously, the G4 and African Group members added
expansion in both categories as the primary area of
convergence. While the Indonesian representative noted that
there was some convergence on an expansion in both
categories, the least divisive approach might be the
intermediate approach.

P-5 statements

9. (SBU) As during previous session, there was a clear
separation between the positions of the P-5 with France and
the UK on one end and the U.S., Russia, and China, on the
other. The French Perm Rep said that it was time to move to
a new phase and called for a text prepared by the Chair. The
UK Deputy Perm Rep said that a text should be circulated by
the Chair but member states would need to narrow down the
options. Both France and the UK reiterated their preference
for the intermediate option as a possible area of
convergence. The Russian Deputy Perm Rep noted that while
Russia had not signed the 12/23 letter it was worthy of
attention and the membership seemed to agree that
intergovernmental negotiations should move forward in a
"dynamic way." Nevertheless, he noted that, substantively,
positions do remain quite far apart. He urged member states
not to consider just the numbers but also the quality of an
expansion. He said that within the group of signatories of
the 12/23 letter there was a wide divergence of opinion on
how to expand the Council. He urged any document to
facilitate transparent negotiations with the broadest number
of delegations so that progress can be made towards a
convergence on substance. The Chinese Perm Rep stressed that
any document should reflect all member states' positions.

10. (SBU) Ambassador Wolff acknowledged member states'
interest in moving the process forward but underscored that
the U.S. believes member states should drive forward the
negotiating process by developing their own documents and
proposals, not subcontracting them to the Chair. But, if the
Chair is to play a role it would be to reflect all proposals
and positions of member states. He underscored that there
were more areas of divergence than convergence. On the veto,
he stressed that the permanent members have spoken out in
favor of no change to the current configuration of the veto
and, given the Charter requirements for ratification, veto
abolition is not pragmatic. On Council working methods, he
said the Council shall determine its own rules of procedure,
as set forth in Article 30 of the UN Charter, but that
interested member states should address their queries,
concerns, and suggestions to the Council's active Informal
Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural
Questions. On the relationship between the Security Council
and the General Assembly, he underlined the fundamental
constitutional issue and the fact they are co-equal principal
organs. He emphasized that the U.S. position is for limited
expansion in both categories of membership but any discussion
of an expansion of permanent seats must be country-specific
and take into account the ability of countries to contribute
to the maintenance of international peace and security. He

also said that any expansion should neither diminish the
Council's effectiveness nor its efficiency, and an increase
to the mid-twenties would seriously compromise both.

African Group - will position be
modified at AU Summit?

11. (SBU) Only eight African delegations spoke during this
intergovernmental negotiation -- the lowest showing to date.
The Sierra Leone Perm Rep spoke on behalf of the African
Group and urged the Chair to share with the membership the
other letters groups had sent to him, as did the Egyptian
Perm Rep. (Note: Sierra Leone did not sign the 12/23 letter.
End note.) He underscored that any text produced should
include all elements of the African Group's position. (Note:
The Chair had been heavily criticized for his spring 2009
overview paper which left out portions of the African Group
position. End note.) He urged that the membership's
negotiations should not be subject to a pre-determined
timetable. The Egyptian Perm Rep (pro-UFC) pressed the Chair
for a compilation text which does not leave out any position.
He wryly noted that it would have been an achievement if the
140 signatories of the 12/23 letter had all agreed on a
substantive position on the issue but they had not.

12. (SBU) The South African Perm Rep (pro-G4) emphasized
that size, veto, and regional representation will require
compromise but stressed the need for an expansion in both
categories of membership. He also said that the AU will
begin an assessment of the negotiations. The Algerian Perm
Rep (pro-UFC) noted that the African common position (the
Ezulwini Consensus) will be discussed at the AU Summit, not
the lack of progress in the intergovernmental negotiations.
(Comment: We understand there will be pressure from certain
African Union members, such as Libya and South Africa, to
modify the Ezulwini Consensus at the African Union summit.
The Ezulwini Consensus currently binds the African Group
together by calling for two permanent Security Council seats
for Africa with veto rights and two more non-permanent seats
and the AU will decide which countries shall occupy those
seats. Libya would like to pursue a single African permanent
seat, viewing that as more realistic, while South African
would like an agreement for flexibility on the Ezulwini
Consensus to allow for greater negotiating latitude during
intergovernmental negotiations. End comment.)

Next steps by Chair

13. (SBU) At the end of the session, the Chair acknowledged
the "nearly universal support for a text to help move the
process forward." He said he would put his "full,
transparent authority behind a text-based process." He said
he would take into consideration all of the letters and
inputs that he has received and would shortly communicate the
details on how he plans to move forward to a text-based fifth

14. (SBU) At a P-3 lunch with the Ambassador Tanin on
January 22, Tanin confirmed that he could not ignore the 140
signatories of the 12/23 letter but he also planned to be
responsive to the full 192 members and would not do anything
to divide the membership. Ambassador Tanin told Ambassador
Wolff on February 2 that he will send out a letter in the
days ahead requesting that member states submit to him by
March 5 their positions and proposals on the five key issues
so that he can compile a document for the start of the fifth
round of intergovernmental negotiations in April. In order
to encourage transparency, he would also be ready to meet
with all interested member states/groups during that period
to discuss how he should present the positions/proposals in
the document that he will draft.

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