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Other Statements of the 53rd General Assembly

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  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations on Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Mattters
    New York, April 15, 1999

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations on Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Mattters
    New York, February 11, 1999

  • Statement by Mr. Ivo Sramek, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the Working Group for the Security Council Reform
    New York, May 5, 1998

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the Open-Ended Working Group for the Security Council Reform
    New York, April 21, 1998

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations to the Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations
    New York, March 31, 1998


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Mattters

Mr. President, First let me thank you and the bureau for the introduction of CRP 2 on April 13, 1999. Which I will refer to in my statement. We welcome it as a commendable and courageous step which may bring new dimension to our debate on the long overdue issue of the SC reform. We consider this document comprehensive enough and sensitively balanced for this stage of negotiations. Answers to your questions should show us where the major preferences are, where there is a room for compromise and also where the gaps seem to be so wide that bridging them will be complicated and time consuming exercise. Dividing these issues (into the proposed three categories) will enable us to better structure our debate and hopefully will lead us to informal consultations where all those "ifs" which are being understandably raised in the course of our debate will be addressed and negotiated. In this context I'd like to confirm that we share the view of many delegations that all these issues are interchangeably linked and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed upon. But we are quite sure that even the first positive results can create a momentum of change and hopefully even enthusiasm, sufficient for a landslide reform.

Mr. President, let me now turn to the questions in your CRP 2.

We firmly believe that every endeavor should be made to explore the possibility of SC enlargement, so our answer to your first question is yes.

Since we live in an ever changing world where today's realities may not be true in the more or less distant future, the same way they are now different from the world in 1945 or 1963 when the last enlargement occurred, we believe that a provision for periodical review of the composition of the SC should definitely be included in any SC reform package. Therefore our answer to your second question is yes.

Questions 3 and 4 - the main task of the SC reform is to ensure an equitable geographical representation through enlargement. We believe that it can only be achieved by expanding the SC in both categories, otherwise the problem of those under represented (especially developing countries) will never be solved. Therefore we think that it is necessary for any expansion to include both additional permanent and non permanent members.

As to the question five, we would rather say no.

Question 6 - like a significant majority of other countries, the Czech Republic supports the expansion in both categories of membership by adding preferably 5 permanent and four non- permanent seats to the present composition of the Council. This formula which is somewhere in the middle may represent a possible way for compromise between the lower and upper numerical limits for the SC enlargement, ranging from 20/21 to 26 and more. Our answer to this question is therefore yes.

Since we are driven by positive and optimistic approach to our efforts, we also say yes to the questions 7 and 8 and our detailed position on each of the categories is already well known.

Question 9 - since reaching the equitableness is the main task of the SC reform, we consider it necessary that the new permanent members should have the same prerogatives as the old permanent members. Our answer to this question is therefore yes.

Thank you, Mr. President and I wish you and the bureau every possible success in evaluating the results of this exercise.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations on Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Mattters

Mr. President,

Allow me first to congratulate you and the Co-Vice-Chairmen, Ambassadors John de Saram and Hans Dahlgren, on becoming the members of the new bureau of this important working group. I would also like to thank the members of the previous bureau for their effort and commitment to our common goal of Security Council Reform.

Many interesting speeches have been delivered here and, in taking the floor, we are doing so not because we have an urgent feeling we have something new to bring in our discussion, but because the member states have been asked to come forward so that their positions can be taken into consideration. We are neither the silent majority, nor the movers and shakers, whose positions are eagerly awaited by others. All in all we have one voice and one vote in this august body but we intend to use it. After all, what would be the use of the recently adopted resolution 53/30, if we did not hear the voice of those two thirds of the Assembly at least once in their entirety, not interpreted by various groups and lobbyists. In this context, the idea suggested by our distinguished British and Irish colleagues of a questionnaire or questions to be compiled by the bureau is a step in the right direction and deserves our support. It would help to focus our debate and show us where the major preferences are.

Mr. President,

As to our program of work, we think that, since Cluster I and Cluster II issues are interchangeably linked, they require parallel approach. While Cluster II negotiations are already well advanced, Cluster I issues lag behind and need to catch up with the development of Cluster II. Concentrating on Cluster II alone, as some countries are proposing, would result in mere cosmetic changes, diverting our attention from the main task of the SC reform, which is equitable geographical representation through enlargement. An enlargement that would reflect the realities of today and not of the world in 1945 or 1963 when the last enlargement occurred. It´s better to discuss the core of the problem for another six years than to drop it and put up with just minor changes.

While the world in 1945 was far from being ideal, the world of today is not yet ideal either. We can dream about an ideal and fully democratic Security Council of the future (hopefully we won´t need any, since there is no place for wars or threats to peace in an ideal world), but its highly desirable that the composition of today´s SC should reflect today´s reality rather than that of the future or the past. Today, and there is no doubt about it, some member states are better equipped to deal with the requirements of permanent membership than others. It is in the interest of this Organization to have them in the Council for the benefit of all of us. We are not talking just about candidates from industrialized, but from developing countries as well, as they would bring the necessary balance in the SC deliberations and broaden their spectrum.

That is why the Czech Republic, like a significant majority of other countries, supports the expansion in both categories of membership by adding preferably 5 permanent and four non- permanent seats to the present composition of the Council. Three of these permanent seats would go to the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America and two would be taken by the two candidates from industrialized nations.

Mr. President,

We believe that the key to get the reform of the SC moving is to reach a general agreement on numbers. Once this is settled, everything else will be much easier. A democratic election will solve the problem of selecting the best candidates for permanent and non-permanent membership, periodic reviews of the SC composition will address the issue of their accountability and permanency, making our decisions easier.

A complicated but feasible task, provided we all seek an equitable, efficient and credible Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Statement by Mr. Ivo Sramek, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the Working Group for the Security Council Reform

Mr Chairman,

We are pleased that our debate has finally reached the core of the mandate of our working group and would like to thank the bureau for preparing the very useful CRP 12. Last year, significant progress was made in this key element of the SC reform and we hope that the debate will bring our positions closer and lead us to a formula for the SC enlargement acceptable for the majority of MS.

We are aware that such a formula should be a compromise between the requirement for more equitable geographical representation in the SC on the one hand, and the need to maintain the efficiency of the Council and its operational ability on the other hand. While achieving equitableness would require substantial increase in the SC membership, maintaining its efficiency would mean adding just a few. We believe that the proposal for total membership of 24 (adding five new permanent members and four non-permanent members) would represent a workable solution. We believe that permanent membership should be offered to countries that have contributed greatly to the activities of the Organization and have shown the capacity and willingness to assume fully the responsibilities of the SC permanent member. In this context the Czech Republic supports the inclusion of Germany and Japan as permanent members of the SC. With a view to achieve more balanced geographical representation, we would be in favor of allocating three additional permanent seats on the SC to suitable candidates from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As to the rotational arrangement for new permanent members from developing countries, this issue should in our view be left upon a decision of their respective regional groups or individual candidates to be taken into account by the General Assembly when electing new permanent members.

As to the extent of the veto to the new permanent members, we have already expressed our opinion and, in view of our previous debate, we agree with the proposal to postpone this issue on the later stage.

While supporting the enlargement in both categories of membership, we think that, owing to the limitations we have, the current ratio between the number of permanent members and non- permanent members is hardly sustainable. However, adding 4 new non-permanent members would keep it in check and prevent the non-permanent category from slipping into irrelevance. As to the distribution of non-permanent seats, we are in favor of allocating them equitably among African, Asian, Eastern European and Latin American and Caribbean Regional Group. In our opinion, the objective criteria for the selection and election of new non-permanent members are well defined in Article 23 of the Charter.

We believe that such enlargement (in both categories of the SC) would definitely improve the SC equitableness, enhance its legitimacy and not jeopardize its efficiency.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the Open-Ended Working Group for the Security Council Reform

Mr. President,

Let me first express my delegation's appreciation of the Bureau for guiding us back to the schedule. In our view, all agreed agenda items deserve the same amount of our attention.

The veto right is a complex issue, controversial from the very beginning, and even the founding members of this Organization were not able to launch it by consensus. While on one hand, the general membership of the Organization would rather see the veto abolished or significantly curbed, on the other hand, when it comes to weighing all the pros and cons, one must admit that the veto has some positive effect on consensus-building among SC members.

As we know, there is a number of options concerning the future of the veto in the reformed SC:

- maintaining the status quo;

- granting veto right fully to new permanent members;

- narrowing the range of issues to which the veto applies;

- limiting its use only to actions under Chapter VII;

- abolishing it altogether;

- modifying it by requiring two or more negative votes to exercise a veto, etc.

In fact, just a few of them seem to be realistic. While today's composition of the SC is not ideal from the equitable geographical representation point of view, the present SC is functional and fully operational in fulfilling its main duties. That is something that should not be sacrificed to any purpose. While the reform should improve the SC's working methods and ensure its more equitable geographical representation, it should not weaken its efficiency and operational ability. Thus we have to approach the reform of the SC globally and comprehensively.

We recognize that there is a direct link between the concurrence of all permanent members in the decision-making process and the effectiveness of SC actions. To counterbalance the additional burden on the operational ability which the proposed enlargement may bring into the SC, we need to modernize the decision-making process within the SC, particularly by limiting the scope and application of the veto. Only thus the effectiveness of the SC can be maintained or improved in the future. We need to invent procedures that enable wider participation and more transparent decision-making, while facilitating prompt and effective action. Some of it can be done without even amending the Charter. Resolution 267/1949 gives us in article 29 a solid ground for building on the recent pattern of non-use of the veto in procedural matters. Adhering to that rule and expanding the range of matters which are treated as procedural by the SC might be a realistic way towards rationalizing the SC work. Our Open Ended Working Group should definitely put a detailed review of this resolution onto the agenda of its next round of meetings.

We expect that in case of expanding the SC, the veto right would be given to the new permanent members if the new permanent members would have the same obligations as the original ones. We think it would be advisable for the Working Group to make a suggestion to the permanent members to refrain from the use of the veto or, if need be, to reduce its use according to the new, agreed, limited scope.

We support the proposal made by Germany that before any ballot, potential new permanent members should declare what extent of veto they intend to use. But the same openness should be boldly displayed also by the original permanent members. While not legally binding, a unilateral political declaration on the limited use of veto would be a forthcoming step to the general membership of the UN which has largely voiced its discontent with unlimited use of the veto. Also a welcome element of sophistication would be brought to the political processes in the UN if the permanent members would provide a written political justification in case of resorting to the veto.

In our opinion, such unilateral declarations would constitute a significant step on our way towards reforming the SC and could create an atmosphere of trust which may lead to a more substantial limitation of the veto in the future, by amending the Charter of the UN. That may take us gradually from the all too familiar world, where some are more equal than others, into the world of genuinely democratic institutions of tomorrow.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations to the Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset I want to join other colleagues in congratulating you on your reelection as chairman of this Committee. There is no doubt in my mind that with you in the chair, the Special Committee will make notable progress in exploring ways and means to enhance the efficiency of peace-keeping operations (PKO´s). My congratulations also go to Ambassador Michel Duval on his election as chairman of the Working Group. I dare to assert that under his leadership the Working Group will once again arrive at consensus-based proposals and recommendations to be submitted to the General Assembly. I would also like to take this opportunity to fully subscribe to the statement made by the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union.

Last year, on the basis of resolution A/51/136, a whole number of Member States participated for the first time as full-fledged members of the Committee in its deliberations. As we applauded this decision, we were more than happy to see the Committee preserve its efficiency, the actual number of members notwithstanding.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite the fact that the number of United Nations personnel deployed in peace-keeping missions has declined significantly and no new peacekeeping mission has been established over the past two years, we still see PKO´s the most important form of international conflict management. Having our troops and units committed largely to NATO-led operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past two years, the Czech Republic doesn't rank currently among major troop contributing countries. However small our present contribution may be, our firm conviction persists: while there being no other viable alternative in place, PKO´s, going hand in hand and acting in concert with other means of conflict and crisis management, such as preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and post-conflict peace building, remain the best and most instrumental tool for the peaceful settlement of disputes, whether they are of intra or inter-state nature. It is therefore only natural that well-planned, mandated and executed PKO´s are still in the interest of the whole international community.

It is worthy of note that identifying the proper role of PKO´s and relevant adjustments of the United Nations have become an issue of central concern for a number of countries. The clear objective in this sense has been common for all of us: the United Nations being better prepared and equipped to undertake PKO´s, and fully capable of being confronted and faced with threats to international peace and security at the threshold of a new millennium. At the last year´s Special Committee session we all must have noticed an unambiguous call of many countries that the Secretariat, namely those departments involved in peace and security management maintain and possibly enhance their capacity to plan, manage and conduct PKO´s in an efficient and successful manner. In this context it was therefore all the more interesting and challenging to follow and engage in the discussions on United Nations reform with regard to the field of international peace and security.

Indeed, there have been positive developments that seem to address certain institutional shortcomings of all the Departments and other entities whose responsibilities fall within the area of peace and security. No doubt the Secretary - General´s actions and recommendations contained in his report "Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform" (A/51/950) have been prominent one. We have welcomed and supported most of them as well as the outcomes of the discussions on them which have been reflected ultimately in resolution A/RES/52.... These outcomes are now to be implemented. This Committee should have a preeminent role in judging whether these steps along with measures taken directly by the Secretariat are sufficient enough and well-advised so as to meet our common objective of a better UN peacekeeping.

Mr. Chairman,

We acknowledge and greatly appreciate all efforts of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat aimed at laying down the bases allowing an efficient and smooth operation of the DPKO in the increasingly complex and multifaceted environment of current PKO´s. Yet through it all, it would be preposterous to believe we have already found all answers and remedies needed for the outlining of a clear conceptual framework in which DPKO can effectively operate no matter what challenges lie ahead.

In this context one important question continues nagging us even as we realize that the General Assembly adopted by consensus resolution A/RES/51/243 regarding the issue of gratis personnel. For several years now, the Secretariat and Member States have concentrated on improving the Organization´s capacity to react rapidly and effectively when faced with a crisis, draw lessons from the terminated missions and work out relevant specialized expertises. With this in mind, it appears that certain positions within DPKO should be exclusively assigned to military specialists. We cannot overemphasize the absolute impact of the phasing out of the use of gratis personnel on the capabilities of DPKO to carry out its core tasks. Even though we are far from generalizing we believe there is a fear that until a secure and stable funding of DPKO has been agreed upon, this impact might not be a positive one. The Special Committee has a unique responsibility to take these indications into consideration and possibly take a stand on it with a view to maintaining the capacity of DPKO to plan, manage and conduct PKO´s in the transition period. We should even feel obliged to make our voice heard in the Fifth Committee so that our colleagues should not be rushed into drawing premature and hasty decisions.

The precarious financial situation of the United Nations has a direct bearing not only on the structures which have already existed for some time. What may even be worse is that it continues to cast a shadow over the initiatives aimed at increasing the speed with which a peacekeeping mission can be deployed. One of these initiatives, the idea to establish the Rapidly Deployable Mission Headquarters (RDMHQ), fitted nicely into the overall picture of enhancing the capabilities of DPKO in the areas of planning, deployment and conduct of newly authorized operations. We may recall the discussions, at times considerably emotional ones, we had on the subject in the past. Yet tremendous efforts that some countries have made to make this idea a reality, including their generous contributions to a Trust Fund to cover personnel costs, have yielded no palpable results. In this connection we wish to voice our backing to a group of countries which have come up with another remarkable initiative called SHIRBRIG or the Standby High Readiness Brigade, which is based on our common desire to strengthen the rapid reaction capacity of the Organization. This initiative is worth having a chance to prove its usefulness in practice and may constitute a key element of the ability of the United Nations to swiftly prevent or contain crises. Do we let the group give the finishing touches to SHIRBRIG or is it going to be yet another wasted opportunity? We prefer the former being answered in the affirmative.

The recent expansion of the roles of regional organizations in security issues has reflected the increasingly wider cooperation between them and the United Nations. We therefore support the continuation of the regular meetings between the United Nations and certain regional organizations to coordinate their efforts in security and other matters. There seems to be an increased tendency to call upon regional organizations to take on a responsibility for ensuring peace and security in their respective regions. On some other occasions we stated that the United Nations should not wash its hands of sometimes seemingly regional security matters and rely on the regional organization or the ad hoc multinational force to automatically do their peacekeeping or peace-enforcement job well, which we still feel is valid. There are only a few regional organizations capable of conducting peacekeeping or peace-enforcement. However, we surmise that the kind of operation, such as the NATO-led operations IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which virtually have taken form of the multinational coalition forces, has been a good example in this regard. Arguably, there have also been ones whose record has been mixed, and serious questions have been raised about the partiality of the intervening parties. Given this experience we maintain that the United Nations should, for its own comfort, retain sufficient degree of oversight even in the event that the particular regional organization or the ad hoc multinational force have been assessed to be better suited to conduct a peacekeeping or peace-enforcement operation. Still and all, the United Nations remains the sole global collective security organization with the global reach and capabilities and should not lose its leading role in the promotion of international peace and security.

In conclusion we cannot fail to touch upon the issue of safety and security of UN peacekeeping personnel, especially in light of recent incident where four military observers with UNOMIG were taken hostage by an armed group. Three of them were released while one managed to escape when having been left alone. Not only do we wish to stress unacceptableness of furthering particular political goals through the abuse of UN peacekeeping personnel, but we also want to point to two areas where progress should be made. Firstly, last year the Special Committee urged all Members States that have not yet done so to consider ratifying the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel in order to bring about its entry into force at the earliest possible date. Today, the Convention cannot still enter into force because so far only 17 countries out of 22 needed have ratified it. It is all the more regrettable when we realize that Member States agreed quickly on the text of the Convention and have not been able to get the job completely done. Secondly, we fully concur with the Secretary General that the United Nations should intensify putting pressure on governments of countries where UN personnel are deployed. These governments must completely uphold the relevant articles of the Charter and the privileges and immunities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies besides their inherent function of maintaining order and protecting persons and property. The Special Committee should once again pay appropriate attention to this ever-growing problem.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.