António Guterres made the remarks as he addressed reporters at his annual year-end conference in New York on Monday.
He was answering a question about UN security Advice reform to make the powerful world body better able to deal with crises such as the war in Ukraine.
“The central issues are related to the composition of the Security Council and the right of veto. Now it is the business of the member states, the Secretariat has no influence in these negotiations”, declared António Guterres.
“I think during our session of the General Assembly in September, for the first time, I heard clearly from the United States and Russia the indication that they favored an expansion of the number of permanent members of the Security Council,” he said.
He added that there was some time a proposal from France and the United Kingdom for certain restrictions in the use of the right of veto.
“But I remain pessimistic about the possibility that the right of veto will be seriously challenged,” he said.
The UN chief added that Security Council reform requires two-thirds of the votes of the General Assembly plus the five affirmative votes of the permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the Kingdom United and the United States.
“So I think there is now room for a much more serious discussion in relation to Security Council reform. I think the possibility of expanding the Security Council is now seriously on the table. I am still not optimistic about the right to veto,” he said.
Last week, António Guterres tweeted: “A majority of UN member countries now recognize that the Security Council should be reformed to reflect today’s geopolitical realities. I hope that regional groups and countries can work together to reach greater consensus on the way forward and the modalities of reform.”
A majority of UN member countries now agree that the Security Council should be reformed to reflect the current situation… https://t.co/t8EIUsw0JU
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) 1671103800000
Last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar chaired a signing ceremony at the Security Council on reformed multilateralism, saying that while the reform debate has wandered aimlessly, the real world has meanwhile changed dramatically and reform is the need of the day.
A concept note circulated by India before the UNSC The meeting said that UN reform has been left open without a defined timetable and that the Security Council is far from reflecting true diversity.
“The world is not the same as it was 77 years ago. The 193 Member States of the United Nations are more than triple the 55 Member States it had in 1945. However, the composition of the Security Council, responsible of world peace and security, was last set in 1965 and falls far short of reflecting the true diversity of the full membership of the United Nations,” the concept note said.
On December 1, India assumed the monthly rotating presidency of the Security Council, the second time after August 2021 that India chaired the Council during its two-year term as an elected member of the UNSC.
India, whose 2021-2022 term on the Council ends on December 31, has been at the forefront of efforts calling for urgent reform of the Security Council, which has remained deeply divided over the current challenges.
India has asserted that the Council in its current form does not reflect today’s geopolitical realities and that its credibility is at risk if nations such as developing powers like India do not have seats. standing at the horseshoe table.
During the press conference, António Guterres said: “We have made many reforms in the areas of responsibility of the Secretariat and the United Nations agencies. And I think the effectiveness of the response to the humanitarian consequences of the war demonstrates that these reforms have been positive.”
He said that UN Country Teams work much better and more efficiently today than just a few years ago.
“There are UN reforms that are going on. But of course, the crucial aspect that is being discussed is the reform of the Security Council. And I will say, the revitalization of the General Assembly and the strengthening of ECOSOC.
“Now we have witnessed significant progress in revitalizing the General Assembly. Let us not forget that now any veto in the Security Council leads to a discussion in the General Assembly and an explanation of the reasons for the veto. This is a very significant change in the relationship between the two bodies,” he said.