German Statement in the United Nations General Assembly on “Use of the Veto”, on 26 April 2023

Teaser Veto Initiative

Teaser Veto Initiative, © German Mission to UN

26.04.2023 - Speech

The Statement was delivered by Michael Hasenau, political advisor.

One year ago, we took a major step towards greater accountability and responsibility at the United Nations Security Council. As one of the 83 co-sponsors, Germany thanks Liechtenstein for the landmark resolution adopted by consensus.

All members of the UN Security Council - and the Permanent Members in particular - hold responsibility for the invaluable good of international peace and security. Abuses of the veto are antithetical to this responsibility.

Therefore, each use of the veto must be duly justified by the issuing state, preferably in front of this Assembly. The Security Council Presidency must heed the call under article 4 of Resolution 76/262 to report on any use of the veto. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.

In 2022, three vetoes were issued - in May, July and September. They blocked action on matters of vital importance: Peace and security in Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East and Non-proliferation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Moreover, in abusing its veto to advance its own interests in the context of its war of aggression in Ukraine, the Russian Federation also violated Art. 27 (3) of the UN Charter, which states that “a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting”.

The Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform show that a growing number of states opposes the veto power, which some deem to be a “remnant of colonialism”. However, its abolition is currently not on the menu for us to choose.

While we face this reality, let us do what we can do now to advance beyond the Resolution which we adopted by consensus last year. Importantly, the use of the veto should be limited to “rare and exceptional cases”, as stated by the United States in August 2022. To this end, we need clear and transparent criteria for its use, to prevent its abuse at great cost to the international community.

Therefore, Germany strongly supports the French-Mexican initiative on veto restraint in cases of mass atrocity as well as the Code of Conduct by the ACT Group with the aim to define such criteria. We also support all attempts to ensure consistency with the principles of the United Nations Charter, including its Art. 27 (3).

Germany is committed to this process and we stand ready to further contribute our expertise and energy.

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