Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the UN General Assembly Plenary Session on Security Council Reform, June 16

05.05.2021 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Let me be very honest. I was shocked when we received the rollover decision from you last week before consultations with at least the G4 group. This is in contradiction to the practice of your predecessors, who, before issuing the draft decision for a rollover, sat down and discussed this decision to come to an agreement. The predicament we are in today, which we haven't had in the last four years, comes from the fact that there were no consultations about the draft decision.

I was also shocked that within the draft decision, there was no mention of the mandate that 193 Heads of State and Government gave you, because you rightly said that, with regard to Security Council reform, the General Assembly has the key role. You didn't mention in the rollover decision the mandate to instill new life. Our Italian colleague just mentioned that it's in the Elements Paper. This is true. But we are talking about a decision by this body. This has to be included because the mandate has been given by the Heads of State and Government. They didn't say the most important task is to safely transfer the IGN from one period to the next. They said it is important to instill new life.

I was shocked that you ignored the proposal of the distinguished co-chairs that the discussions in future should be based on the single Elements Paper. By having several documents referred to, you ignore the African position to have “a single consolidated text.” Maybe I misunderstood you in your introductory remarks, but you said that this exercise is not to extend privileges to a handful of member states. If you really said that, I would ask you to please take this back, because it is not the task of the President of the General Assembly to represent the position of one group, but also to say that this does not constitute extending privileges of a handful of countries. This is also disrespectful to the G4 countries and the African countries, which ask for two African countries to have a permanent seat.

We received a text message from one delegation that is always very active on the issue, which said that G4 is against the African position on Security Council reform. I want to solemnly reject this. The G4 has been very clear. I myself spoke from the rostrum last year to clearly say that Germany fully supports the African position. In the last IGN, we asked for the African position to be comprehensively represented in the Elements Paper, including Ezulwini and Sirte. I fully understand the disappointment by our African colleagues that the Elements Paper does not include Sirte. I would ask them to give more time to this body to reflect on how we can rectify this. I think there is a huge majority that is in agreement with the proposal issued by the chair of the African group C10 to include an annex to the Elements Paper. Another possibility would be an amendment to the amendment that we have proposed where we say that the next IGN be based on the Elements Paper and the common African position. Another possibility is for you to make a declaration or for the General Assembly to also issue a separate declaration on this.

Therefore, I ask you to give us more time. My distinguished colleague from Brazil said there are three more months in this session. As I said earlier, the Heads of State and Governments in their declaration said instilling new life is an important task. I think we should not just tell our Heads of State and Governments that we concluded three months early and we wanted to go on vacation, so we didn't have time to discuss it anymore.

This is a very important subject. Why is this so important? Why have I criticized the PGA? I have to say that I personally like the PGA very much. We are old friends. I criticize him because Germany is committed to the United Nations and wants it to thrive. We want the Security Council to reflect the realities of the world as it is today. We must not allow for the Security Council to lose its legitimacy and relevance. Youth will turn away and say these guys in New York are just talking. They are not doing anything, and they represent the world as it was two generations ago. We are for the United Nations which stands for the rule of law. We are for the strength of the rule of law and not of the law of the strongest.


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