Remarks for a UN General Assembly Plenary Meeting on UN Security Council Reform

Michael Barkin
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 25, 2019


Thank you, Madam President.

The United States would like to join others in recognizing the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) co-chairs for the 73rd Session of the General Assembly, Ambassadors Nusseibeh and Braun, whose work this past year laid a strong foundation for our current discussion.

The United States continues to believe that the IGN remains the most appropriate forum to discuss any changes to UN Security Council permanent membership. We remain open to any form of negotiation within the IGN framework, as long as the format allows for broad consensus. Wide agreement across the IGN is the only way reform will ultimately succeed.

As we’ve previously stated, the United States remains open, in principle, to modest expansion of the Security Council for both permanent and non-permanent members. We believe this must be pursued in a way that will not diminish the Security Council’s effectiveness nor its efficiency, and that will not alter or expand the veto.

We recommend carefully considering the ability and willingness of any potential Council member to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. A Member State’s capacity to shoulder the considerable responsibility that comes with sitting on the Security Council should be taken into account.

The Security Council is an important tool to address today’s most pressing threats to international peace and security, but it occasionally falls short. A well-executed expansion of the Council could help modernize the body to better reflect 21st century global realities and increase its effectiveness. We remain firm, however, that any alteration of the current structure must be agreed to by consensus.

Thank you.