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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Informal Meeting of the General Assembly on Security Council Reform

Press Statement
Susan E. Rice
Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York City
February 19, 2009



Mr. Chairman, thank you. The start of the next phase of the General Assembly’s work on the equitable expansion of the Security Council, through today’s informal plenary session, is indeed important moment. We hope member states will approach these negotiations with patience and flexibility. While we know that genuine disagreements may surface during this process, we hope these talks will ultimately serve to bring the membership of the United Nations together.

Let me offer, Mr. Chairman, some sense of the principles that will guide the United States during this process. First, we start from a straightforward premise: The United States believes that the long-term legitimacy and viability of the United Nations Security Council depends on its reflecting the world of the 21st century. As such, we will make a serious, deliberate effort, working with partners and allies, to find a way forward that enhances the ability of the Security Council to carry out its mandate and effectively meet the challenges of the new century.

I would note that the United States is not linking Security Council reform to other aspects of UN reform. We view both as important and will pursue them in tandem. I would also note that we support expansion of the Security Council in a way that will not diminish its effectiveness or its efficiency. And finally, the United States will take into account the ability of countries to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, and the other purposes of the United Nations.

We look forward to seeing this process go forward, to holding these negotiations, in the words of General Assembly Decision 62/557, in “good faith, with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



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