US committed to UN Security Council reforms, says senior diplomat

The council was last changed in 1965, when it increased the number of non-permanent members from six to 10

US representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Washington remains committed to UN Security Council reforms to reflect modern geopolitical realities, President Joe Biden’s envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Thursday.

Countries have long called for a reform of the UN's top body, which maintains a similar structure to when it was formed after the Second World War.

“Our commitment is ironclad to see that the UN and particularly the Security Council is fit for purpose for the next generation," Ms Thomas-Greenfield told reporters during a briefing on US priorities at next week's UN General Assembly in New York.

"The Security Council as it exists today does not represent a world that exists today."

In his speech to the General Assembly last year, Mr Biden asserted his administration’s commitment to expanding permanent and non-permanent memberships in the UN Security Council.

The Security Council consists of five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US – and 10 non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for a term of two years.

Mr Biden emphasised the importance of including nations from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, alongside long-standing partners such as Germany, Brazil, India and Japan, who form the G4 alliance and mutually support each other's aspirations for permanent membership.

The last time the Security Council was changed was in 1965, when it increased the number of its non-permanent members from six to 10.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield said she was leading the charge on the emerging initiative.

“I have been engaging almost on a weekly basis with countries here," she said.

"We're looking at what kind of changes we can make that make sense, that are achievable, and that reflect the changes that we want to see happen.

"So those discussions are continuing and the engagement on that will continue."

Ms Thomas-Greenfield underscored the significance of the coming General Assembly debate as an opportunity for global leaders to tackle pressing concerns.

She included the Sudanese conflict, the situation in Haiti, and unfolding humanitarian crises such as the Libya floods and Morocco earthquake.

“These are issues of peace and security. These are issues that member states should be addressing here at the Security Council,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

“As President Biden often says, right now, we are at an inflection point. And the actions we take over the next week, and in the months ahead, will be consequential.”

Updated: September 18, 2023, 5:51 AM