Russia to support UNSC reform if backed by over 2/3 of member states – Foreign Ministry

The United Nations Security Council meets at its headquarters in New York. © Keith Bedford
Russia would support expanding the UN Security Council if it is backed by more than two-thirds of UN members states, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“We [Russia] are ready to support the option of expanding the [UN] Security Council, which will be agreed on by the overwhelming majority of member states. Ideally, it will be 100 percent [of them in favor]. Anyway, more than two-thirds of [member]-countries,” Gatilov said.

According to the UN Charter, a resolution needs two-thirds of votes in its favor to pass.

“But taking into account that the problem of reforming [UNSC] is rather sensitive and politically important for the future of the organization, we believe that two-thirds of votes are not enough and more support is needed for the resolution to pass.”

Russia also endorses keeping the veto right for the five permanent members of the UNSC - China, France, Russia, UK and US, said Gatilov, adding that giving this right to new potential members should be reviewed separately.

Moscow agrees it’s necessary to reform UNSC as “the whole number of regions, even continents, first of all Asia, Africa, Latin America,” turned out to have no representatives in the body, he said.

“We believe that it would be fair to solve this problem. But it should be solved via agreement of member-states over this or that variant of expanding the Security Council.”

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Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the issue of reforming or expanding the UN Security Council is a very important one, but the question is what to expand - permanent or non-permanent membership, or add members to both categories. 

“This issue is a subject of heated debates. The process cannot reach the homestretch because there are irreconcilable differences between the two groups of countries, as well as attempts to prove that the five permanent members cannot come to terms, and this is why there is no result,” he told TASS in an interview.

He said that the main problem is that one group of countries absolutely insists on new permanent seats, whereas the other is against this and wants to increase the number of non-permanent members.

“The core of our position is to observe the initial mandate of the UN General Assembly for this work. The mandate requires that the final decision should be supported by a broad majority, but it does not at all amount to two thirds of all votes. We are not talking about 100 percent consensus and the General Assembly does not require it. One or two countries can always have their own views and will not join the consensus, but a broad majority is not two thirds.”

Lavrov said a broad majority is required because if voting on expanding the UN Security Council is held and some countries support a drastic reform with mandatory permanent seats and other additional seats and receive a two thirds majority, this will be a legally-correct decision on the basis of the UN Charter. However, politically there will be countries that will form a one-third minority and will vote against this.

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“These are not some rogue states, but fairly reputable and well-established countries of medium size. In their eyes, the UN Security Council will be much less legitimate than it is now if it is reformed by voting against their desire to find consensus and compromise.”