H.E. Ambassador Choi Young-jin, Permanent Representative, at Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly
1. At the outset, I would like to convey my delegation’s deep condolences to the victims of the bomb attacks that occurred in Jordan yesterday. We condemn in the strongest terms those heinous acts of terrorism targeted against innocent civilians. Our sympathy is with the people and government of Jordan in this time of trial.
2. Let me thank the President of the Security Council for this month, Ambassador Denisov of the Russian Federation, for introducing the annual report of the Security Council.
3. According to the report, the volume and scope of the Security Council’s activities continued to increase over the last year. We note with concern that Africa remains the scene of the majority of issues before the Security Council, accounting for 60 percent of its agenda.
4. There have been some positive developments in Africa. Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia seem to be on track from conflict to stability, with the process of nation-building underway and bolstered by recent successful elections. In many other parts of the continent, however, instability continues. In particular, the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Western Sudan is still going on, and fresh reports of increasing violence indicate that the situation is not improving. Other area of serious concern includes Cote D’ivoire, where elections could not take place as scheduled and anxieties are increasing. In addition, we are deeply concerned about the recent escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the restrictions imposed unilaterally on the movement of UNMEE. We urge both countries to exercise maximum restraint.
5. We appreciate the Security Council’s active efforts to maintain peace and prevent further disputes in Africa through the recent establishment of UN Missions in several countries of the continent. We also welcome the efforts of the Council to find long-term solutions to African issues by holding a constructive open debate on the topic and adopting resolution 1625 on the prevention of conflict, particularly in Africa, at the Security Council summit-level meeting.
6. During the last year, the Security Council has continued to devote considerable attention to the situation in Iraq. The period saw the achievement of significant political benchmarks on Iraq’s path toward democracy, including the parliamentary elections in January and the formation of the Transitional Government in May. The approval of the draft constitution by national referendum last month demonstrated the desire of the Iraqi people to determine their own political future. We look forward to the upcoming general elections, on December 15, which we hope can serve as the foundation on which lasting institutions and national reconciliation can be built.
7. For our part, the Republic of Korea is continuing to help the Iraqi people to rebuild their country. Considering the recent request of the Iraqi Government, we welcome the adoption of Security Council resolution 1637, which extends the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq. The Security Council must continue to play an important role in stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq and in facilitating its transition to a fully representative government.
8. With regard to Lebanon, we support the continuing efforts of the Security Council to take follow-up actions in response to the terrorist bombing which killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others. The unanimous adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1636 at the ministerial-level meeting last week sent a strong and clear message. This resolution must be implemented scrupulously.
9. Elsewhere in Asia, it is encouraging that Afghanistan made progress in security and in nation-building, with constant and broad assistance from the international community. In particular, we commend the holding of parliamentary and provincial elections in September, completing the Bonn process.
10. We also note with appreciation that in cooperation with the United Nations, Timor-Leste has been successfully building solid foundations for peace and development for the last several years. We are confident that building upon the progress so far, Timor-Leste will become a model case of successful transition from conflict to peace and long-term development.
11. The past year saw terrorist attacks in London, Egypt, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Lebanon and elsewhere around the world and most recently in Jordan yesterday, once again demonstrating that no country and no individual can avoid the terrorist threat. The international community must therefore stand united against terrorism. In this regard, the Republic of Korea notes with satisfaction that the Security Council continues to play a leading role in combating terrorism, in particular through its three sub-committees. Coordination and cooperation among the three sub-committees should be further enhanced to make the Security Council’s counterterrorism activities all the more effective.
12. Before concluding, let me now briefly turn to the reform of the Security Council.
13. This year we had a very intensive discussion on the issue of Security Council expansion, and various proposals were put forward. Unfortunately, these discussions did not lead to much progress, let alone an agreement. The Republic of Korea has made it clear that it supports a reformed Security Council that is more representative, accountable and effective. In the same vein, we have opposed any expansion of permanent membership. I will refrain from reiterating my country’s position on the reform of the Security Council. I really hope that with our collective wisdom, we can reform the Security Council so that it can better fulfil its mandate in the future.
14. We appreciate the efforts of the Open-Ended Working Group to improve the Council’s working methods. We also acknowledge the steps so far taken by the Council to increase the transparency of its work and the involvement of non-members of the Council. Building on this progress, we believe that further reform of the Council’s working methods is needed to make the Security Council more transparent, democratic and efficient.