ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT CALLS FOR STRENGTHENED POWERS IN INTERESTS OF DEMOCRACY
General Assembly President Ali Treki wrapped up his year in office today with the same plea with which he began it – that the 192-member body be given more power beyond its current authority to issue non-binding resolutions.
At present only resolutions of the 15-member Security Council, on which the five permanent members have veto power, are legally binding.
“The authority of the General Assembly is the world,” Dr. Treki told his final news conference as president of the Assembly's 64th annual session. “We have 192 members of the General Assembly, we have only 15 countries in the Security Council and we are looking forward to reform of the Security Council.
“And if you're depriving the 192 from their right, let us say that is not justice. We need the United Nations to play a role. Only that can happen if the General Assembly is strong, which represents the total majority of the world.”
He gave no specifics of the reforms he desired but his comments echoed his inaugural speech on assuming the presidency of the Assembly's 64th session in September last year.
He declared then: “The General Assembly, which represents the entire world, has been hampered by the obstacles in its path. It has been unable to implement or enforce its resolutions. The General Assembly must be reformed to regain its international legitimacy by ensuring that its voice is heard and respected and its resolutions implemented.”
Dr. Treki has repeatedly called for Security Council reform, noting that none of Africa's 53 States is a permanent member, a position held only by the major Allied powers in the Second World War – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States. Such is the case, too, of Latin America and the Forum of Small States, which account for over half of the world's inhabitants, he said in his speech last year.
The Council has not changed for decades, with 10 non-permanent members holding no veto and elected for two-year terms, and talks to reform it have been under way for more than 17 years.
Some countries have argued that this structure does not represent the realities of today's world. Key issues under discussion are the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council's working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly.
“If we want the United Nations not to be at the periphery of the main challenges of today, its working methods should be improved,” Dr. Treki said today. “The role and authority of the General Assembly should be reinforced to its full potential in line with its Charter.”
Dr. Treki is a Libyan. His successor is Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, who will preside over the Assembly's 65th session, extending until September 2011.