Statement by H.E. Andrejs Pildegovičs, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations

at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

New York, 3 April 2023

Honorable Co-Chairs,

I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Co-Chairs – Permanent Representatives of Austria and Kuwait - for conveying this meeting and leading the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform. Latvia appreciates your efforts to expedite the process by making it more transparent, inclusive and accountable.  Please count on Latvia`s continuous engagement and support.

This IGN takes place at a dramatic moment for the UN and the whole international community, as Russia - a P5 member of the Security Council continues its war of aggression against a fellow UN member - Ukraine, violating international law and the UN Charter. The vast majority of the UN membership has unequivocally deplored this brutal aggression, that has undermined the Security Council’s ability to exercise its purpose and mandate as well as denounced the contempt demonstrated by Russia towards the foundational principles of the UN system. Latvia believes that the principled position regarding the crime of aggression must be considered as a moral, political and legal compass for the future permanent and elected members of the Security Council.

Colleagues, how can we claim to be a global organization when the voice the entire continent of Africa is not properly represented on the most important decision-making body on peace and security matters?

We believe that is important for all regions of the world to have representation on the Security Council. Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States are diverse regions with important perspectives on global issues such as human rights, disarmament, nonproliferation, climate change and other important peace and security related topics. The lack of representation from these regions has implications for the credibility and legitimacy of the Security Council.

It would be beneficial for countries to have the opportunity to voice their opinions and contribute to the discussions and decisions made by the Security Council, as well as for the Security Council to have supplementary perspective that would strengthen multilateralism. Likewise, we see a merit in the allocation of additional elected membership to the Eastern European Group.

It is time for us to address this historical injustice and take steps further - we must start the text-based negotiations without any hesitation to tackle all issues we have ignored for way too long.

As a member of the ACT Group, Latvia believes that the Council would better represent the interests of the United Nations membership if we could demand more accountability, legitimacy and transparency, including regarding the working methods.

In this context, we believe that the right of veto or a threat to use it must not be applied to justify a crime of aggression and annexation of the territory of another UN member state.

Latvia commends the call of France and Mexico for the permanent members of the Security Council to voluntarily and collectively pledge not to use the veto in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes on a large scale. We believe that the abovementioned initiative provides necessary impulses for the change in Council’s working methods and output. We call on all UN Member States to join this pledge. Likewise, we strongly support the veto initiative adopted by the General Assembly last year upon the proposal by Liechtenstein.

Latvia firmly believes that no matter the size, all countries can have an impact in the Security Council. Latvia is strongly committed to further prove that the Baltic states can positively contribute to solving global challenges.

Therefore, in 2025 Latvia as a member of the EEG group will run for the elections to the Security Council which reflects our readiness to contribute to international peace and security, protect the rules-based international order and advance effective multilateralism.

Thank you!