What a Difference an Ambassador Makes


Ambassador Khalilzad’s first speech before the U.N. General Assembly is pasted below the fold. Bush administration policy hasn’t substantially changed over the past five months, but, with the switch from John Bolton, the tone has. And at the United Nations, tone matters.
I was especially pleased to see repeated references to “working together,” and discussing common challenges we face with the rest of the world. It will help. Compare this to Bolton’s first public statement in the Security Council, during which he accused many countries of being in a “state of denial,” and accepting “business as usual.”
Read Khalilzad’s statement. The difference is striking.
— Scott Paul

Remarks by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, at the Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council, May 3, 2007
Thank you, Madam President:
This is my first opportunity to address the General Assembly. I look forward to working with all members to fulfill the objectives for which the United Nations was established, preserving peace, advancing economic progress, and promoting respect for human rights.
I would like to join others in expressing our appreciation and admiration for the work of your five facilitators. Their report before us today provides a useful and comprehensive review of the current state of play of the Security Council expansion debate.
We recognize that the world has changed dramatically since the founding of the United Nations. This means that for the organization to be relevant, legitimate, effective, and efficient, it must adapt by focusing on the relevant issues, ensuring that it reflects the diversity of the world, being as effective as possible in terms of decision making and implementation capabilities, and getting the most out of its resources. Thus, there is an imperative to adapt.
This imperative is leading our own deliberations on reform at all levels, including the Security Council, the Secretariat, peace-keeping operations, UN agencies, and others. Comprehensive improvement will result if we address the whole range of issues from personnel selection, ethics oversight and management processes, mandate reform, to the professionalism and discipline among peace-keeping forces.
We recognize that increasing the effectiveness of the United Nations depends on progress on all fronts. We hope that other take this view as well.
When we make these necessary changes, we will put the United Nations on the right track for the next fifty years and ensure sustained support from the publics of Members States.
Regarding reform of the Security Council, we can support expansion of the Council that preserves its ability to carry out its Charter-mandated responsibilities to maintain international peace and security, while recognizing the emergence since 1945 of other states capable of assuming the global responsibilities of permanent membership, in particular Japan and perhaps others.
Also, the expansion of the Council should move forward in a way that will secure not only the legally required support for implementation but also, as the facilitators rightly note, “the widest possible political acceptance by the membership.”
This report indicates that wide differences remain among the Member States with respect to the specifics of how expansion might be pursued. Undoubtedly, it will take time for us to develop a common understanding.
We recognize the logic of need for Security Council expansion. At the same time, it is important to pursue efforts to improve the capabilities and effectiveness of other organizations and processes of the United Nations. Because all countries would benefit from improving the ability of the United Nations to advance its diverse missions, we should accelerate the implementation of changes in these areas in order to create an environment conducive to Security Council reform.
I look forward to this continued exchange of ideas, in support of the shared goal of adapting our entire organization to current realities.


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