I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and my own country, Sweden.
We would like to thank Liechtenstein for this important initiative. The Nordic Countries wholeheartedly support the resolution.
The fulfilment of the principal task of the United Nations, the maintenance of international peace and security, depends on the Security Council that delivers in accordance with its mandate. The Charter of the United Nations entrusts the Security Council with the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. The use of the veto to prevent the Council from discharging its Charter-based duties is a matter of great concern. During the last five years, for instance, the veto has been cast to block the action of the Council no less than 17 times.
As the most recent instance of the use of veto by Russia further highlights, there is an urgent need for veto restraint and for more transparency and accountability when the veto power is used.
The Nordic countries have been consistent supporters of initiatives that seek to make sure that the Council is not prevented by the use of the veto from taking action with the aim of preventing or bringing an end to situations involving the commission of mass atrocities.
This «Veto Initiative» will supplement these efforts. If adopted, this mandate will be a significant step towards accountability and transparency in the use of the veto power. That is why we have supported the initiative since its inception two years ago.
The Security Council is entrusted with the responsibility to maintain peace and security on behalf of us, the Member States represented here in this assembly. Thus, it is natural that when permanent members of the Council use their veto to block Council action, they are invited to the General Assembly to explain their positions, and that all Member States have the opportunity to discuss the matter.
The resolution adopted today in no way encroaches on the veto power, but seeks to increase transparency and accountability in its use. We hope that the new mandate will contribute to the effectiveness of the Security Council and to its ability to discharge its duties.