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The UN General Assembly in New York

US President Joe Biden arrives in New York City on Tuesday.
US President Joe Biden arrives in New York City on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden is expected to build on his administration’s pitch to reform the United Nations Security Council in the face of flagrant violations of the UN charter by one of the council’s permanent members: Russia.  

“The council needs to be more representative of more of the world’s population, and it needs to be filled with countries that are ready to uphold the charter and work together on common problems,” a senior State Department official said Tuesday, ahead of Biden’s speech to the UN General Assembly.

It remains to be seen what specifically the US President will say on this matter, and if the US will put forward specific proposals this week.

“I expect that the President will speak substantively to the question of UN Security Council reform while he’s in New York. Whether he does so publicly or whether he communicates privately with the Secretary-General and others, we’re still working through today,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted earlier this month that the US cosponsored a “veto resolution that asks permanent members to explain their vetoes to the General Assembly.” She also said the Security Council should “better reflect the current global realities and incorporate more geographically diverse perspectives.”

Biden isn’t expected to call directly for Russia to be removed from the Security Council, but is expected to speak more specifically about reforming the council than he has previously.

One official suggested the US could push to expand the permanent members on the council.

Currently, there are five nations that have permanent seats and veto power in the council: the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

“Historically, we have named three countries that we believe should be Security Council members: Germany, Japan, India,” the senior State Department official noted. “So presumably, if the President reignites a real conversation, and we get back into serious negotiations about what it will look like, those countries that stand to benefit. We’ll be in favor of it.” 

However, they also said that “the idea is to open it more broadly,” noting that “we have whole continents that don’t have permanent representation” on the council.

Officials say this is an important matter to pursue, especially in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The senior State Department official also accused Beijing of violating the principles of the UN charter, pointing to Beijing’s response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as an example.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.

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