Africa should not insist on UN veto: diplomat

1st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 November 2005, ADDIS ABABA - A senior German diplomat said Monday that Africa would be better off with permanent U.N. Security Council seats without veto rights, instead of insisting on veto rights and ending up with no permanent seats.

1 November 2005

ADDIS ABABA - A senior German diplomat said Monday that Africa would be better off with permanent U.N. Security Council seats without veto rights, instead of insisting on veto rights and ending up with no permanent seats.

"We consider the reform of the Security Council to be an urgent matter, and progress has to be made by the end of the year before the current 60th Session of the General Assembly ends," said Hans-Joachim Daerr, the German Foreign Office's director general for the United Nations.

"The window of opportunity for the reform of the Security Council does not stay open indefinitely."

He pointed out that there is a widespread perception in Africa that veto power is important, despite the realization that some of the current permanent members of the Security Council were not yet ready to agree to granting vetoes to other countries.

"It would be better for Africa to make the most important first step of securing permanent seats with an expanded Council, instead of ending up with no seats by insisting on seats with veto rights," he told correspondents, amid an African Union emergency summit to consider the continent's stand on Security Council reforms.

Germany, part of the so-called G-4 with Brazil, India and Japan, sought to expand Security Council membership from 15 to 25 countries.

Daerr urged Africa to seek partners for its own proposal so as to win the necessary two-thirds backing of the full, 191-member General Assembly.

The African proposal, which would expand the Security Council from 15 to 26 seats including six countries with veto rights, has no chance of passage, according to the German diplomat.

"The present permanent members are not willing to give veto rights to newcomers in an expanded U.N. Security Council," he said.

The solution, he said, was to seek partners for the African proposal and negotiate for "a better stand that would win wider support of the General Assembly".

He said that the G-4 was not opposed in principle to Africa seeking permanent Security Council seats with veto rights.

"But from our assessment, there is no chance at present for Africa, with 53 U.N. members, to get two-thirds majority support of the 191 members of the General Assembly for its proposal," Daerr said.

He made it clear that the United States and China were opposed to granting veto rights to new members if the Security Council is expanded. He said the G-4 was ready to work with Africa to reach "common ground and come up with a new, winnable proposal".

Both the A.U. and the G-4 have as yet to formally present their proposals to the U.N.

"We consider the matter is urgent, and progress has to be made before the end of the current 60th Session of the General Assembly," Daerr said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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