Berlin calls for urgentUnited Nations reforms
24 September 2004 , NEW YORK - Germany has called for the speedy reform of the 59-year-old United Nations joining other nations in pressing for a restructuring of the ageing organisation to help it meet new global changes. Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher focused his address to the 191-nation assembly on UN reforms, particularly of the 15-member U.N. Security Council, which makes all the UN's important and binding political decisions. "What we need is a far-reaching reform of the international system and it
24 September 2004
NEW YORK - Germany has called for the speedy reform of the 59-year-old United Nations joining other nations in pressing for a restructuring of the ageing organisation to help it meet new global changes.
Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher focused his address to the 191-nation assembly on UN reforms, particularly of the 15-member U.N. Security Council, which makes all the UN's important and binding political decisions.
"What we need is a far-reaching reform of the international system and its institutions that takes due account of these changes," he said, "and this is a reform we need urgently because we have to create an effective multilateral system which enables us to prevent crises together and, where this does not work, find long-term solutions."
He asked the assembly to use the next 12 months "to launch the long-overdue reforms and achieve tangible results". The call has been backed by other speakers since the assembly's 59th session opened Tuesday and was expected to be supported by others.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the United Nations is at the fork in the road and urged the revitalisation and studies of the UN Charter to improve its effectiveness as demands grow for UN peacekeeping operations and socio-economic and development programmes.
Germany, Japan, Brazil and India this week signed a declaration calling themselves the "legitimate candidates" for permanent seats on the Security Council. The current permanent members are the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, all of which have veto power.
Talks to reform the council began more than a decade ago but stalled on the issue of enlargement.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said reform of the council is urgent and should include developing countries left out of decisionmaking.
But while India and Brazil were promoting themselves as candidates for a permanent council seat, Singh and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva failed to make the demand in their addresses to the General Assembly. Lulu spoke on Tuesday and Singh Thursday. The campaign for the new seats is being led by Germany and Japan.
The candidates for permanent seats have opponents. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, whose government also has ambitions for the council, said Thursday that Italy favours Security Council reform "inspired by the principles of greater effectiveness, democratic participation and geographic representation, starting with developing countries".
"Some member states, however, have advocated the addition of new permanent seats - for themselves," Frattini said, adding that governments that carry out "national mandates" in the United Nations would sow division among its members.
But French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier threw Paris' support to Germany, Japan, Brazil, India and an African country.
Diplomats said Thursday that African countries were discussing which of them would run for a permanent seat.
When the United Nations was established in 1945 by 51 countries, the Security Council had 11 members. Four more members were added in 1963, when the UN membership was about 110. Today, the organisation has 191 members.
The five permanent members have not changed since 1945. They were the World War II victors who continue to dictate activities at the United Nations.
Germany and Japan, defeated in the war, continue to be called enemies in the UN Charter.
Subject: German news