G4 foreign ministers, AU seek UN reform coalition

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2005, NEW YORK - Foreign ministers of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan - known as the G4 - are coming to New York to meet with African Union envoys Sunday to forge a common position on reforming the powerful U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Friday. The meeting in New York will signal a new level of efforts to work out differences in proposals to reform the current 15-nation council and build up support among the 191 U.N. members. Neither side appears to have the necessary two-thirds majority v

15 July 2005

NEW YORK - Foreign ministers of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan - known as the G4 - are coming to New York to meet with African Union envoys Sunday to forge a common position on reforming the powerful U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Friday.

The meeting in New York will signal a new level of efforts to work out differences in proposals to reform the current 15-nation council and build up support among the 191 U.N. members.

Neither side appears to have the necessary two-thirds majority vote, or 128 votes, in the U.N. General Assembly to push through their competing draft resolutions under discussion in the assembly.

Foreign Ministers Joschka Fischer of Germany, Nobutaka Machimura of Japan, Celso Amorin of Brazil and Natwar Singh of India are to meet first with General Assembly President Jean Ping on Sunday morning at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Ping is leading talks for reforming the 60-year-old United Nations.

The foreign ministers then will meet with envoys from the African Union for a working lunch hosted by the Indian Mission to the United Nations, German and Japanese diplomats said.

The two sides are expected to meet the media at the end of their talks late Sunday. The G4 foreign ministers will remain behind to assess the talks with the A.U. envoys, the diplomats said.

The current council has 15 members: five permanent members with veto power - the World War II victors United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - and ten members elected to two-year terms. Reformers say the arrangement does not recognize how the world has changed in the 60 years since the United Nations was formed.

The G4 wants to enlarge the council to 25 members with six new permanent members and four short-term members, but is willing to postpone granting of veto power for the permanent members.

The African Union on the other hand, which also wants six new permanent members, insists they should have veto power immediately. It also wants five new short-term members, which would expand the council to a total of 26 members.

Both G4 and the A.U. are pushing for approval of their ideas by the General Assembly before the opening of the annual session on September 13. Heads of state and government who will attend the session will be called upon to approve proposals to overhaul the U.N. management and bureaucracy and to back the creation of a Human Rights Council to replace the current Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission.

The United States is opposed to reforming the Security Council at this time and objects to adding new permanent members except for Japan, and possibly one more country that is not yet named.

The ideas have also hit resistance from an opposition group, Uniting for Consensus, led by Pakistan, China and Italy, which is leading a campaign against the creation of new permanent members. Pakistan in particular objects to India having such status and China objects to Japan.

The G4 draft resolution spurred a heated debate in the General Assembly this week, marking the most concrete steps taken after more than a decade of negotiations aimed at reforming and making the council a more democratic body.

DPA

Subject: German news

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