Germany launches drivefor permanent UN seat
22 September 2004, NEW YORK - Germany, Japan, India and Brazil have declared mutual support for each other as "legitimate candidates" for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. The four countries issued a joint statement after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer met Tuesday on the sidelines of this week's UN debate in New York. Earlier, officials from those
22 September 2004
NEW YORK - Germany, Japan, India and Brazil have declared mutual support for each other as "legitimate candidates" for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
The four countries issued a joint statement after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer met Tuesday on the sidelines of this week's UN debate in New York.
Earlier, officials from those countries held talks with UN members and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to cultivate support.
In the joint statement, the four countries called for broad UN reforms, particular to make the Security Council more "representative, legitimate and effective". The decision-making body should add both permanent and rotating members and reflect the interests of developing countries, the statement said.
The 15-member body currently includes 10 rotating seats alongside its veto-wielding, permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
"It is essential that the Security Council includes, on a permanent basis, countries that have the will and the capacity to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security," the joint statement declared.
"Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, based on the firmly shared recognition that they are legitimate candidates for permanent membership in an expanded Security Council, support each other's candidature."
The four countries endorsed permanent membership for an African country and vowed to cooperate with "like-minded" countries toward "meaningful reform" of the UN system.
Proposals to expand the Security Council have been under discussion for more than a decade.
African diplomats, who also want their continent to receive a permanent seat, said it could take five years to complete Security Council reforms.
Earlier, Koizumi met with Annan and the president of the UN General Assembly, Gabon's Foreign Minister Jean Ping, to discuss United Nations reforms. Meanwhile, Fischer said that he thought Germany had a good chance to receive a permanent seat on an expanded Security Council.
Japan and Germany are presently listed as "enemies" to the organisation in the UN Charter, which was drawn up by World War II victors in 1945. The so-called "enemy clause" in the charter has never been removed despite repeated demands and even though both countries are major economic powers, the largest financial contributors to the UN after only the US, and major political players in the organisation.
Koizumi spokesman Akira Chiba said that the Japanese premier urged reform of the council "as soon as possible".
"I hope that a drastic reform will be carried out during the tenure of the secretary general," Chiba quoted Koizumi as saying.
Annan told Koizumi that he believes that 2004 could be a "very important year for UN reform", Chiba quoted Annan as saying.
An international panel of experts commissioned by Annan to study reforms of the UN organisation is due to submit a report in December.
The United Nations will celebrate its 60th birthday next year, and Annan, whose second five-year term expires in 2006, has been urging member states to make it a more effective organisation for the benefit of mankind.
Japan is a candidate for a non-permanent seat for the 2005-2006 term, in the election to be held in October in the General Assembly. Japan is the second largest financial contributor to UN activities, and its total contributions equal the combined UN payments of Russia, China, Britain and France - all the permanent members except the U.S.
The assembly annually elects five new, non-permanent members to two-year terms to replace the five members that will leave the council at the end of December. The 10 rotating seats are divided among five regions around the world.
Fischer, who has visited several capitals to campaign for the permanent seat, said that Berlin's motivation was not a desire for "prestige" but rather a need for recognition of Germany's role as the third largest UN contributor, one of the largest providers of UN peacekeeping troops and one the world's third largest economy.
Fischer, speaking on the side of the opening of the annual UN General Assembly debate, said: "If there is an enlargement (of the Security Council), we will be part of it."
He warned that without an expansion of the council, world crises "will be ever more difficult to manage", listing the dangers of terrorism, nuclear threats and globalisation.
Fischer said that the experience of the war in Iraq showed that only the United Nations can provide legitimacy, which would be enhanced by an expansion of the Security Council.
Subject: German news