Italy and Germany trade blows over UN reform

28th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 July 2005, ROME - The campaign to reform the United Nations' Security Council heated up on Thursday after a German newspaper accused Italy of using financial coercion to gain support for its proposal, hours after Italy had done the same with Germany.

28 July 2005

ROME - The campaign to reform the United Nations' Security Council heated up on Thursday after a German newspaper accused Italy of using financial coercion to gain support for its proposal, hours after Italy had done the same with Germany.

According to Financial Times Deutschland, Italy has threatened to freeze EUR 220 million worth of economic aid to Albania unless Tirana stops backing a proposal submitted by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil - a group known as the G4.

Italy, which at the helm of the 'Uniting for Consensus' group of countries is pushing for an alternative blueprint, on Thursday rejected the charge as groundless.

"The accusation is untrue," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "We couldn't suspend our aid to Albania even if we wanted to, Pasquale Terracciano said.

Previously, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura had charged Italy with engaging in a "negative campaign" after its Ambassador to the U.N., Marcello Spatafora, had accused the G4 of unethical behaviour.

"I refuse to react to every comment made, because I do not want to think that low," Machimura said in a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York. "It's a negative campaign."

Addressing the General Assembly on Tuesday, Spatafora had called for an investigation into claims that the G4 financially coerced some countries into supporting its proposal.

"We all know in this hall what has been going on in some capitals, with threats of, for example, cutting financial assistance, or stopping the implementation of a certain project," Spatafora told the Assembly.

The German government has since rejected the Italian accusation. But Rome has refused to back down, claiming it has evidence of vote- buying by the G4.

The G4 wants to expand the Security Council through the addition of six permanent seats - the G4 members plus two yet to be named from Africa - which would eventually gain veto power. 'Uniting for Consensus' led by Italy, Pakistan and China has proposed adding 10 new short-term members to the current 15-nation Council.

The African Union has presented a third proposal but its 53-strong members appear split.

The current Security Council has five veto-wielding permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - and 10 countries elected for two-year terms.

The current five permanent members, who were the major World War II victors, were granted veto power when the U.N. was organized 60 years ago. Many U.N. reformers now say that the veto powers wielded in the Security Council fail to reflect the current state of the world.

Italy on Thursday called on the G4 to abandon its "divisive" stance and expressed confidence that the G4 proposal would fail to gain the necessary two-thirds majority of the 191-nation assembly if put to the vote in the coming month.

DPA

Subject: German news

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