No breakthrough for G4 and African Union

18th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 July 2005, NEW YORK - The G4 foreign ministers of Germany, India, Japan and Brazil gathered Sunday with African Union representatives for their first joint meeting but remained at an impasse over demands for six new permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

18 July 2005

NEW YORK - The G4 foreign ministers of Germany, India, Japan and Brazil gathered Sunday with African Union representatives for their first joint meeting but remained at an impasse over demands for six new permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The two sides did agree to form a joint commission comprised of respective envoys to study ways to solve differences and reach a common position to demand the six new permanent seats in an enlarged Security Council.

"Similarities are stronger than differences," said Brazilian Foreign Miniter Celsio Amorin at the end of the meeting at the Indian mission to the United Nations.

Attending were foreign ministers Joschka Fischer of Germany, Nobutaka Machimura of Japan and Natwar Singh of India. Nigerian Foreign Minister Olu Adejini, whose country chairs the 53-nation African Union (A.U.), led an African delegation.

Fischer said that the two sides discussed "all elements" in their separate draft resolutions, calling the discussion "real". Other ministers said the discussion was "useful and constructive".

Despite making no breakthrough, diplomats on both sides believed their agreement on forming a joint commission represented progress as a mechanism to develop a coalition to push for reforms of the current 15-nation Security Council.

Indian Ambassador Nirupam Sen told reporters that the G4 and A.U. agreed to give more time for the joint commission to work. The foreign ministers apparently agreed to return for yet another meeting before the end of July to review progress in the coalition.

Neither side has been able to garner the required two-thirds majority of 128 votes in the 191-nation U.N. General Assembly to push through demands for the six new permanent seats.

"It's impossible for any group to get the two-thirds vote, so we have to find a way, not to narrow down but to eliminate the differences," said Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.

Adeniji said the African Union is against the right of veto now being exercised by the five original permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.

"In principle, Africa does not like the veto right," Adeniji said.

He refused to say whether the A.U. would drop its demand for veto rights for new permanent members in order to reach a compromise with the G4.

The A.U. has submitted a draft resolution in the General Assembly, demanding that the veto right be given immediately to the six new permanent members.

The G4, on the other hand, calls for new permanent members to delay exercising the veto power for 15 years.

The other difference between the two sides is the number of new, short-term members. The G4 calls for enlarging the current council from 15 to 25, with six new permanent seats and four short-term seats.

The A.U. calls for enlargement to 26, with six new permanent seats and five more short-term seats. The difference of one extra short- term seat was considered minor.

Last week, Adeniji said that the A.U. needs support from U.N. membership and would hold talks in order to reach a common position. The only group with which the A.U. can negotiate is the G4.

Sunday's meeting in New York, bringing high-ranking government officials from the G4 and A.U., forged ahead despite strong opposition from countries that object to the creation of new permanent seats in the Security Council. The main opposition group, Uniting for Consensus, opposes the permanent seats and is headed by Pakistan, Italy and China.

The G4 foreign ministers met earlier Sunday with General Assembly President Jean Ping and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to discuss their activities.

Ping has called for a General Assembly debate on the A.U. draft resolution. The G4 draft underwent a hot debate last week in the same body.

Ping is scheduled to visit from Tuesday to Friday in his home country, and there will be no General Assembly debate on the Security Council reforms during his absence.

DPA

Subject: German news

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