Rice cool towards Germany'sbid for Security Council seat

18th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 May 2005, WASHINGTON/BERLIN - US Foreign Minister Condoleezza Rice is cool toward Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council because it would expand Europe's presence on the panel, according to a report in the Washington Post on Wednesday.But in Berlin, Germany said that it was counting on broad support within the General Assembly for an expansion of the Security Council, despite opposition from the United States and China. The expansion would be in line with the current e

18 May 2005

WASHINGTON/BERLIN - US Foreign Minister Condoleezza Rice is cool toward Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council because it would expand Europe's presence on the panel, according to a report in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

But in Berlin, Germany said that it was counting on broad support within the General Assembly for an expansion of the Security Council, despite opposition from the United States and China. The expansion would be in line with the current efforts of Germany, India, Japan and Brazil - known as the G-4 - to join the panel on a permanent basis.

The Post quoted a confidential memorandum of a 5 May private meeting between Rice and members of the US Congress on a special UN task force panel. Rice has frequently sidestepped questions about adding Germany and the three other countries as permanent members.

Rice "thought that there was a very poor rationale for giving another member of the European Union a permanent seat," the memo was quoted as saying. "In many respects, Europe already had a common foreign policy, and that needed to be taken into account in the Security Council."

The four countries circulated a draft resolution on Monday in New York demanding that they be given the "same responsibilities and obligations" now carried out by the five current veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council. But they added that the veto issue should not become a stumbling block.

The current permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and China - have indicated they are opposed to sharing the veto power with any new permanent members, and one plan would add permanent members without veto power.

To change the makeup of the Security Council, two-thirds of the 191 members of the General Assembly would have to approve.

In Berlin, the deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said that the majority of United Nations members are aware that backing such changes on the panel represent the biggest chance for reform in the United Nations after years of discussions. He said it has become clear during the general membership sessions that there is huge support for Germany, Japan, Brazil and India on the panel.

Jens Ploetner, the deputy spokesman in Germany's foreign office, warned against giving too much weight at the moment to premature commentary by other countries on the proposals of the G-4. He said the discussions had just begun and there were intensive consultations underway with other member countries.

Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked the 191-nation assembly to vote on the reforms by September.

The four countries are seeking to enlarge the Security Council from the current 15 members to 25, with the addition of six permanent and four rotating members to better reflect today's balance of power in the world.

Competing proposals are expected, including a so-called Plan B, which would create a new category of semipermanent Security Council seats chosen through regional elections for four-year terms. The plan for new permanent members, which is supported by the G-4, is known as Model A.

The current UN Charter, drafted by victorious allies at the end of World War Two, still calls Germany and Japan enemies to the world organisation. The two countries are among the larger contributors to the organisation.

The UN is undergoing reform this year as it celebrates its 60th anniversary. The reforms range from overhauling the management under the secretary general to its main bodies, the Security Council and the General Assembly. World leaders are expected to meet in September in New York to enact the reform proposals.

DPA

Subject: German news

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