US undecided on German Security Council seat
19 May 2005, WASHINGTON - The United States supports Japan's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council but has not decided whether other countries like Germany should also become permanent members, the US State Department said on Wednesday.
19 May 2005
WASHINGTON - The United States supports Japan's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council but has not decided whether other countries like Germany should also become permanent members, the US State Department said on Wednesday.
"We've made no further judgements about who else should or should not be added to the council, nor have we taken a position pro or con on any of the specific proposals at this point," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
Japan, Germany, India and Brazil are seeking to gain a permanent seat on the council in what is called the 'Group of Four' proposal. Boucher's comments came after The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had doubts about adding another European Union nation to the council.
Britain and France hold permanent seats with veto power along with the United States, Russia and China. Boucher said the United States supports reforming the Security Council to reflect the post-Cold War world, but added the US government has not endorsed any of the proposals.
"We've recognised that the Security Council needs to better reflect the realities of the current day and that implies reform and enlargement," Boucher said.
"But there has to be a proposal that does that ... to make the council more effective, too," Boucher said. "And so, I don't think we're committed to enlargement if it doesn't make the council more effective."
Germany has been lobbying for a permanent seat on the Security Council and is seeking support from the UN General Assembly.
The Washington 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 "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."
But Volker Ruehe, chairman of the German Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, said US government officials assured him that the Post article should not be taken seriously.
But the parliament leader, who said he was in Washington to conduct talks on behalf of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and campaign for a German seat on the Security Council, also echoed Boucher's words, saying there is no positive or negative stance yet from the US government on the German seat.
Germany, Japan, India and Brazil circulated a draft resolution on Monday in New York requesting the "same responsibilities and obligations" held by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. One proposal suggests adding permanent members without veto power.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and China - the current permanent members - have indicated they are opposed to sharing the veto power with any new permanent members.
To change the makeup of the Security Council, two-thirds of the 191 members of the General Assembly would have to approve. The Security Council also consists of 10 other countries on a rotational basis.
In Berlin, a government spokesman, Thomas Steg, said there is significant support for Germany, Japan, Brazil and India on the council. The foreign ministry cautioned against premature commentary by other countries on the proposals of the so-called G-4.
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.
Competing proposals are expected, including a so-called Plan B, which would create a new category of semi-permanent 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 although the two countries are among the largest financial contributors.
The United Nations 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.
Subject: German news