G4 countries offer compromise on UN veto power
9 June 2005
NEW YORK – Germany, Japan, India and Brazil on Wednesday offered a compromise in their quest to become permanent members of the UN Security Council, proposing that they forgo the veto power afforded to the current permanent members for at least 15 years.
The four countries presented the proposal to nations that could become co-authors of a draft resolution on the reforms. That resolution, which would have to be passed by the UN General Assembly, proposes the addition of six new permanent seats and four rotating seats to the current 15-member council.
The proposal by the four countries, which are lobbying to become permanent members along with two as-yet-unnamed African countries, was a reaction to opposition from an array of UN members to their ambitions of joining the UN’s highest decision-making body.
China, which is one of the five current veto-wielding permanent council members, is among the countries who want no new permanent seats added to the council or, at the very least, do not want any new permanent members to have the veto.
However, China, Italy and their allies do not have the 64 votes that are needed to block a proposed resolution in the 191-nation General Assembly.
And Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, known as the G4, said they don’t intend to give up veto power altogether.
They said new permanent members should have, according to the draft resolution, the same responsibilities and duties as the current permanent members, which, besides China, are the United States, Britain, Russia and France. But they said they would also agree to a provision that would not allow them to exercise their veto rights for 15 years, after which the questions of the veto as well as council membership could again be examined.
German diplomats said they believe the G4’s compromise could receive far more than the required two-thirds majority needed for passage in the General Assembly. UN diplomats also said that the compromise might win over France to become a co-author of the reworked resolution.
UN secretary general Kofi Annan wants the assembly to vote on the reform proposals at a meeting in September.
Subject: German news