No consensus on UN Council change
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan intervened on Monday to try and get consensus among supporters of rival plans over expansion of the Security Council but no meeting of the minds emerged, diplomats said.
Germany, Japan, Brazil and India are lobbying for permanent seats on the council, which rules on war and peace, sanctions and peacekeeping operations.
The 15-seat council now has five permanent members with veto power -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and 10 nonpermanent members rotating for two-year terms.
German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger made clear after both sides met Annan that the four contenders would call for a vote in the General Assembly in mid-June unless a compromise was achieved by then "because this is the only chance after 12 years of discussion on the issue."
Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram, who opposes the plan backed by the four contenders, told reporters he did not expect a vote while talks are underway.
"We support agreement for continuing consensus and dialogue with view to reaching agreement," he said.
The initiative to expand the Security Council follows proposals earlier this year by Annan for a major overhaul of the world body. He wants the General Assembly to take a decision by the time a U.N. summit takes place in September, arguing that the council's make-up reflects the balance of power at the end of World War II and must be updated.
Brazil, Germany, India and Japan want the 191-member U.N. General Assembly to vote in mid-June on a framework for expanding the elite body. A two-thirds majority is required for approval, which will prove difficult to obtain.
Their resolution does not name candidates for the council -- that would happen at a later date. It says permanent members should include two from Africa, two from Asia, one from Latin America and one from Western Europe.
At least 20 medium-sized nations oppose this model and want only nonpermanent members. But in contrast to the current rotating system, all seats would be eligible for immediate re-election "and that could open the door for those who want to serve more often," Akram said.
Both plans would expand the council from 15 to 25 seats.
In addition to Pakistan, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Spain and others are active in opposing the four contenders.
The five permanent members have veto power over the council expansion once the framework and the new members are decided by the General Assembly and legislatures around the world consider a change in the U.N. Charter.