UN Security Council reform looks doomed
An ambitious plan to reform the UN Security Council by expanding it from 15 members to 25 looks set to fail next week despite one of the most intense diplomatic lobbying exercises ever conducted, according to UN sources.
The foreign ministers of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, fighting for a permanent seat each on a new-look council, are to fly to New York at the weekend to try to rescue the plan.
They need to win two-thirds of the votes of the 191-member UN general assembly. But a Security Council source said the reform was proving difficult to push through.
"It is madness. They (Germany, Japan, India and Brazil] have gone about it completely the wrong way," he said. "It is hard to see how it is going to happen."
The fate of the reform package could be decided at a meeting on Sunday or Monday between the four countries and representatives of the 53 African countries.
The expansion was proposed this year by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, to reflect today's reality rather than the situation after World War II. The reform is also intended to help rebuild the UN's reputation after criticism of its record in the Balkans, Rwanda and Iraq.
Annan, after a two-day debate at the UN this week, said: "I think we all have to admit that the council can be more democratic and more representative."
His plan is intended to be the centrepiece of a meeting
of world leaders at the UN in September, billed as the world summit. Japan,
Germany, Brazil and India, who have organized themselves into the "G4," have
mounted one of the biggest lobbying exercises in history, pushing their
embassies to redouble efforts and even recalling retired diplomats with good
contacts to help out. They have called in many favours.