Four nations submit plan to enlarge U.N. Council
Germany, Japan, Brazil and India submitted a U.N. General Assembly resolution on Wednesday to enlarge the 15-seat Security Council by 10 members in hopes of a vote next week, Japan announced.
The four aspirants for permanent council seats, known as the Group of Four or G-4, want a vote on a framework resolution that would call for six new permanent council seats, without a veto, and four new rotating nonpermanent seats.
"The G-4 intends to request that debate begin on this framework resolution in the U.N. General Assembly as early as next week," Japan said in a statement.
The Japanese mission to the United Nations said the draft resolution must be translated into U.N. official languages before it is distributed to the 191 General Assembly members.
"Japan will continue to attach importance to solidarity among the G-4 and will seek the support and cooperation of the member states through broad and inclusive consultations," it said.
A G-4 envoy, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that this week's Africa Union summit in Sirte, Libya, had confused his strategy because the AU decided to produce its own resolution and "at the same time say they are willing to negotiate."
The four aspirants are expected to negotiate with the African Union at the Group of Eight summit of industrial nations in Gleneagles, Scotland, this week.
But without Africa's 53 votes, the G-4 draft resolution will not reach the 128 or two-thirds vote required among the 191 U.N. General Assembly members.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan wants a decision by the time a U.N. world summit takes place in September, arguing that the makeup of the council reflects the world of 1945.
He recommended two options for enlarging the council from 15 to 24 seats. Germany, Japan, Brazil and India want a total of 25 seats and the African Union wants 26.
HOW MANY SEATS FOR AFRICA?
The AU summit in Sirte proposed 11 new members -- six new permanent members and five new nonpermanent members, two of them from Africa. The G-4 resolution has one new nonpermanent member from Africa.
Diplomats said that if the G-4 allows the extra nonpermanent seat for Africa, then Asian and Latin American nations might ask for the same, making a compromise difficult.
Currently, the council has 15 members. Five are veto-wielding permanent members -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China. Ten nonpermanent seats, including three for Africa, rotate for two-year terms.
China opposes a permanent seat for Japan. The United States wants no more than five new permanent and nonpermanent seats. Britain and France support the G-4, and Russia's position is unclear.
The first step, however, is to get a framework resolution through the General Assembly by a two-thirds vote, without mentioning names of candidates. The second step would be to fill candidates for permanent seats.
The last step is to change the U.N. Charter, over which national legislatures of the current five permanent council members have veto power.
Algeria's U.N. ambassador, Abdallah Baali, predicted an uphill fight for the G-4 to obtain the AU's vote without compromises. "The vote they were hoping to get in Africa won't be there," he told Reuters.
The AU plan also insists on veto power for all new permanent members whereas the G-4 nations dropped their call for a veto after too many objections were raised. Instead, they asked for a decision on the veto in 15 years.