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US to oppose veto power for 4 seeking Security Council permanent seats

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=70451 US to India plus 3: want seat, forget veto JOEL BRINKLEY Posted online: Monday, May 16, 2005 at
    Message 1 of 1 , May 15, 2005

      US to India plus 3: want seat, forget veto


      Posted online: Monday, May 16, 2005 at 0131 hours IST

      WASHINGTON, MAY 15: The United States has warned four
      nations campaigning jointly for permanent seats on the
      UN Security Council that Washington will not support
      their cause unless they agree not to ask for the veto
      power that the five current permanent council members
      hold, senior diplomats and administration officials

      The four nations�Brazil, India, Germany and Japan�are
      unhappy about that position. ��The Security Council is
      not like an aircraft, with first-class, business and
      economy seats,�� said Ryozo Kato, Japan�s Ambassador
      to the United States.

      The four are plunging ahead with an ambitious
      worldwide lobbying campaign. Japan has summoned more
      than 100 ambassadors and chiefs of mission from its
      embassies around the world to a rally of sorts next
      week in Tokyo, where Foreign Minister Nobutaka
      Machimura will press them to lobby their host
      governments for support.

      Wolfgang Ischinger, the German Ambassador to
      Washington, said, �I�m sure we are doing the same
      thing, making sure every one of us knows how we can
      move this forward.�

      Ronaldo Sardenberg, the Brazilian Ambassador to the
      United Nations, said, �Our whole diplomatic
      establishment is mobilised for this.�

      Speaking to reporters on his flight home from Moscow
      last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it was
      �very important for the United States, given its
      importance in world affairs, to be supportive of
      India�s aspirations.�

      Brazil�s Sardenberg said his country would propose
      that the four nations be granted veto power that they
      could not use for 15 years. In 2020, he said, the
      United Nations could hold a conference to decide
      whether to lift the ban on the use of veto power.

      The four need the support of 128 nations, two-thirds
      of the United Nations� 191 members, to amend the UN
      charter. They plan to make their case in the capitals
      of virtually every nation before the issue is
      scheduled to come up for a vote during the September
      meeting of the General Assembly, which will attract
      more than 100 world leaders.

      Besides the four countries pooling their efforts,
      three African nations�Egypt, Nigeria and South
      Africa�are conducting vigorous individual campaigns
      for some of the six new permanent seats proposed in
      March by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The purpose of
      the change is to have the council reflect the current
      balance of global power better than is the case with
      the original five permanent members�Britain, China,
      France, Russia and the United States�and 10 members
      elected to two-year terms.

      The proposal Annan offered the General Assembly would
      expand the 15-member council to 24 members, with the
      six new permanent members not having vetoes, and three
      new two-year spots for rotating members.

      As part of the four nations� campaign, presidents,
      prime ministers, foreign ministers and other senior
      officials are travelling the world, visiting nations
      and regions far outside their normal orbits�sometimes
      seeming to make bargains.

      A Brazilian delegation, asking for support during a
      visit to Sudan in February, told Foreign Minister
      Mustafa Osman Ismail that Brazil opposed the
      imposition of UN sanctions on his country, where the
      United States says genocide is under way.

      A senior Japanese envoy was in Ethiopia last month.
      Joschka Fisher, the German Foreign Minister, visited
      Central America in November and East Timor in

      In Yemen in March, Gerhard Schroeder, the German
      Chancellor, offered support for Yemen�s application
      for membership in the World Trade Organisation. Ali
      Abdullah Saleh, the Yemen President, said he supported
      Germany�s campaign for a seat on the Security Council.

      Shyam Saran, the Indian Foreign Secretary, plans to
      visit Washington next week, in part to lobby for
      support, ahead of Prime Minister Singh�s visit in
      July. A senior Indian diplomat just returned from
      South America.

      One reason these leaders and diplomats may be
      campaigning on the other side of the world is that, in
      this effort, no nation can count on its neighbours.
      Argentina and Mexico oppose Brazil. Japan is facing
      serious opposition from North and South Korea, as well
      as from China, where tens of thousands of protesters
      took part in angry anti-Japan demonstrations last

      Italy opposes Germany, while Pakistan is trying to
      block India. And those two countries in opposition,
      along with South Korea, are leading a counter-lobby
      pushing a proposal that would not award new permanent
      seats to anyone.

      Still, the four nations have found distant friends.
      Guinea and Ukraine have offered support for Brazil.
      Vietnam and China appear to support Germany.

      So far, by some estimates, the group has recruited the
      support of as many as 100 nations�though ambassadors
      and others say the number is soft.

      The United States� view on the group�s effort remains
      uncertain, leading some diplomats to worry that
      Washington may actually oppose expanding the Security
      Council because it would dilute American power.

      Fuelling that view, Shirin Tahir-Kheli, a special
      advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on UN
      reform, told the General Assembly last month that the
      United States �would like to move forward on the basis
      of broad consensus.� But predicating anything at the
      United Nations on such a consensus can be read as a
      formula for inaction.

      The one clear statement to come from Washington is the
      warning about veto power. Administration officials
      said they were opposed to giving new members veto
      power, out of concern that it might paralyse the
      Security Council.

      Ambassador Ischinger of Germany said he was told of
      the American demand and added, �My country would like
      to have equal status; that would be preferred. But if
      there is to be a different status, we would certainly
      look at it.�

      On the broader question of US support, Rice has sent
      conflicting signals. On one hand, during a visit to
      Tokyo in March she said, �the United States
      unambiguously supports a permanent seat for Japan on
      the United Nations Security Council.� But when asked
      about seats for India and Brazil during visits there,
      she offered statements nearly identical to each other
      in their evasiveness.

      �We will look at the issue of Security Council reform,
      but it should not get separated out from broad UN
      reform, because we want this institution to be as
      strong as possible, and you are not going to get as
      strong as possible an institution unless you
      restrengthen all parts of it,� she said in Brasilia
      last month.

      The Bush administration�s ability to block the four
      nations is indirect. If 128 Assembly members vote to
      allow them to join the Security Council, council
      members must accept that decision. But then they must
      submit the revised charter to their governments for
      ratification. The Bush administration could simply
      withhold the treaty from the Senate, meaning it would
      not take effect.

      Most of the diplomats say they think none of the five
      permanent Security Council members would be willing to
      defy the view of two-thirds of the world. Still,
      leaders of the four nations say they remain only
      cautiously optimistic of their ultimate success.

      �There are many problems on the way,� Manmohan Singh
      said. �I think I would not minimise the difficulties.�

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