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Italy Accuses Japan, Germany of 'Blackmail' in UN Council Bid

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000101&sid=aay.ZCbuHAeM&refer=japan Italy Accuses Japan, Germany of Blackmail in UN Council Bid July 26 (Bloomberg)
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2005
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      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000101&sid=aay.ZCbuHAeM&refer=japan

      Italy Accuses Japan, Germany of 'Blackmail' in UN
      Council Bid

      July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Italy's ambassador to the
      United Nations said Brazil, Germany, India and Japan
      were trying to ``blackmail'' UN member governments to
      support their bid for permanent seats on the Security
      Council in a scandal he said was worse than corruption
      of the Iraq oil-for-food program.

      ``What we are fighting for is to free a member state
      from fear of losing financial assistance and foreign
      development aid just because it would refuse to comply
      to requests of political allegiance by someone that is
      more powerful,'' Ambassador Marcello Spatafora said in
      a speech to the General Assembly.

      Spatafora said Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, which
      call themselves the Group of Four, were bringing
      ``shame upon this house'' by creating an ``unhealthy
      and poisoned environment.'' He asked Secretary-General
      Kofi Annan to create an independent committee to
      investigate his allegations.

      The G-4 is asking the UN's 191 nations to expand the
      council to 25 from 15 members, including six permanent
      seats. They have argued publicly that the permanent
      membership of the Security Council hasn't changed in
      60 years, so it's time for the UN to acknowledge
      Japan's standing as the world's second-largest
      economic power and Germany's as the third-largest, and
      to recognize the growing economic clout of Brazil and
      India.

      Diplomats have told Bloomberg News about offers of
      increased aid in exchange for support mainly by
      Germany and Japan, which last year combined to give
      $16.3 billion to poor African, Asian and Latin
      American countries.

      `No Secret'

      ``It is the stuff that perhaps is worth of some
      tabloid newspapers,'' Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima
      said after Spatafora's speech.

      ``I am not commenting on that,'' German Ambassador
      Gunter Pleuger told reporters as he left the General
      Assembly hall.

      Others, such as Pakistani envoy Munir Akram, said what
      diplomats described as attempts at coercion by Japan
      and Germany are ``no secret'' and that they have ``lot
      of information'' that could be turned over to Annan.

      ``There are many cases,'' Mexican Ambassador Enrique
      Berruga said. ``It is arm twisting either by offers or
      subtraction, such as if you do not go along with my
      project, therefore I will not support your program for
      potable water.''

      Two-thirds of the nations in the General Assembly must
      approve a Security Council expansion. Then, the
      Security Council must vote to amend the UN Charter.
      Any of the five permanent council members -- China,
      France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. - - have the
      authority to veto the move. The council's other 10
      members are elected to two-year terms without veto
      power.

      The G-4 proposal calls for the General Assembly to
      consider granting veto power to the new permanent
      members after 15 years.

      Competing Coalition

      Spatafora spoke on behalf of a coalition of nations,
      including Mexico, Canada and Pakistan, which
      introduced a competing resolution that doesn't propose
      new permanent members. The African Union also has
      introduced a measure, calling for expansion of the
      Security Council to 26 members, including six new
      permanent seats with veto power.

      While Berruga said the tactics were winning votes
      among Caribbean island and Central American nations,
      Spatafora said a reaction against the G-4 had begun to
      emerge.

      In his speech, Spatafora cited a country, which he
      wouldn't name, that was threatened with a cutoff in
      $460,000 of support for a project involving children
      that had been started.

      ``This is much more serious than oil-for-food, because
      there you just pocket money, he said. ``Here it
      involves moral and ethical issues that are much more
      serious.''

      Created by the Security Council as an exemption to
      sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of
      Kuwait, the oil-for- food program allowed former
      dictator Saddam Hussein to sell $64 billion worth of
      oil from 1996 until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in
      2003.

      The Iraqi dictator skimmed more that $17 billion from
      the program through oil smuggling and alleged graft
      and impropriety by UN officials, U.S. congressional
      investigators said in November.
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