Italy Accuses Japan, Germany of 'Blackmail' in UN Council Bid
Italy Accuses Japan, Germany of 'Blackmail' in UN
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
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
``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
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
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
The G-4 proposal calls for the General Assembly to
consider granting veto power to the new permanent
members after 15 years.
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
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
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
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.