US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly is opposed to Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. But Berlin remains confident it will eventually garner Washington's support.
According to the Washington Post's Wednesday edition, Rice expressed her opposition while meeting with members of a congressional task force considering reform of the United Nations. The newspaper quoted from a confidential memorandum of a May 5 meeting between Rice, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell.
"(Rice) thought that there was a very poor rationale for giving another member of the European Union a permanent seat," the Post quoted the memo as saying. "In many respects, Europe already had a common foreign policy, and that needed to be taken into account in the Security Council."
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, second from left, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, second form right and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.
The motion does not mention who would be amongst the 11 permanent members but the current permanent Security Council members, the US, Russia, China, France and Britain would certainly retain their seats. The text also does not say who amongst the six new permanent members would get a seat, but recommends two for Asia, two for Africa, one for Latin America and one for Western Europe, which Germany would naturally have its eye on.
The revamp of UN institutions would need the support of 128 UN member countries, but the opposition of one of the permanent five Security Council members could veto the proposal. If Washington is opposed to Berlin's bid, the entire reform could be shelved. China has already expressed concern over making Japan a permanent member.
Berlin stays upbeat
"The bottom line is that our proposal would not increase, but decrease, the relative weight of Europe," Ischinger said. "I think that is a very, very strong argument."
German government spokesman Thomas Steg also focused on the preliminary nature of the debate over UN reform on Wednesday. He said Berlin was optimistic there would eventually be broad support for the G4 proposal.
"The process of discussion has just started and will pick up pace as it continues in New York," Steg said.
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