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Thursday, July 8, 2004

Delegates at Kyoto talks push Security Council expansion


Staff writer

KYOTO -- A two-day conference on reforming the United Nations ended here Wednesday with participants agreeing that the number of Security Council seats should be expanded to better meet threats to global security.

But the participants did not agree on what types of threats should receive the greatest attention.

Though the talks were unofficial, the recommendations will be used for reference next week in Vienna by a formal committee appointed by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan last year to examine ways to restructure the United Nations.

The committee is expected to issue its final recommendations in December.

Participants at the Kyoto meeting included former U.N. officials Sadoko Ogata and Yasushi Akashi, as well as former politicians and public servants from abroad.

"There was support among participants for expansion of the Security Council, but there are still many questions on how to expand," said former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, who chaired the meetings.

"Should expansion be advocated that takes into account geographic realities or political realities? These are questions to consider."

A Foreign Ministry spokesman from Tokyo who attended the meetings said one of the Indian delegates voiced support for Japan becoming a permanent member of an expanded Security Council.

Other participants, he said, suggested that Germany might also qualify and that African nations also want to have a permanent member.

Although the Kyoto meeting was supposed to focus on global threats and challenges to peace and security, major differences between developing and developed countries exist as to the nature of such threats and the priority they should be given by the U.N.

Developed nations are concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and stopping terrorist attacks. Developing nations believe the U.N. should prioritize health and welfare issues, reckoning this will lead to greater peace and stability.

Anand acknowledged these differences, but said the Kyoto talks did not specifically address them.



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