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Monday, June 27, 2005

German ambassador confident of UNSC success

Staff writer

Strong backing from developing countries is likely to be enough to get the "Group of Four" nations over the top in their effort to expand the U.N. Security Council, according to Germany's ambassador to Japan, Henrik Schmiegelow.

News photo
German Ambassador Henrik Schmiegelow speaks Saturday at Aoyama Gakuin University during a lecture cosponsored by The Japan Times.

Tension is increasing at U.N. Headquarters in New York as Japan, Germany, India and Brazil -- all aspiring to become permanent members of the Security Council -- look for the right time to submit their revised resolution to the General Assembly.

"An increasing number of developing countries have begun to realize how the G-4 resolution would give them an epoch-making opportunity," Schmiegelow said in a lecture Saturday at Aoyama Gakuin University cosponsored by The Japan Times.

"When the resolution is put to a vote in July, I am confident it will gain two-thirds of the necessary votes" in the General Assembly, he said through an interpreter.

The revised G-4 resolution would add six new permanent seats and four new rotating members on the Security Council. The Group of Four nations each hope to gain a permanent seat with the remaining two allocated to African nations.

The so-called "Consensus Group," which includes Italy, South Korea and Pakistan, are campaigning against this move.

Schmiegelow criticized a proposal drafted by the Consensus Group that would only increase the number of nonpermanent seats on the council, saying it is merely aimed at blocking the Group of Four from gaining permanent seats.

"The most important message of its proposal is to take more time," and it does not sufficiently address the issue of U.N. reform, Schmiegelow said.

He also stressed the need to reorganize the U.N. so it will have more power to resolve conflicts among nations.

Germany and France were the two major nations that clashed with the U.S. when it was trying to drum up support in the Security Council for invading Iraq.

"The crisis over the war on Iraq brought (U.N. impotence) into sharp relief," he said. "What we need is an effective multilateral framework with the U.N. at the center."

And as the world increasingly faces problems that transcend borders, such as poverty, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, even the United States -- the lone superpower -- will not be able to deal with them without the support of other nations, Schmiegelow said.

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