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Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005

UNSC bid crippled as African Union refuses to join 'G4' in resolution

Staff writer

Japan's prospects of gaining a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council have been dealt a savage blow, with the African Union refusing to draft a joint resolution on UNSC expansion with Japan and three other nations.

A hastily arranged Thursday summit in Ethiopia of the 53-member African Union failed to yield an agreement to team up with the so-called Group of Four nations — Japan, India, Brazil and Germany — on a resolution draft.

The G4 nations need Africa's support to gain the votes of two-thirds, or 128, of the U.N. members so the resolution can be adopted at the U.N. General Assembly — the first official procedure for expanding the UNSC.

The G4 resolution is unlikely to be adopted without the African votes, and Japanese officials now say they may not put the resolution to a vote.

"We will carefully consider whether to put it to a vote after analysis of the positions of African nations by G4 nations and some African states," Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told reporters. "We are not of the position that we must have a vote on it."

Japan will now concentrate on trying to collect as many individual African votes as possible for the G4 resolution, remarked a senior Foreign Ministry official who asked not to be named.

"Japan has not yet given up on putting the resolution to a vote," the official said. "If we gain enough support, we will still try to have the U.N. General Assembly vote on it."

But Yasuhiko Yoshida, professor of international relations at Osaka University of Economics and Law, said Japan now has virtually no chance of joining the UNSC as a permanent member.

"The Foreign Ministry had predicted that two-thirds of support was possible if the G4 and the African Union drafted a joint resolution," he said. "But now that they have failed, the resolution will not be adopted."

And even if it were to get adopted, it would be rejected by the veto-holding United States and China during ratification procedures anyway, he predicted.

Yoshida said Japan's dreams of gaining a permanent seat may not be realized for at least 10 years, since U.N. reform procedures have generally built up and receded in 10-year cycles in the past.

The professor observed that China's aggressive anti-Japan lobbying of African nations, using Chinese economic aid as a "carrot," kept them from acting in unison.

G4 and African Union members have been trying to iron out differences between their respective resolutions for UNSC expansion.

The G4 wants to add six permanent members without veto powers, while the African Union hopes to add six permanent members with veto powers.

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The Japan Times

Article 2 of 14 in National news

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