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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Security Council reform update

Evelyn Leopold of Reuters filed a report today about the future of the UN Security Council.

As I've discussed before, Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan have been seeking permanent seats on the Council. Apparently, these states have now given up the idea of attaining a veto -- and they've agreed not to challenge the veto held by the current permanent five members (the US, Russia, China, England and France).

Indeed, they've agreed not to address the veto for another 15 years!

The draft resolution that is circulating would add 10 more states to the 15-member Security Council. Six would be permanent and 4 nonpermanent. Developing countries apparently support the proposal since the story claims that over 100 nations will support the resolution (of about 130 needed). This makes sense because one or more developing countries might be made permanent members (India and Brazil first).

However, even if the currently proposed resolution passes the General Assembly, it has to be followed by a second resolution naming the new permanent members, and then two-thirds of states will have to approve a change in the UN Charter.

Even then, a veto from a single P5 state could stop the reforms. Apparently, the P5 states aren't 100% enthusiastic about the proposals:
Among the current five council powers, France and Britain support the candidacies of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil as new permanent members. China opposes any seat for Japan and Russia's position is unclear.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has been organizing teleconferences with her counterparts among the five, has said Washington supports Japan. But adding only Japan in the council would be defeated easily in the General Assembly, which wants seats for developing nations.

"We have no position. We support Japan but it needs to be handled judiciously," Anne Patterson, the acting U.S. ambassador, told Reuters on Tuesday.
The first resolution may pass this summer, before the anticipated fall debate on broader UN reform.

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