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G-4 Circulate Draft Resolution on SC Reforms

Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, which have campaigned jointly for permanent seats in the UN Security Council, circulated Monday a draft General Assembly resolution calling for an increase of six permanent seats in the council.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua, stipulates that the six new permanent seats would be divided equally among the four regions -- Asia, Africa, Western Europe as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.

The draft also proposes adding four elected non-permanent seats to the council, with each from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe as well as Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The council, the only UN organ whose resolutions are legally binding for the 191 UN member states, is currently composed of five permanent members with veto power and 10 elected members with two-year terms.

The draft does not contain a date for a vote on it in the General Assembly, nor does it mention any candidate countries for the proposed new permanent seats.

Under the draft, countries aspiring to be a permanent member in the council should submit their candidatures to the president of the General Assembly after the adoption of the resolution, and then the assembly would select the six new permanent members through a secret ballot.

If the number of states having obtained the required majority fall short of the number of seats allocated for permanent membership, new rounds of balloting will be conducted for the remaining seats until six states obtain the required majority to occupy the six seats, the draft says.

Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, known as the G-4, formally introduced the draft at a gathering of UN member states in the German mission to the world body later Monday afternoon.

In a sign that the G-4 has not yet given up their demand for the veto power, the draft says the new permanent powers should have the same responsibilities and obligations as the current permanent members.

The expansion of the Security Council has been one of the highest-profile part of the UN reforms, with the UN member states sharply divided over whether to expand the permanent membership.

Pakistan, Italy, South Korea and some other countries have been strongly opposed to an increase of the permanent seats on the grounds that such a change would further undermine the effectiveness of the council.

These countries, together with three existing permanent members-- Russia, China and the United States, have called for a "broad consensus" on the council's enlargement. They warned that forcing any resolution on the council reform through the General Assembly would cause divisions among the UN member states.

Italy presented a proposal to General Assembly President Jean Ping in early May, under which the council's seats would be expanded from 15 to 25, with an increase of 10 elected members.

(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2005)

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