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Ministers to Discuss UN Reform

Foreign ministers from the Group of Four (G4) and the African Union (AU) will hold a meeting in London today in a fresh bid to merge their rival proposals on the Security Council expansion.


German UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger expressed cautious optimism on Saturday about the prospects of the London meeting.


He said that he expected some kind of agreement to be produced in London between AU and G4 Japan, Brazil, Germany and India, noting it could be very hard for a deeply divided African Union to reach a common position with the G4 on the council's expansion.


Pleuger said apart from the G4 foreign ministers, also attending the London gathering will be their counterparts from Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Libya, Algeria and Ghana. Some other African nations will send their UN ambassadors for the meeting.


Japanese Ambassador to the UN Kenzo Oshima told reporters that the Group of Four had exhausted their ambassadorial-level discussions in New York to iron out their differences with the AU over the council reform.


"We have exhausted our discussion. We decided to report the outcome of our discussion to our respective ministers," he said. "So it is now up to ministers to take a decision."


Oshima made the remarks after he and his G4 counterparts held an hour-long talk with the General Assembly President, Jean Ping, to discuss a possible date for a vote on the Security Council expansion issue.


Brazilian Deputy UN Ambassador Henrique Valle said that if the G4 wins the support of the 53-nation African Union at the London meeting, it would call for a vote as soon possible.


If not, he said, the G4 would rethink the vote. Nevertheless, he quickly added, "If we have the feeling that we will get 35-plus African votes, we want a vote in July. But when to vote is a G4 position."


The G4, which has aspired to be new permanent members on the expanded council, has hoped to merge its proposal on the council expansion with that of the African Union.


The G4 resolution calls for an increase of six permanent members, whose veto power would be frozen for 15 years, and four non-permanent members in the Security Council.


The African Union proposes adding six permanent members, with the veto power, and five non-permanent members to the council.


(China Daily July 25, 2005)


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China Against G-4 Enlargement Proposal
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