Berlin backs proposal to reform UN Security Council

AFP - [email protected] • 22 Mar, 2008 Updated Sat 22 Mar 2008 14:50 CEST

Germany and several other countries this week submitted a proposal to reform the UN Security Council, a German foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

The proposal was handed in to United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday and has garnered the support "of many member countries," said the spokesman in Berlin, who did not give details of the proposal.

However, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that the proposal calls for adding seven new members to the UN Security Council, expanding it from 15 to 22 seats.

Two of the additional seats would go to Africa, two to Asia, one to Latin America, plus one to Western Europe and the last to Eastern Europe.

"Germany would have a very good chance of securing the seat for Western Europe," Germany's ambassador to the UN, Thomas Matussek, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Matussek admitted that there is a growing view at the United Nations that the only enlargement of the Security Council should be to include countries from the southern hemisphere such as India and Brazil.

"Nevertheless, Germany has some good arguments" to make its case for a Council seat, he told the paper.

Different options have been proposed for including seven new members, from making them permanent members of the Council to setting two- or five-year term limits, which may be renewable or not, according to the newspaper.

"My goal is for a permanent seat (for Germany) for 10 to 12 years," Matussek said.

The proposal came from the results of a working group on reform, headed by Cyprus, in which dozens of countries participated.

In 2005, Germany, Brazil, India and Japan tried to get a UN reform passed in their favour, but failed to get enough support as countries such as Italy, Pakistan and Argentina were strongly opposed.



AFP 2008/03/22 14:50

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