U.S. wants to postpone vote to expand Security Council

But, 4 aspiring countries vow to push for resolution

June 09, 2005|By Maggie Farley | Maggie Farley,LOS ANGELES TIMES

UNITED NATIONS - The United States, China and Russia are trying to delay a vote to expand the Security Council before a summit here in September, diplomats say, but four countries aspiring to a new permanent seat declared yesterday that they will defy U.S. pressure and push for a key resolution this month.

In a conference call Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told foreign ministers from the other permanent countries on the Security Council - China, Russia, Britain and France - that the United States wanted to postpone a vote later this month, maybe until after the summit in September, two of the countries' ambassadors said.

But the four hopefuls known as the G4 - Germany, Japan, India and Brazil - said U.S. resistance would not deter them.

Yesterday, the group circulated a new draft of a resolution to change the U.N. charter to allow six more countries to become permanent members of the Security Council - including two unnamed African countries - and to include 10 more rotating seats. The council now has five veto-holding permanent members and 10 members elected to two-year terms.

The new draft does not spell out whether the new members would have veto power - which the five permanent Security Council members oppose - but implies that they would forgo a veto for at least 15 years.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended restructuring the Security Council to make the United Nations more reflective of new "political realities" and better able to meet new security threats in a world that has changed drastically since the United Nations' creation 60 years ago.

Even if the General Assembly overwhelmingly were to approve the change, the United States or China could kill the amendment simply by refusing to approve it.

That threat hangs over the intense lobbying that is preceding the expected June vote. China has made it known that it does not want to see its regional rival, Japan, gain a stronger diplomatic voice.

Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya has called the G-4's push for a vote "divisive" and "dangerous" and said China would do everything to block it.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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