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Veto sacrifice for elite seat

June 9: India and the three other countries in the Group of Four seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council have chosen to fight another day for veto right to overcome resistance to the main objective of acquiring a seat at the world’s high table.

A new draft circulated at the UN yesterday, the G4 ' Germany, Japan and Brazil are the other members ' said new permanent members need not have veto right for at least the first 15 years after joining the Security Council.

Nirupam Sen, India’s ambassador to the UN, said the amended draft does not compromise on the right to veto.

In the 15 years, during which the G4 draft agrees to hold its claim in abeyance, the UN would have the time to judge the contribution made by the new permanent members and decide if they should get the right.

The US has strongly opposed veto power for the new permanent members, as has China, which, together with Russia, the UK and France, form the group of five permanent members with veto right.

Whether or not it was because of the proposed deferment of veto by the G4, secretary of state Condoleezza Rice displayed some easing of the stand earlier taken by the US that it would support only Japan’s candidature.

At a news conference with German foreign minister Joschka Fischer in Washington, Rice iterated support for Japan, but added: “Obviously, we are going to look at how to think about UN Security Council expansion within the context of' broader reforms.”

The revised draft proposes to expand council membership from 15 (five permanent and 10 non-permanent) to 25 (six new permanent and four non-permanent). Other than the G4, two African nations are proposed to be inducted as permanent members.

None of this can go through without the support of the five current permanent members, because of which the G4 is not pressing for veto right now. In July, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attends the UN General Assembly, the amendment to the UN charter to take in new members should go through.

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