Washington, June 17: Even as national security adviser M.K. Narayanan arrived here yesterday for crucial talks with the Americans, the Bush administration has hatched a diabolical plot to split the Group of Four (G4) seeking the expansion of the UN Security Council and wean India and Japan away to its side.
Feigning American help in getting India into the Security Council, Nicholas Burns, the new US under-secretary of state for political affairs, yesterday announced that the Bush administration “would likely support adding two or so new permanent members to the council, based on (a) set of criteria”.
Listing the criteria, he said “the size of a country’s economy is important, the size of its population, its military capacity, its potential to contribute militarily to UN peacekeeping missions... its commitment to democracy and human rights, its financial contributions to the UN system, its record and commitment on counter-terrorism, its record and commitment on non-proliferation and we have to look, of course, at the geographic balance, overall, of how the Security Council is constituted”.
The US representative to the UN, Anne Patterson, will expand on these criteria and speak on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly’s general debate on reforming the world body.
Yesterday’s news conference by Burns has given the impression that the Bush administration supports India’s claim for a permanent seat in the Security Council, a commitment American officials have repeatedly refused to make in public.
To what extent the administration comes out openly in support of India on Tuesday will very much depend on its talks with Narayanan today and on Monday. What the White House and the state department are looking for is to delay the G4 resolution on Security Council expansion, which is to be tabled next week in the UN General Assembly as soon as Nirupam Sen, India’s permanent representative to the UN, returns to New York from Doha, where he is lobbying Third World leaders at the South Summit for India’s case at the UN’s high table.
Yesterday, as latest assessments in New York concluded that the G4 resolution had a fair chance of passing in the General Assembly with a two-thirds majority, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice made another desperate call to Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura.
Burns said Rice’s call was “to tell him that we very much support the candidacy of Japan to become a member ' a permanent member of the Security Council”.
He did not say that Rice asked Machimura for the second time this month to delay tabling the G4 resolution.
Japan has stood its ground. “I think they (Americans) threw a difficult curve ball that at first glance looks favourable yet also problematic,” Machimura said later.
“We cannot say ‘that's right’ and jump on to the US proposal as we have been in the G4 campaign,” he added.