The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gloves off for UN slog overs

New York, July 2: In what appears to be a final week of lobbying before tabling the Indo-German-Japanese-Brazilian resolution on Security Council reform, battle lines have been drawn in the General Assembly on the bid by India and others for permanent places at the UN’s high table.

The UN ambassadors of India, Germany, Japan and Brazil ' the Group of Four (G4) ' last night met Gabonese foreign minister Jean Ping, the General Assembly president, to discuss the time table for tabling their resolution and the procedure for voting.

They are now required to formally hand over a copy of their resolution to the General Assembly’s secretariat.

They are expected to do this immediately after the long weekend here, necessitated by the American Independence Day on July 4.

Two days before an African Union summit opens in Libya, there is no consensus in Africa on which countries should fill the two African seats in the Security Council, proposed in the G4 resolution.

Seven countries are in the race for the two slots, but G4 diplomats here said this would not affect present plans to table the resolution.

They expect Africans to vote for the resolution and then continue negotiating among themselves on who should fill the two slots.

According to the G4 draft, countries wishing to enter the Security Council are not required to convey their intention to the General Assembly for several weeks after their resolution is passed. A second vote electing these countries will take place much later.

In the clearest signal yet, that the G4 is prepared to take on its detractors head on in the General Assembly, India’s ambassador to the UN, Nirupam Sen, yesterday attacked China and the US for the first time since Security Council expansion took the centre-stage at the UN headquarters here.

“A country that displaced another through a vote proposes consensus for others; after winning the vote by a bare majority, it proposes very much above a two-third majority for others,” Sen said of China without mentioning the People’s Republic by name.

This was a reference to Beijing’s successful bid nearly a quarter century ago to replace Taiwan as a permanent member of the Security Council.

“It talks of the participation of developing countries but blocks their real everyday participation through expansion of permanent membership leading to improved working methods involving their participation in subsidiary bodies of the Security Council", Sen told the General Assembly, which was taken by surprise by the G4 decision to confront permanent members, who are opposed to their resolution, instead of more negotiations.

Sen obliquely warned China of a collective backlash from developing countries on trade issues ' in which China has a huge stake ' if Beijing acted against the collective will of the Third World in the General Assembly.

“In its eagerness to carry the burden of developing countries alone, even when it is not always able to do so, it has forgotten that in G20 in the WTO it is several developing countries acting together that are able to defend their economic interests.”

Sen’s gloves were off in unnamed references to the US too. “The campaign of one permanent member is dividing the developing countries. The proposals of the other, irrespective of good intentions, would have the effect of dividing region from region and country from country.”

He quoted from the Bible in a stinging rebuke. “Pride compasses them about as a chain and violence as a garment.”

Sen provided a clue to the G4 strategy from now on in dealing with its opponents such as China, the US and the “coffee club”, which includes Pakistan and Italy, when he spoke of their alternative proposals.

“Since none of these proposals has a two-thirds majority behind it, they seem to be looking not for truth but for effect, not for change but the status quo, not for reform but its prevention.”

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