The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Africa split hope for Delhi’s UN bid

New York, Aug. 27: India and other members of the Group of Four (G4) states ' Brazil, Germany and Japan ' will allow their joint resolution for permanent seats in the UN Security Council to lapse in the General Assembly.

So will the Africans, who have moved a resolution that has come in the way of the G4 bid to secure an expansion of the Security Council.

Both resolutions will lapse on September 13, the day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives here to address a special summit of UN members to commemorate the world body’s 60th anniversary, move ahead on reforming the UN and set the stage for mankind’s goals for the new millennium.

That day marks the end of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly: under UN rules, any pending resolution that is not voted on will lapse and will have to be reintroduced in the following year’s General Assembly.

The lapse of the resolution will not, however, mean the end of the road for India’s quest for a permanent seat in the Security Council.

According to African diplomats at the UN, a ministerial committee set up by the African summit recently to pursue that continent’s demands for seats at the UN’s high table will meet in London in the first week of September and renew negotiations with the G4 on the issue.

The London meeting will be followed by talks with the G4 here before the arrival of 173 heads of state and government for their UN summit.

African and G4 sources expect these talks to lead to an extraordinary summit of African leaders on the sidelines of the UN meeting of heads of state and government.

Since the Africans are still in disagreement over a common course on Security Council reform, the expectation is that the African Union will split during its extraordinary New York summit.

If the majority of 53 African states decide to go along with the G4 plans, a new resolution will be tabled by the G4, co-sponsored by African countries that have broken away from the African Union’s hitherto obstructionist stand on expanding the Security Council.

The current G4 resolution has about 30 co-sponsors. That number is expected to double with an anticipated split in the African Union.

There is hope among those who want Security Council reform on the lines advocated by the G4 that the new resolution will find two-thirds support in the 60th General Assembly.

Such hope stems from the position of several countries, which have been opposed to the G4 resolution that Security Council reform is integral to UN reform and that the issue should be taken up after the September summit of heads of state and government.

Since the G4 proposal is the one that has the widest support among UN members, the world body’s membership is likely to eventually coalesce around the position taken by India, Brazil, Germany and Japan on adding permanent seats to the Security Council.

In re-orienting its strategy, the G4 has received unexpected, if ironical, support from the Bush administration, which has been opposed to the group’s resolution.

Since his arrival here, John Bolton, the new US permanent representative to the UN, who was appointed to his job by President George W. Bush bypassing the Senate ' has been charging around in the UN’s china shop like the proverbial bull, trying to impose his neo-conservative views on the world body’s membership.

His pronouncements on Syria have revived nightmares of Washington blundering into Iraq with “shock and awe” while his attempt a few days ago to undo nearly a year’s work here relating to the September summit have bred resentment among Third World countries.

The G4 expects that growing vulnerability among developing countries triggered by Bolton’s familiar but ham-handed approach to UN issues will force many fence-sitters in the Third World into moving towards the G4 on reforming the Security Council and translate into a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly on a new resolution that they plan for September.

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