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US rebuffs German bid for UN Security Council seat

Chinadaily | June 9, 2005

WASHINGTON - The United States has again rebuffed Germany's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, arguing that the expansion of the council is not its top UN reform priority, The New York Times said.

The message was conveyed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she met Wednesday in Washington with visiting German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, US and European officials told the daily.

They said other UN reforms such as streamlining management were more important than the expansion of the UN Security Council from 15 to 25 members, as proposed by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil, which seek permanent, veto-wielding positions on the council.

German officials said Rice had told Fischer that her government was not opposing Germany's effort to join the council per se, but that it was wary of expanding the council.

"We were given to understand by the United States that their concerns about this procedure are not motivated by any anti-German considerations," said Wolfgang Ischinger, the German ambassador to the United States, who was at the meeting with Fischer. "She made that clear."

However, several other European and Asian diplomats who asked to remain anonymous, said a factor in the US position on Security Council expansion was its continuing distrust of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who campaigned for re-election against the war in Iraq in 2002, and at the United Nations a year later.

A top European diplomat said US opposition to the UN bid was rankling Germany and could make it more difficult to work with Germany and other nations on such issues as preventing Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

Before his meeting with Rice, Fischer was asked about his chances of getting US support for Germany's UN Security Council bid. "We are trying our very best," he replied.

The four countries seeking permanent seats on the UN Security Council have proposed foregoing their veto rights for 15 years if they are accepted, according to a draft proposal made public Wednesday at the United Nations, in New York City.

The Security Council currently has five members with the right to veto -- China, the United States, France, Britain and Russia -- as well as 10 non-permanent members.

 

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