Nations unite in four-way alliance to spread power of Security Council

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The Independent US

Four nations have announced their intention to support each others' candidacies as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in an attempt to make the UN's executive body more representative and legitimate.

Four nations have announced their intention to support each others' candidacies as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in an attempt to make the UN's executive body more representative and legitimate.

Germany, Japan, Brazil and India issued a joint statement in an attempt to break the log jam that has stalled expansion of the 15-member UN Security Council for years.

The five permanent members - Britain, China, the United States, France and Russia - have refused any dilution of their veto power, causing the issue of council reform to be delayed again and again.

The joint statement issued on Tuesday night after a meeting in New York was also a tactical move aimed at heading off proposals for "semi-permanent" seats on the council, under which elected nations would serve four or five-year terms.

The statement said the four were putting forward their candidacies as "legitimate" permanent members because the council "must be representative, legitimate and effective" and should therefore include developed and developing countries as new permanent members.

The four also said that "Africa must also be represented in the permanent membership". But no African leader was present at their meeting because the continent has no agreed candidate - South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt all lay claim to a permanent seat.

At present, the UN Security Council has five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members, which are elected by the UN General Assembly for two-year terms.Britain supports increasing the council from 15 to 24 members, including five new permanent members, and backs the candidacies of Japan, Germany, Brazil, India and an African country.

But Bill Rammell, the Foreign Office minister, said in New York this week that "the concept of, say, 10 countries having a veto in the security council is not eminently sensible".

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