After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7:7)
Paris and London welcome Germany into UN inner circle
By Lisbeth Kirk
Germany’s calls for a place on the UN Security Council have been welcomed by Paris and London.
Speaking at the UN’s 59th general assembly in New York on Thursday (23 September) German foreign minister Joschka Fischer called for fundamental reforms in the UN and repeated Germany's demand to have a permanent seat in the powerful UN Security Council.
His demands were supported by French foreign minister Michel Barnier, who said it was high time to adjust the UN Security Council to "fit the new world order".
The current structure of the Security Council was set up immediately after World War Two.
The German bid was also supported by the UK.
"The United Kingdom has long supported the case for expanding the Security Council to 24 members'' with Germany, Japan, Brazil and India among the new permanent members, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, according to AP.
Mr Straw said Germany and Japan contribute 28 percent of the UN budget and India represents one-sixth of the world's population.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and an economic motor for the region.
A seat for Africa?
Mr Fischer met earlier this week with Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva of Brazil, Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and Manmohan Singh of India.
In a joint statement, the four men made their intentions of seeking permanent seats clear.
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 hoping to get a permanent seat.
Italy opposed to improved German role
Italy on Thursday meanwhile spoke out strongly against Germany’s hopes for a permanent seat on the Council.
"We are firmly convinced that the best way to pursue such a reform is to establish new non-permanent seats", Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a speech to the UN General Assembly without mentioning Germany by name.
The Bush administration has made little secret of its displeasure about Germany's position, following its stance on the Iraq war.
Germany, currently serving a two-year term on the council as a non-permanent member, has backed France and Russia more often than the UK and the United States.
The council has five permanent members - China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia. It also has 10 rotating members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
Reform of the Security Council has been debated for years. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has set up an expert commission to propose changes, possibly to report in December.
"The overwhelming majority of the world's population cannot be excluded from an institution that legislates on an increasing number of issues, with ever-widening impact", said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Washington Times.
Changes to the Council require a two-thirds majority in the 191-nation General Assembly and the agreement of all five permanent members.
Russia and China have not indicated their positions.
Federalists want common European seat
The talk of reform has once again renewed calls for the EU to take a single seat at the UN’s top table.
Germany’s Young European Federalists (JEF) this week called on the German foreign minister to stick to this goal.
"Does the commitment end by securing a German seat or is that a milestone to be placed on the road towards a true European foreign affairs policy?" the JEF asked.
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