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Germany

Germany Seeks UN Veto Parity

On a visit to Tokyo, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder pushed talk over UN Security Council restructuring to a new level by demanding a veto right for any new member.

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Schröder (right) looking a bit unhappy at the UN last year

Schröder said a reform of the UN Security Council "can't be done with a double standard," meaning any new council member should have the same veto right that the current members enjoy.

By seeking a veto right for a new member, Schröder moved the current discussion over UN Security Council restructuring to a new level. Current UN Secretary General Kofi Annan hopes to complete a reform of the Council in 2005.

Considering two models

Last week, a UN commission suggested two possible new models for the council. One of these would expand the council by six new permanent and three temporary members, the second would add nine temporary members. But until now, neither model had included a veto right for the new members.

The current Security Council members are China, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States.

Speaking at an economic forum in Tokyo, Schröder once again stressed Germany's desire to get a seat on the new council, adding that any expansion must take into account developing nations and countries with emerging democracies.

But while on the one hand "the global importance of important southern countries need to be taken into account," the same is true for industrial nations, "which have done so much to help finance the work toward world piece and international security."

Suggesting expansion

Germany has already struck an agreement with Japan, Brazil and India to mutually support one another in their attempts to gain a seat on the new council. In Tokyo, Schröder now suggested to expand the group to include Africa.

"I hope we can also add two African countries to this initiative," he said.

Also during the visit, Schröder said he would welcome a Japanese presence in the Afghanistan province of Kunduz, where the German army has a reconstruction team.

Germany would be "happy to have a successful cooperation outside of Kabul, in Kunduz province, within the scope of the reconstruction we are currently engaged in," Schröder said.

Japan is among the largest financial backers in Afghanistan reconstruction projects. The northern Afghan province of Kunduz is the site of the first German reconstruction team. Several hundred German soldiers are stationed there.

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