Italy has accused Brazil, Germany, India and Japan of resorting to blackmail in their bid to secure permanent seats on the UN Security Council and backed a rival proposal for council enlargement.
The G4 are using underhanded tricks to get in, according to Italy
Using language uncharacteristic of the delicate diplomacy of the United Nations, Italy's UN envoy Marcello Spatafora accused the so-called G4 this week of "blackmailing" some sectors of the UN membership.
"I am referring to the G4 resorting to financial leverage and to financial pressures in order to induce a government to align, or not to align, itself with a certain position, or to co-sponsor or vote in favor of a certain draft," Spatafora said.
In dramatic fashion, he threw his support behind a rival draft introduced in the General Assembly by Canada on behalf of the so-called United for Consensus (UFC) group.
The United Nations Security Council
That draft would enlarge the council to 25 seats, with 10 new non-permanent members that would be elected for two-year terms, with the possibility of immediate re-election.
Charging that an unnamed G4 donor country had terminated a development project valued at $460,000 (370,000 euros) for a recipient country which sided with the UFC rather than with the G4, the Italian envoy said: "It is a shame ... enough is enough."
"Reforms cannot be dictated by power or money," he noted. "We have a moral obligation not to allow a reform of the Security Council to be decided in this unhealthy and poisoned environment."
G4 blueprint vs United for Consensus resolution
The contentious wrangling over Security Council reform has been debated for a decade and has been given momentum this year by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who argues that the council is unrepresentative and reflects the balance of power at the end of World War Two. Italy has long campaigned against adding new permanent members to the council. A seat for Germany would leave Rome as the only big Western European nation without one.
The G4 blueprint, which is backed by more than 30 countries including France and Britain, calls for boosting Council membership from 15 members to 25, including six new permanent seats without veto power --- one each for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan and two for the African region.
"The G4 model is structured in such a way as to benefit just six happy few, at the detriment of all the other 180 member states, and with a tremendous divisive impact on the membership," the Italian envoy said.
A two-thirds majority is needed in the 191-member General Assembly for adoption. Introducing the United for Consensus resolution, Canada's UN ambassador Allan Rock called it "the fairest and most democratic approach to the complex and controversial question of Security Council enlargement, while seeking the broadest possible consensus on how to proceed."
He said the draft would distribute the elected 20 non-permanent seats equitably among the geographic regions and would leave each region the decision about arrangements for both the rotation of the seats and the duration of each member state's period on the Council.
The document is co-sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, South Korea, San Marino, Spain and Turkey and is a clear attempt to drain support away from the G4 text, which is facing strong opposition led by the United States.
G4 plan runs into trouble
Pakistan is adamantly opposed to India securing permanent membership of the council, Brazil's bid is opposed by Argentina and several Latin American countries, Japan's by China and South Korea while Italy leads opposition to Germany's bid, diplomats said.
At present, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only permanent and veto-wielding members of the powerful Security Council, which also has 10 rotating non-permanent members without veto power.
Meanwhile G4 foreign ministers met with an Africa Union (AU) delegation led by Nigerian Foreign Minister Olu Adeniji in London Monday to try to overcome differences between their rival drafts on Security Council enlargement.
Differences centered on the AU's demand for veto power for the two permanent Security Council seats that would be allocated to Africa and for five non-permanent council seats, including two for Africa.
On the issue of the additional non-permanent seat sought by the Africans, it was suggested that the council should be expanded to 26 members, with the 26th seat circulating among developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean states.The G4 and the AU ministers decided to refer the issue to their respective heads of state.