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With a little help from my friends: Chirac, Putin and Gerhard SchröderImage: AP

German UN seat

DW staff / AFP (nda)
January 1, 1970

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac have voiced support for Germany's faltering bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.


Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council received two high profile endorsements on Monday when Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac both said they would support the Germans under certain conditions. However, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi once again voiced his disapproval.

Putin, holding talks with Berlusconi on Monday, said that his country would support Germany if it had the backing of a majority of UN members.

"We are going to support Germany's candidacy on condition that a reform plan be put forward that will be supported by a majority of UN members," Putin told journalists.

Chirac told an annual gathering of France's international ambassadors that the world had delayed for too long an expansion of the UN Security Council, and backed the inclusion on the key body of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan as permanent members.

"To take up the new challenges of collective security, to guarantee peace, the world needs a strong Security Council that better reflects today's realities and balances," the president said.

Chirac calls for no more delays

"It is time to go ahead with the enlargement, too long delayed, of this essential grouping," he added. "The proposals presented by Germany, Brazil, India and Japan meet the requirements of efficiency and of representation of different regions, notably Africa."

Gipfel von Frankreich Russland und Deutschland in Sotschi
Image: AP

Chirac called for the reform to be passed by the time of a UN summit that is due to take place in New York from Sept. 14-16, or failing that by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, at a news conference following the talks with President Putin in the southern Russian town of Sochi, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called for a pause in debate on reform of the United Nations, saying several current proposals for expanding membership on the Security Council could alienate a large number of UN member states.

Berlusconi wants a pause in reform discussions

"We believe that there will not be wide consensus and that we should not now discuss reform which could make many countries representing entire continents unhappy," Berlusconi said.

"The accession of one of these countries to the UN Security Council runs the risk of embarrassing three or four other countries," Berlusconi added.

Russland Italiens Premier Silvio Berlusconi besucht den russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio BerlusconiImage: AP

Italy has been among a number of countries that have opposed a plan that would see Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- a so-called group of four (G4) -- all admitted as permanent members of the Security Council.

"A formula for reform must be found capable of overcoming such embarrassment and a positive way of leading this institution to greater strength, to greater authority for resolving international problems and international crises must be found," Berlusconi said. "This can happen only if there is wide consensus and wide support for reform."

Italy should be a permanent member, says PM

The Italian leader said that Italy was the sixth largest financial contributor to the United Nations and noted that 40,000 Italian troops were currently serving in UN peacekeeping operations around the world.

Italienischer Soldat für Irak
Image: AP

"From our point of view, it's perfectly legitimate that Italy could be a member of the Security Council," he said.

The 15-seat Security Council has only five permanent members with veto powers: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

A proposal by the by so-called G4 -- Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- would boost council membership to 25, with six new permanent non-veto-wielding seats -- one for each of the so-called G4 members and two for Africa -- and four non-permanent seats.

G4 Außenminister in New York
From left to right, Germany's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, India's Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, and Japan's Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura -- the so-called Group of FourImage: AP

Opposition may delay decision until 2006

However the G4 plan is strongly opposed by two permanent members, China and the United States, and has also failed to secure the support of the 53-nation African Union.

UN Security General Kofi Annan conceded earlier this month that a deal on enlargement was unlikely by the end of the year despite speculation that the question of enlarging the Security Council is expected to figure prominently at this year's UN General Assembly next month.

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