German Chancellor Schroeder calls for strengthening the UN
TOKYO (AP): The strengthening of the United Nations should be a top world priority in coming years, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Friday.
Schroeder, who addressed university students in Tokyo before returning to Germany, joins Japanese officials in lobbying for permanent seats for their countries on an expanded U.N. Security Council.
"The strengthening of the United Nations is one of the main issues in the international politics,'' Schroeder told students at Sophia University. "This is the most important task that we have before us in the coming times.''
The German leader also said that the five current permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China -- would be unlikely to veto U.N. reform if it is approved by the General Assembly.
Schroeder, who arrived in Japan from China on Wednesday, has supported the Japanese stance that new permanent members of an expanded Security Council should have the same veto rights as those who currently hold seats.
An international panel on Nov. 30 proposed two options to expand the Security Council from the current 15 members to 24 members. But neither option would add any new veto-wielding members.
One proposal from the panel would add six new permanent members -- two from Asia, two from Africa, one from the Americas and one from Europe -- as well as three non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
The other proposal would create a new tier of eight semi-permanent members chosen for four-year terms -- two each from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It would also add one non-permanent seat.--AP