September 26, 2015 / 6:50 PM / 2 years ago

Germany's Merkel says U.N. Security Council must be reformed

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York, September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It is high time the United Nations Security Council is reformed to reflect the real distribution of power across the world in the 21st century, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.

“We need a new method of work to solve problems,” Merkel said. “That makes reform of the Security Council necessary, reform which reflects the real power in the world better than the situation today.”

The appeal was in a summary of Merkel’s opening remarks at a meeting with her counterparts from Brazil, India and Japan provided to reporters by the German delegation.

“We have to proceed very wisely,” she added, according to the summary. “We have to find allies to reach our goal of reform.”

Merkel is in New York for a summit meeting of world leaders on global development at the U.N. General Assembly.

The Security Council, the most powerful U.N. body, has 15 members, five of them permanent. It has the ability to issue legally binding resolutions imposing sanctions or authorizing military action to enforce its decisions.

The 10 temporary members are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, key allies from World War Two, are permanent veto-wielding council members.

Germany, Japan, India and Brazil say the world is very different from what it was in 1945 and the Security Council should reflect that. Germany and Japan, which are global financial powers and top contributors to the United Nations, argue that they deserve permanent council seats.

“The current atmosphere is that not only we four but many others don’t agree with the structure and the working method of the Security Council,” Merkel told the other leaders. “We want to take others with us to reach a modern working structure of the Security Council which suits the 21st century.”

The goal of expanding the council to include additional permanent and temporary members has long been an elusive one. Many U.N. member states routinely call for Security Council reform and have been working for decades, so far unsuccessfully, to find an acceptable formula for expanding the council.

The five permanent council members can block any such moves. Britain and France say they support council reform. The United States has also cautiously backed it. U.N. diplomats say China, and to a lesser extent Russia, are the principal opponents of the idea.

Writing by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler

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