aspirants for permanent seats on the UN Security Council, Brazil,
Germany and Japan has fizzled out for lack of support among member
states, and even led to divisions within the so-called Group of Four.
The collapse of the G-4 drive for permanent membership on the world
body’s high table becomes obvious from it’s recent letter to General
Assembly President Joseph Deiss requesting him to resume the
inter-governmental negotiations on reforming the 15-nation Council, a
process they had abandoned and went on to circulate a resolution seeking
expansion in permanent and non-permanent categories.
But the resolution, which the G-4 thought would be a short-cut to their
goals, won—in their own words, 80 pledges of the support—not even a
simply majority in the 192-member Assembly when 128 votes, or two-thirds
majority, is required.
Critics of G-4 pointed out that since the resolution has not been
tested on the floor of the Assembly, even their claim of 80 member
states, as mentioned in the G-4 letter, could be a bit of exaggeration.
“This (the claim of 80) is an admission of defeat, to say the very least
… a shattering blow to their ambitions,” a European diplomat said.
“Obviously, the reform model advocated by G-4 is not acceptable to the
member states.” Four months ago, the G-4 opted out of the
inter-governmental negotiations, saying that the talks were not making
The G-4 underscored the need for the Council’s reform, which they had
virtually reduced to mere enlargement and categories—ignoring other
important issues like working methods, question of veto, regional
representation and relationship between the General Assembly and the
During that period, representatives of the G-4 countries, especially
India, went virtually door-to-door to lobby support for their resolution
that would open the door to permanent and non-permanent categories.
The Security Council currently has five veto-wielding permanent
members—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States—and 10
non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
Despite the general agreement on enlarging the council, as part of the
UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the
details, most of them sticking to their positions.
Indeed, the General Assembly president has said there was little
possibility of the Security Council reform in the near future unless
different groups holding steadfast to their respective positions hammer
out a compromise on the issue, at least a temporary one.
Probably it is not possible actually to find a solution where one of
these different groups will get the total of their aspirations,
President Deiss said.
Experts see G-4’s call for the resumption of inter-governmental
negotiations, in which Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) is
a key player, as an indication of the fact that they are giving up
their campaign for the Council’s permanent membership, at least for the
Though their (G-4) action, they created a stalemate for four months.
“It’s like coming back to the process that they had killed,” an analyst
said. In doing so, India and other group members have become isolated.
The G-4 letter said, “We reiterate our full support to the process of
the inter-governmental negotiations. We look forward to working
constructively and in a spirit of flexibility with other Member States
to realize as a matter of urgency the reform of the Security Council.”
Just before the June 23 letter, a major Japanese newspaper also reported
that G-4’s draft resolution has “not made much headway on votes of
Therefore, division within G-4 is increasingly discernable, with India trying to assume the group’s leadership.
An article published in Japan’s paper Manicichi Shinbun notes that the
G-4 has started giving up its initiative to put its resolution to a vote
in the General Assembly, because the chances to obtain 128 votes are
The article says that the UFC held a meeting in Rome where 120
countries attended, whereas the countries that support the current G-4
proposal only number 70-80.
It also states that during the June 6 meeting of the G-4 in New Delhi,
Japan and Germany wanted to discuss the next steps—apparently
compromise—but India and Brazil wanted to continue pushing for the
The UfC group advocates consensus on reforming the Council, instead of a
divisive vote. The group opposes any addition to the Council’s
permanent members, but seeks enlargement of the 10-member non-permanent
category, with the new members elected for two-year terms, along with
the possibility of immediate re-election.