AU to hold emergency summit
The African Union will hold an emergency summit on Thursday to consider an agreement reached with Brazil, Germany, India and Japan on expanding the powerful Security Council, UN diplomats said.
Japan's UN Ambassador Kenzo Oshima said on Tuesday that there was some initial confusion on whether the summit would take place but "it is now confirmed that it is going to go ahead."
After 10 years of seemingly endless debate, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told UN member states in March that he wanted a decision on Security Council expansion before a summit of world leaders in September. But the issue remains highly contentious, and no proposal on the table at the moment can win the required support from two-thirds of the 191 UN member states.
The African Union called for a summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, following an agreement between some of its ministers and the so-called Group of Four at a meeting in London on July 25 to increase the council from 15 to 26 members.
Oshima expressed hope that the summit will approve the agreement, which would then be put to a vote in the UN General Assembly.
"It is going to be quite an important event," he said, "and we look forward to a positive outcome from that summit."
But Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Algeria's UN Ambassador Abdallah Baali have protested that no agreement was reached at the London meeting, and there are clear divisions among the 53 African nations.