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G4 awaits German post-poll politics

India is waiting for the power jostle in Germany to get over as G4's UNSC quest hinges on who forms Govt there.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2005 11:47 IST

India is waiting for the power jostle in Germany to get over as the continuation of the G4 group seeking an expansion of the UN Security Council may depend on who gets to form the government in Berlin.

If Angela Merkel, the brazenly pro-US conservative leader of the Christian Democratic Union, takes charge, the G4 campaign might suffer because she would rather focus on broader UN reforms than what she has called "narrow concern" with expansion of the Security Council.

In recent months, she has missed no chance to attack Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for his UN policy and obsession with the G4, arguing again and again that "reform of the (Security) Council can only be part of a comprehensive reform of the UN".

A German diplomat here preferred to play safe saying: "One has to wait and watch. Merkel's views on UN reforms are well known, but what position she takes if her party forms a government is hard to predict right now."

The diplomat, however, stressed that there was a broad consensus on Germany's position on UN reforms and Security Council expansion.

"I don't see any difference in Germany's stance towards the G4 resolution if Merkel forms a government. Foreign policy issues were not big themes in the elections," he said, seeking to allay anxieties of those who believe Germany's attitude towards G4 might change under the new dispensation.

Diplomatic sources here, however, are hedging their bets, with some frankly admitting that a Merkel government would prove to be bad news for G4, which also includes India, Brazil and Japan.

Both Merkel's CDU (225 seats) and Schroeder's Social Democrats (222 seats) failed to earn enough seats in the Sunday election to form a government with their traditional allies.

Both parties are locked in a bitter power tussle and trying various permutations and combinations to reach the magic number of 307 in the 598-member Bundestag.

Merkel has backed Germany's aspirations for a seat in the UN Security Council, but expressed doubts over whether the G4 is the best way to achieve it.

"There is a danger that the overall reform that must take place is hurt because the discussion is narrowly focused on the make up of the Security Council," she told the German media in July. "It could leave us short of the goal."

The G4 draft resolution proposes enlarging the Council to 25 members from its current 15 with six additional permanent seats and four non-permanent ones.

The US, too, is watching the current jockeying for power in Berlin with intense interest. Merkel's victory will reinforce the US' stand on UN reforms and buttress the broader US foreign policy agenda.

Despite a diplomatic offensive launched by the Schroeder government to push the G4 plan, the US has been at best polite towards Germany's UN ambitions.

The US is ready to support two or so new members in the UN Security Council and has already named Japan as one of its preferred candidates for the prized post on the UN high table.

Foreign Minister Joshcka Fischer, leader of the Greens, which has won 51 seats in Sunday's election, may prove to be a kingmaker in the present scenario.

If Fischer, a passionate advocate of G4, backs Markel's CDU to form a coalition government, then Merkel, known as 'German Maggie Thatcher" for her pro-US and pro-business policies, may be forced to adopt a more balanced stand on the four-nation alliance. No wonder, then, India is keenly watching the Berlin goings on.

First Published: Sep 21, 2005 11:15 IST