17 Jan 2009

Push to broaden UN Security Council membership

8:21 am on 17 January 2009

France and Britain are to push for a temporary reform of the United Nations Security Council that would broaden its membership.

The council has five permanent members - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy said the UN General Assembly was due in February to examine the long-stalled issue of reforming the world's top security body, whose composition largely reflects the balance of power shortly after World War II.

"With the United Kingdom, France will plead for an interim solution which in my view is the only one capable of unblocking this issue, which is not only not moving forward but is moving backwards," he said in a speech to foreign diplomats.

Mr Sarkozy said the permanent members should include an African and Latin American state and India, adding that the membership of Germany and Japan could be discussed. A temporary reform would make it possible to test options, he said.

He also repeated his call for the Group of Eight industrialised nations to be expanded to include emerging states such as China and India.