African leaders to discuss reform of U.N. Security Council

African leaders meet Monday to discuss a report by 10 heads of state on the position the African Union should take on reforming the United Nations' Security Council, a spokesman said.

Sierra Leone's President Tejan Kabbah will present the report on reforming the Security Council at the meeting of African Union heads of state in Addis Ababa, said Adam Thiam, spokesman for Alpha Oumar Konare, the African Union Commission chairman.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the African Union chairman; the presidents of Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the prime ministers of Ethiopia and Algeria are also expected to attend, along with the foreign ministers of Egypt and South Africa, Thiam said.

The Kabbah committee was formed to hold consultations among African countries aspiring to be permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in order to reach a consensus on reforming the United Nations' main decision-making body.

Heads of state of Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia are members of the Kabbah committee.

In previous meetings to discuss how to have the U.N. Security Council reflect the realities of the 21st century, the African Union has insisted on the right of veto, in contrast to other aspiring permanent members who were content to forswear veto power in the hopes of persuading the United States and other permanent members to accept change on the council.

The council currently has 10 members elected for two-year terms and five permanent members with veto power _ the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have proposed a 25-member council, adding six permanent seats and four non-permanent seats. The so-called Group of Four was hoping to win four of the permanent seats with the other two earmarked for Africa.

The African Union has proposed expanding the council to 26 members _ adding six permanent seats with veto power and five non-permanent seats. A third variant would add 10 non-permanent seats.

China opposes a permanent seat for Group of Four member Japan and wants more developing countries on the council. The United States supports Japan's bid but only wants "two or so" new permanent council members, AP reported. V.A.

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