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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Council Expansion Plan Faces U.S. Senate Opposition

UNITED NATIONS -- A White House proposal to expand the UN Security Council has run up against U.S. Senate opposition even before it has been formally submitted.

An aide to Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday that Helms opposed the plan, especially if it would grant the new members veto powers held by the five current permanent members. Helms' committee would have to approve changes in the council.

The plan, as outlined by U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson, would expand the Security Council by five permanent members -- three from the developing world along with Japan and Germany. Richardson said he would make the proposal to a General Assembly committee studying council reform and recommend that it decide whether the new permanent members should have the same veto powers as the current ones: the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China.

That would expand council membership to 20. Ten members, chosen by region, serve two-year terms.

"The United States will be actively engaged in pushing UN Security Council reform, pushing these three additional developing nation members, pushing Germany and Japan's entrance,'' he said.

But that would require a treaty to amend the UN Charter. The proposed changes would have to clear the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and win approval by the full Senate.

The aide to Helms said the senator strongly opposed the plan. "We don't know exactly what they are proposing. But from what we're hearing, this is a non-starter," the aide said.