Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi and his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, agreed Oct. 24 to cooperate in their efforts to achieve an expansion of the number of permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council.”As for the reform of the U.N. Security Council, the two governments will continue their cooperation in promptly achieving the reform by expanding both permanent and non-permanent members,” according to a bilateral action plan that was revised by Obuchi and Kinkel at their meeting late Oct. 24.According to the revised action plan, reform is necessary to strengthen the U.N.’s ability to deal with the coming century’s issues. Earlier in the day, Kinkel said that Germany and Japan should take more responsibility in the international community in such areas as eradicating poverty and promoting development in the third world.His position runs counter to a reported proposal by countries such as Italy and Canada, which are opposed to the council’s expansion. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 23 that increasing the number of permanent members is unacceptable. Kinkel said that it is necessary to discuss the issue with countries in Europe that oppose expansion.In the revised action agenda, Obuchi and Kinkel also agreed to strengthen dialogue on security both in Europe and Asia. They reaffirmed that the two countries will continue their support for reform in Russia, while they agreed to promote coordination in their policies toward China, according to the action agenda.

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