• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura failed Thursday to win support from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for an early U.N. General Assembly vote on the resolution by the “Group of Four” to expand the Security Council.

The two officials only agreed on the need to pursue broader U.N. reforms and continue bilateral consultations to narrow differences and to have Japan get a permanent seat on the top council, Machimura told reporters after their meeting at the U.S. State Department.

Machimura also said Rice expressed U.S. support for Japan’s efforts to raise and to resolve the abduction issue at the ongoing six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in Beijing.

The hastily arranged meeting highlighted lingering bilateral disputes over such economic issues as beef imports and antidumping measures.

But Machimura and Rice did agree to seek “certain achievements” by September in the ongoing bilateral talks on the planned realignment of U.S. bases in Japan.

A Japanese official said the meeting focused on the U.N. issue as Machimura flew to Washington on Thursday morning from New York, where he had held meetings with diplomats from the G4 nations and other U.N. members as well as some African Union nations, which are still opposed to merging an African Union resolution with the G4’s proposal.

The G4 nations — Japan, Brazil, Germany and India — want to be permanent members of the Security Council. They reached a basic agreement with the 53-nation African Union to unify their resolutions in a foreign ministers’ meeting Monday in London.

But given the opposition within the African group, the G4 is poised to wait for the African Union to hold a summit, probably Aug. 4, to debate a unified resolution.

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