Brazil, Germany, Japan and India have submitted a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly calling for 10 new seats on the Security Council. A vote on the measure could come as early as next week.
The so-called Group of Four countries seeking permanent Security Council seats formally presented their enlargement proposal Wednesday. They are asking for an open General Assembly debate, beginning as early as next Monday.
The G-four plan calls for creating 10 new Council seats, raising the total membership from 15 to 25.
Six of the new seats would be permanent, but the new permanent members would not have veto power for at least 15 years.
The G-four countries - Brazil, Germany, Japan and India - are jointly lobbying for four of those new permanent seats. Two others would go to as yet unselected African countries.
G-four ambassadors are hoping for three days of debate on their enlargement proposal in the General Assembly, with a vote by the end of next week. Adoption would require approval of two-thirds of the U.N. membership, or 128 countries.
Chances for approval were thrown into doubt this week when African Union heads of state meeting in Libya suggested the G-four proposal would give Africa too little representation on the Council. Africa's more than 50 votes are critical to adoption of any General Assembly measure.
Despite the A.U. move, Germany's U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger tells VOA he is confident the G-four measure can win the necessary votes. He called the G-four proposal "the only alternative on the table", and said he thinks African leaders will realize that backing the G-four is the only way they can get what they want.
"We have presented and negotiated for one-half year also with the Africans a resolution which we believe caters to the interests of everybody, of all regions, and all regions are profiting from this resolution and we are convinced that a vast majority of member states recognize that and will vote for the resolution," Mr. Pleuger says.
There is wide support among the general U.N. membership for the idea of updating the Security Council to reflect 21st century reality. But a diplomat from a G-four country admitted Wednesday that the road to expansion is a difficult one.
Several of the five current veto-wielding permanent members and many other countries oppose the G-four plan. The United States says it would support only "two or so" new permanent members, one of them Japan.
But China strongly opposes Japan's candidacy, and has spoken out against any move to rush the expansion process. Russia has also been cool to the idea of enlargement.
Even if 128 votes can be found to approve the principle of expansion, a second vote will be needed to choose which countries will be given permanent Council seats.
Once those issues are settled, the third and toughest hurdle will be amending the U.N. Charter. That would require ratification of the legislatures of two-thirds of the General Assembly countries, including all five permanent Security Council members.