united nations 298.
(photo credit: AP [file])
A senior foreign policy adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown predicted last year that Britain will eventually give up its UN Security Council seat and offer the place to the European Union, opposition party lawmakers said Monday.
Lord Mark Malloch Brown, minister for Africa, Asia, and the United Nations, told a think tank and Web site in Brussels last October that he believed the EU would eventually have a single seat within UN institutions.
"I think it will go in stages," Malloch Brown told the EU Observer Web site. "We are going to see a growing spread of it institution by institution. It is not going to happen with a flash and a bang."
Malloch Brown was appointed as a minister by Brown when he took office in June. The Foreign Office said the comments attributed to the minister were accurate, but were not in line with government policy.
"The government has made it clear that there is nothing in the EU treaty which requires Britain to give up its seat at the UN Security Council," said a spokesman, on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy. "There is no question of that happening now, or in the future."
William Hague, opposition Conservative party spokesman on foreign affairs, circulated copies of the interview Monday and said Malloch Brown's comments raised questions about Brown's readiness to hand over authority to Brussels.
"It is alarming that Gordon Brown has chosen to put in charge of UN reform the man who thinks we should give up our UN Security Council seat to the EU," Hague said.
The council has five permanent members - China, France, Russia, Britain and the US - and 10 non-permanent members who each sit for two years.
Malloch Brown, who attends Cabinet meetings and has been made a peer, raised eyebrows in Washington recently when he said President George W. Bush and the British leader would not be "joined at the hip."
Brown's appointment of the ex-deputy to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has alarmed many Republicans who remember his fierce spats with ex-US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, said Reginald Dale, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Malloch Brown told the EU think-tank Friends of Europe during the October visit that he believed reforms would begin with institutions such as the UN Development Program and UN Children's Fund.
Britain's main opposition Conservatives, who are trailing Brown's Labour party in opinion polls, said Malloch Brown told the Web site and think tank he was in favor of moving toward a single EU seat on UN bodies.