Bush, Putin Discuss U.N. Reforms

In a 15-minute phone call Wednesday, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin (search) agreed that any changes made in the U.N. Security Council (search) should be done in the context of overall U.N. reform.

The presidents agreed that "the goal of Security Council reform should be to make the council more effective and that it was important to build a broad consensus on the way forward," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, adding that U.N. reform was the only topic discussed.

He said the United States supported a seat for Japan, (search) the U.N's second biggest contributor after the United States, on the Security Council. "In terms of others, we've said we want to look at it in the broader context of Security Council reform," McClellan said.

Germany, Brazil and India have been mentioned as candidates for Security Council seats to join the five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. In addition, seats for two African countries are a possibility.

McClellan also said that U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) has put forward some proposals that demonstrate his commitment to reform.

Human rights is one area, McClellan said, where the United Nations could move forward on reform. He noted that some countries that have served on the U.N. human rights commission (search) "are the biggest abusers."