Friday, 14 March 2003

The forgotten power of the General Assembly

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website For 30 years, America's veto policy in the United Nations has been central to its foreign policy. More than 70 times the United States has shamelessly used its veto in the UN, most recently to crush a Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli killing of the British UN worker Iain Hook in Jenin last December.

Most of America's vetoes have been in support of its ally Israel. It has vetoed a resolution calling for the Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights (January, 1982), a resolution condemning the killing of 11 Muslims by Israeli soldiers near the al-Aqsa mosque (April, 1982), and a resolution condemning Israelis slaughter of 106 Lebanese refugees at the UN camp at Qana (April, 1986).

The full list would fill more than a page of this newspaper. And now we are told by George Bush Junior that the Security Council will become irrelevant if France, Germany and Russia use their veto? I often wonder how much further the sanctimoniousness of the Bush administration can go. Much further, I fear.

So here's a little idea that might just make the American administration even angrier and even more aware of its obligations to the rest of the world. It's a forgotten UN General Assembly resolution that could stop an invasion of Iraq, a relic of the Cold War. It was, ironically, pushed through by the US to prevent a Soviet veto at the time of the Korean conflict, and actually used at the time of Suez.

For UN resolution 377 allows the General Assembly to recommend collective action "if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security".

Full story...

No comments: