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48 Hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave
The U.S. President has raised the nation’s terrorism
alert from yellow to orange, which is the second highest category of risk.
Speaking from the White House, President Bush said that
American forces will wage war “at a time of our choosing.”
He told the Iraqi people: “The day of your liberation is near.”
Saying that war could lead to retaliatory strikes by
President Bush said that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass
destruction he might share with terrorists, has a history of hating
“Instead of drifting along toward tragedy,” President Bush said, “we will set a course toward safety. The tyrant will soon be gone.”
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
Facing veto power from France and Russia and the prospect of not even getting the necessary nine votes, the United States and its allies indicated early Monday that they will not be pressing for a vote on the draft resolution before the Security Council asking for the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, feeling the danger, promptly informed the Security Council of his
decision to withdraw U.N. personnel from
The British delegation
indicated that although they are not pressing for a vote, the draft resolution
is on the table.
Responding to a question
“As a matter of fact,”
he added, “the expected presentation of Dr. El Baradei and Dr. Blix will show
that some of the amendments presented by
The German Ambassador
reflected a similar opinion. He even
went further by quoting his Chinese colleague, saying, “At this late hour,
even if there is a one percent chance, we have to make a 100 percent effort to
The U.N. is shadowed by a
The White House has
announced that President Bush will address the nation Monday evening.
Outside the U.N., people are
going about their daily activities, seemingly without being preoccupied by an
imminent war. It is St. Patrick’s
DIPLOMACY AT THE U.N.
The British, who have
mastered the art of diplomacy, introduced in the
One of tests, for example,
would require Saddam Hussein to admit on television that he has weapons of mass
destruction and that he will give them up.
Known in the corridors of
the U.N. as benchmark diplomacy, those tests found resistance, although they
were introduced as a compromise to permit the
The first was Russian
Ambassador Sergei Lavrov, who indicated that there was no consensus and hinted
that, if introduced, the resolution would confront a Russian nyet.
British Ambassador Jeremy
Greenstock said he believes that the benchmarks are still open for discussion.
He was followed by French
Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who stated that any resolution containing
an ultimatum will be vetoed. The
French diplomat answered questions in both English and Spanish.
German Ambassador Gunter
Pleuger reinforced the French position. It
was a clear indication that the Security Council remains deadlocked and, if a
vote were requested today or tomorrow, the resolution—with or without the
benchmarks--would have no chance to pass.
U.S. Ambassador John D.
Negroponte keeps repeating that he is not in business to count votes but to
Early Thursday, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the exceptional step of inviting each Security
Council ambassador to his office for one-on-one meetings, without revealing the
contents of the talks. When his
spokesman was asked if the Secretary-General envisioned a last resort trip to
Now that all approaches seem
to have come to dead ends, it seems that the only solution would be for someone
to step in and help all parties save face as U Thant did in his meeting with
Fidel Castro decades ago. However, at that time there were two superpowers, the
Jacques Chirac, President of
France, has called for such a meeting to avoid the outbreak of an all out war
that will certainly be perceived as a conflict of civilizations and religions.
In the meantime, UNMOVIC,
which continues the supervision, states that since March 1, sixty-one Al Samoud
2 missiles and 35 warheads have been destroyed and additional Al Samoud
2-related materials and components have also been destroyed.
Another report is expected on Monday.
VETO POWER AT THE U.N.
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
The U.N. Security
Council, one of the main organs of the United Nations, is comprised of 15
country members. Five of them are permanent members with veto power.
They are the
For a long time,
collapse of the
What is the veto
power? According to Chapter V,
Article 27(1) of the Charter, each member of the Security Council shall have one
vote. (2) Decisions of the Security
Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine
members. (3) Decisions of the
Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of
nine members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members.
The resolution on
the past, if the Security Council was deadlocked, for a question of such
magnitude the General Assembly, with a two-third majority, could intervene.
The precedent was established on the questions of Korea and the Congo.
However, the Charter, in its ambiguity, restrains the General Assembly
from intervening when the Security Council is seized of a matter.
Now, what would
happen after a veto? Can a country,
or a group of countries, on their own use force to settle the difference?
There is no such provision for this type of action.
The Secretary-General, although it is not his function to interpret the
Charter, hinted at a recent press conference the consequences if such action
were to be taken. Nevertheless, the
United States, through its president, is insisting that, vote or no vote, they
are going to use their mighty power to disarm Iraq.
The League of Nations became irrelevant when Italy sent its force into Abyssinia/Ethiopia. There is talk in the corridors of the U.N. that the United Nations as it is now will not remain the same if decisions regarding threats and breach of peace are taken outside of the Council.
At a regularly scheduled
United Nations Security Council meeting on
This statement was in
response to a draft resolution introduced last week by the
President George W. Bush Thursday night stated at a White House press
conference that in matters of security the
President George W. Bush Thursday night stated at a White House press conference that in matters of security the
At the Security Council
Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated that the
At the meeting, Dr. Hans
Blix, Chairman of UNMOVIC, indicated in his quarterly report that although some
progress has been accomplished in disarming
He indicated that
thirty-four Al Samoud-2 missiles, including four training missiles, two combat
warheads, one launcher and five engines have been destroyed under his
supervision. Two reconstituted
casting chambers used in the production of solid propellant missiles have been
destroyed and the remnants melted or encased in concrete.
The U.N. chief inspector
noted that although intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass
destruction are moved around
The Director of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei,
straightforward as always, stated that his organization has now conducted a
total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 that had not been
inspected before. He also said that
The meeting provided every
member of the Security Council seven minutes to intervene in this debate.
However, the intervention of
The Foreign Minister of
France made a three-point proposal:
(1) “Let us ask the
inspectors to establish a hierarchy of tasks for disarmament and, on that basis,
to present us as quickly as possible with the work program provided for by
Resolution 1284. We need to
know immediately what the priority issues are that could constitute key
disarmament tasks to be carried out by
(2) “We propose that the
inspectors give us a progress report every three weeks.
That will make the Iraqi authorities understand that in no case may they
interrupt their efforts.”
(3) “Finally, let us
establish a schedule for assessing the implementation of the work program.
Resolution 1284 provides for a time frame of 120 days.
We are willing to shorten it if the inspectors consider it feasible.”
Members of the Council were
cautioned by the French Foreign Minister to be aware of not playing into the
hands of those who want a clash of civilizations, a clash of religions.
“War,” concluded the Minister, is always an acknowledgement of
By Sondra Singer Beaulieu
members of the United Nations Security Council continued to debate Hans Blix and
Mohamed Elbaradei’s report on
presented as a compromise by the British Foreign Secretary, some members felt
that it is, in fact, an ultimatum.
Other members of the Council expressed the opinion that this grace period
represents a way to give diplomacy a chance.
inspectors proved the nonexistence of such weapons and the falsity of such
allegations,” Ambassador Al-Douri said. “As
to what Mr. Powell argued regarding
amended draft resolution, in paragraph 3, calls for
Bush has already alerted the world that a no vote by the Council would not
preclude him from defending
the scenario unfolded in the chamber of the Security Council, the
CHECKMATE AT THE U.N.
By Serge Beaulieu, U.N.
The United Nations is
experiencing a revival of the Cold War of the 60s as the Iraqi crisis evolves.
The 15 members of the Security Council are now deadlocked, after playing
such a dominant role over the other U.N. organs, particularly the General
After the return of China to
its permanent seat on the Security Council and the subsequent collapse of the
Soviet Union, a new world order has emerged, creating a new diplomatic concept,
downgrading the power of the General Assembly in favor of the Security Council,
dominated by the Big Five permanent members.
On several occasions in the past, conflicts between those two organs
ended in favor of the General Assembly’s decision.
Those were the days when
lobbying for votes was the “diplomatic game.”
Member countries felt important by becoming an integral part of the U.N.
decision making process. One
still remembers Counsellor Katz and, later on, Ambassador Donald McHenry from
the U.S. Mission lobbying
Today, non-member countries
of the Security Council get their information at the news stakeouts.
Who is to blame? The Charter
of the United Nations created an ambiguous situation by giving the General
Assembly, in Chapter IV, Articles 10 and 11, the same attribution as the
Security Council regarding matters of peace and security.
At the same time, Chapter IV, Article 12, removes the power from the
General Assembly by stating that while the Security Council is seized with a
question, the Assembly should not make any recommendation.
Consequently, the Council supersedes the General Assembly by ending each
of its resolutions with the statement: The Council remains seized of the matter.
Now, can the Assembly
intervene after a veto? Yes, if one
The General Assembly, once again, may find itself in a position to regain its
authority by intervening in a deadlocked Security Council matter regarding peace
and security. If not, the United
Nations may become irrelevant, as did the
The General Assembly, once again, may find itself in a position to regain its authority by intervening in a deadlocked Security Council matter regarding peace and security. If not, the United Nations may become irrelevant, as did the
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
Early afternoon on Monday, February 24, the U.N./U.S. delegation introduced before the members of the Security Council a draft resolution giving the regime of Saddam Hussein one more opportunity to disarm.
Sponsored conjointly by the
The wording of this draft resolution, however, did not follow the rhetoric of President Bush of imminent attack against
Then what? The Council still has to determine the form of action that will be taken in case of noncompliance by Iraq. The Bush administration appears to consider a vote as a go-ahead not only to invade Iraq but also to install a new regime, replacing Saddam Hussein. Not, so, say the French and the Germans.
At a joint press conference in Europe a few hours after the introduction of the resolution, France's President Jacques Chirac and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroder reiterated that there is no need for a new resolution. 1441 is sufficient, they maintain, for the disarmament of Iraq. For the first time, the French president even hinted at the veto power at the disposal of his country, without any indication that he was prepared to use it.
In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is canvassing the world looking for support.
A new date has been set. March 7 is when Hans Blix is due to report to the Council on progress accomplished by Iraq, especially the destruction of long-range missiles not permitted by the Iraq Sanction Committee.
Everyone is hiding behind this deadline in order to give diplomacy a chance. In the meantime, U.S. forces in the Gulf are getting closer to their objective, an armada of 200,000 troops with tanks, planes, and missiles in order to strike Baghdad and eliminate Saddam Hussein and his associates.
following letter to the editor appeared on Sunday, June 2, 2002 in the New York
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