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  New York, March 17, 2002   (CNS NEWS)  

48 Hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq —that’s the ultimatum given by President George W. Bush in his speech Monday night after a draft resolution before a deadlocked U.N. Security Council was not presented for a vote.  

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 terrorists on U.S. interests at home and abroad, President Bush said he had ordered increased security at airports and along U.S. waterways.  

President Bush said that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction he might share with terrorists, has a history of hating America , and is a destabilizing force in the Middle East .  Moving toward war with the United States is a group Bush called “the coalition of the willing,” which includes Britain , Spain , Australia and a handful of other nations.  

“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  

United Nations, New York , March 17, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
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 Iraq , including the inspectors, tacitly putting an end to the inspection process.  Although this was not specifically requested, members of the Council took note of his decision.  

The British delegation indicated that although they are not pressing for a vote, the draft resolution is on the table.   

Responding to a question about France ’s negative attitude toward the resolution, the French Ambassador said: “The atmosphere in the Council is that they did not want the use of force to disarm Iraq when the inspection was going so well.”  

“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 Britain last week to the draft resolution are being covered in their work program.” Therefore, France ’s attitude reflects the position of the Council, he said, and added that there is a projected meeting at ministerial level by France , Germany , and Russia on this subject.  

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 achieve peace.”  

The U.N. is shadowed by a looming war.  

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 Day, and New York is celebrating.




By Serge Beaulieu
with Sondra Singer Beaulieu

and Linda Baker  

United Nations, New York , March 13, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The British, who have mastered the art of diplomacy, introduced in the Iraq debate before the Security Council a series of six tests to a draft resolution which calls on the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, to disarm.  

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 United States to win the nine necessary votes without a “no” from one of the five permanent members. Early Thursday evening, after a three and one-half hour discussion, members of the Security Council approached the press stakeout to give their views.  

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 disarm Iraq in accordance with Resolution 1441.  He also said that his government is fully in agreement with the British benchmark initiative as a way to unify the Council.  He reiterated the intention of his government to put the resolution to a vote, maybe not on Friday but at some point.  

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 Baghdad , similar to U Thant’s trip to Cuba in 1962 to defuse the Cuban missile crisis, his answer was vague.  

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 United States and Russia , and Kennedy and Khruschev were negotiating directly. 

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.


United Nations, New York , March 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
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 United States , China , United Kingdom , France , and now the Russian Federation .  The ten others, referred to as nonpermanent members, are elected for two-year terms.  Currently they are Angola , Mexico , Chile , Guinea , Cameroon , Bulgaria , Syrian Arab Republic , Germany , Pakistan , and Spain .   

For a long time, Taiwan had occupied the seat of China , acting as one of the permanent members.   

After the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , the Russian Federation assumed that seat in the Council, although Article 23 of the Charter still names the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a permanent member.  No one has ever introduced this as an issue.  

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 Iraq before the Council requires not only nine affirmative votes but also necessitates no negative vote from any permanent member.  They can abstain and not affect the outcome, but a “no” vote is considered a veto.  This is the dilemma facing the United States , which is courting the nonpermanent members while France and the Russian Federation continue their threat to use their right to veto.  Of course, legally someone can say that the Russian Federation is not a permanent member because it is not specifically named in the Charter, but the name of France is in the Charter, and that veto would stick.  

In 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.


United Nations, New York, March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

At a regularly scheduled United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq Friday, the Foreign Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin, reiterated his country’s intention to not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force in Iraq .  

This statement was in response to a draft resolution introduced last week by the United States , Spain , the United Kingdom , and Bulgaria citing Iraq in noncompliance of Security Council Resolution 1441, which called for Iraq to disarm or face “serious consequences.”

 President George W. Bush Thursday night stated at a White House press conference that in matters of security the United States does not need permission to use force, a clear indication that a war against Iraq is imminent.  

At the Security Council Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated that the U.S. draft resolution would be put to a vote, since Iraq is not disarming.   

At the meeting, Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of UNMOVIC, indicated in his quarterly report that although some progress has been accomplished in disarming Iraq , Iraq has not been fully complying with Resolution 1441.

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 Iraq by truck, the Iraqi side states that such activity does not exist.  

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 Iraq has provided a considerable volume of documentation, and he has concluded that there is no indication of resumed nuclear capability.  He suggests, however, the continuation of evaluating Iraq ’s capabilities on a continued basis as part of a long-term monitoring and verification program, in order to provide the international community with ongoing and real-time assurance.  

The meeting provided every member of the Security Council seven minutes to intervene in this debate.  However, the intervention of France , once again, seems to have attracted the most attention—although this time the audience refrained from applauding.  

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 Iraq .”  

(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 failure.”  

Will the United States still call for a vote?  


United Nations, New York , March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Sondra Singer Beaulieu  

While members of the United Nations Security Council continued to debate Hans Blix and Mohamed Elbaradei’s report on Iraq ’s material breach of its obligations under Resolution 1441, an amended draft resolution on the same question was circulated, giving Iraq a deadline of March 17.    

Although 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.  

Iraq ’s Ambassador, Dr. Mohammed Al-Douri, intervening in the debate under Article 37, accused the American and British administrations of creating evidence and facts in order to accuse Iraq of having possession of weapons of mass destruction.  But they failed to convince the international community, he said.  

“The inspectors proved the nonexistence of such weapons and the falsity of such allegations,” Ambassador Al-Douri said.  “As to what Mr. Powell argued regarding Iraq ’s VX Program, there were no weapons of VX to be declared and no VX agent remains to be declared… Iraq never produced stable VX and never weaponized it,” he continued.  

France ’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique Villepin, keeps stating that war is always an acknowledgement of failure, but he may be in no position to prevent the invasion of Iraq if by March 17 an acceptable solution is not found.  

The amended draft resolution, in paragraph 3, calls for Iraq to demonstrate full, unconditional, immediate, and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under Resolution 1441. 

President Bush has already alerted the world that a no vote by the Council would not preclude him from defending United States interests, meaning disarming Saddam Hussein by force.  

As the scenario unfolded in the chamber of the Security Council, the New York City police permitted a limited number of demonstrators to stand in the freezing cold in Ralph Bunche Park across the street from the U.N. building to voice anti-war slogans.



United Nations, New York , March 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief

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 Assembly. 

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.  The Congo peacekeeping operation of the 1960s, for example, although vetoed by the Soviet Union in a Security Council decision, was later on authorized by the General Assembly with a two-third majority.  In protest, since that time, the Soviet Union did not pay its dues.

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 Third World diplomats in the corridor of the Diplomatic Lounge.  That was diplomacy at its best, and Third World ambassadors were more interested in doing their jobs than looking for employment at the Secretariat.

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 takes the Congo peacekeeping operation as a precedent. In the case of Iraq , if a veto has been imposed, will the powerful nonaligned nations take the case to the General Assembly, even if the United States and Great Britain have launched an invasion against Iraq ?  The answer is probably yes.  If the United States has assurance that one of the five permanent members will veto the new resolution, as the foreign minister of Russia has indicated, the U.S. may not press for a vote, leaving Resolution 1441 “seized of the matter.”  There is no indication, however, that this resolution authorizes a member state to supercede the Council and take unilateral intervention.  But President Bush seems to think that it does.

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 League of Nations


Disarmament and War

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations,
February 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

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
United Kingdom and Spain , the draft resolution recalled resolution 1441, warning that Iraq will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligation.   The text went on to say that Iraq's noncompliance with this Council resolution and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles pose a threat to international peace and security. 

The wording of this draft resolution, however, did not follow the rhetoric of President Bush of imminent attack against
Baghdad .  It was done deliberately to invite hesitant members to join in a yes vote, hoping to give the U.S. administration the nine votes necessary for adoption, if one of the five permanent members does not use its veto power.

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.

The following letter to the editor appeared on Sunday, June 2, 2002 in the New York DAILY NEWS:

Honor All Nations

Manhattan: I would like to suggest that a scuplture be commissioned and given to every country that lost nationals on 9/11. That would remind everyone that this was a tragedy that affected the entire world.

                                           Serge Beaulieu


        September 11 - the aftermath                                           

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