The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly are due to vote Tuesday on a resolution…

The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly are due to vote on Tuesday on a resolution that would require the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the right of veto in the future.

Discussions on veto reform are rare and controversial, but were reignited by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Directly targeting the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom – which are the only holders of the right of veto – the measure would “make them pay a higher political price” when they choose to use their veto to knock down a security. Council resolution, said an ambassador from a country that does not have the right of veto, and who asked to remain anonymous.

Critics call the measure, introduced by Liechtenstein, “a mere procedural reform”.

But it is not yet clear if the reform would push the five permanent members to use the veto less, or if it would create even more vetoes as the permanent members propose controversial texts which they know their rivals will not veto. only to force them to justify their position. publicly.

First proposed more than two years ago, the measure calls for the General Assembly to be convened within 10 working days after a permanent member uses a veto “to hold a debate on the situation to which the veto was opposed,” according to the text. .

About 60 countries joined Liechtenstein in co-sponsoring the reform, including the United States – a quick rally of support that caused widespread surprise at the UN.

Britain and France will vote for the reform, even though they abstained from co-sponsoring it.

Neither Russia nor China were among the sponsors of the text either. A diplomat from one of the two countries, who asked not to be named, criticized the move, saying it will “divide” the UN even further.

– “Not directed against Russia” –

The measure “will create a new procedure”, said Liechtenstein Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, who insisted the proposal was “not against anyone”.

“It’s not directed at Russia,” he said, despite the fact that the proposal had been on the shelf for more than two years and its relaunch came as the Security Council proved unable to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, due to Moscow’s right of veto.

From a US perspective, it is clear that Russia has abused its right of veto for two decades and the proposed text aims to remedy this.

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Wenaweser said the text was intended to “promote the role of the United Nations, to promote multilateralism and to promote the voice of all of us who do not hold veto power and who do not sit on the Security Council on matters of peace. and international security”.

The text is not binding and nothing prevents a country which has used its right of veto from refusing to explain its actions to the General Assembly.

But its application “will shed light” on the use of the right of veto and on the “blockages” within the Security Council, said an ambassador, on condition of anonymity.

In addition to its five permanent members, the Security Council also has 10 members elected for two years, without the right of veto.

Among the sponsors of the resolution are, in addition to Ukraine, Japan and Germany, which hope to become permanent members of a potentially enlarged Security Council.

But neither Brazil nor India, two other potential candidates for a permanent position on the Council, are on the list of co-sponsors obtained by AFP.


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