May 10, 2022
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Attempts to eliminate the right of veto in the UN Security Council are taking on a practical character

The collective West made a new attempt to undermine the international legal position of Russia. At the meeting of the UN General Assembly on April 26, the issue of limiting the use of the right of veto by a permanent member of the UN Security Council was submitted. After a two-day discussion, Resolution No. 262 was adopted, which, firstly, is aimed at seriously interfering with the powers of the UN Security Council and, secondly, at undermining the entire UN system.

Liechtenstein, which was later joined by Luxembourg, Jamaica, San Marino and other Micronesias, was officially named the sponsor of the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly No. 262. However, the real sponsors of the project are the Western permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain and France. Without their consent, no Maldives and Marshall Islands could be sponsors of such a project.

What does UNGA Resolution No. 262 provide for?

Firstly, the use of at least one permanent member of the Security Council of its right of veto automatically convenes an emergency meeting of the General Assembly. This must occur within ten days of the exercise of the veto.

Secondly, the General Assembly requires a report from the UN Security Council on the use of the veto. Let’s pay attention: not the report of the permanent member which applied the veto, but the report of the Council. In most (if not all) cases where a veto is exercised by one or two members of the Security Council, such a report and its direction will be determined by those members who were against the veto. For a vetoing state, the resolution “permits” giving the floor out of turn, but does so “by way of exception”.

Despite the fact that Russia is not directly named in the resolution, there is no doubt about its anti-Russian orientation.

A calm analysis of the practice of using the veto shows that it is used by all permanent members of the UN Security Council. Over the entire period of the existence of the UN, the veto was applied: by Great Britain – 29 times, France – 16, the United States – 82, China – 16, USSR / Russia – 120 times. Over the past thirty years (after the collapse of the USSR), the right of veto was mainly exercised by Russia, the US and China. In a large part of the cases when the veto was used, it was used by two permanent members at the same time (Russia and China).

However, there are many cases of sole use of the veto, primarily by the United States. For example, from 1997 to 2006, the veto was used by the United States 20 times, by China 2 times, and by Russia once.

The increase in the use of vetoes by Russia and China after 2007 is primarily due to the unwillingness of Western countries to take into account the interests of all permanent members of the Security Council. In any case, it is unfair to say that Russia uses the veto more than others. If you look at the statistics of the use of vetoes by Western and Eastern permanent members of the Security Council, the ratio is almost the same: 127 times the veto was used against 136, respectively.

A qualitative analysis of the resolutions on which the veto was used by Russia and China shows that for the most part it was used to protect states against which the West tried to impose sanctions or wars under the UN flag. Such are the vetoes of the Russian Federation and China on the situation in Zimbabwe (2007), Myanmar (2008), Venezuela (2019). However, most of the Russian and Chinese vetoes were deliberately provoked by the West: in the period from 2011 to 2020, eleven (!) Joint vetoes by the Russian Federation and China were in defense of Syria. A number of Western projects were obvious and even demonstrative provocations in order to force the Russian Federation and China to veto (for example, the submission of a draft resolution they had already vetoed on referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court two more times!).

If the UN states were honest not only with Russia, but also with themselves, they would see that the veto of the USSR and Russia in 99% of cases was in their interests! However, they are well aware of this.

From the speeches of the developing states (which have a decisive collective vote in the UN General Assembly), it is clear that they have little idea of ​​the essence of the right of veto. Many states falsely perceived the project with enthusiasm and even admiration. The expansion of the powers of the UN General Assembly at the expense of the Security Council was perceived as a greater “access” of these states to the decision-making mechanism. Many have used this pretext to attack the veto as such, saying that it should be abolished altogether.

The UN member states simply forgot that the decisions of the General Assembly itself are not implemented. And at the same time, they would ask themselves the question: who is blocking these decisions? If only they could discuss why the decision of the General Assembly to end the blockade of Cuba, which has been adopted every year for several decades, has not been implemented. Or the decision of the UN General Assembly demanding to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice on Nicaragua. Or the decisions of the UN General Assembly on Palestine for the past six decades. Moreover, they are not carried out without any legal grounds (while the use of the right of veto is based on the provisions of a legal document!). That would be where the UN General Assembly member states could turn around, but they, in fact, made themselves a laughing stock, seriously believing that Western countries allow them to take part in the decision-making process over the powers of the UN Security Council.

The results of the voting on April 26 remained unknown. A simple majority voted in favor. However, it is clear from the statements of a number of countries that quite a few countries abstained from voting. Representatives from China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and other major countries drew attention to the non-inclusive nature of the project itself. Under the guise of “democratization” of the UN General Assembly, a completely undemocratic special operation of an ultimatum nature was carried out (this term was used by a number of delegations!).

After the meeting, the representative of Russia noted that despite the beautiful “packaging” of the adopted resolution, what happened is an attempt to create an “instrument of pressure on the permanent members of the Security Council” and stated that Russia would proceed from Article 12 of the UN Charter, according to which the UN General Assembly cannot make any recommendations regarding issues under consideration by the Security Council.

Article 12 defines the relationship between the powers of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The new resolution of the GA does not yet cancel the veto, but it changes the balance of powers between the GA and the Security Council. According to the UN Charter, the UN General Assembly cannot consider on the merits the issue that is under consideration by the Security Council. Now there is an opportunity to get around this situation. It should be borne in mind that the UN Charter was created taking into account the negative experience of the League of Nations. Article 12 of the UN Charter is a direct correction of the defects of the system of the League of Nations, the mechanism and procedure of which excluded the effective adoption of decisions and their implementation. The 262 states that voted in favor of resolution seem to have forgotten the history of the League of Nations. Under the guise of “strengthening the UN system” (namely, this is the name of the agenda item under which the resolution was pushed through), it is planned to undermine the foundations of the UN system.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov “responsibly confirmed” that the right of veto “is not going anywhere.” He accurately defined it as “one of the supporting pillars of the UN”, without which the entire organization “would go haywire.” However, that is precisely the goal. UNGA Resolution 262 is only the first step towards breaking the UN system.

UNGA Resolution 262 decided that the agenda of the next, 77th session of the General Assembly should include the issue of “Using a veto”. The right of veto is becoming the main object of attack by the West. In the conditions of fascisization (blatant terror) of international relations, the West hopes that it will be able to dictate its terms to the whole world. Unfortunately, the results of voting on a number of anti-Russian resolutions recently give grounds for such hopes. In this situation, developing countries should not take the bait of “democratizing” the UN. An analysis of the use of the right of veto by Russia shows that it used it most often in defense of these same countries. The Russian Foreign Minister is absolutely right that the elimination of the right of veto and even its limitation will run the United Nations out of business. But do the developing countries, whose hands began the practical work to destroy the main pillars of the UN Charter, understand that the right of veto remains the only legal guarantee of their protection?..

Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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