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Uniting For Peace
Russian Duma, Many Others, Call For Un "uniting For Peace
by Jeremy Brecher; March 20, 2003
US LAUNCHES PREEMPTIVE ATTACK AGAINST UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
All over the world, governments and civil society groups are proposing
to take the US-led attack on Iraq to the UN General Assembly under a
procedure known as "Uniting for Peace." The US is so alarmed that it
has launched a preemptive attack with a letter to all countries in the
world which "demands" that they avoid "calls for an emergency session
of the General Assembly.
Here's a report on the US efforts to block "Uniting for Peace," followed
by reports from around the world on the effort to convene the UN General
Assembly to challenge US aggression against Iraq.
1. US PREMPTIVE ATTACK AGAINST A UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING
The Chilean newspaper La Tercera reports that their embassy in
Washington received a letter from the U.S., technically called a "non
paper," that "demands" that they "focus on the real challenges that are
to come and avoid provocative steps within the Security Council such as
condemning resolutions or calls for an emergency session of the General
Assembly. Such steps will not change the path that we are on, but will
increase tensions, make divisions deeper and could provoke more damage
to the UN and the Security Council."
US Ambassador to Chile Brownsfield confirmed that the letter was sent,
saying it was in the hopes of "avoiding more diplomatic problems." He
said it was sent to all the countries of the world.
Although Ambasador Brownsfield has said that Chile's position on the
Security Council resolution won't affect the Free Trade Deal, he
publicly criticized Chile's last-minute proposal to give Iraq more time
to disarm. La Tercera says that after the press conference, he told
individual journalists asking about whether there would be reprisals
against Chile in the future if they don't support the U.S.: "I don't
reject or accept anything. The future will develop however it
In Barbados, diplomatic sources said the US State Department had sent an
urgent note to regional governments stressing that the US would see the
region's participation in such a meeting as "inimical to its national
interest." In Jamaica, foreign ministry officials confirmed that the US
Embassy in Kingston had verbally passed on a message from Washington
that the Bush administration would prefer that Jamaica stay away if the
General Assembly is in fact called into session. "My understanding is
that we were contacted by the US Embassy asking us to refrain from
giving support in relationship to what they understand to be a General
Assembly meeting," junior foreign minister, Delano Franklyn, told the
2. RUSSIAN DUMA, MANY OTHERS, CALL FOR UN "UNITING FOR PEACE"
Diplomats told CNN that "members of the U.N.'s non-aligned nations -
underdeveloped countries that make up more than two-thirds of the U.N. -
had discussed calling an emergency session of the General Assembly under
the 'Uniting for Peace' resolution."
The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, approved 226
to 101 a resolution calling on the Russian president to seek a UN
General Assembly emergency session "due to the military action launched
by the United States and Britain against Iraq." The same position is
reportedly shared by the upper chamber.
Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation
Council Mikhail Margelov "said it is necessary to call urgently a
session of the U.N. General Assembly." Head of the Defense and Security
Committee Viktor Ozerov expressed anxiety for "an explosion in the
Moslem world, and this will lead to stepped-up operations of
international terrorists." First deputy chairman of the Industrial
Policy Committee Sergaei Shatirov said the General Assembly should take
into account the threat of a serious ecological disaster that "can
affect land, air and water" connected with fires at oil deposits and
wells which could affect the atmosphere in Russia.
Malaysia, current chairman of the 116-nation Non Aligned Movement,
condemned a US-led attack on Iraq as "an illegal act of aggression."
Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that Malaysia, in its
capacity of the Non-Aligned Movement chairman, "Will be consulting
member countries of NAM on the appropriate course of action."
Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri called on the UN Security
Council to hold an emergency meeting to urge the US and its allies to
stop the war. "If that was not possible, the UN General Assembly should
meet to discuss the issue, Mrs. Megawati said after a special cabinet
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been "speaking to
regional and international leaders - including U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan - about the possibility of summoning those world leaders
opposed to war to a meeting of the General Assembly to discuss
alternatives to armed conflict."
Leader of the Democrats in the Australian parliament, Senator Andrew
Bartlett, called on governments to use Resolution 377 (Uniting for
Peace) to put war in Iraq before the UN General Assembly. "The assembly
could mandate, for example, that the inspection regime be permitted to
complete its inspections. An overwhelming vote against war by the
nations of the world would increase the pressure on the United States,
United Kingdom and Australia to reconsider."
At a seminar in Islamabad speakers including a former Air Force Chief
and a former Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, the speakers
advocated that "The matter should be taken to the UN General Assembly
and war should be averted by gaining two-thirds majority in the
Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's justice and peace
council and for 16 years Vatican representative to the UN, said that the
UN General Assembly could hold an emergency session of all its members.
"In that case, all the countries could talk and vote, and the entire
international community would face its responsibilities."
British peace organization CND said, "The authority of the UN has been
destroyed. The CND calls upon the UN to restore its own credibility by
using the resolution uniting for peace to call for a full general
assembly of the UN and to question this war."
Thousands of women from women's organizations in over 35 countries
demonstrated in New Delhi, demanding that "UN member states use their
power to carry out the emergency application of resolution 377 to
convene the UN General Assembly to stop the bombing and avoid
catastrophe." Women from Syria, Russia, China, Germany, Sweden, France,
Canada, and Turkey among others participated.
The Greepeace flagship Rainbow Warrior blocked the U.S Navy vessel Cape
Horn from delivering arms for the war against Iraq. "Greenpeace is
calling on all members of the United Nations to prevent Spain, the U.K.
and the U.S. from undermining the UN Charter by waging an illegal war on
Iraq. Greenpeace said all 191 members of the UN General Assembly should
use UN resolution 377, known as 'Uniting for Peace,' to call an
emergency session." In Japan, Greenpeace Japan called on the government
to promote the Uniting for Peace resolution. In Washington DC,
Greenpeace demonstrators called for a "Uniting for Peace" resolution.
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