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UNGA adopts landmark resolution on veto power; 83 co-sponsors including Italy, France, UK, US

NEW YORK, APRIL 26 – The UN General Assembly adopted today by consensus a landmark resolution co-sponsored by 83 Countries establishing a standing mandate for a GA debate whenever a veto is cast in the Security Council. Together with the European Union Members States, Italy co-sponsored the draft proposed by Liechtenstein. “Together we have made sure today that a veto is no longer the last word on issues of peace and security”, said the Mission of Liechtenstein on Twitter after the adoption.

The resolution, whose approval was greeted by applause, provides a mechanism by which, within ten days of the use of the veto by one of the five Permanent Member, a meeting of the Assembly is automatically convened and the state in question should account for its action by explaining to the membership what its reasons were for the move.

Liechtenstein had initially put the draft on the calendar in March 2020 but the initiative had not taken off when the UN headquarters were closed due to Covid. The apparent paralysis of the Council in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has helped in recent weeks to build support around the proposal.

Of the ‘P5″, the United States, the UK and France co-sponsored the text. Among the co-sponsors were also Germany and Japan, two countries fighting for years to gain a permanent seat in the Council, but not India and Brazil. While the resolution was adopted without a recorded vote, several delegations said they were abstaining, and at least one, Belarus, said it was disassociating itself with the outcome.

Since the first veto was used in 1946 by the Soviet Union, the P5 prerogative has been used 143 times by Moscow, 86 times by the U.S., 30 times by Britain and 18 times each by China and France. France, which last cast a veto in 1989, proposed in 2013 that permanent members avoid its use in cases of mass atrocities, but the initiative, which had received a hundred supports, was never adopted.

The U.S. has used its veto 14 times since 2000, 12 times to protect the state of Israel and most recently in August 2020 to block a resolution on the process and rehabilitation of people involved in acts of terrorism. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has now cited what she called Russia’s “shameful pattern of abusing the veto privilege” to announce Washington’s support for the Liechtenstein’s proposal, calling it “an innovative and important step toward accountability, transparency and responsibility” for the five countries that hold the privilege. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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