Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service ·
Fifty-fifth General Assembly
37th Meeting (AM)
19 October 2000
SPEAKERS CONDEMN UNILATERAL ECONOMIC SANCTIONS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Assembly Work Programme
The fifty-fifth general session of the General Assembly met this morning to continue its debate on the Report of the Security Council (for more information on this subject, see Press Release GA/9788 of 17 October), and to take up consideration of the agenda item entitled "Elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion”.
HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (
) said that ... The positive outcome to the peace process in Tajikistan was attributable, in part, to United Nations involvement, he said. This was exactly what had been lacking with regard to the crisis in the Middle East. It was very unfortunate that, even in the face of provocations, and of excessive use of force by Israeli forces against defenseless Palestinian civilians, a great deal of effort was made to hold back the Council from looking into the issue. Despite the request made by regional groups, it had taken a long time to overcome opposition to the holding of a public meeting on the Palestinian question. It was equally unfortunate that the rights of non-members to participate in the debate at the public meeting on the issue were questioned and disputed. It was regrettable that some tried hard to prevent the general membership of the United Nations from simply expressing opinions, expectations, frustrations and even anger, when the world community was incapable of protecting civilians from the cruelty of a well-armed army of occupation.
The way in which the Security Council had dealt with the situation in the Middle East over the past several decades was a manifestation of the inadequacy and inappropriateness of its working methods, especially those allowing the exercise of a veto. The mere existence of the right of veto had prevented the Council from dealing effectively with, among others, the crises in Kosovo and that in the Palestinian occupied territories in the last and the current year. Iran hoped that the Working Group that dealt with reform of the Security Council could finally reach agreement on curtailing the right of veto, with a view to its final elimination. The exacerbation of the situation in Afghanistan continued to warrant close attention by the Security Council. It should send warning signals to the belligerent party and follow up on the decisions it had already made. Sustained political involvement by the Council was absolutely necessary for inducing the Taliban to accept a negotiated settlement.
AHMED ABOULGHEIT (
) said he joined many previous speakers in referring to the persistence of a number of weaknesses and pitfalls in the work and working methods of the Council. While the Council had increased the number of public and open meetings, it continued diversifying the format of those meetings and setting fabricated criteria for attendance or participation in them. That made the Council an isolated and selective organ dominated by a limited number of voices that sought to impose their will on others.
The Council also continued using a non-transparent approach to examine situations that threatened international peace and security, he said. It had been engaged for days in considering a request submitted by a number of States to convene a formal meeting intended to address an issue that directly affected international security: the prevailing conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, and had finally come out with a formula which allowed some of its members to control the final format of its meetings. This format had no place under the rules and rights enshrined by the constitution of the Organization for all Member States, he said.
Elimination of Coercive Measures as Means of Political and Economic Compulsion
Introduction of draft resolution A/55/L.9
SAEED HASAN (
) said that the ... use of coercive measures as means of applying political and economic pressure constituted a genuine threat to international peace and security, he continued. For example, the hardship suffered by Palestine, Cuba, Libya and the Iraqi people were the result of violations international law and humanitarian law. The embargo on the Iraqi people, imposed by the United States in the name of the United Nations, was a prime example of the use of coercive measures as means of political and economic compulsion. It had caused the death of over 1 million Iraqi people, including 500,000 children. It had caused damage to the infrastructure of Iraq, had all the features of genocide, was a crime against humanity and would bring instability to the region and to the world. It shamed the United Nations, whose mechanism had been used as an instrument of United States foreign policy. The United States imposed economic sanctions against more than 70 countries around the world at present. It resorted to brute force to undermine the sovereignty of States, as could be seen with the no-fly zone in Iraq. To permit the policies of hegemony to continue would ultimately undermine the legal pillar on which the international community was resting. The international community should take effective measures to end those policies. Iraq called on all Member States to vote in favor of the draft resolution submitted under this agenda item.
* *** *
For information media - not an official record