18 September – The United Nations General Assembly will hold a special emergency session tomorrow in a move by Arab and Non-Aligned Movement states to circumvent a United States veto of Tuesday’s Security Council resolution demanding that Israel not deport or threaten the safety of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The meeting, requested by Sudan on behalf of the Arab League, will convene under the “Uniting for Peace” formula of 1950, under which the Assembly may call for “collective measures” when the Council fails “to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in cases where there appears to be a threat to the peace,” Assembly spokesperson Michele Montas told a news briefing.
Ms. Montas said no resolution had yet been submitted to the Assembly. “But I think the draft resolution will be pretty close to the resolution that was presented to the Security Council and that met with a veto,” she added.
The request for the session, in the name of the Arab League’s 21 member states, was supported by the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement.
As well as enjoining any Israeli action against Mr. Arafat, Tuesday’s vetoed text demanded “the complete cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction, and expressed full support for the Road Map peace plan.”
The Road Map, put forward by the so-called diplomatic Quartet - UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States - calls for parallel and reciprocal steps by Israel and the Palestinians leading to two states living side by side in peace by 2005.
The United States vetoed the text because it said it failed to explicitly condemn “Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigade as organizations responsible for acts of terrorism” and all for the dismantlement of “an infrastructure which supports these terror operations wherever located."
Only the United States and the four other permanent Council members – China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom – have veto power.
Tomorrow afternoon’s session will formally be a resumption of the 10th emergency special session on Palestine, which was adjourned in August 2002 and allowed for a resumption at members’ request.