"UNITING FOR PEACE" UPDATE:
RUSSIAN DUMA, MANY OTHERS, CALL FOR UN "UNITING FOR PEACE";
US LAUNCHES PRE-EMPTIVE 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
pre-emptive attack with a letter to all countries in the world which
"demands" that they avoid "calls for an emergency session of the General
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 PRE-EMPTIVE 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 develops."
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 Jamaica Observer.
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 meeting."
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 Assembly."
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