Geostrategy hinders the UN and international law

Some 150 world leaders are meeting in New York on Tuesday for the UN General Assembly. Due to Covid, in 2020 and 2021, speeches by presidents and heads of government had taken place at least in part by video. This year, back to the usual rules: to have the right to speak at the General Assembly from Tuesday, you must be present. With the notable exception of Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian leader was indeed authorized, by a special vote of the General Assembly, on Friday, to transmit a pre-recorded message. To the chagrin of Russia, which denounced a « politicization of a procedural issue ». On the other hand, Vladimir Putin will not make the trip, nor will Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A decision by the UN General Assembly which sets the tone for the tense climate in which this world event will take place, with the situation in Ukraine focusing all attention. Which is not to everyone’s taste, especially outside the Western sphere. Many countries denounce this attention focused exclusively on Ukraine, at the expense of other existing conflicts, some of which have been going on for decades.

Especially since, across Ukraine, some countries, led by the United States, want to target Russia and China, even if it means forgetting their own behavior. Washington now supports UN reform, saying it is exasperated with Moscow’s use of the veto. A shame when the United States has always mentioned it to protect its allies, starting with Israel. To ensure that Russia does not block Security Council meetings, Western powers have relied on a series of rules of procedure. They turned to the UN General Assembly, where each of the 193 member states has one vote.

The future of peoples relegated to the aisle of accessories

Ashamedly drunk, the American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in a recent speech, explained: “Any permanent member who uses his right of veto to defend his own actions loses all moral authority and must be held accountable. » An oversight perhaps, but the United States had no hesitation in circumventing the Security Council to invade Iraq… Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, undertook to refresh the memory of the US ambassador. “Some of us have long called for the General Assembly to play a greater role, but have never been supported. But suddenly, today, yes? she recently launched in front of a think tank in Washington. This is where international law begins to mean nothing. »

» Our world is damaged by war, stricken by climate chaos, bruised by hatred, covered in shame by poverty and inequality., UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said last week. He denounced the geostrategic divisions which « have never been more important since at least the Cold War (and) cripple the global response to these dramatic challenges ». Two months before the climate conference, COP27, in Egypt, the UN Secretary General should not miss the opportunity to reiterate the urgency to act during his opening speech on September 20, and to a round table behind closed doors for « open exchanges » with some leaders. Developing countries, the least responsible for global warming but who are its first victims, are tired of climate action too often taking a back seat. But are they really heard?

The challenge is significant, but multilateralism and global consciousness seem above all instrumentalised, with the future of peoples being relegated to the aisle of accessories. Emmanuel Macron’s entourage can well repeat that the “climate emergency” will also be « at the heart of all concerns » and that the French President“will be keen (…) to dialogue with partners in the South so as not to let this idea of ​​the West take hold against the rest of the world”, it is clear that actions do not follow words. Especially when France is on the podium of arms sellers in the world. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will see for himself the commitments of the countries against the wars of occupation. The latter must propose during this General Assembly the enhancement of the status of Palestine from observer member to full member. Before any reform, it is also by this yardstick that we will judge the capacities of the UN to advance the cause of peace and development, which remains its essential, even ultimate mission.


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