- Ambassador Akram says he hopes after the Security Council’s failure, the General Assembly will take action and demand an immediate ceasefire
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council, which has the primary responsibility to promote world peace, has failed to “stop the slaughter in Gaza”, as it also failed in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, has said, while stressing the need for reforming the 15-member body.
“Like Israel in occupied Palestine, India’s massive occupation Army of 900,000 troops has sought to brutally suppress the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people and to impose what its extremist leaders ominously call a ‘Final Solution’ for Kashmir,” he told the 15-member Council on Friday night.
On Wednesday, the United States vetoed a Russian-led Security Council resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver life-saving aid to millions of traumatized Gazans living under the relentless Israeli bombing on the embattled enclave.
Speaking in a debate on the contributions of regional mechanisms for peace and security, Ambassador Akram said he hopes that after the Security Council’s failure, the General Assembly will take action and demand an immediate ceasefire; full, unhindered, and sustainable humanitarian access to suffering people in Gaza; and ensure that they are not displaced within or outside Gaza. “Thereafter,” he added, “we should seek to resuscitate the two-State solution, the only option for a durable peace in the Holy Land.”
Diplomats said that representatives of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), who met on Friday, decided to convene an Emergency Special Session of the 193-member Assembly to discuss the alarming situation in Gaza. (There is no veto in the General Assembly, but its resolutions, unlike those of the Security Council, are not binding. But they do carry the weight of world opinion and the moral authority of the world community.)
The General Assembly President, Dennis Francis, will fix the date for the emergency session.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram said the Security Council’s failures could be addressed by making it more representative of the UN’s membership; more democratic, by enlarging the voice of the majority of small and medium sized States, and more accountable, through the democratic method of periodic elections.
The Council’s shortcomings, he said, arise mainly due to the veto power of the five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. “Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend the logic of those who advocate the expansion in the number of the Council’s permanent members,” he said, in an obvious dig at the four aspirants of the permanent membership - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan.
Pakistan, along with its allies in the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group opposed any expansion in the permanent category and has instead proposed a new category of members - not permanent members - with longer duration in terms and a possibility to get re-elected.
The Pakistani envoy said regional and sub-regional organizations can play a role in promoting peace and security and resolving disputes. However, their role remains subsidiary to that of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and other relevant UN organs. Moreover, their actions must remain consistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and UN resolutions.
The European Union and the African Union could effectively represent their members on the Security Council as they do in the Group of 20 (G20) now, he said, adding that UfC has consistently proposed that regional representation could offer the basis for an agreement on the issue of Council reform.