NEW YORK (Dagbladet): Russia is one of five countries with a veto in the council, but now Norway and 50 other countries will make it more difficult for Vladimir Putin’s delegates to the UN to veto.
In the Security Council, Juul sits next to Russia’s representative while the world has been shaken in recent weeks by Russia’s attacks on Ukraine and the great human suffering.
– What is it like to sit next to Russia and listen to what they say – at the same time as they have “control” and block action from the Security Council? Is not the Security Council completely paralyzed?
– It is definitely a demanding situation. But even if Russia can veto, it is still important to have an arena where the parties to the war can discuss face to face. The UN Security Council is the only meeting forum in the world where Russia, Ukraine, affected neighboring countries and other members of the Security Council can discuss openly what is happening on the ground, Juul tells Dagbladet and explains:
– Russian lies
– We hear from UN organizations, representatives of civil society and eyewitnesses what is happening, and we get an opportunity to refute Russian lies. Norway can also propose topics to be discussed in the Security Council and thus shed light on issues that try to avoid.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council met at the UN headquarters in New York, as they have done many times in recent weeks. Again, the refugees and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine were the topic. Ireland’s Foreign and Defense Secretary Simon Coveney told the Council of the shocking effects of his recent visit to Ukraine
– Regularly killed
– I have lived long enough to see the difference between real and fabricated propaganda, and there was nothing fabricated with what I saw. Men, children and women have been killed outright – sometimes after being tortured, Coveney explains.
At the same time, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, used the time before the meeting to repeat Russian propaganda that the United States is helping Ukraine develop chemical weapons.
– Global consequences
Norway sits on the Security Council until next year, and UN Ambassador Mona Juul was also among those who again on Tuesday came with harsh criticism of Russia.
Russia is creating the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. All Russian attacks on civilians must stop. Those responsible must be held accountable, she told the Security Council, with the Russian representative sitting next to her.
– We are appalled by Russia’s actions in Ukraine. No one is safe anywhere in Ukraine. Twelve million Ukrainians have now fled their homes, she says, adding:
– Russia alone is responsible for the war in Ukraine and the global consequences, she continues.
Despite the overwhelming majority of the 15 countries the countries in the Council want to intervene, any resolutions or decisions that could criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin and the regime’s conduct have been effectively blocked by Russia through the veto.
This has led many to criticize the UN for being paralyzed and irrelevant.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj, also criticized the Security Council when he addressed the Council on 5 April.
– Where is the security the Security Council needs to guarantee? It is not there even though it is a security council, Zeneskyj said after describing horrific human suffering.
Now there are also forces in the UN that want to reform the Security Council with a goal of making it more active. Liechtenstein has put forward a proposal, which 50 countries, including the United States and Norway, support. The proposal involves the veto countries to a greater extent having to justify the abolition of the veto.
According to the proposal, every veto that is imposed in the Security Council will be discussed in the UN General Assembly within ten days. Decisions there are not binding, however, and the general meeting can not put power behind demands in the form of sanctions or other punitive measures, writes NTB.
– The Security Council acts on behalf of all UN member states. This proposal, which Norway is helping to present, places the veto powers responsible for their use of the veto and will in practice have a limited function in the veto. Transferring a case to the UN General Assembly will also help to strengthen international cooperation among all UN member states on important security policy issues, Juul told Dagbladet.
The United States supports the proposal. France and the United Kingdom have also said they will support it, but China and Russia will probably say no.
– Secured handling
UN member states had a meeting on the proposal on Tuesday, and they will vote on it next week.
At the same time, Juul recommends that she believes the UN system as a whole does a very important job in Ukraine and neighboring countries, including raising money from donor countries and coordinating a huge humanitarian operation that helps over 12 million people flee their homes as well as millions of civilians, who remain in war zones and who lack food, water and medicine.
– The Security Council has also secured handling from the UN General Assembly, including suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, says Juul.
Since the founding of the United Nations, the Soviet Union / Russia has vetoed 143 Security Council resolutions. The United States has done so 86 times. Great Britain 30 and China and France 18 times each.
This is also not the first time the UN General Assembly has discussed the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council – Russia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom and France.
As many as 295 times since 1946, the General Assembly has discussed this right, which means that one of the five countries alone can block decisions in the Security Council.