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Lavrov: Proposal from London, Paris for limiting veto power in UN has no future

August 11, 2015, 16:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The veto power is enshrined in the UN Charter without any reservations, and it is to be respected by all those who ratified it, the Russian Foreign Minister notes
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. Proposals by France and Britain for restricting or cancelling the power of veto in the UN Security Council in certain cases have no future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in reply to a question from TASS.

"As far as the ideas of restricting or canceling the veto power in the UN Security Council are concerned, this is not the first time one hears them," he said. "They have no chances to succeed. The veto power is enshrined in the UN Charter without any reservations, and it is to be respected by all those who ratified it."

Earlier, Britain’s UN envoy Matthew Rycroft told TASS in an interview he supported the idea of voluntary restrictions on the use of veto powers, which French President Francois Hollande put forward back in 2013. In particular, he referred to special cases when urgent measures for stopping mass crimes were required. France and Britain are permanent UN Security Council members alongside Russia, China and the United States.

"Even if one makes a hypothetical supposition this idea may be discussed, a number of questions instantly arises. If the abdication of the veto power is presumed when mass crimes on the agenda, who will decide what a mass crime is? A hundred people, a thousand? If the limit is one hundred, then 99 is not enough and 100 is OK?" Lavrov said.

He recalled that such problems emerged over the notorious concepts of humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect.

"We are very much worried by the growing attempts to provoke a confrontation in the UN Security Council by proposing unilateral resolutions over certain issues, be it Srebrenica or Malaysia’s flight MH17," Lavrov said. "That’s not diplomacy but a wish to make the UN Security Council a propaganda tool, if the spade is to be called a spade."

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council bear great responsibility, he said.

"That responsibility is to be remembered and no serious problems generated within the quintet. We are for reviving the culture of the dialogue. It yields concrete results, of which the solution of the Iranian nuclear program issue and various aspects of chemical disarmament in Syria are clear evidence. This is the path worth following. It is less noticeable for the public at large, it is more effort-consuming, but also it is far more productive and fruitful in international relations than attempts to provoke scandals," Lavrov said.

France’s idea of voluntary restrictions on the veto power does not imply formal amendments to the UN Charter. Instead, a special procedure is proposed: at the request of no less than 50 member-countries the UN secretary-general is to assess the situation proposed for consideration by the UN Security Council. If the events in question are qualified as serious and widely spread violations, for instance, genocide or war crimes, then a "gentlemanly arrangement" implying the voluntary abdication of the veto right will be employed. This initiative implies that this mechanism will not operate whenever the national interests of at least one permanent member of the UN Security Council is at stake.

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