At Long Last, the UN Security Council Unites on a Syrian Resolution

Samantha Power

In rare action-packed diplomacy at the United Nations, a draft resolution was agreed on Sept. 26 by the five permanent members of the Security Council, reinforcing the plan made earlier in the month between Russia and the United States to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, after Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Yet … Read more

When Intervention by Foreign Powers Is Justified

David Phillips

One of the most complicated dynamics in international relations is whether foreign powers should intervene when a government is creating a humanitarian crisis among its own people. David L. Phillips, a former a senior adviser to the United States Department of State and to the United Nations, has repeatedly dealt with this problem, and in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Susan Rice’s Rise Beyond the United Nations

Susan E. Rice, US ambassador to the UN

JENA, Germany — Many rumors abound regarding the future of America’s top envoy at the United Nations, Susan E. Rice. While she is still working as the United States ambassador to the UN, some media reports are predicting that she will become President Obama’s next national security adviser, succeeding Thomas E. Donilon. As to who … Read more

The Masterminds Behind Security Council Resolutions

Security Council Meeting on the situation in Cyprus

The United Nations Security Council bases its resolutions on agenda items as varied as the renewal of a peacekeeping force mandate in Haiti to responding to a missile launching in North Korea. With resolutions’ language often dense legalese that recalls, recognizes, emphasizes, demands and, at times, condemns and deplores the issue at hand, the style … Read more

Guatemala’s Role on the Security Council, as Viewed by Its Ambassador

Gert Rosenthal, Guatemala's ambassador to the UN

Gert Rosenthal does not sound like a Spanish name, but the mother of Rosenthal, the Guatemalan ambassador to the United Nations, was born there and his father was German. To complicate matters, “a little accident happened,” he said, as his parents, Florence and Ludwig, left Germany in the 1930s, and Rosenthal was born in Amsterdam. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Protecting Civilians: How It Works

A girl in Freetown, Sierra Leone

CANBERRA, Australia — A steady rise has been occurring in the last two centuries in the proportion of civilians killed in armed conflict, either from direct violence or conflict-related hunger and disease. The international community has responded to the calls to protect innocent victims by developing two parallel principles, the protection of civilians and the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Close Cooperation Is Useful Between the General Assembly and Security Council

Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser of Qatar, the outgoing General Assembly president.

BERLIN — If you ask people on the street which United Nations organ has more influence, the Security Council or the General Assembly, they will most probably answer: “The Security Council,” since it has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and is the only UN organ that can issue legally binding decisions … Read more

As UN Monitoring Mission Dies in Syria, a New Envoy Is Named

Gerard Araud of the Security Council

The United Nations Security Council will not renew the mandate for the monitoring mission it set up in Syria this spring to supervise a peace plan that never materialized. The mandate for the UN Supervision Mission, called Unsmis, expires Aug. 19. The unarmed mission, renewed in July for 30 days, is down to 100 officers … Read more

Kofi Annan Resigns as Special Envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League for the Syrian crisis, resigned today, leaving any residual hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict gone for now. The resignation seems to have taken the UN by surprise, though Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the UN, said after … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Russia’s Motives Behind the Syrian Conflict

Syrian refugees in Turkey

CANBERRA — China and Russia have cast three vetoes on draft United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at tougher international responses to the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on protestors and rebels in the last 16 months. China and Russia have drawn much flak for their resistance to UN efforts to end the mass killings in … Read more

UN Mission in Syria Renewed for 30 Days

A day after the United Nations Security Council refused to adopt a British-sponsored resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian government if fighting persisted, the council agreed unanimously to renew the mandate of the UN mission in the country to monitor a cease-fire that never happened. The 400-member team, called the UN Supervision Mission in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Five Lightweights Fight to Reform the Security Council

UN General Assembly

BERLIN — It is a story of political courage and steadfastness: After it had become obvious that the 2005 World Summit had not brought any progress in the reform of the Security Council regarding its composition of permanent and nonpermanent members, a group of five small countries, in short Small Five or S-5 — Costa … Read more

Swiss UN Mission Asks Others to Help Refer Syria to The Hague

Observers sent to the villages of el-Qubeir to conduct a fact finding mission following reports of a massacre.

As the 300-member United Nations unarmed observer mission in Syria suspends its work because of intensifying violence in the country, Britain and Switzerland are beginning efforts to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, announced recently that his office is preparing a case against the Syrian government … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Ban’s Second Term: It’s Time to Involve UN Diplomats

un secretary general

BERLIN — Like his predecessors, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started his second term, in January, by presenting a program to the General Assembly and to the public, adorned with a momentous title: The Five Year Action Agenda, “The Future We Want.” It outlines in ambitious rhetoric the key areas where Ban thinks the … Read more

The Security Council Shows Unity on Syrian Crisis

special envoy to Syria

The Security Council adopted a presidential statement today backing Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria, on his mission to resolve the year-long crisis there. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told the press after the adoption that his country’s stance on Syria had not changed and that the statement reflected what … Read more

Security Council Vents Frustration Over Syria Crisis

British ambassador to the UN

In a voice of rare unanimity on the situation in Syria, the 15-member UN Security Council conveyed its “deep disappointment” that Valerie Amos, United Nations under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, was turned down by the government to enter the country to assess the humanitarian crisis. The press statement was read by Mark Lyall Grant, the … Read more

General Assembly Condemns Syria in a Strong Vote

Syrian resolution

The General Assembly overwhelmingly supported a resolution condemning the relentless “widespread and systematic” human-rights violations committed by Syrian officials and demanded that the government stop all violence and protect its people. The resolution, though not enforceable, also called on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, to cede office to a vice president and begin negotiations to form … Read more

Invoking Pontius Pilate After the Vote

Of the many eloquent, impassioned speeches voiced by ambassadors in the Security Council right after Russia and China’s veto of the resolution aimed at ending the violence in Syria, Pakistan’s stood out for its professorial panache. Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the ambassador of the UN from Pakistan, invoked Pontius Pilate’s washing of his hands over the … Read more

‘A Sad Day for the Council’

Susan Rice, US Ambasador at the Security Council meeting on Syria.

Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution on Syria today after the draft went through tense, protracted rounds of Security Council negotiations this week, despite optimism shown yesterday by diplomats involved in the process at the United Nations. The draft was backed by Western powers and the Arab League, which has been leading the way … Read more

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