Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

LIFESTYLES

New road trip

Read more

LIFESTYLES

High-tech in France

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Global warming: A drowning planet

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Christian Kastrop, Director of Policy Studies, OECD

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy's political comeback: Did he ever leave?

Read more

ENCORE!

Weekly Music Show: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's new album

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Revolt in New Caledonia and rebuilding homes in Libya

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

UK coalition split on 'English votes for English laws'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Activists launch 'Blood Bucket Challenge'

Read more

France

French envoy calls on UN to scrap veto in cases of atrocity

© Photo: AFP

Video by Jessica LE MASURIER

Text by Sophie PILGRIM

Latest update : 2014-04-03

France’s UN envoy called Monday for the veto rights of the five permanent members of the Security Council to be suspended when mass atrocities are involved such as in the Syrian civil war, an initiative France hopes could prove to be a game-changer.

The proposal, which was first laid out by French President François Hollande in September, would see the five permanent Security Council members adopt a code of conduct under which they agree not to use their vetoes to block resolutions in cases of mass atrocity.

The clause would only operate in the case of mass atrocities and would not be binding if a country's "vital national interests" were at stake.

If adopted, it would bring a radical change for Syria, more than three years into the country’s devastating civil war.

There are five permanent members of the Security Council:  France, Britain, the United States, China and Russia. Since the beginning of the conflict, Moscow and Beijing have vetoed three Western-backed UNSC resolutions. If this proposal were adopted, France, the UK and the US would be able to sidestep Russia and China in acting on Syria.

France’s UN ambassador, Gérard Araud, says he is confident that the reform is a fair solution to years of fruitless wrangling over Syria.

“For the founders of the United Nations, the veto right was not supposed to allow a situation like the one we have seen in Syria. It’s a way of really enforcing the charter of the UN,” he told FRANCE 24 on Monday.

But Araud admitted that Russia and China are unlikely to support the reform.

“It’s very unlikely [in] the short-term that Russia and China would accept it,” he said. “But if we have the UK and the US on board, I think it could impose a very strong moral pressure on Russia and China. And beyond the five permanent members you have the wider membership of the UN, so even if Russia and China don’t sign it, they will be obliged to take it into account.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will organise a meeting to push for the reform on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly in September.

Date created : 2014-04-01

  • UNITED NATIONS

    Backstage at the UN: Graphic novel explores Syrian deadlock

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria agrees to UN aid resolution if ‘state sovereignty’ respected

    Read more

  • UNITED NATIONS

    UN adopts resolution on Syria chemical weapons

    Read more

COMMENT(S)