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U.N. agrees to scrutinize Security Council vetos

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday agreed to a resolution to hold those who cast vetos in the Security Council to account. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/014765b243198a2da67afcb34c944607/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday agreed to a resolution to hold those who cast vetos in the Security Council to account. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- The 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly have adopted a resolution requiring the five permanent members of the council to justify their use of their veto power.

The resolution, which was passed Tuesday by consensus, was put forward by Liechtenstein's U.N. ambassador Christian Wenaweser on behalf of 83 cosponsors.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States wield the power to veto Security Council resolutions, a power enshrined in the U.N. Charter in accordance with the five nations having played a key role in the governmental body's founding.

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The resolution goes into effect immediately and will trigger a General Assembly within 10 days of a veto being used, allowing member states to scrutinize its use and for the nation that employed it to explain why.

The passing of the resolution follows Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its use of its veto power to strike down a Security Council measure condemning its aggression.

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Richard Mills, deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations, said the United States welcomes the resolution as a step toward putting greater attention on the veto's appropriate use.

In a statement following the vote, Mills chastised Russia's use of its veto over the past decade to bar the passing of resolutions seeking accountability in Syria, establishing a tribunal on the downing of flight MH-17 over Ukraine in 2014 and others.

"It's a long and shameful list," he said.

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"By abusing the veto, by preventing the international community from holding Russia to account, Russia has diminished the role and the reputation of the U.N. Security Council, it has undermined the U.N. Charter and it has tarnished the U.N. as a whole," he said

The vote was held as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Moscow for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin concerning the Kremlin's war in Ukraine.

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Lavrov in a press conference with the U.N. head said Russia is in support of the resolution but the real issue is the nee to reform the "main defect" of Western nations filling six of the Security Council's 15 seats.

"We have repeatedly stressed that we want to see representatives of Asia, Africa and Latin America in this body on a permanent basis," he said.

Concerning Russia's use of its veto, he said Moscow "will be able to convincingly explain one or another of our positions that we take in the U.N. Security Council."

Guterres said he was "very much in favor of a moderate use of the veto."

Wenaweser told member states from the General Assembly floor in New York on Tuesday that Liechtenstein had begun work on the resolution more than two years ago "out of growing concern that the Security Council has found it increasingly difficult to carry out its work."

He said they have put forward the resolution in their commitment to multilateralism.

"There has never been a stronger need for effective multilateralism than today," he said. "And there has never been a stronger need for innovation in order to secure the central role and voice of the United Nations in this respect."

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