11/17/2009, 00.00
VATICAN – UNITED NATIONS
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Vatican in favour of limits on veto power in UN

Each permanent member of the Security Council should agree not to exercise its veto power in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian laws and similar acts.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In his address to the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mgr Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See, said that the Vatican is in favour of reforming the veto power of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France) so that certain issues that affect most of the international community can be discussed and not blocked by a single nation.

Given the fact that the abolition of the veto is not feasible, “its reform is more suitable and realistic,” said Mgr Migliore. Placing limits on its use would be a positive development because “[o]n so many occasions in history its use has slowed down and even obstructed the solution of the issues crucial to international peace and security, thereby allowing the perpetration of violations of freedom and human dignity.

 “The reform of the veto is all the more necessary at a time when we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in jeopardy because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few,” the Vatican diplomat said.

For this reason, the Holy See joins all those who share “the view put forward by other delegations that the Security Council’s permanent members should commit themselves to a practice of not casting a veto in situations where genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, serious violations of international humanitarian law or similar acts are involved.”

“At the minimum, in an effort to reach a timely and more representative solution for such grave situations, the number of affirmative votes supporting the Security Council’s decisions should require the concurring vote of no more than two permanent members.” At present, all five must agree.

For Mgr Migliore, “the permanent members should show great accountability and transparency in using the right of veto” before a resolution is drafted “in order to ensure that States are not effectively vetoing texts before they can be considered by the Council.”

“Indeed, knowing that a permanent member would vote against their adoption, many proposed drafts are never formally presented to the Council for a vote,” the diplomat said.

Finally, Mgr Migliore expressed hope for “more open” dialogue and cooperation between the permanent and other members of the Security Council” to explore all diplomatic channels to settle questions.

“The decision to extend, limit or abolish the veto lies in the hands of the member states and will depend on the broadest possible consensus on one of the options. We trust that such a decision would be right and it would favour transparency, equality and justice, reflecting the values of democracy and mutual trust in the work of the reformed Security Council.”

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