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Security Council rejection of Russian Resolution


Press Release
Issued 26 March, 1999

Russian Federation, Sponsor of Resolution, Says Those Voting against Text Place Themselves in Situation of Lawlessness

The Security Council this morning rejected a demand for the immediate cessation of the use of force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the urgent resumption of negotiations.

Acting on a draft resolution submitted by Belarus, Russian Federation and India, the Council failed to adopt it by a vote of 3 in favour (China, Namibia, Russian Federation) to 12 against, with no abstentions.

According to Article 27 (3) of the United Nations Charter, decisions of the Security Council should be made by an affirmative vote of nine members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members.

Speaking before action on the text, the representative of the Russian Federation said that attempts to justify the military action under the pretext of preventing a humanitarian catastrophe bordered on blackmail, and those who would vote against the text would place themselves in a situation of lawlessness. Indeed, the aggressive military action unleashed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against a sovereign State was a real threat to international peace and security, and grossly violated the key provisions of the United Nations Charter.

The United States representative, also speaking before the vote, said the allegation contained in the draft resolution that NATO was acting in violation of the United Nations Charter had turned the truth on its head. The Charter did not sanction armed assaults on ethnic groups or imply that the world should turn a blind eye to a growing humanitarian disaster. By rejecting the resolution before it today, the Council would reaffirm the requirements it had put to the Government in Belgrade to cease their brutal attacks against the people of Kosovo and move towards peace.

Speaking after action on the text, the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia said NATO had turned a sovereign and peaceful country and its proud people into "a killing field and a testing ground" for its most sophisticated weaponry, trampling upon international relations and defying the authority of the Security Council and its resolutions. His country had been given two alternatives: to give up part of its territory, or have it taken away by force -- that was the essence of the "solution" offered at the "negotiations" in France. By attacking Yugoslavia, NATO had not solved the alleged humanitarian catastrophe, but had created one for all citizens of Yugoslavia and for peace and security in the region and beyond.

Did anyone remember the ethnic cleansing and the genocide committed against Bosnians? that country's representative asked. He asked whether the supporters of the draft resolution believed that an end to NATO's action would produce anything positive for Kosovo, or Bosnia and Herzegovina, or for the region as a whole. The world community's response to Bosnia was late, but it was welcome. He did not now wish to see a response come too late for the Kosovars.

War was no humanitarian solution, the Cuban representative stated. The ridiculous claim of using force to coerce a government into fulfilling its obligations ran counter to international law. Never before had the unipolar order imposed by the United States been so obvious. The Council's defeat of the draft resolution meant that it was going along with actions of international delinquency of the United States and its allies.

Indeed, the Council's authority had been an early victim of NATO's bombing campaign, the Indian representative said, as he called for an immediate end to the senseless violence. Unfortunately, NATO seemed to have taken on the persona and the methods of operation of those whose activities it wanted to curb.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Canada, Slovenia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Ukraine and Belarus.

The meeting, which began at 11:19 a.m., adjourned at 12:59 p.m.

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