General Assembly president says meeting on Iraq 'very likely'
by Jeremy Brecher
March 21, 2003
UN General Assembly President Jan Kavan of the Czech
Republic said he thought it 'very likely' that a special
session would be called as early as next week. If no
session were called or a resolution defeated, 'it would
be a very clear victory for the United States,' he said.
The group of 166 nonaligned nations at the UN met before
the US attack 'to consider convening a special session
of the 191-nation assembly to denounce the United
States.' They failed to agree on whether to go ahead
after 'some argued action was premature as the war had
not yet begun.' No new meeting has been set, but 'there
are a lot of countries talking about that,' according to
Syrian UN Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe.
'Nations opposed to war will probably muster a majority
in the assembly,' according to Reuters.
US BATTLES CALL FOR GENERAL ASSSEMBLY SESSION
According to Reuters, 'The United States has launched a
worldwide diplomatic drive to head off the calling of an
emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly to
condemn the U.S.-led war on Iraq.'
Diplomats attributed the 'disarray among the nonaligned'
to 'U.S. diplomatic muscle' and said 'many countries
feared offending Washington. General Assembly President
Jan Kavan stated, 'The United States is putting pressure
on many countries to resist.' A U.S. State Department
official confirmed the United States was making its case
that an emergency session 'would not serve the interests
of the United Nations.' He acknowledged, however, that
'the situation is still fluid.'
The US government sent a note to many countries stating,
'Given the current highly charged atmosphere, the United
States would regard a General Assembly session on Iraq
as unhelpful and as directed against the United States.
Please know that this question, as well as your position
on it is important to the United States.' Orna Blum, US
Embassy spokesperson in Jamaica, stated 'Such messages
are never delivered with threats.'
BARBADOS: SMALL COUNTRY DEFIES US PRESSURE
Minister of Foreign Affairs Billie Miller revealed in
the Barbados Parliament that a diplomatic communiqué
from the US Embassy has urged Barbados not to support
any initiative for a General Assembly Emergency Session.
Stressing that Barbados is a sovereign nation, the
Foreign Affairs Minister stated: 'I cannot say on behalf
of the people of this country that we can allow anybody
to dictate to us how our right to freedom of speech
might be circumscribed. I can only say that if there is
such a session, be assured that Barbados will be at the
session.' She added, 'Barbados is a fully paid up
member of the UN. Whenever there is a special session
of the General Assembly, Barbados speaks.'
INDONESIA CALLS FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION A press
release from the Indonesian Embassy states:
'The Government of Indonesia demands the United Nations
Security Council, which has responsibility to maintain
international peace and security, to immediately convene
in an emergency meeting in order to urge the Government
of the United States of America and its allies to
immediately stop the war and for the Government of the
United States of America and its allies to be
responsible to overcome the humanitarian aspects
resulting from the conflict situation. Should the
efforts by the UN Security Council come to a dead-lock,
Indonesia will urge the UN General Assembly to convene
in an emergency session under the framework of the
'uniting for peace' resolution.'
RUSSIA: DUMA CALLS FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION The
Russian Duma gave final approval to a resolution
suggesting that President Vladimir Putin 'initiate the
convocation of a special UN General Assembly session to
discuss the aggression initiated by the United States,
Britain, and their allies' against Iraq, as well as 'the
post-war political, social and economic restoration of
Iraq under the UN aegis.'
INDIA: DEMONSTRATIONS CALL FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING
Massive demonstrations in New Delhi led by 24 secular
Indian organizations demanded 'immediate convening of UN
General Assembly to oppose the war.'
PAKISTAN: OPPOSITION PARTIES CALL FOR EMERGENCY SESSION
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six
Muslim parties, urged 'summoning emergency sessions of
the UN General Assembly.'
MALAYSIA: SOCIAL JUSTICE GROUP CALLS FOR GA MEETING Dr.
Chandra Muzaffar, president of the prominent Malaysian-
based NGO International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
called on United Nations members to summon the General
Assembly into an emergency session and adopt a 'Uniting
for Peace' resolution to condemn the use of force
against Iraq. The resolution, he said, should also urge
Iraq to comply fully with the UN weapons inspection
SINGAPORE: NGO CALLS FOR EMERGENCY GA SESSION The Think
Centre, a Singapore NGO called for an emergency meeting
of the UN General Assembly under Resolution 377 (Uniting
for Peace). President Sinapan Samydorai sad, 'The
outbreak of war is not the end of the call for peace --
only the beginning. Around the globe, millions are
joining together calling for peace.' The Think center,
he said, joined the millions calling on the United
Nation member states to call for an emergency meeting of
the U.N. General Assembly to demand a cease fire and
stop the war in Iraq under Resolution 377.
Irwin Arieff, 'US Battles Calls for Emergency UN Session
on Iraq,' Reuters, March 21, 2003 on
'US gives UN reasons for attacking Iraq, March 21, 2003
in the New Zealand Herald.
Lisa Haynes, 'Holding Firm,' The Barbados Advocate,
March 21, 2003.
'Indonesia Strongly Deplores Unilateral Action,' Press
Release: Indonesian Embassy, March 21, 2003.
'Russia Wants UN Troops to End Fighting in Iraq,' by
Wire Services, in www.republicons.org, March 21, 2003.
'Massive demonstrations in New Delhi,' IRNA, March 21,
Shaukat Piracha, Muhammad Imran and Shahzad Raza,
'Opposition rejects US attack on Iraq,' Daily Times,
March 21, 2003.
'UN should hold ‘unite for peace' session,' New Straits
Times, March 21, 2003.
Salbiah Said, 'S'pore NGO Classifies Casualties in Iraq
As War Crimes,' BERNAMA, March 21, 2003.
published by portside