Reuters: The U.N. Security Council has too often failed to act swiftly and effectively to contain international crises and needs to be reformed, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Saturday. By Louis Charbonneau
KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council has too often failed to act swiftly and effectively to contain international crises and needs to be reformed, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Saturday.
“Too often, the Security Council’s engagement is inadequate, selective, or after the fact,” said Mohamed ElBaradei, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“The tragedies of recent years in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur are cases in point,” he told an audience of mostly German dentists.
His criticism of the U.N. body responsible for maintaining international peace and security comes as its five permanent members struggle to agree on a draft statement rebuking Iran for pressing ahead with its nuclear enrichment programme.
In an annual lecture organised by a Karlsruhe dental institute, the Egyptian diplomat said the 15-nation Security Council was still incapable of tackling violence in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.
” … Darfur continues to suffer from the inability of the Security Council to muster sufficient peacekeeping troops and sufficient resources to prevent the continuing atrocities.”
On Friday, the Council voted to speed planning for a new U.N. peacekeeping force to be sent to Darfur later this year to relieve underfinanced African Union troops.
Speaking before receiving an award from the institute for “global bridge building”, ElBaradei said the Council’s lack of success has also been visible in the field of arms control.
He said it “has made little effort to address nuclear proliferation threats in context, by dealing with the ‘drivers’ of insecurity that give rise to proliferation.”
“In the case of Iraq, the Council for over a decade imposed a series of blanket economic sanctions — which were manipulated to the advantage of the ruthless regime in power, and resulted in the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” he said.
In 2003, the Council was unable to agree on either the need or timing of the use of force in Iraq, said the director-general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“It is clearly time for the Security Council to be reformed, expanded and strengthened, as part of the current efforts to reform and revitalise the United Nations,” ElBaradei added.
U.N. RESOLUTIONS IGNORED
There was also the problem of past Security Council resolutions that have been ignored, ElBaradei said.
He mentioned resolutions demanding that India and Pakistan refrain from any further testing and development of nuclear weapons or that Israel open its nuclear facilities to the IAEA.
Unlike the official nuclear weapons states — the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain — India, Pakistan and Israel have never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In the case of North Korea, which may already be the ninth state to acquire the bomb, the Council was unable to agree on a response when the IAEA’s governing board referred the matter to it in 2003 after Pyongyang expelled the IAEA and quit the NPT.
ElBaradei reiterated his doubts about Iran’s insistence that its atomic plans were purely peaceful.
” … the fact that its programme was conducted so long in secret, and particularly that aspects of it have not been clarified, has created a confidence deficit regarding its nature and its direction,” he said.
Iran’s plans to press ahead with its uranium enrichment programme, which can make fuel for electricity or bombs, could increase insecurity in an already unstable Middle East, he said.