'Fresh Perspectives' on Many Issues

UN Chronicle, June 1993 | Go to article overview

'Fresh Perspectives' on Many Issues


The peaceful settlement of disputes and a strengthened UN role in international peace and security were among the issues discussed at the 1993 session of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the organization (1-19 March, New York).

The challenges facing the UN had been spelt out in the Secretary-General's report, An Agenda for Peace, Special Committee Chairman Erkki Kourula of Finland said in an opening statement on 1 March. New political circumstances allowed many issues to "be approached from fresh perspectives". Considering regional organizations "as partners, and not as alternatives" to the UN, made it possible to improve cooperation.

Promotion of the peaceful settlement of disputes deserved constant attention, Mr. Kourula stated. Emphasis must be placed on prevention, particularly on peacemaking, rather than enforcement.

The 47-member Special Committee meets annually and reports to the Assembly's Sixth Committee (Legal).

Committee action

Guatemala's revised set of rules for the conciliation of disputes between States was discussed by the Committee, which noted that country's intention to submit a revised draft in 1994. Those non-binding rules, contained in 31 articles, could be employed by States after failing to resolve their disputes through negotiation.

A working paper by the Russian Federation on cooperation between the UN and regional organizations called on States to establish regional bodies capable of taking act prevention and peaceful settlement of disputes, with special attention given to preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and dispute settlement through negotiation, enquiries, mediation, conciliation, good offices, judicial settlement and arbitration.

Two working papers on assistance to third States affected by sanctions were submitted. A 13-Power draft sought to establish an assistance fund of assessed and voluntary contributions, to be administered by the Secretary-General. Two States favoured individual trust funds, to be created under the same Council resolutions which imposed economic sanctions.

A Libyan proposal on strengthening the UN role urged discussion of the principle of consensus among the Council's permanent members, stating that the use of veto had "rendered the Council unable to fulfil its role".

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