UN Assembly Urges Yugoslav Peace A Special Session Called by Islamic Nations Yields Calls for Stronger Action and More Western Concern as Peace Conference Begins in London
Lucia Mouat, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
IN a timely message from New York to London, the United Nations General Assembly has voiced its strong support for an end to the fighting and atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the start of a search for a fair political solution.
The UN resolution, which followed two days of impassioned speeches on the Assembly floor, passed just one day before the the start of peace talks involving all former republics of Yugoslavia in London. The talks are sponsored by the European Community and the UN.
The 47-member Organization of the Islamic Conference requested the special session. The Islamic nations have been particularly concerned that the rights of Bosnia's Muslims - who before the war accounted for 44 percent of the population but who now can claim very little territory - might be compromised at the London conference. A busy debate
Representatives of close to one-third of the UN's 179 member nations spoke at the Aug. 24 debate. Most despaired of the many broken cease-fire agreements in Bosnia and stressed the need for stronger protection of human rights.
Mustafa Aksin, Turkey's ambassador to the UN, said those responsible for the "brazen" violations of Bosnia's territorial integrity and the suffering of its people must be sent a "powerful" message that such behavior will no longer be tolerated by the international community. "Failure to act would be appeasement, and we all know where that leads to."
In the end, the message to the Security Council itself was in some respects as strong as the signal sent to London. The new Assembly resolution asks the Council to consider, on an urgent basis, further measures to end the fighting, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which deals with aggression, and to restore Bosnia's territorial integrity. End arms embargo
Several speakers urged the Council to exempt Bosnia from the UN arms embargo imposed against all of Yugoslavia last September. These supporters cite the right to self-defense guaranteed under Article 51 of the Charter.
The reluctance of Western nations to supply troops in support of the Council's Aug. 13 pledge to "use all necessary means" to protect delivery of relief supplies in Bosnia also came under criticism.
Redzuan Kushairi, Malaysia's ambassador to the UN, criticized the Council's selective decision not to take action in Bosnia because the situation is seen as "too difficult." He said the international community cannot afford a situation where aggression and the dismemberment of a member state is not viewed as serious enough to warrant collective enforcement action because it doesn't serve the "interest and expedience" of prominent members of the Council.
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has argued, in a reverse variation of the same theme, that the Council is more inclined to pay attention to Yugoslavia than to Somalia and other parts of the world where needs are equally if not more desperate. …