Magazine article UN Chronicle

'The Vision Was There.' (Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs Marrack Goulding) (Interview)

Magazine article UN Chronicle

'The Vision Was There.' (Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs Marrack Goulding) (Interview)

Article excerpt

Marrack Goulding has been in charge of UN peace-keeping operations since 1986, when Sir Brian Urquhart retired. After studying Greek and Latin at Oxford's Magdalen College and Arabic in Lebanon, the British diplomat served his country in Kuwait, Tripoli, Cairo, Lisbon, New York and Luanda. Before becoming Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, he had already had a taste of the United Nations from 1979 to 1983 when he represented his country in the Security Council and the General Assembly and presided over the Trusteeship Council for a year. What repercussions do you think the Nobel Prize will have for peace-keeping?

I hope it will have two political repercussions. One is that this recognition at a very high international level of the value of peacekeeping will make parties to conflicts where there are peacekeeping operations readier to cooperate with the peace-keeping operation. It will enhance the prestige of peace-keeping, which will make it more effective in that sense.

Secondly, I hope that this international recognition of peacekeeping, of the value of peacekeeping, will cause parties to conflicts, where at present there is no peace-keeping involvement, to think about using this service that the United Nations makes available to them. Peace-keeping is available

to all the Member States of the United Nations-to use the techniques that have been developed here, which we believe play a valuable role in controlling conflict. I hope this recognition will make Member States who find themselves in conflict with their neighbours readier to turn to the SecretaryGeneral, to turn to the Security Council and seek the help of the UN.

You recently said that peace-. making and peace-keeping should go hand in hand. How,v,r, that seems not to have been always the case, particularly in the Middle East. How do you explain this?

It has always been clear that peace-keeping cannot solve the problem by itself Peace-keeping can create conditions in which peace-making can take place. And peace-making, obviously, we think should be done by the United Nations, by the Secretary-General or a special representative of the Secretary-General.

Why has the UN been more successful lately in its peacekeeping/peace-making efforts?

A number of things have contributed to that. First of all, the fact that relations are better between the United States and the Soviet Union is important, UN peace-Making and peace-keeping efforts always flourish at times of detente. Detente makes it possible for the United States and the Soviet Union jointly to support the Secretary-General's efforts. That's a very important change,

Secondly, I think there has been a realization amongst the parties to many of these conflicts that they cannot be resolved by war, that there's got to be a negotiation. These two things interact. This time of detente has made it easier for the parties to see that the answer to their problems lies in negotiating a settlement rather than fighting.

There have also been conspicuous failures in recent years of bilateral or unilateral attempts to resolve international. problems. The experience of recent years has reminded the world that the multilateral approach is the approach most likely to succeed.

All of these things coming together have created a climate in which there has been greater willingness on the part of the membership to usethe peacemaking and peace-keeping functions of the United Nations.

The two new peace-keeping operations-Afghanistan and Iran-Iraq-both have very precise time-frames and come at the end of a long negotiating process, in contrast to some operations in the past. Is this the kind of operation the UN can now afford politically and financially? Is this the wave of the future?

It has always been clear that these operations are interim arrangements, that they should have a time-frame. …

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