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 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
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
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
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
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. …