Swiss See Need of U.N. OK for War; Take First Stand as New member.(WORLD)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Swiss See Need of U.N. OK for War; Take First Stand as New member.(WORLD)


Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

GENEVA - Switzerland, in its first act upon joining the United Nations after a 56-year holdout, demanded yesterday that any military action against Iraq be authorized by the U.N. Security Council.

As Swiss President Kaspar Villiger and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan marked the Alpine nation s move away from its traditional isolationism at a ceremony in New York, Swiss officials said their embrace of multilateralism should set an example for the United States.

[thorn]We have come to realize that in today s world multilateral diplomacy is much more important than bilateral relations, one official in Geneva, which hosts the U.N. European headquarters, said in an interview.

The Swiss, who voted by a narrow margin to become a U.N. member in March, have begun to question their [thorn]traditional mentality because [thorn]we are finding that we are more exposed to different dangers than we thought, the official said.

Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss echoed those comments at a press conference in New York yesterday.

[thorn]The United Nations is not perfect, as we all know, but as an organization its role is more vital than ever, he said. [thorn]Unilateralism and isolationism lead nowhere. This is just as true for big countries as for smaller ones.

Mr. Villiger insisted that the [thorn]principle of neutrality, which is deeply rooted in Switzerland, will retain its validity, but he noted that the neutrality [thorn]is in no way self-serving.

[thorn]There is no neutrality in the face of crime, he said at the ceremony. [thorn]Neutrality is an instrument that can contribute in its own way to the achievement of common values and goals.

Hours before Switzerland officially became the 190th U. …

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Swiss See Need of U.N. OK for War; Take First Stand as New member.(WORLD)
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