The Day the UN General Assembly Abandoned its New York City Home — Global Issues

  • by Thalif Deen (United Nation)
  • Associated Press Service

But there have been several consecutive instances of violations of this agreement by US administrations.

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco who has written extensively on UN politics, told IPS that the US broke its commitment to the UN by refusing to allow Yasser Arafat, leader of the Liberation of Palestine. The Organization (PLO), coming to New York to speak, forced the entire General Assembly to convene in Geneva in 1988.

“And the American media regularly obsess over visits by foreign leaders that Americans so hate, such as (Iranian President) Ahmadinejad (while ignoring the country’s more moderate leaders). Iran before and since talks about peace and reconciliation),” Zunes said.

And, of course, there are strange and misleading addresses of US presidents over the years, he added.

The move to Geneva was a first in UN history – but it created a less hostile political environment for the PLO leadership – as the General Assembly, the UN’s highest policy-making body, was adamant. and delivered a resounding slap to America, momentarily abandoning their home in New York City.

Palestine is one of two permanent, non-member observer states, the other being the Holy See (Vatican).

Arafat, who first addressed the United Nations in 1974, alarmed Washington when he opened his statement by saying, “I never thought that my second meeting with this Honorary Council, would ever happen. taking place in the hospitable city of Geneva”.

Meanwhile, last week it was reported that visas for Russian diplomats, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, had been denied or delayed during the preparations for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly from September 20-26.

Asked about the Russians’ complaints, United Nations Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters last week: “This is an issue that we have raised many times with the host country.”

“This is an issue that has been raised with us by the Russian Federation. I think the Secretary-General strongly feels that visas should be passed on to the Russian delegation and to the delegations that have business activities to the United Nations, especially during the General Assembly.”

When asked about this level being discussed, he said: “It’s a level that we’ve upgraded several times because, as you say, it’s been going on for quite some time. The consulting lawyer is the one to guide this.”

“It is done through our legal office because they support the host State committee, but I know this is an issue that the Secretary-General, I think, raised in several phone calls with senior US officials, and an issue that was raised with him by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as Russian Permanent Representative Nebenzia”.

On his first visit in 1974, the PLO leader avoided hundreds of pro- and anti-Arafat protesters outside the UN building by landing by helicopter on the North Lawn of the UN campus adjacent to the East River.

Arafat was escorted by security personnel to the UN building and to the 38th floor of the Secretary-General, where he spent the night in a bedroom for shifts.

But that bedroom hasn’t been used in years, and the water color is brown when the bathroom faucet is turned on. Thankfully, it was not an attempt by Israeli intelligence to poison the PLO leadership.

There is also a legendary story about how Arafat, who was on Israel’s most wanted list, never slept in the same bed two nights in a row – to outwit the assassins trying to kill him on the territory. Palestine is occupied by Israel.

But whatever the reason, Arafat spent only one night in the UN building.

Since Arafat, a number of political leaders — primarily antagonists to the United States or currently heading regimes subject to U.S. sanctions — have been denied visas or tacitly declared private individuals. kernel is not a grata (PNG).

As a result, heads of state from “rogue states,” including North Korea’s Kim Il-sung, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Syria’s Hafez al-Assad, have never spoken to the UN – and probably never have. ever tried to apply for a US visa, this may have been denied.

When former Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of war crimes, was denied a visa by the United States to attend a high-level session of the General Assembly in September 2013, Hassan Ali, a diplomat Sudan, registered a strong objection to the UN Legal Committee.

“The democratically elected President of Sudan has been deprived of his opportunity to participate in the General Assembly because the host country, the United States, has refused to grant him a visa, in violation of the United Nations-US Headquarters Agreement. .”

“It was a serious and intentional breach of the Headquarters Agreement,” he said.

The refusal of the Sudanese president’s visa is also a political minefield as al-Bashir has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

But the question remains: Does the United States have the right to act implicitly under the ICC ruling when Washington is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC?

Meanwhile, several military or autocratic leaders have spoken before the UN in a bygone era including Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Libya’s Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mali’s Amadou Toure (who took power later). coup d’etat in 1991 but later served as a democracy elected President), and Jerry Rawlings of Ghana (who came to power in 1979, executed former political leaders but later held office). elected civilian president to power in democratic elections).

Libyan leader Qaddafi, made an impressive appearance at the United Nations in September 2009.

In his report, the London Guardian said he “grabbed his famous 15 minutes at the United Nations building in New York and ran with it. He ran with it very hard and stretched it to an hour and 40 minutes, six times longer than his allotted spot, to the chagrin of the United Nations organizers.”

The defender said Qaddafi lived up to his reputation for eccentricity, bloodthirsty and extremism, tearing up copies of the UN charter in the presence of delegates, accusing the Assembly The Security Council is an al-Qaida-like terrorist organization, calling for George Bush and Tony Blair to be put on trial for the Iraq war, demanding $7.7 trillion in compensation for the devastation of colonialism on Africa, and wondered if swine fever was a biological weapon created in a military laboratory.

Incidentally, according to one news report, there are 112 different spellings of the Libyan leader’s name, both in English and in Arabic, including Muammar el-Qaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi, Muammar al-Gathafi, Muammar El Kadhafi, Moammar el Kazzafi, Moamer, El Qathafi, Mu’Ammar, Gadafi and Moamar Gaddafi, among others.

The Wall Street Journal ran a cartoon mocking multiple ways of writing, with a visiting reporter who, in a live interview in Tripoli, told the Libyan leader: “My editor sent me go find out if you are Qaddafi, Khaddafi, Gadafi, Qathafi or Kadhafi?”

This article includes excerpts from a book on the UN — a humorous collection of hilarious anecdotes — titled “Don’t Comment – and Don’t Quote Me About It,” available on Amazon. . The link to Amazon via the author’s website is as follows:

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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