UN panel wants resolution of Kashmir and Palestine
* Says these disputes continue to threaten international peace and security
* Says war and instability in Iraq and Palestine fuelled extremism in Muslim world and West
UNITED NATIONS: A UN panel that on Tuesday recommended reforming the world body, asked it (the UN) to “redouble its efforts” to resolve the Kashmir, Palestine and Korean peninsula issues as they threatened international peace and security.
In a letter sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the chairman of the blue ribbon panel, former Thai prime minister Anand Panyarachun, said, “No amount of systematic changes to the way that the UN handles both old and new threats to peace and security will enable it to discharge effectively its role under the charter if efforts are not redoubled to resolve a number of long-standing disputes that continue to fester and feed the new threats we now face.” He said, “Foremost among these are the issues of Palestine, Kashmir and the Korean peninsula.”
Mr Panyarachun regretted that the mandate given to the panel precluded any in-depth examination of individual conflicts, but asserted that the panel members “would be remiss” if they failed to point out the disputes that undermined the working of the organisation.
Underscoring that the “unresolved regional disputes in South Asia, North East Asia and the Middle East continue to threaten international peace and security”, the panel report said these disputes might unravel 40 years of efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and more than 75 years of efforts to banish the scourge of biological and chemical weapons.
“In turn, inter-state rivalry in some regions fuels and exacerbate internal wars, making them more difficult to bring to a close,” the panel said.
The report also said “war and ongoing instability in Iraq and Palestine have fuelled extremism in parts of the Muslim world and West”.The report said the Palestinian issue “is complex and multidimensional and defies any simplistic categorisation”.
It asserted that “one can’t ignore the ability of extremists groups to foster perceptions within the West and Muslim world of cultural and religious antagonism between them, the dangers of which is left unchecked are profound”.
Addressing the legitimacy of the use of force, a source of crippling tensions at the UN last year when the US was seeking Security Council authorisation to go to war in Iraq, the panel said it found no reason to amend the UN charter’s Article 51, which restricted the use of force to countries that had been attacked.
The report said the language did not constitute, as some had charged, a summons on nations to wait to be attacked and that many countries had exercised the right to go on the attack themselves if they felt threatened.
But it acknowledged that a new problem had arisen because of terrorism “where the threat is not imminent but still claimed to be real: for example, the acquisition, with allegedly hostile intent, of nuclear weapons-making capability”.
It said if the arguments for such “anticipatory self defence” were good ones, they should be put to the Security Council, which would have the power to authorise military action. The proposed amendments to the charter, overhauling of the Security Council, must be approved by two-thirds of the 191 UN member states and ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the governments, including all five permanent members.
The report will be formally presented to Mr Annan on Thursday morning. app