UNGA: France and Belgium’s failed resolution Tea Club Material Addresses the Conflict of Interests in UNSC’s Vetoes

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The delegates from France, the UK and Belgium collaborate at the United Nations General Assembly to reform the Security Council. They are especially invested in restricting vetoing powers during crisis situations. If a country is under crisis and one of the seats detaining veto powers has a vested interest in denying a resolution to the affected country, then that would be a conflict of interest.

The delegate of France and Belgium after an interview regarding the specifics of their resolution (Washington Post).

The delegate of France and Belgium after an interview regarding the specifics of their resolution (Washington Post).

The country with the veto power could push their own political agenda to achieve ulterior motives. This conflict of interest must therefore be addressed and prevented, as proposed by their resolution Tea Club Material. Their intention is to hone the vetoing framework and rectify the inherent unfairness.

Belgium gave an example that “If Ukraine is under crisis, then Russia should not be able to veto – it would not be fair”.

They sought to distribute the veto power to other countries, extending it to the G4 countries with a potential rotation. Under friendly amendment, they sought to work in an African country as well. The delegate from Cuba suggested South Africa, and was described as “surprisingly forthcoming” by France and Algeria. They were unsure why Cuba had singled out South Africa, and thought it best to confer to the African Union’s judgement.

The Post inquired about the procedure in the event that a country’s veto is denied due to conflict of interest. France and Belgium explained that there would be a vote in the committee to elect another country to temporarily preside over the empty vetoing seat.

France believed that the “innovative restriction [allows for] every country’s inclusion”. With a greater implication from the international community, it would necessarily yield better solutions than centralized decision-making.

The delegation from Russia qualified the resolution as a “power vacuum” and was “perplexed as to why the UK and France would willingly give up their power”.

After the amendments were submitted, the Tea Club Material resolution failed with twelve votes for, fifteen votes against, and three abstentions.  


Tina Le - The Washington Post