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Seventieth United Nations General Assembly/ministerial meeting on the regulation of the use of veto

Published on October 1, 2015
Press briefing by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

New York, September 30, 2015

Along with my friend the Mexican Foreign Minister and our two colleagues, I’ve just taken part – in our case, chaired – an important meeting on the regulation of the use of veto in the event of mass atrocities.

You’re aware of our initiative – it was launched two years ago now, and its success is growing – because to date, 73 countries have signed our proposal, and not just supported it in theory. We believe, as has been said, that in the face of mass atrocities, paralysis on the Security Council’s part is unacceptable. We, France, who have the benefit of the veto, know that this must not be a privilege but a responsibility.

And that’s the purpose of the initiative we’ve launched, of which you’re aware. We’re ensuring that in the event of mass atrocities, the permanent members of the Security Council voluntarily give up using the right of veto. France has decided to lead the way, because the President announced, in his speech on Monday, that from now on we’ll absolutely give up using the veto in these types of situation, and we’d like this desire to catch on.

We also support the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group (ACT), which is moving in the same direction and will present – tomorrow, I think – a code of conduct which is useful and complements what we’re doing.

As is said in one of Corneille’s plays, we began few in number and are increasing. And it remains for us – through the efforts we and others have made, and your commitment, which we hope to get – to ensure that these situations are eliminated.
Situations where the Security Council mustn’t be paralysed by a veto, when there are crises such as those in Syria but others too where there are mass atrocities./.

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