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Seventieth United Nations General Assembly/right of veto

Published on October 1, 2015
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, to the United Nations General Assembly

New York, September 28, 2015


Ladies and gentlemen, I wanted to end my remarks by saying to you that the legitimacy of an organization like the United Nations is founded on credibility. If the UN does not have the ability to resolve conflicts that have lasted too long, if the UN does not have the ability to resolve dramatic turns of events or bring calm to the situations of civilians, then we shall be condemned by our powerlessness. Which leads me to think that if we want our Organization, now celebrating its 70th anniversary, to have a future worthy of what its founders envisaged, we have no option but to reform the United Nations.

France advocates a broadening of the membership of the Security Council. France advocates a change in representation on the Security Council. France advocates that continents should clearly bear responsibility for the world in the context of the Security Council. France wants the permanent members of the Security Council to be unable to use their right of veto in the future in cases of mass atrocities. How can we accept that the UN, still today, can be paralysed when the worst possible events occur? Here again, let us set an example. I give an undertaking here that France will never use its right of veto where there have been mass atrocities.

The right of veto, as introduced at the founding of the United Nations, was not a right to block action. It was a duty to act. We must act. We can act. We have shown that we can for 70 years. Here today we must act to resolve the tragedies of today and to save the planet tomorrow. Let us act./.

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