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1 April, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 April, 2020 12:14:05 AM

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In first, UN Security Council okays resolutions remotely

AFP, United Nations, Us
In first, UN Security Council okays resolutions remotely
The UN Security Council passed its first resolutions since it began teleworking due to the coronavirus and comes as COVID-19 rapidly spreads in New York, which has become the epicenter of the disease in the United States. AFP File photo

The UN Security Council on Monday for the first time approved resolutions remotely after painstaking negotiations among diplomats who are teleworking due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Security Council unanimously voted for four resolutions, including one that extended through April 2021 the expiring mandate of UN experts who are monitoring sanctions on North Korea, diplomats said.

The UN mission in Somalia was also prolonged, until the end of June, and the mission in Darfur until the end of May—two short periods decided due to uncertainty over the spread of the pandemic.

The Council also endorsed a fourth resolution aimed at improving the protection for peacekeepers.

The resolutions are the first approved by the Security Council since it began teleworking on March 12 and comes as COVID-19 rapidly spreads in New York, which has become the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

Seeking to abide by quarantine and teleworking recommendations, the Security Council was obliged to create completely new rules after 75 years as the global guarantor of peace and security.

Following about a dozen days of talks, Council members agreed that they would have 24 hours following closed-door negotiations on draft resolutions to send their votes electronically to the UN Secretariat, which will release the results.

Several countries wanted to move sessions entirely to videoconferencing, but Russia—one of five nations wielding veto power—objected on both legal and political grounds, diplomats said.

Russia instead accepted only that the Security Council hold “informal” talks by video.

Still active, but encumbered -

The virtual votes temporarily end the famous spectacle of the Security Council, where diplomats theatrically raise their hands to vote or veto and can take advantage of the cameras to passionately attack other countries.

Several diplomats said that the new procedure made sense for technical votes on the renewal of missions but were not ideal for more controversial matters.

“The new voting procedure seems enormously and unnecessarily bureaucratic,” said Richard Gowan, the UN director at the International Crisis Group, which promotes peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

“Giving everyone 24 hours to file confidential votes may make sense for routine business, but will be absurdly cumbersome if the Council has to respond to an acute crisis fast,” he said.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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