UNITED NATIONS – Arab nations on Tuesday requested a U.N. General Assembly meeting on the war in Iraq, hoping to win approval for a resolution calling for a cease-fire.
The assembly’s General Committee will meet Friday morning to consider the request, assembly spokesman Richard Sydenham said.
At least 15 of the committee’s 28 members must approve the meeting and then, the full 191-member General Assembly must vote to add it to the assembly’s agenda.
Yemen’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Alsaidi, the Arab Group’s chairman who made the request, said the group will seek a “very mild” resolution.
“It will ask for a cease-fire, respect for Iraqi sovereignty, territorial integrity,” he said. “It will ask for the unity of Iraq.”
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said last Wednesday that Washington does not think it is “either necessary or desirable” to raise Iraq in the General Assembly, because the issue was discussed March 26-27 in the Security Council.
But Yemen’s Alsaidi said Monday that Arab nations want a General Assembly meeting, because “they discovered there was no possibility of a resolution” in the Security Council, where the United States and its ally Britain have veto power.
Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri said the Arab Group knows that nearly 50 countries in the U.S.-led coalition supporting the war will try to prevent a General Assembly resolution on Iraq.
But he said Iraq was facing “the destruction of a whole country and the killing of several thousand people” and “we think the international community has to shoulder its responsibilities.”
There are no vetoes in the 191-nation General Assembly. But unlike the Security Council, its resolutions are not legally binding though they do reflect international opinion.