With ‘Rogue Regimes’ in U.N. Leadership Posts, Why Should U.S. Continue ‘No Strings Attached Funding,’ Lawmaker Asks (CNS) CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Patrick Goodenough 07/12/12)
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(CNSNews.com) – Citing Iran’s election to a body overseeing a United
Nations conference negotiating a global arms trade treaty, a senior
Republican lawmaker Wednesday slammed the world body for continuing
to elevate disreputable regimes to leadership positions.
“How many more good U.S. taxpayer dollars will the administration
keep throwing after the bad?” asked Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-
Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a leading
critic of the U.N. on Capitol Hill.
Iran was last week named as a member of the “bureau” supervising the
U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a month-long meeting
in New York aimed at finalizing a conventional arms trade treaty.
Put forward by the Asia regional group, Iran’s nomination drew no
objections from any country present.
As CNSNews.com reported earlier, the move came at a time when,
according to an expert panel monitoring U.N. Security Council
sanctions, Tehran continues to contravene a ban on exporting weapons,
with Syria’s Assad regime the main beneficiary. Iran also continues
to defy several Security Council resolutions relating to its nuclear
Its provocative conduct in the international community has not
prevented Iran from taking up numerous leadership posts at the U.N.,
“Even as the Iranian regime funnels weapons to Assad and his thugs to
butcher the Syrian people, the U.N. did nothing to block Iran from
being elected to negotiate an arms trade treaty,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
“Every week, it seems the U.N. finds a new way to hit bottom. Coming
on the heels of the discovery that a U.N. agency supplied Iran and
North Korea with sensitive technology, the election of Iran for this
conference again shows whose agenda the U.N. is enabling.
“Last year, North Korea and Cuba served consecutive terms as
president of the U.N. Commission on Disarmament,” she recalled. “How
much longer can the U.N.’s apologists make excuses for these
At the time of North Korea’s appointment to the Commission on
Disarmament’s rotating presidency, the State Department said it
had “chosen not to make a big deal out of this because it’s a
relatively low-level, inconsequential event.”
Canada, by contrast, said it would boycott the session chaired by
This week, the administration again played down the significance of
Iran’s ATT appointment, with a State Department official telling Fox
News that “it’s a symbolic position with little impact on a month-
long negotiation that must be decided by consensus.”
‘Bar abusers from leadership posts’
Last January, the administration’s New York-based representative for
U.N. management and reform, Joseph Torsella, pledged that the U.S.
would no longer tolerate inappropriate appointments at the U.N.
“If a member state is under Security Council sanction for weapons
proliferation or massive human rights abuses, it should be barred,
plain and simple, from leadership roles like chairmanships of U.N.
bodies,” he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“Abusers of international law or norms should not be the public face
of the U.N.,” he added. “With these and other reforms we’re fighting,
quite simply, to ensure that member states’ actions at the U.N. match
up to the U.N.’s founding principles and values.”
Torsella said it was time “to chip away at the outmoded idea that
uncontested slates and strict regional rotations are more important
than the U.N.’s credibility and effectiveness.”
The U.N.’s five regional groups – Asia, Africa, Latin America and the
Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others – frequently
submit “closed slates” of candidates for U.N. leadership posts,
putting forward the same number of countries as there are seats
available for that group.
The practice has paved the way for some of the world’s most
repressive regimes to become members of the U.N. Human Rights
Council, for example.
Similarly, Iran was one of three Asian countries put forward last
week for three positions earmarked for Asia in the ATT bureau. (The
other two were Japan and South Korea.)
Still, no country is obliged to accept closed slates.
In 2009, Iran was elected onto the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of
Women, despite concerns raised by hundreds of Iranian women’s rights
activists that Tehran would use its position “to curtail progress and
the advancement of women.”
Since no country raised an objection or called for a vote Iran was
elected to the position “by acclamation.”
Neither the U.S. Mission to the U.N. – where Torsella is based – nor
the State Department responded to queries this week.
Ros-Lehtinen is author of legislation, marked up by her committee
last October, seeking to change the way the U.N. is funded – a shift
from “assessed” to “voluntary” contributions – allowing major funders
like the U.S. to use their financial leverage to push for meaningful
“It’s time to end unconditional, no strings attached funding to a
U.N. that lets the inmates run the asylum,” she said Wednesday. “We
need to leverage our contributions at the U.N. to achieve real
reforms, which include ensuring that rogue regimes are not elevated
to positions of power.”
The administration strongly opposes the legislation. (copyright 1998-
2012 Cybercast News Service 07/12/12)
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