UN rejects US sanctions arguments about rogue states

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (South News) - The General Assembly on Monday has reiterated its call for the immediate repeal of unilateral extraterritorial laws that impose sanctions on corporations and nationals of other States.

The vote with 80 in favour, with only the United States and Israel voting against rejected US representative Peter Burleigh arguments that,``In responding to rogue state behaviour, the United States is defending not only its own interests but the security of the international community as a whole.''

Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Maria de los Angeles Flores pointed out that accepting such measures would mean recognizing a system of international relations favoring irresponsible policies of a powerful nation.

The resolution, which was submitted by Libya, was mainly supported by underdeveloped nations. Monday's vote reiterates the UN General Assembly rejection of extraterritorial laws as a way to exert political and economic coercion. It expressed concern at the negative impact of such measures on trade, financial and economic cooperation and the serious obstacles created by such measures to the free flow of trade and capital at the regional and international levels.

Libyan Ambassador Abuzed Dorda, introducing the resolution, called on the international community to ``eliminate a precedent which could take the world to the unknown, with all its possible consequences and repercussions.''

Dorda said the victor in the "so-called" cold war thought that the international situation had become ripe for "him to dictate his conditions and issue orders so that he may reshape the world in a manner that would guarantee his own interests". That "victor", the Libyan representative continued, did so in "anticipation of the possibility of the rise of any sort of international balance, and to pre-empt the rise of such a balance at all costs". If the right of a certain country to implement extraterritorial laws was accepted, it could become a precedent for other countries, enabling them to enact similar laws.

Statements in favour were also made by the representatives of Indonesia (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Ghana, Cuba, Iraq, Sudan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Burkina Faso, Qatar, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria (on behalf of the African States) and Malaysia.

The resolution, similar to one that the assembly adopted in 1996 by 56 to four, with 76 abstentions, reaffirmed the inalienable right of every State to seek economic and social development and to choose the political, economic and social system that it deems most appropriate for the welfare of its people, in accordance with its national plans and policies.

The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to its fifty-fifth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution. It also decided to include in the provisional agenda of that session the item entitled "Elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion."

The vote complements  a Cuban-sponsored resolution that the assembly adopted on Oct. 14 by 157 to two, the United States and Israel again in opposition, with only 12 abstentions, calling for an end to an almost four-decade-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

Although the resolution does not mention the United States by name, it is directed against such U.S. legislation as the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act -- which punishes foreign firms investing in energy projects in those two countries. Washington's allies, as well as its foes, voted for that resolution since they are opposed in principle to the ``extraterritorial'' effects of legislation that they see as violating their sovereignty by subjecting them to U.S. laws and regulations.

The resolution reaffirms the ``inalienable right of every state to seek economic and social development and to choose the political, economic and social system'' that it deems the most appropriate for the welfare of its peoples.

It again urges all states ``not to recognise or apply extraterritorial coercive economic measures or legislative enactments'' unilaterally imposed by any state.