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UN Security Council declares commitment to 'international law' as tensions flare

AFP , Thursday 9 Jan 2020
António Guterres and Kelly Craft
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres speaks with the United States Permanent Representative to the UN Kelly Craft during a UN Security Council meeting titled "Maintenance of International Peace and Security" on January 09, 2020 in New York City. Representatives from over 50 nations voiced their concerns about ongoing conflicts in the world including recent tensions between Iran and America (Photo: AFP)

The UN Security Council on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to "an international order based on international law" amid fears of armed conflict between the United States and Iran.

The 15 members said the Security Council "reaffirms its commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, including the purposes and principles of the Charter, and an international order based on international law."

The declaration was issued at the start of a debate on the UN Charter which had been tabled before the present crisis by Vietnam, a non-permanent member of the Security Council and which assumes the rotating presidency this month.

A record 111 countries, including several ministers, had signed up for the marathon debate on peace and security that will bring US and Iranian officials into the same room for the first time since the two countries came to brink of war in the past week following the US assassination of a top Iranian general.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said this week he had been informed by UN chief Antonio Guterres that Washington has denied him a visa for his trip to the UN headquarters in New York.

Asked about Zarif's complaint, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department does not comment on visa matters.

"The United States never say 'no.' They just don't respond," a UN official told AFP, noting that the tactic allowed Washington to deny any breach of its obligations as host country to the UN headquarters.

The same source, who asked not to be named, said that if the US formally refuses a request for a visa it is obliged to notify the UN leadership, which would cast its actions in an unfavorable light.

The declaration came as the UN prepares to celebrate 75 years since its founding in October 1945.

"The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security," it said.

In the week since tensions flared between the United States and Iran, no member nation of the Security Council has called for an emergency meeting of the body to address the crisis that has brought the Middle East to the verge of open war.

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