Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Why aren't we going to the UN?

National leader Bill English has accused the government of hypocrisy for not seeking a UN mandate for intervening in the Solomons. But according to the Herald this morning, we've already asked the UN for help - twice:

[The intervention] follows two unsuccessful appeals to the UN for intervention last year, and growing alarm in the region at the collapse of law and order and the inability of the islands' elected leaders to govern.

Why were the UN attempts unsuccessful? Because the big players on the security council didn't care, and were more focused on Iraq than helping a small nation in need. The UN's strength is also its weakness: it can only act on things the international community really cares about.

(I'm not sure that a UN mandate is actually necessary anyway, given that intervention has been invited by the Solomons' government, and there's no question of that government's legitimacy. But it would have been nice, if only so that the Pacific region didn't have to bear the burden alone)

In the absence of a UN mandate, we've still pursued a multilateral path, by seeking the cooperation of the South Pacific Forum. And given the overwhelming support from them (and the fact that half are actively contributing to the mission), I think we can feel secure that we're acting in accordance with the will of the region.