UN Watch is an NGO that specializes in getting cross about the numerous misdeeds (whether major or minor) of the UN system. This week it has had something pretty straightforward to be peeved about: North Korea is chairing a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) this month. Yes, that North Korea.
“Allowing an international outlaw to oversee international arms control efforts is just plain wrong,” advocacy group U.N. Watch’s director Hillel Neuer said today. “North Korea is a ruthless regime that menaces its neighbors and starves its own people, and should not be granted the propaganda coup of heading a world body dedicated to peace.”
Fireworks did not, however, ensue. The CD’s members held what appears to have been an exceptionally turgid debate on why everyone thinks that the CD doesn’t matter any more. It clearly gripped some of the participants, as the photo from the session reproduced above shows. But something very important did happen at this meeting, if the UN’s own summary is to be believed. The representaive of Iran managed to come with a statement on the CD’s woes that, to my mind, may be the finest piece of hollow UN rhetoric delivered in any forum on any subject:
Changing the Rules of Procedure was not the answer to breaking the impasse and many treaties had been negotiated under these same rules. Thus, they should deal with the root causes of the problem rather than advocating cosmetic changes in the procedures without tackling the substance and crux of the problem which was a lack of political will for creating an environment in which the security concerns of all countries could be addressed. [Emphasis added.]
Go on, read it out loud. Feel the words trip off your tongue. Luxuriate in them.