Bolivia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti’s full speech at the UN Security Council on April 14, 2018, after the USA, UK and France carried out unilateral strikes against Syria.
Text and subtitles: unz.com/sayedhasan
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
My delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for his presence and participation in this meeting. Bolivia would like to thank the Russian Federation for having taken the initiative of convening this urgent meeting of the Security Council.
Today is a dark day in the history of this Council. Three Permanent Members of the Council have taken the decision to breach the Charter of the United Nations and take a unilateral action against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another member State of our organization.
Bolivia wishes to clearly and categorically express its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons or chemical substances as weapons as this is unjustifiable and criminal wherever it happens and by whomever. Their use is a serious crime against international law, international peace and security. Those responsible for committing such terrible and criminal acts must be identified, investigated, prosecuted and punished in the most rigorous way. Bolivia continues to demand a transparent and impartial investigation to determine who are the culprits.
But in addition to that, the topic of this meeting is the fact that three Permanent Members of the Council as I said have used force in breach of the United Nations Charter. You cannot combat alleged violations of international law by violating international law.
Bolivia is surprised by the fact that the Permanent Members of the Council, given that they have a greater responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, have decided to bypass the United Nations when it suits them. They defend multilateralism as long as it serves them, and then they simply discard it. When it is no longer in their interests, they are no longer attached to multilateralism.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case where unilateral action has been used. Let’s recall, and we will never tire of recalling it, the events in Iraq in 2003 and in Libya in 2011.
Any such action should be authorized by the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter. Any unilateral action is contrary to international law, contrary to the values and principles of the UN Charter and unacceptable. Bolivia rejects the threat and use of force.
Unilateral action not only responds to the specific interests of those who carry them out, but in fact, they are, and allow me the expression, imperialist measures. It so happens that Empires, as we stated earlier, consider themselves superior to the rest of the world. They think that they are exceptional, they think that they are indispensable, and hence, they think that they are above the law, above international law.
But in fact, the real interest of those who unilaterally use force and violate the United Nations Charter is not to advance democracy or advance freedom, or to combat the use of chemical weapons. Their goal is to expand their power and expand their domination.
What we have witnessed over the past few hours is an attack against the fact-finding mission of the OPCW which hasn’t even started their work that was scheduled to begin today. This unilateral attack is an attack against multi-lateral organizations such as the OPCW. It’s an attack against this Council and its main duty of maintaining international peace and security. It is an attack against the UN Charter. And it is an attack against the entire international community.
I ask the Permanent Members who used force just a few hours ago, how much money they invested in arming and training the armed groups in Syria? Which national resources are they coveting? And with which moral authority will they be able to invoke the United Nations Charter in other situations?
Unfortunately, the History of violations of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter is long. We mentioned Libya, Iraq, but there are more recent chapters. It happened with the unilateral decision regarding Jerusalem, another clear signal of a lack of respect for international law. Who are those who sell weapons to those who bomb civilians in Yemen? Who are those who reject the Paris Climate Change Agreement? Who are those who stepped away from the international migration pact? Who are those who build walls?
But we also believe that it is important to evoke more ancient History. We are suffering the consequences, especially in the Middle East, of actions carried out by certain colonialist powers more than a century ago, and of their disdain for international law. The same complete disdain for international law that we are experiencing now in Syria is also something that we have seen when, for example, the United Kingdom refuses to return the Falkland [Malvinas] Islands’ sovereignty to Argentina, or when the Chagos archipelago issue is not resolved, when the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on this topic is not heeded. In other words, we are talking about a whole range of policies that undermine international peace and security.
The Permanent Representative of the United States says that the United States, her country, is ready, is “locked and loaded”, she says. Of course, we clearly heard her words with a great deal of concern and a great deal of sadness. We know that the United States have aircraft carriers, satellites, “intelligent missiles”, smart bombs, and a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. We also know that they have nothing but scorn for international law.
But we have this, we have the principles and purposes of the UN Charter [he picks up an exemplary and shows it]. And ultimately, as History has demonstrated many times, ultimately, these principles will prevail.
Thank you very much.