The Security Council must swiftly and effectively discharge all its power and responsibilities to overcome emerging threats and prevent massacres, genocide and the killing of civilians around the world and immediately in Syria, members heard today while they considered the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
“We have to rebalance our approach to international peace and security,” United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres said, appealing for the Council’s action to swiftly end the violence in eastern Ghouta, Syria. “Our goal must be to do everything we can to help countries avert the outbreak of crises that take a high toll on humanity.”
Outlining ways to do so, he said crisis and conflict prevention were the starting point, with Chapter VI of the Charter describing the available tools — negotiation, enquiry, meditation, conciliation, judicial settlement and other measures. While the term “peacekeeping” was not in the Charter, that flagship United Nations activity must adapt to new challenges to avoid turning the Organization into “crisis babysitters”, and the aim was to refocus peacekeeping with realistic expectations, with well‑structured, well‑supported and well‑equipped forces and with support from host countries, he said, emphasizing that the Security Council must provide clear and focused mandates.
In a similar vein, former United Nations Secretary‑General Ban Ki‑moon said efforts to strengthen the Council and the Organization included addressing the root causes of conflict and working to prevent conflicts before they escalated. Further, Council reforms must make it more flexible in its decision‑making process in order to effectively respond to non‑traditional and transnational security challenges such as climate change, terrorism and violent extremism, nuclear proliferation and cross‑border insecurity.
The primary responsibility of preserving peace and security lay with the Member States, he said. For its part, the Council must focus more on Syria, violence between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon, the possibility of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) moving into vulnerable places such as Libya and the risk of terrorism and violent extremism in places like the Sahel region in Africa. In terms of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, he welcomed the recent resumption of inter‑Korean dialogue. Going forward, the United Nations, and especially the Council, must continue to strengthen the driving ideal of multilateralism, overcoming whatever challenges may loom over the horizon.
Recalling past experiences, Marcel Amon‑Tanoh, Côte d’Ivoire’s Foreign Minister, said the hard lessons learned after the massacre in Srebrenica and the genocide in Rwanda had demonstrated that reform efforts were already making changes, highlighting achievements, including in his country, Cambodia and Haiti. Many members pointed at the international community’s effective use of the Charter in liberating Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991, with some citing successes in Colombia and Liberia and with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme.
But, some representatives highlighted chronic Charter violations, including the Russian Federation’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine, the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons programme. Many urged the Council to take united action on such situations and to effectively implement relevant resolutions. Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, called for deeper unity among Council members, warning that the veto had too often been used by permanent members to prevent effective and timely action.
Some permanent Council members raised other concerns. The United States’ delegate said the United Nations had fallen short of the ideal of sovereignty, adding that the principle was no excuse to use violence and rape to expel a people, as the “Burmese authorities” were doing, nor was it an excuse to gas its own people, as the Syrian regime was doing. She emphasized that the Security Council must be willing to act when Member States violated rights.
The Russian Federation’s representative pointed at many instances of the unlawful use of force and change of regime by force, perpetrated under the pretext of such controversial principles as the “responsibility to protect”. Recalling that the General Assembly in 2017 had passed a resolution on establishing a more just world order, he said most Member States had supported the text, which should now be urgently implemented. Echoing a call for the Council to take prompt action on the situation in eastern Ghouta, he asked members to convene an open meeting on that situation tomorrow to ensure that all parties could present their interpretations and deliberate a way forward.
More broadly, Council members offered suggestions on how to use the Charter’s tools to build a more peaceful, just world. Peru’s representative said the United Nations must make itself more active in Chapter VI principles, playing its role in mediation and conflict prevention. In that regard, the new mediation advisory board was a positive step, he stressed.
Equatorial Guinea’s delegate said the Charter was flexible enough to address emerging threats, but efforts must be made to modernize its procedures. Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s representative said “unfortunately, we are yet to take advantage of what the Charter can offer to help us overcome the constraints of self‑defeating policies based on narrow national interest calculations” and warned that such policies led to double standards and undermined the Council’s very credibility.
Also delivering statements were ministers, high‑level officials and representatives of Poland, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, China, Sweden, France, Netherlands and Bolivia.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:54 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary‑General of the United Nations, first expressed his deep sadness for the people of eastern Ghouta, Syria, appealing for an immediate suspension of violence in the city to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid or evacuation.
Turning to the United Nations Charter’s relevance, at its creation and today, he said it had been drafted following the utter collapse of international order to help to stitch the world back together, with people at its centre. Today, the Charter principles — non‑use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, non‑intervention, cooperation, self‑determination and the sovereign equality of States — remained the foundation of international relations.
However, challenges had evolved, he said, with complex conflict drivers, migration, climate change threats and inequality. While the principles were still very relevant, its tools must constantly be updated and used with greater determination, harkening back to the Charter’s roots for inspiration. “We have to rebalance our approach to international peace and security,” he said. “Our goal must be to do everything we can to help countries avert the outbreak of crises that take a high toll on humanity.”
Outlining ways to do so, he said crisis and conflict prevention were the starting point, with Chapter VI describing the available tools — negotiation, enquiry, meditation, conciliation, judicial settlement and other measures. Encouraging Member States to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, he also urged them to make greater use of it and other international courts and tribunals to help to settle and avoid disputes.
Citing examples, he highlighted the Organization’s prevention efforts in Burkina Faso, Gambia and Guinea along with the roles played by the African Union, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy. A new mediation advisory board had undertaken its first initiative in 2018. The Charter bestowed on the Security Council powers and responsibilities, he said, underlining the urgency for bringing about a political settlement in Syria.
Sustaining peace was a key part of prevention, he said, noting that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offered an integrated framework for addressing conflict drivers and building stable societies. While the word “peacekeeping” was not in the Charter, that flagship United Nations activity was firmly rooted in the Charter’s ideals and demonstrated its flexibility. However, with today’s major challenges such as deployment to dangerous environments with multiple armed groups, scant peace to keep and no viable political solutions, the United Nations occasionally ended up serving as a “crisis babysitter”, or focusing on simple containment, which was not sustainable.
“Our aim is to refocus peacekeeping with realistic expectations, with well‑structured, well‑supported and well‑equipped forces and with the support we need from host countries,” he said, emphasizing that the Security Council must provide clear and focused mandates, and calling for greater engagement from all Member States in providing personnel as well as political, material and financial backing. At the same time, he said, peacekeeping was not the solution to all crisis situations. Different contexts may require other kinds of action, including peace enforcement and counter‑terrorist operations undertaken by coalitions of Member States. Here, too, clear mandates and predictable, adequate funding would be critical. In regard to currently having the highest number of United Nations sanctions regimes in the Organization’s history, he said since their implementation went beyond Member States, greater attention must be paid to the private sector, in particular the financial industry, and the international community must also be careful to avoid unintended humanitarian consequences.
Turning to Chapter VIII, he said even before most regions had created regional or subregional organizations, the drafters of the Charter had recognized the value of such arrangements as a first resort for the pacific settlement of local disputes. Noting the significant joint efforts with the African Union, he called on the international community to ensure financing for African forces operating in Somalia, the Sahel and around Lake Chad.
The purposes and principles of the Charter spoke to today’s challenges as firmly as they spoke to people who had just lived through the most horrible war the world had ever seen, he said. Current reform efforts aimed at making the international community more effective in fulfilling the Charter’s vision. “The Charter is our living template for serving ‘we the peoples’,” he said, emphasizing that the Secretariat stood ready to help Member States to embrace the full spirit of the Charter and use it to its full potential across all pillars of the United Nations work.
BAN KI‑MOON, former Secretary‑General of the United Nations, noted that under the dramatically changing circumstances of today’s world, some were questioning the Organization’s role and effectiveness. The Security Council’s primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security was needed now more than ever, he said, stressing that addressing the root causes of conflict and working to prevent conflicts before they escalated, alongside national and international stakeholders, would ultimately make the Council and the Organization stronger as a result. In that connection, the Security Council must undergo reforms to be more flexible in its decision‑making process in order to effectively respond to non‑traditional and transnational security challenges such as climate change, terrorism and violent extremism, nuclear proliferation, and cross‑border insecurity.
Yet, the primary responsibility of preserving peace and security lay with the Member States themselves, and the failure of some national leaders to fulfil their obligations to their own people significantly undermined the role of the United Nations in resolving conflicts, he said. Those political leaders often created dire political and economic instabilities where innocent civilians bore the bulk of the suffering. The Security Council must focus more on Syria, violence between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon, the possibility of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) moving into vulnerable places such as Libya and the risk of terrorism and violent extremism in places like the Sahel region in Africa. “As extreme poverty, terrorism, the illicit arms trade and human trafficking are all prevalent in a volatile cross‑border environment, we must bolster our collective actions to address such vulnerabilities,” he underscored.
Today, not only did international peace and security issues remain at a critical juncture, but multilateralism was at stake as well, he said. The United Nations, especially the Security Council, must continue to strengthen that driving ideal, overcoming whatever challenges may loom over the horizon. The Korean Peninsula faced serious challenges due to continued nuclear tests and long‑range ballistic missile launches conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The firm and unified actions by the Security Council would be essential until the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of that country’s nuclear weapons and related programmes were realized. In that context, he welcomed the recent resumption of inter‑Korean dialogue, emphasizing that the international community must keep alive that hard‑won momentum for dialogue so that the narrow window of opportunity would be able to lead to a more meaningful and genuine dialogue process of reconciliation, peace and ultimately denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
SHEIKH SABAH KHALID AL HAMAD AL SABAH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Council President for February, speaking in his national capacity, described the current meeting — where the Council had been addressed by two Secretaries‑General — as a historic one. Kuwait had decided to convene the meeting to underscore its commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter, as well as to urge Member States to re‑examine the Charter tools available to them for the maintenance of international peace and security. Recalling some Charter violations throughout history, he recalled that Kuwait itself had lived through an invasion and that today’s meeting was held 27 years after its historic liberation. Chapter VI laid out peaceful ways to deal with crises, including through arbitration and mediation; too often, however, the Council had failed to use those preventive measures which could “nip such crises in the bud”, as in the case of Srebrenica — “a lesson to us all”. Chapter VII of the Charter allowed for the use of force, he said, pointing to the liberation of Iraq as proof of that Chapter’s effectiveness when all diplomatic means had been exhausted. Calling for deeper unity among Council members, he also warned that the veto had too often been used to prevent effective and timely action.
JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, outlining his country’s long‑standing commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security, said international law — as a horizontal system of cooperation — depended on the reliability and constancy of commitments undertaken by States. The Security Council should be considered as an ultimate custodian of States’ territorial sovereignty, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of the threat and use of force against States’ territorial integrity or political independence, as well as respect for human rights. Recalling that the Council had, over its history, established international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia — and also referred cases to the International Criminal Court — he nevertheless warned that flagrant violations of international law still continued, as seen in the illegal annexation of Crimea and support for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. Also voicing concern about violations of international humanitarian law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons in Syria — as well as worrying new developments in that country’s eastern Ghouta province — he said there could be no justification for indiscriminate attacks against civilians, civilian infrastructure and health facilities.
MARCEL AMON‑TANOH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, said that the liberation of Kuwait by an international coalition in 1991 was a strong demonstration of the Charter’s principles. Current geopolitical developments had only reinforced the need to put the Charter and the Security Council at the centre of crisis prevention and ongoing efforts to promote preventive diplomacy, he said, encouraging support for regional, subregional and civil society early warning and preventive mechanisms. Efforts on the ground to avert conflict had not prevented it worldwide. Cold war conflicts and tensions had tested the response system, he said, adding that it was difficult to examine the Organization’s responses without underlining the reform that followed lessons learned from the Srebrenica massacre and the genocide in Rwanda. Pointing at successes that had saved millions of lives in Cambodia, Mozambique, Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire, he said achievements in his country were a good example of how the Charter could effectively be used. New responses must tackle emerging threats such as terrorism and climate change, he said, calling on the Council to take appropriate action. Root causes of conflicts must be addressed and urgent reform efforts must include closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, as could be seen in the G5 Sahel force, he said, adding that only a strong Council could make such changes a reality on the ground.
NIKKI HALEY (United States) said everyone claimed to be motivated by the Charter, but Member States did not always do that. The United Nations had fallen short of the ideal of sovereignty, she said, adding that the United States Constitution made her accountable to her people. But, sovereignty gave no Member State the right to trample on human rights, she said, noting that violations of human dignity often led to threats to peace and security. Sovereignty was no excuse to use violence and rape to expel a people, as the “Burmese authorities” were doing, nor was it an excuse to gas its own people, as the Syrian regime was doing, she said, emphasizing that the Security Council must be willing to act when Member States violated rights. However, too many Member States violated rights, with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continuing its destructive actions and the Russian Federation continuing to act as a destabilizing force in Ukraine. Recalling that in 1990, when Iraq had invaded Kuwait and had ignored Council resolutions, the international community had invoked the Charter, with 34 countries joining the fight in 1991 to liberate the country, she said that case was a reminder of what the Organization could do when it lived up to the Charter’s principles.
MUKHTAR TILEUBERDI, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, pointing out that there were today some 40 armed conflicts of varying intensity around the world as well as more than 65 million displaced persons, declared: “All these are an exorbitant price to pay for the irresponsible behaviour of States and their Governments.” The threats of use of weapons of mass destruction and growing rivalries between regional powers, as well as heightened tensions between military‑political blocs, called for an urgent and dramatic shift in thinking leading to real action. Outlining a vision of a world without any conflicts by 2045 — the United Nations 100th anniversary — he voiced support for confidence‑building measures to prevent conflicts and resolve pressing global problems. More than 20 years ago, Kazakhstan had initiated the founding of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence‑building Measures in Asia, uniting 26 countries, which was still functioning today. Concluding, he voiced support for a threefold strategy — including the reconciliation of peace and security with sustainable development, regional approaches to such cross‑border issues as terrorism and a more effective and efficient “One UN” system — and called for strict adherence to the Charter and all principles enshrined in international law.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom), agreeing that the liberation of Kuwait 27 years ago had been a clear example of the United Nations fulfilling its Charter purposes, said more recently the body had played a vital role in focusing the world’s attention on the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Calling for further action in that regard, he also drew attention to successful efforts in Colombia, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the Council’s unified condemnation of ISIL/Da’esh as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s illegal nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes. However, there had also been steps backwards. “We cannot allow Russia to redraw the lines of Europe”, or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity or the human rights of people in eastern Ukraine. Abhorrent acts continued in Syria, and while resolution 2393 (2017) had enabled the United Nations to deliver humanitarian aid across borders, “knowing that we can deliver results makes our failures all the more frustrating”. Calling on Council members to work together to pass a resolution on Syria, he said all parties — including the Assad regime — must be held accountable for their crimes, and the work of the independent investigative mechanism established to examine chemical weapons use must continue. The United Kingdom had signed onto the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group’s code of conduct and was committed to never using its veto in a case involving mass atrocities.
MA ZHAOXU (China) said the Charter carried the hope of all nations for peace and development. The current profound challenges meant that the international community must carry forward the Charter and its principles. Sharing a range of ideas on how to do so, he said sovereign equality was an important norm for all countries, and the international community should support multilateralism and abandon a cold war mentality. Countries should strive for a world of universal security, taking a holistic approach in the face of traditional and new threats. Nations must also respect efforts for mediation and the work of the Security Council as it acted upon the Charter in the peaceful settlement of dispute. As the first signatory of the Charter and a founding member of the United Nations, China was ready to shoulder its responsibility in helping to foster world peace and international cooperation.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), emphasizing that the Charter’s principles remained as crucial today as they had been 70 years ago, agreed with others that “we are indeed living in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world”. Over its history, the United Nations had often stood up for its principles, he said, noting that it had allowed a country whose territorial integrity was violated 27 years ago to regain its sovereignty and contribute its part to the promotion of international peace and security. It was indeed historic that Ethiopia had been a member of the Council at the height of the Gulf War and took a principled position, based on the Charter, to stand in solidarity with Kuwait not only in condemning the invasion but also to fully support all resolutions aimed at restoring its sovereignty. Chapter VI of the Charter was clear in the primacy of the peaceful settlement of disputes while also calling for prevention measures to avoid conflict before they erupted. “Unfortunately, we are yet to take advantage of what the Charter can offer to help us overcome the constraints of self‑defeating policies based on narrow national interest calculations,” he stressed, warning that such policies led to double standards and undermined the Council’s very credibility.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea), recalling the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, highlighted the international community’s critical actions in upholding the Charter. To achieve the United Nations aim of lasting peace for humankind, it had been essential to establish just rules to address problems, with preventive diplomacy being an effective tool. The Charter continued to be a valid instrument that must be respected, including its sacred principles of sovereignty and non‑intervention. All nations must contribute to achieving common goals, with negotiation and dialogue being the only ways to address current threats such as terrorism and climate change. Multilateralism must be revitalized, he said, adding that as the world was changing, the United Nations must adapt. The Charter was flexible enough to address emerging threats, but efforts must be made to modernize its procedures. Efforts to combat poverty were part of the 2030 Agenda objectives. Those needs were more pressing in Africa at a time when the world was in a state of flux. The role of the United Nations was critical as its principles must be pursued.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said that given the current challenges, it was important for all nations to strengthen and renew the United Nations in its role of sustaining peace. Supporting the Secretary‑General’s proposals, he said the Charter played a key role in reaching that common goal. The United Nations must make itself more active in Chapter VI principles, playing its role in mediation and conflict prevention, he said, highlighting that the new mediation advisory board was a positive step. For its part, Peru had resorted to the International Court of Justice to resolve sensitive border disputes and, once resolved, it now enjoyed the best relations with its neighbours. Challenges must be addressed and deadlocks in mediations must be overcome to permit effective preventive diplomacy. In that regard, the Charter required all Member States to cooperate. Noting that the first principle in the Charter was to maintain international peace and security, he said efforts must focus on addressing any challenges to those goals. Recalling the 1991 intervention in Kuwait, he said collective diplomacy had been critical and should be predicated on early warning capacities.
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said that for many, the aspirations captured in the purposes and principles of the Charter, particularly to live in peace and security without violence, remained elusive. The use of the veto to protect narrow national interests in situations of mass atrocities was totally unacceptable, he said, calling for the reform of the Security Council so that it reflected the realities of today’s world. The Council should make better use of early action to peacefully resolve conflicts, while also supporting mediation and good offices in an engaged, supportive and unified manner. Regional organizations were key actors in preventing conflict and settling disputes at the regional level, he said, noting that judicial bodies, such as international courts, contributed to resolving disputes based on the rule of law. He called on the Secretary‑General to make even more use of his prerogative to bring to the Council’s attention any matter that in his opinion threatened international peace and security.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), underscoring the critical Charter principles of the independence and sovereign equality of States, non‑interference in domestic affairs and the peaceful settlements of disputes, nevertheless cited many instances of the unlawful use of force, change of regime by force and the introduction of foreign social and cultural standards. Many such violations had been perpetrated under the pretext of such controversial principles as the “responsibility to protect”, he said, warning that today some States sought to artificially create a global environment of mistrust by imposing unilateral sanctions or threatening force. “The era of the cold war, and the post‑bipolar era, is over,” he stressed, adding that some countries still refused to accept that reality. Moreover, the world today was seeing a stronger will on the part of countries and peoples to “build their lives themselves” without outside advice or interference. Emphasizing that the Russian Federation did not have a “regime” — as the United States representative had said — but a democratically elected Government, he said the same was true of Syria “whether some like it or not”.
Citing other recent violations of the Charter, he said the Syrian city of Raqqa had been invaded under false pretences, while chaos in the Middle East and North Africa — sparked in part by the United Nations intervention in Libya — had led to a new terrorism quasi‑State. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria was treated as a bargaining chip. The issue of conflict prevention that was so popular today had not been considered in 2014, when a peace agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine had been trampled by the latter just days after its signing. Today, there was a new phenomenon marked by accusing countries of interfering in the domestic affairs of others without offering any proof. Recalling that the General Assembly in 2017 had passed a resolution on establishing a more just world order — which specifically refused to acknowledge coups d’etat or the extraterritorial use of national legislation — he said the text had been supported by the vast majority of Member States and should now be urgently implemented. Regarding the situation in eastern Ghouta, he asked the Council to convene an open meeting on that situation tomorrow in order to ensure that all parties could present their interpretations and deliberate a way forward.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), condemning the bombings in eastern Ghouta and calling for a draft resolution aimed at enabling a cessation of hostilities in Syria, said the current situation was the direst since the start of that country’s conflict. The Charter was the very heart of world order. Today’s greatest challenges — including unequal development, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and others — could only be successfully handled in a multilateral manner. Citing several positive examples, he said the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme and the peace agreement negotiated in Colombia demonstrated the importance of negotiation. It was also critical to begin work before crises began through early warning systems, he said, underlining the Secretary‑General’s important recent reports on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Stressing that maintenance of peace and security would not be successful without ensuring full respect for human rights, he cited recent violations in Myanmar and Syria, calling for safeguards to ensure that such acts were not repeated. The International Criminal Court also had a clear role to play in that regard, he said, joining other permanent Council members in committing to never use the veto in cases of mass atrocities.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said that one of the most effective ways to prevent armed conflict was through the peaceful settlement of disputes, noting that the Council had the tools and responsibility to ensure that parties effectively settled their disagreements. Yet, when prevention failed, the Council also had the primary responsibility to restore international peace and security, even though today’s complex and high‑risk environments created new challenges for peacekeeping operations. In that context, the Council must provide robust mandates and act effectively when host States failed to uphold their commitments. No sustainable peace could be built on impunity, he said, underlining that when national Governments failed to ensure criminal accountability, the Council must ensure that perpetrators were prosecuted and brought to justice. In that regard, his delegation supported the initiative to renounce the use of the veto by permanent members in instances of mass atrocities.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said today’s meeting was particularly timely as multilateralism was presently under attack. The rules‑based world order was at risk, he stressed, adding that its continued prominence would depend on States’ respect for the Charter and for such principles as prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Calling for full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States, he said force should be seen only as a last resort and must always be carried out in strict compliance with Chapter VII. Calling for enhanced efforts to address the root causes of conflict, he said that, too often, those roots lay in imperialism and the determination of some nations to impose their will on others throughout the world. Unilateral actions, carried out in flagrant violations of the Charter, had been seen just days ago, when one power in his region had called for a coup d’etat in violation of international law. With respect to the imposition of sanctions under Chapter VII, he said their application must always be temporary in nature, with their impacts reviewed periodically and revised as needed. Condemning any unilateral imposition of sanctions, he also cautioned against allowing any United Nations body to accumulate too much power or letting the Council in particular become politicized in any way.