3 Nations Veto U.N. Censure of Libya Raid
A Security Council resolution condemning last week’s U.S. raid against Libya was jointly vetoed Monday by the United States, Britain and France.
Before being vetoed, the resolution won nine votes from Communist and nonaligned nations in the 15-member body. Australia and Denmark voted against the resolution, and Venezuela abstained.
The resolution condemned “the armed attack by the United States of America in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct.” It also called on the United States to “refrain forthwith from any attacks or threats thereof.”
The resolution did not mention Libya by name but contained an article condemning “all terrorist activities whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states.”
President Reagan ordered the raid on Libya after receiving information that linked its government to the bombing of a West Berlin nightclub in which two people died, including an American serviceman.
In an angry rejection speech, U.S. Ambassador Vernon A. Walters said he was “outraged by the fact that nowhere in this resolution do we find any mention of the brutal campaign of terror waged by Libya.”
“How many American citizens and innocents must be killed before our right to respond is recognized?” Walters asked.
Walters said the resolution’s “approach that condemns acts of the United States against Libya but ignores Libya’s documented, open, undeniable use of terrrorism” is a product of perverted thinking that “equates the criminal with his victim.”
The United States, Britain and France are permanent members of the council along with the Soviet Union and China. Each of their negative votes constituted a veto.
Voting for the resolution were Bulgaria, China, the Congo Republic, Ghana, Madagascar, the Soviet Union, Thailand (which had been expected to abstain), Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates. Nine council votes are required to pass a resolution.
The critical vote was cast by Thailand, a nation considered friendly to the United States. Many observers thought that Thailand would abstain.
Thailand’s ambassador, Birabhongse Kasemsri, said he cast his vote “with a heavy heart” because of “ties of friendship.”
But he said preemptive attacks are not permitted under the U.N. Charter and should not take the place of diplomacy and multilateral efforts to resolve conflicts.