B R E A K I N G … N E W S …

COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 7 Dec 2008

Jan Oberg - Member of the TRANSCEND Network

Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research-TFF hasobtained a copy, reproduced below, of a UN-NATO document held secret tothe general public.

It is a Cooperation Declaration signed by the top leaders of the United Nations and NATO.

Here follows the statement of the TFF Board, formulated as 9 questions,for everyone – including the media – to discuss and take action upon:

"The United Nations considers it secret and, thus, hasn¹t published iton its homepage; NATO is pleased to give you a copy upon request; NATOgovernments know about it; Western mainstream media have hardlymentioned it – – – The Joint Declaration on UN/NATO SecretariatCooperation that was signed by the Secretary-Generals of the UN andNATO in September this year.

To say the least, this Declaration should have raised a few eyebrows.As a matter of fact, it ought to be impossible for SG Ban Ki-Moon tosign such document with any military alliance, let alone to do sowithout the consent of the member states of the United Nations.

We judge it to be high time to stimulate a public debate on UN-NATOco-operation. Frankly, it should have begun when, in January 2007, BanKi-Moon visited NATO and stated that: ³I am very much assured andencouraged by what NATO has been contributing to peace and securityaround the world [Š].We have the same goals, we are committed to workvery closely together in the future².
(Source: http://www.nato.int/docu/update/2007/01-january/e0124a.html)

The UN Charter’s preamble states that war shall be abolished. Morespecifically, Article 1 states that peace shall be brought about bypeaceful means. It is to be feared that a UN Secretary-General whobelieves that the UN and NATO "have the same goals" will be unable toperform his role as defender of that Charter.

Here is the text of the Declaration for you to see what the UN does notwant you to see. After it we – the Board of the TransnationalFoundation – raise nine questions of substance that reflect our deepconcerns about the ways of the UN at this moment in history when, morethan ever, the goal of general and complete disarmament and nuclearabolition, should have the highest priority.

[ BEGIN DECLARATION ]

Annex to DSG (2008)0714 (INV)

Joint Declaration on UN/NATO Secretariat Cooperation

The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary Generalof the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, welcoming over a decade ofcooperation between the United Nations and NATO in support of the workof the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security,and desiring, in the spirit of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, toprovide a framework for expanded consultation and cooperation betweentheir respective Secretariats, have agreed to the following:

1. We, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and theSecretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reaffirmour commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security.

2. Our shared experiences have demonstrated the value of effective andefficient coordination between our Organizations. We have developedoperational cooperation, for example, in peacekeeping in the Balkansand Afghanistan, where UN-authorized NATO-led operations work alongsideUN peace operations. We have also worked together and collectively withother partners in support of regional and sub-regional organizations.In addition, NATO provided assets and personnel to Pakistan in supportof UN disaster relief operations in 2005. Our cooperation is guided bythe UN Charter, internationally recognized humanitarian principles andguidelines, and consultation with national authorities.

3. Further cooperation will significantly contribute to addressing thethreats and challenges to which the international community is calledupon to respond. We therefore underscore the importance of establishinga framework for consultation and dialogue and cooperation, including,as appropriate, through regular exchanges and dialogue at senior andworking levels on political and operational issues. We also reaffirmour willingness to provide, within our respective mandates andcapabilities, assistance to regional and sub-regional organizations, asrequested and as appropriate.

4. Understanding that this framework should be flexible and evolvingover time, we agree to further develop the cooperation between ourorganizations on issues of common interest, in, but not limited to,communication and information-sharing, including on issues pertainingto the protection of civilian populations; capacity-building, trainingand exercises; lessons learned, planning and support for contingencies;and operational coordination and support.

5. Our cooperation will continue to develop in a practical fashion,taking into account each Organizations specific mandate, expertise,procedures and capabilities, so as to contribute to improvinginternational coordination in response to global challenges.

Done in New York on 23 September 2008

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer                                  BAN Ki-Moon
Secretary General of the                               Secretary-General
North Atlantic Treaty Oranization                 of the United Nations

[END DECLARATION]

1. According to the UN Charter, Article 100, the UN Secretary-Generalis the custodian of the UN’s integrity. s/he shall receive noinstructions from any state or authority but serve only the UN.

Q: Does this agreement increase the SG¹s opportunities to do so anddoes it strengthen the credibility of that provision in the future?

2. NATO is a nuclear-based military alliance upholding the right to usenuclear weapons as the first response even against a conventionalattack.

Q: Is the choice of NATO compatible with Article 1 of the Charter whichstates that peace shall be brought about by peaceful means? Why haveother regional organisations that do work with civilian means – likethe OSCE or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – not beenoffered a similar cooperative status?

3. NATO’s Washington Agreement of 1999 aligns itself closely with theUN Charter. However, it no longer refers to the overarching authorityof the UN Security Council; rather it brings into the purview of NATOthe right to intervene when faced with what NATO calls new risks suchas  ‘environment’, ‘insufficient reforms’, ‘uncontrollable movements oflarge numbers of people’ and, most significantly, ‘interruption ofvital resources’.

Thus, it can be doubted whether NATO still adheres to its own Article 1which recognizes the supremacy of Article 51 of the UN Charter onmember states’ right to self-defence.

This UN-NATO Declaration’s list and formulations of areas in whichUN-NATO co-operation can take place are quite sweeping and general. Itshould be seen in the light of the seemingly ever-expanding roles NATOdeems legitimate for itself.

Q: Given the special status NATO now acquires through this Agreement,how likely is it that the UN SG and Security Council – where 3 of the 5permanent seats are held by NATO members – will:

a)    Be able to uphold the necessary distinctions between NATO actions and UN actions?

b)    Bring up possible future breaches of international law by NATO? and

c)     Be able, as UN members, to work credibly for general and complete disarmament and nuclear abolition?

4: The two UN & NATO SGs seem to sign as partners of equalstanding. The wording of the agreement is such that NATO would be freeto take actions as it wishes, even to adopt measures of aggressivewarfare. Statements at recent Munich NATO conferences seem to confirmthis.

Q: NATO must be held accountable to the UN Charter and otherinternational law norms. Does this Declaration make that clear? To whomwill NATO be accountable?

5. NATO bombed Serbia/Kosovo in 1999 without a UN Security Council mandate.

Q: Independent of the views one may have of that action and givenleading NATO members’ deficient respect for international law and theUN Charter, is NATO an appropriate organization to be rewarded by theUN with such special status?

6. It is mentioned that the NATO-UN Agreement is rooted in the actionstaken during the wars in Bosnia-Hercegovina. If anything, however, thatcrisis showed that peace-keeping and peace-enforcement cannot be mixedand that UN member states had given the UN far too few resources tosucceed with their mandate.

Q: Is this Agreement signaling that the members of the UN and NATOconsider the handling of Bosnia a model and will continue with the samemix of roles and unbalanced resource allocations?

7. NATO countries are, these very months, engaged in various verysensitive issues – sensitive also among the Security Council members -such as the Georgia Crisis, the Ballistic Missile Defence bases inPoland and the Czech Republic, further NATO expansion (Georgia &Ukraine) and intensifying problems in Afghanistan, where bothorganisations are involved.

Q: Is the UN SG’s signature an example of good timing and will he, inthe light of the above, now submit the Declaration to the SecurityCouncil for discussion and approval?

8. The UN has 192 members. NATO has 26 member states but stands for over 70% of the world’s military expenditures.

Q: Does the SG expect that the majority of the UN member states willsupport this agreement between the secretariats of the United Nationsand a military alliance?

9. The spirit of the UN is supposed to be dialogue, worldwideconsultation and the common good of humankind. Yet this Agreement hasbeen kept secret and not posted on the UN homepage.

Q: Is the Agreement itself and the way it has been concluded betweentwo individuals not likely to give the world the impression that thisUN HQ is now a place for deals kept in the dark and, thus, furtherundermine the hopes shared by citizens around the world for democracyand transparency?"

_______________________

The Board of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF:

Ina Curic
Jan Oberg
Vicky Samantha Rossi
Hans von Sponeck
Annette Schiffmann
Gunnar Westberg

December 3, 2008

 

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Dec 2008.

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