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Canada boycotting UN body over North Korea

HavokFour

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Canada boycotting UN body over North Korea

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Canada is boycotting a UN body dedicated to disarmament to protest against North Korea being named its chair, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Monday.

The Conference on Disarmament, where UN members negotiate disarmament and other arms control agreements, is heavily focused on the prevention of a nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.

Baird said it is "absurd" that North Korea is chairing the group. He said Canada is taking a clear stand.

"I think there's a lot of symbolism here," Baird said during a call with media to make the announcement. "It's just unacceptable and it's frankly wrong."

Canada will not have a representative at the committee until after North Korea is done presiding over it August 19th, said Baird. He said Canada will also seek to change the process of a rotating presidency.

Countries rotate presidency of the conference, and when North Korea was named chair last month, Baird issued a statement saying he was disappointed.

"North Korea is simply not a credible chair of a disarmament body. The fact that it gets a turn chairing a United Nations committee focused on disarmament is unacceptable, given the North Korean regime's efforts in the exact opposite direction," he said.

Canada called on North Korea to pass up the opportunity so a "credible country" could advance the disarmament agenda at the UN. Baird warned that Canada would review its participation in the Geneva-based committee.

North Korea has defied multiple UN resolutions on arms control and continued its nuclear weapons program. In 2009, it conducted a nuclear test and in 2010 an international investigation determined that North Korea sunk a South Korean naval ship with a torpedo. The events prompted Canada to further limit trade, investment and other relations with North Korea.

North Korea assumed presidency of the UN body at a meeting on June 28, and the new president of the group, So Se Pyong, told members that he was committed to its work. He said he would work closely with members to strengthen the Conference's ability to deliver results.

Canada's representative at the committee, Marius Grinius, was already ending his time there before Monday's decision was announced. In his farewell remarks at the June 28th meeting, he indicated that Canada is skeptical about the effectiveness of the disarmament body.

According to a summary of the meeting on the UN's website, Grinius spoke about how the committee is on "life support" because it's not the only arena for the negotiation of multilateral disarmament agreements, and that it hadn't been working on new agreements for some time. It has achieved glories in the past, he said, but it's not clear that it will overcome what he described as paralysis at the committee.
 
A

aesop081

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Some people thought that not getting a seat on the UNSC was a bad thing. It was a blessing !!
 

Journeyman

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It's somehow absurd that North Korea is Chairing the UN's Conference on Disarmament -- the same organization that had no heartache, until recently, with Libya being on their Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice?

Go UN!  :boring:
 

jeffb

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The UN is just an institution made up of its component nations. I agree that North Korea chairing the disarmament board and Libya sitting on the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice is absurd but we have not one to blame but ourselves. I'm very happy that the government is taking on stand on this one. Hopefully, this will serve as an example to other nations but if history is any indication, it won't.
 

Old Sweat

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On the other hand, in earlier years UN organizations did some good public health work such as the fight against small pox. On a completely different note, I suspect Captain Marius Grinius, RCA (ret) is keeping a low profile. We served together in the Artillery School a jillion years ago. He was in AD Wing while I was the CIG.
 

canada94

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Good! After seeing the UN "inquiry" that was published stating we were racist for calling minorities, minorities. Is a complete joke. This organization has

the time and money to critique Canada while some parts of the world remain a complete shit show? What a joke. I think the UN needs a complete

reconstruction of its values, and what it needs to focus on, IMHO.

- Mike

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/58421.0 - Minority thread
 

Old Sweat

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And the usual suspects chime in again in the story from the Ottawa Citizen which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provision of the Copyright Act.


Critics slam Canadian boycott of UN conference as 'grandstanding'

By Tobi Cohen, Postmedia NewsJuly 11, 2011 7:39 PM

Canada will boycott the United Nations Conference on Disarmament so long as North Korea is leading it, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Monday —saying the government wanted to send a clear message to the international community.

OTTAWA — Critics are up in arms about Canada's decision to boycott the United Nations Conference on Disarmament so long as North Korea is leading it.


The boycott, officially announced Monday by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, is little more than "grandstanding," NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said.


He questioned whether the measure would actually achieve anything and suggested the fact no other countries have followed Canada's lead may be telling.


"What is the agenda?" he asked.


"Is it going to force change in the UN process? Is it going to bring North Korea on side with nuclear disarmament? I think it's more about grandstanding than actually getting results."


Baird could have put forward an alternative process, Dewar said, adding when it comes to arms reduction, Canada could also "lead by example" and finally ratify the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions which it signed in 2008.


Liberal foreign affairs critic Dominic LeBlanc added that withdrawing from the conference represents a "missed opportunity" for Canada to positively influence discussions surrounding disarmament.


"Canada is abdicating its responsibility to act and to be heard on important issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, and is giving more radical countries like North Korea and Iran an even greater influence on the outcome of the negotiations," he said.


"From climate change and the environment to the Rotterdam Convention on hazardous chemicals and pesticides, Canada is systematically failing to wield its influence internationally in order to gain partisan advantage domestically."


Their comments come less than two weeks after North Korea's So Se Pyong assumed the presidency of the conference which is allocated on a rotating basis to representatives of all 65 member states.


Last week Baird denounced the appointment and urged North Korea to pass the opportunity on to a country with policies more in line with the conference's stated mission.


When that didn't happen, he upped the ante, announcing Monday that Canada would temporarily boycott the conference in protest. It means Canada would withdraw its representative from conference activities until North Korea's term comes to an end Aug. 19.


"North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this United Nations body," Baird said.


"The regime is a major proliferator of nuclear weapons and its non-compliance with its disarmament obligations goes against the fundamental principles of this committee."


Baird said the chairmanship of So Se Pyong "undermines" the integrity of the disarmament framework, "hurts the credibility" of the United Nations in general and represents a "blow" to meaningful efforts to encourage disarmament.


Canada cannot simply "go along to get along," he said, adding that while the move may be largely symbolic, it sends a clear message to the international community.


Canada is so far the only country to boycott the appointment but Baird said his government "doesn't mind going alone."


"Canada will not hesitate to take a principled stand with respect to our foreign-policy decisions," he said.


"We don't want to see the United Nations take another hit like this in the future."


Canada would likely raise alarm bells again should a country like Iran get a crack at leading the conference. That said, Baird vowed to seek changes to the rotating presidency selection process once the boycott ends.


Marius Grinius, Canada's ambassador to the UN, had warm words for his North Korean counterpart following his controversial appointment, raising questions about whether he may have misspoken given Baird's harsh criticisms delivered in a statement days later.


Baird refused to comment on Grinius' address to the disarmament conference, saying only that Canada's position is clear: "We do not support and we do not welcome North Korea chairing a United Nations agency on disarmament.


"It's absurd and it's loathe to meaningful efforts at worldwide disarmament."


North Korea has an abysmal track record when it comes to disarmament. It pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 after violating it and went on to conduct its first nuclear bomb test three years later. The country is believed to have stockpiled up to eight nuclear warheads.


Read more: http://www.canada.com/news/Critics+slam+Canadian+boycott+conference+grandstanding/5084315/story.html#ixzz1RqW8iQ7i
 

Haletown

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Hell, why stop there.


Just boycott - and stop paying for - the rest of the UN.  Corrupt & useless  and not worthy of anything but a boycott.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh to dream . . .
 

Journeyman

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Old Sweat said:
By Tobi Cohen, Postmedia

Canada will boycott the United Nations Conference on Disarmament...

OTTAWA — Critics are up in arms about Canada's decision....
              ;D


Well, I thought it was funny
 

Edward Campbell

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Neither Paul Dewar nor Dominic Leblanc has much room to manoeuvre here; neither the NDP nor the Liberals have much in the way of foreign policy objectives that are radically different from those offered by the Conservatives. My guess is that the opposition outrage is 99% contrived - designed to provide the necessary 10 second sound bite for the 24 hour news cycle. Otherwise this decision would not merit comment at all because it is, self evidently, good and proper.

The only slight problem is that 35 other countries didn't do it first. All OECD members should boycott this committee, for now.

 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Teflon said:
As to the NDP saying the boycot is just Grandstanding and questioning whether the measure would actually achieve anything? Because it in no way reassembles the "filibustering" during back to work legislation - No this is just Grandstanding!

A great comparison.............and "somehow" not asked by the media.  Gee, I wonder why??
 

The Bread Guy

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E.R. Campbell said:
.... My guess is that the opposition outrage is 99% contrived - designed to provide the necessary 10 second sound bite for the 24 hour news cycle. ....
Zackly - opposition for the sake of opposition.
 
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