The US has abandoned an attempt to hold a UN Security Council session to slam North Korea’s human rights record after failing to muster enough support for the bid and following an earlier set back in the General Assembly to censure Palestinian Hamas movement.
UN diplomats confirmed on Friday that Washington does not have the essential nine votes in the 15-member council (UNSC) to carry out its annual bid since 2014 to hold a meeting on Pyongyang’s right record this year, even though US President Donald Trump is seeking a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“They don’t have the numbers this year,” said a UNSC diplomat as quoted in an AFP report, adding that “Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is not on board.” The council meeting on North Korea was tentatively scheduled for Monday.
A historic summit between Trump and Kim last June opened up dialogue on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula between the two countries after months of exchanging military threats. A second summit is expected next year amid a growing distrust of Washington by Pyongyang.
The US had succeeded in the past years to secure the nine votes needed at the UNSC to hold the meeting against Pyongyang, despite opposition from China.
UN diplomats, however, insisted on Friday that only eight council members backed the US request this year, with non-permanent member Ivory Coast refusing to budge to US pressure to support its political scheme at the world body.
The US is reportedly exerting pressure on several Arab countries to follow suit and back its draft UN resolution against the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement.
This is while Pyongyang had written to UNSC members last month to urge them against backing Washington’s request for the meeting in its bid to defame North Korea for political gains in its military and foreign policy objectives.
Moreover, North Korea’s UN Ambassador Kim Song told council members last month that criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record would “swim against the current trend” of rapprochement and “stoke confrontation.”
A 2014 report by a UN Commission of Inquiry pointed to human rights abuses across North Korea, but Pyongyang firmly rejected it as a fabrication, based on testimony from dissidents living in exile.
China, meanwhile, has persistently argued that the UNSC should not be the venue for discussions on human rights as a threat to international peace and security.
The UNSC has imposed a series of strong economic sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, with the US insisting that the bans remain in place until Pyongyang fully scraps its weapons program.
Washington, however, has ignored North Korean concerns about massive American military presence near its territory and repeated threats against the country.
The Friday development came a day after a US-sponsored draft resolution seeking to censure Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the UN General Assembly failed to win a majority vote in the world body.
The 193-member assembly voted 87-57 in favor of the resolution Thursday while 33 members chose to abstain, leaving Washington with a plurality vote that fell short of the two-thirds requirement to adopt the resolution.
The non-binding resolution attempted to slam Hamas for launching rockets on Israeli regime targets as a defensive measure against the regime’s persistent bombardment of the blockaded Gaza Strip along with other deadly military measures against the impoverished territory.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said before the vote that the assembly could make history condemning Hamas, “for the sake of peace, and for the sake of this organization.” This is while Washington remains infamous for using its veto power in the UNSC to block any international measure against Israeli regime’s atrocities in occupied Palestinian lands.