“The United Nations General Assembly Friday June 14 elected by acclamation Ambassador John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda as President of its upcoming 68th session.
Taking the floor immediately after his election, Mr. Ashe, who is Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, said that in 18 months, the world body would launch an agenda for sustainable development for all, which ‘may very well be the boldest and most ambitious project that the United Nations has ever had to accomplish.’
‘In order to succeed, the General Assembly needs to be equally bold, ambitious and collaborative if we are to rise to the task we are about to undertake and ensure its completion,’ he said, adding ‘failure is not an option. Let us show the world…we can be bold and decisive in our actions.’ ”
I’ve had plenty to say on this blog and elsewhere about Vuk Jeremic and his Presidency at the UN General Assembly and am especially proud to have been one of the initiators in questioning his motives and intentions around the organising of April 10 UNGA Thematic debate on “Role of International Criminal Justice on Reconciliation”.
Indeed, the debate was a flop, with several leading countries boycotting it. While the Debate was supposed to address several international criminal tribunals such as for Lebanon, East Timor, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia…), Rwanda… it was obvious from the start that Jeremic was intending to make it all about Serbia and it’s disagreement with the Hague Tribunal’s acquittals of Croatian Generals of war crimes in November 2012. And this, of course is unacceptable because victims from all countries are equally important for UNGA and the UNGA President had a responsibility in ensuring that, rather than trying to bring Serbia’s issues and victims as the most important.
New York based Vecernji List journalist Jadranka Juresko-Kero reports on events at East River Friday 14 June and says that at the elections of the new UNGA President, Vuk Jeremic was convinced how his mandate will not be remembered as one of the successful ones and that a great majority of member states can’t wait for him to leave so that they may be able to forget as quickly as possible how the Serbian representative attempted to use that honourable position for the promotion of his own country’s interests, with such a forceful and diplomatically unbecoming manner.
“It’s customary for member states to applaud the work and efforts of an outgoing UNGA president at the election meeting for a new president”, writes Juresko – Kero. Not in this case. Juresko-Kero continues: “ How much regard member states hold for Vuk Jeremic is best reflected in that the Eastern Europe group of UN member states to which Croatia belongs did not, even as a matter of courtesy, thank Jeremic for his UN work on Friday. It’s the UN usual practice that at the elections of new GA president, the work of the exiting one is commended, and if he was truly successful all his efforts and contribution to the work of the UN are emphasized. In cases where member states are not satisfied with the candidate but believe that he did not have ill intentions they express gratitude as a matter of diplomatic courtesy, but that did not occur in Vuk Jeremic’s case. Vecernji List has found out via the representatives of US diplomacy that the Germans as representatives of the EU group also did not wish to acknowledge and convey positive messages for Jeremic’s work, but for protocol’s sake managed to coolly thank him for the ‘peculiar style’ he demonstrated in New York”.
“When we supported Vuk Jeremic’s election for the President of the General Assembly we believed that he, as a young and educated man, will be of wide views and cooperate with everyone and that Serbia, which has lost in every sense – war and territorial – will know how to value the diplomatic opportunity it received. We are deeply disappointed because Jeremic has turned his East River cabinet into a Serbian fortress, he exclusively deals with the problems of his country, ignores all others, manipulates the respect of this world organization and we all can hardly wait for his one year mandate to end this summer”, an EU diplomat reportedly said to Vecernji List journalist at East River on Friday.
To anyone – like Vuk Jeremic – who did not permit the victims of war crimes to be present at the April 10 UNGA Thematic Debate on the role of international criminal justice and reconciliation (a debate that touched them in every sense) I say: good riddance! I won’t even go into his awful antics whereby as UNGA President he organised celebrations of Serbian Orthdox New Year at East River, early in 2013, and had the Serb song “March on Drina” performed there, unbeknownst to the UN General Secretary and most member states’ representatives that this very song was hummed and sung by Serbian forces during their killing sprees in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990’s! Of course victims’ organisations were in shock and complained and were abhorred, after which Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General was placed in the humiliating position of having to apologise to victims of that war for that awful orchestration at the UN. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)