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Open Letter

To the President of
the UN General Assembly,
Mr. Jan Eliasson



Lund, Sweden - August 14, 2006

The board of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF, Sweden sends the following Open Letter that aims to stimulate a wider discussion about the preconditions for a genuine peace process also after UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Already supported by distinguished civil society leaders, we hereby encourage like-minded individuals and organizations to sign it. See how after the Open Letter.


Uniting for Peace

The history of this conflict makes it abundantly clear that violence on either side stands no chance of alleviating the suffering on all sides. If continuing, it will have devastating consequences for global security. A comprehensive, all-inclusive process built on dialogue, civilian initiatives and modern conflict-resolution is the only road to peace and justice.

While there are sincere efforts by some governments to end the carnage on both sides of the border, there have been serious delays in achieving an armistice in the Israeli-Lebanese confrontation. Unfortunately, yet again the UN Security Council has been victim of deliberate procrastination. At the same time the tragedy in Palestine remains all-pervasive and conditions in Iraq have deteriorated further.

In light of this, we call upon the President of the UN General Assembly to initiate preparations for a Uniting-for-Peace-resolution in order to urgently begin the long road towards human security, conflict-resolution, justice and reconciliation throughout the region.

This is provided for by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 377, also known as the "Uniting for Peace" Resolution: it states that, in the event that the UN Security Council cannot maintain international peace, a matter can be taken up by the General Assembly. The resolution was initiated by the United States in 1950 as a means of circumventing possible Soviet vetoes.

"... if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security."

The General Assembly, no less than the governments of member states, should address itself to the festering issue of Iran's uranium enrichment, which further aggravates conditions in the Middle East. It is worth noting that several General Assembly resolutions since 1974 and UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) of the UN Security Council call for a Nuclear-Free Zone in the Middle East but have yet to be implemented. Nuclear proliferation is not the only issue; as long as the nuclear weapons powers ignore their obligations to disarm under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, proliferation is unavoidable.

To prevent further destruction of life and property words have to translate into overdue action.

The first priority is to stop warfare at once between Israel and Lebanon, followed by an international conference on the Middle East modelled on the OSCE in Europe.

Such a conference offers an opportunity to begin a new and holistic peace process in the region.

Such an initiative however can only succeed if all the parties to the various conflicts participate. This would mean Lebanon including Hizbollah, Israel, Palestine with Hamas and Fatah, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Arab League, the USA, the UK, Russia, Turkey and the European Union. It is essential that governments encourage civil society organizations to deliver inputs to such a conference, before, during and after it.

This process should be led by the United Nations. No one should set any preconditions for such a meeting. Everyone should have the right to put their issues and concerns on the table.

There is an urgent need for a genuinely impartial mediator.

The majority of world public opinion is no longer willing to condone self-serving power politics that abandon fundamental elements of international law.

While citizens around the world advocate an all embracing and non-violent response to the inaction of political leaders in these troubling moments of history, they are concerned that years of raw and dishonest approaches in dealing with these clusters of conflict in the Middle East will increasingly result in violent protest over the status quo and boost rather than limit the threat of wider war as well as terrorism.

We urge Member States to assure that the United Nations, if deployed in a peacekeeping and peace-building role, be given a concise mandate and adequate human and material resources to accomplish its mission.




Christian Hårleman, TFF Board chairman

Hans von Sponeck

Annette Schiffmann

Annabel McGoldrick

Bo Rybeck

Jan Oberg & Christina Spännar, founders


The following support this Open Letter from TFF:

(Organisations mentioned for identification purposes)



The Board of Directors
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW

Fiona Dove, director
TNI, The Transnational Institute, Amsterdam

Dietrich Fischer, academic director
European University Center for Peace Studies, EPU, Stadtschlaining, Austria, TFF Associate

Farhang Jahanpour, professor
Department of Continuing Education, Oxford University, TFF Associate

Edward Canfor-Dumas, Eirwen Harbottle & Diana Basterfield
mfp, ministry for peace, London

Claire Hickson, head of advocacy and communications
Saferworld, London

Kevin Clements, dr. professor
The Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, ACPACS

Paul Ingram, senior analyst
BASIC, British-American Security Information Council, London

Scilla Ellworthy, dr., director & founder
Peace Direct, London, TFF Associate

Johan Galtung, dr. hc. mult., professor, founder & co-director
Transcend - A Network for Conflict Transformation By Peaceful Means, TFF Associate

Gabriel Carlyle
Voices in the Wilderness UK

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, chairman and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, The Perdana Global Peace Organisation, Kuala Lumpur

John Sloboda, executive director & Rosie Houldsworth, assistant director
Oxford Research Group, ORG, Oxford

David Krieger, president
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NAPF, Santa Barbara, TFF Associate

Richard Falk, professor emeritus, international law
Princeton University and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, TFF Associate

Stuart Rees, professor & director
Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, CPACS, and the Sydney Peace Foundation, University of Sydney, TFF Associate

Kathy Kelly & Jeff Leys
Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Chicago

James A. Paul, executive director,
Global Policy Forum, New York

Barbara Müller, dr., director
Institute for Peacework and Nonviolent Conflict Transformation, IFGK
Wahlenau, Germany

Stella Cornelius, director
Conflict Resolution Network, Chatswood, Australia

Jens-Peter Steffen, dr.,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons
IPPNW e.V., Germany


© TFF & the author 2006  


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