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Conflict Between Great Britain and Argentina

The UN charter describes the position as chief administrative officer of the organization. Only Article 99 of the charter opens the door to independent political action in notifying the United Nations of possible conflict situations and then representing the organization in mediating these conflict situations. Rarely, if ever, is the Secretary General backed up with the threat or actuality of military force--thus rendering the office to little more than a forum for discussions.

The Falklands/Malvinas conflict, however, was not of the intensity in which such a forum for discussions is useless. Despite the long history of disputed sovereignty, Great Britain in particular did not have that much at stake in the Falklands, as evidenced by the current negotiations between the two nations over the islands. Unfortunately, the conflict unfolded rapidly, leaving the United Nations and the rest of the international community caught by surprise.

By May 1, 1982, the United Nations was forced to decide whether to offer the good offices of the Secretary General for mediation. The answer was that it was imperative for the Secretary General to join in the fray, despite how quickly the conflict was unfolding.

Without a doubt, the credibility of Secretary General Perez de Cuellar and the U.N. Security Council was at stake (Nielsson, 1988, p. 44). If the United Nations had done nothing, it would violate the convention established by Li


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