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United Nations in Conflict Management

The Falkland/Malvinas crisis was from the start an event which precluded any military or even economic steps on the part of the UN. Events escalated quickly in the crisis, and the isolated region of the conflict made it unlikely from the start that the UN would take a crucial role in resolving the crisis.

After the crisis deepened quickly in a few days and it became clear that Great Britain and Argentina were on a collision course over the possession and fate of the islands in dispute, the Secretary-General of the UN appealed to both nations for restraint. The Security Council met and made the same plea. Argentina invaded the islands to enforce its territorial claim, and Britain responded by offering Resolution 502, which demanded Argentine withdrawal. At the same time, the UN had in other resolutions generally accepted that British rights to the islands off the Argentine coast would eventually be surrendered. The UN was able to successfully separate the issue of rights to the island and the issue of force as expressed by the military takeover of the islands. A number of nations in the Security Council supported Argentina's right to the islands, but joined in condemning Argentina for its invasion and takeover. What the crisis showed was that the UN may be limited in its power, but that individual nations could shape and manipulate that power to its own ends. Argentina made a huge error in its invasion, and Great Britain used that error for its own purposes. As a result, the British were able to shift the focus from rights over the islands to the Argentine invasion.

The Secretary-General at the time, Perez de Cuellar, declared that

There is something which is extremely important and that is to preserve the Secretary General's usefulness. He canno


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United Nations in Conflict Management. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:34, August 18, 2017, from
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