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Land of Blue HelmetsThe United Nations and the Arab World$
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Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286931

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286931.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

The Role of the UN Secretary-General

The Role of the UN Secretary-General

A Historical Assessment

(p.21) One The Role of the UN Secretary-General
Land of Blue Helmets

Andrew Gilmour

University of California Press

This chapter provides an overview of the key activities undertaken by each United Nations secretary-general in the Middle East and draws some lessons and comparisons: Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld, U Thant, Kurt Waldheim, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon. Since 1947, the Middle East—especially the Palestine question—has played a defining role in the history of the UN. This applies both to the intergovernmental bodies and to the Secretariat, the organ headed by the secretary-general. Every secretary-general has made strenuous efforts to resolve conflicts in the Middle East, or at least to mitigate their more brutal effects. Each has condemned Arab acts of violence or terrorism against Israel and has unequivocally supported Israel's right to live within secure, recognized borders. Similarly every secretary-general has publicly condemned Israeli actions (responsive or preemptive) against Arab states or civilians when they have considered that excessive force was used or that these actions were in violation of international law.

Keywords:   international law, terrorism, Israel, United Nations secretary-general, Middle East, Trygve Lie, Ban Ki-moon, Palestine, Secretariat, United Nations

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