United Nations Security Council and Abstaining

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On The West Wing tonight, CJ told the Chinese ambassador he could just abstain from a vote instead of vetoing it or voting for it.

However, a concurring vote from all five permanent member is required for any Security Council decision. Vetoing really means either a no vote, or abstaining from a vote.

There's one exception: if the abstention is due to the member being a party to the vote, it does not result in a veto, if the resolution is in regard to settling a dispute peacefully. I wonder how closely this is enforced though: can France just say they are abstaining from any given vote by saying it will help settle some dispute peacefully and they are a party to it?

Probably, given the UN's record of enforcing its own rules. slashdot.org

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