Liechtenstein is going to convene the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to debate a draft resolution backed by Washington that requires the five permanent members of the Security Council to justify their use of the veto.
An old idea that was intended to make Security Council permanent members cut back their use of their veto powers, it has been revived by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow veto power has allowed it to take action in the Security Council, which is supposed to intervene in such conflicts as a guarantor of global peace, as defined by the Charter of the United Nations.
The proposal, co-sponsored by some 50 countries including the United States, but significantly none of the other four permanent members of the Security Council - Russia, China, France and Britain - should be the subject of an upcoming vote, according to diplomats.
The Security Council has 10 non-permanent members who do not have the right of veto.
The proposal text, obtained by the AFP, provides for a convocation of the 193 members of the General Assembly within 10 days of the casting of a veto by one or more permanent members of the Security Council to hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast. The co-sponsors of the text are Germany, Japan and Ukraine, the latter two hoping to become permanent members of a possibly enlarged Security Council in view of their global political and economic influence.
There are not yet revealed the positions of India, Brazil or South Africa, and other contenders for a potential permanent seat.
France will vote in favor, even if it does not sponsor the text, according to a diplomat.
How Britain, China and Russia would vote to support such a controversial initiative is not clear.
Since the first veto ever used by the Soviet Union in 1946, Moscow has deployed it 143 times, much ahead of the United States 86 times Britain 30 times or China and France 18 times each. We are particularly concerned with Russia's shameful patterns of abusing its veto privilege over the past two decades, said the U.N. ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
She said that the adoption of the Liechtenstein resolution will be a significant step toward accountability, transparency, and responsibility of all the permanent members of the Security Council.
In 1989, France proposed in 2013 that the permanent members collectively and voluntarily limit their use of the veto in the event of a mass atrocity.
The proposal has so far stalled, having been co-sponsored by Mexico and supported by 100 countries.