The current situation in Ukraine has laid bare the hypocrisy of global powers like France when it comes to upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.
In March 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, France was quick to condemn Moscow for obstructing the UN Security Council from convening to address the crisis. At the time, the French foreign ministry decried Russia for “instrumentalizing” the Council and said that “Ukraine is defending itself, in full compliance with the UN Charter; Russia is trampling it underfoot.”
Yet now, as France holds the presidency of the Security Council in January 2023, it is guilty of the very same obstructionism it condemned Russia for two years ago. France has blocked the Council from meeting to discuss the crisis between Somalia and Ethiopia, where the authoritarian leader Abiy Ahmed has launched aggression against parts of the country.
France’s contradictory positions are a direct affront to the UN Charter and the rules-based international order it claims to uphold.
The parallels with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are clear. In both cases, an authoritarian regime is violating state sovereignty and human rights. Yet by shielding Abiy Ahmed from international scrutiny, France betrays the principles it preached against Russian aggression.
Global leadership requires moral consistency. France cannot condemn violations of the UN Charter in one context while enabling them in another. If France wishes to prove its commitment to a rules-based order, it must allow the UN Security Council to convene and fulfill its responsibility to address the deteriorating situation in Somalia and Ethiopia. Otherwise, its rhetoric will ring hollow to those suffering from Abiy’s abuses.
by Abdullahi Sudi