UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday withdrew its U.N. Security Council resolution seeking an exemption for U.S. soldiers from international prosecution because it lacked votes for adoption.
“The United States has decided not to proceed further with consideration and action on the draft at this time in order to avoid a prolonged and divisive debate,” U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham told reporters. “We are dropping action on this resolution.”
He did not specifically threaten to veto U.N. peacekeeping operations but said the United States needed to take “into account” the council’s position on the International Criminal Court “when determining contributions to UN-authorized or established operations.”
The Bush administration needed a minimum of nine “yes” votes in the 15-member Security Council for an exemption from the new International Criminal Court. But more than seven countries signaled they would abstain.
The United States has rarely faced such opposition in the council, with the notable exception of its attempt to get U.N. endorsement for the invasion of Iraq last year. Since then, the council has backed Washington on its plans in Iraq, with far less acrimony than before the war.
But this year specter of U.S. abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan made it difficult for members to extend the resolution for the third time, even though analysts say the scandal would not come before the new tribunal.