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Security Council Passes Resolution Condemning Assassination of Wazir

April 26, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States abstained Monday on a Security Council resolution condemning the assassination of Khalil al-Wazir, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s No. 2 man. He was gunned down by a hit squad in his villa in suburban Tunis early on the morning of April 16.

The resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 14-0, did not mention Israel in its operative paragraphs condemning the act.

But the preamble referred to Tunisia’s April 19 letter to the Security Council flatly accusing Israel of carrying out the assassination.

That arrangement apparently was the result of behind-the-scenes bargaining that continued almost until the moment the vote was taken. It is credited with avoiding a U.S. veto.

The American ambassador, Herbert Okun, who announced before the vote that his country would abstain, explained that the United States deplores all violence and particularly political assassination. He also noted that Tunisia is a close friend of the United States.

But Okun explained that the United States would have to abstain, because the resolution singled out only one act of violence, without mentioning the cycle of violence that preceded it.

The United States was saying in effect that the resolution was one-sided. Israel did not participate in the Security Council’s deliberations, which began last Thursday. But Israel denied allegations that it had admitted it was responsible for the death of Wazir, who was popularly known as Abu Jihad (father of holy war).

The operative paragraph of the resolution states: “The Security Council condemns vigorously the aggression perpetrated on 16 April 1988 against the sovereignty and territory of Tunisia in flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and norms of conduct.”

The resolution also calls on member states to take measures to prevent similar acts in the future and requests the secretary general “to report urgently to the Security Council any new elements available to him and relating to this aggression.”

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