Explanation of Vote by John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to ECOSOC, on the Second Committee Resolution A/C.2/66/L.50 "Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries,"

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
December 1, 2011


Mr. Chairperson, the United States believes that each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries. In particular, we believe that promoting important, nationally held values, or protecting the national interest, is a sovereign right that includes restricting trade in certain circumstances and when necessary.

The UN Charter specifically allows for sanctions as part of a broader strategy of political and diplomatic measures that can help promote or restore peace without the use of force. Economic sanctions, whether unilateral or multilateral, can be a successful means of achieving foreign policy objectives. In cases where the United States has applied sanctions, they have been used with specific objectives in mind, including as a means to promote a return to rule of law or democratic systems, or to prevent threats to international security -- such as nuclear proliferation or the financing of terrorism – from materializing. We are within our rights to utilize our trade and commercial policy as tools to achieve noble objectives.

By passing this resolution, the General Assembly in effect seeks to limit the international community's ability to respond effectively and by non-violent means against threats to democracy, human rights or world security.

In sum, we believe that targeted economic sanctions can be an appropriate, an effective and a legitimate alternative to the use of force. We have therefore requested a recorded vote on this resolution and will vote no.


PRN: 2011/295