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The UN Secretary-General and the Security CouncilA Dynamic Relationship$
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Manuel Fröhlich and Abiodun Williams

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748915.001.0001

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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, 1982–1991

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, 1982–1991

Chapter:
(p.116) 5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, 1982–1991
Source:
The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council
Author(s):

Álvaro de Soto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198748915.003.0006

When Javier Pérez de Cuéllar came to office in 1982 the threat of nuclear annihilation had receded but the collegiality among the Security Council’s permanent members was still absent. The scope for a UN role in the search for peace, particularly in proxy conflicts, remained small. Pérez de Cuéllar’s cautious demeanor masked a willingness to unexpectedly move in a swift and bold fashion. He worked within the constitutional no man’s land between the Security Council and the Secretary-General, sometimes at a slight remove from the Security Council so as to dissociate himself from its mistakes or omissions, using the “reservoir of authority” and “wide margin of discretion” implicit in the Charter. The combination of a Secretary-General to whom the post came unsought and a Security Council which had confidence in him produced the crucial synergy that developed between these two principal organs at a critical juncture.

Keywords:   Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, UN Secretary-General, UN Security Council, Cold War, Personality

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