United Nations Peacekeeping and Host State Consent
American Journal of International Law, Vol. 64, Iss. 2, pp. 241-269, 1970
29 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2008
Date Written: June, 24 2008
Observing that the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) has become the archetype for peacekeeping based on the "consent" of the state on whose territory a United Nations force is stationed and that this concept of consent has become the central characteristic of United Nations peacekeeping, this article analyzes the concept of host state consent in light of the 1956 Good Faith Accord between the United Nations and the United Arab Republic, and the circumstances of the 1967 withdrawal of UNEF.
The article asserts that in the context of the establishment of a peacekeeping force, and as it was used in the case of UNEF, "consent" is used metaphorically, and that Egypt's consent, rather than reflecting a state of mind, represented part of a multinational political arrangement founded on the availability of UNEF as a buffer. In this arrangement, the invading Powers' agreement to withdraw was the consideration for which Egypt's "consent" was the quid pro quo. The article further asserts that, under the proper interpretation of the Good Faith Accord, the response to a host state's demand for withdrawal should be an insistence that withdrawal could be legally secured only by the process of negotiation and bilateral adjustment embodied in the Accord. The insistence would not be that withdrawal could not be secured, but rather that the host state was legally obligated to work through an established procedure of negotiation.
The article argues that the 1967 United Nations response to United Arab Republic's demand for withdrawal of UNEF applied an overly formalistic conception of "consent," failed to take advantage of procedures for negotiation (and hence for the sort of delay that might create space for a relief of tensions and for settlement) built into the Good Faith Accord, and set a damaging precedent for future peacekeeping.
Keywords: peacekeeping, United Nations, United Nations Emergency Force, Good Faith Accord, host state consent
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation