France and the United Nations

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French Republic
Flag of the United Nations Flag of France
Membership Full member
Since 1945 (as Fourth Republic)
1958 (as Fifth Republic)
UNSC seat Permanent
Ambassador Gérard Araud

The French Republic is a charter member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The nation originally joined the UN as the French Fourth Republic, however, after a series of crises, the French Fourth Republic collapsed and was dissolved by a public referendum on 5 October 1958. A new constitution was written, creating the French Fifth Republic, the modern-day France which succeeded the seat of the former Fourth Republic, including its permanent membership on the Security Council in the United Nations in 1958.[1]

Veto power in the UN Security Council[edit]

France has used its veto power sparingly, vetoing 18 resolutions from 1949 to 2007, compared with 82 by the United States and 123 by the Soviet Union and Russia, 32 by Britain, and 6 by China.[2] France used its veto power along with the United Kingdom, to veto a resolution to resolve the Suez Canal crisis in 1956. France also used a veto in 1976 on the question of the Comoros independence, when the island of Mayotte was kept in French territory due to the vote of the local population. In 2002, France threatened to veto Resolution 1441 on the then upcoming 2003 Iraq war.

List of all French vetoes[3]

  • June 26, 1946: Spanish Question
  • August 25, 1947: Indonesian Question
  • October 30, 1956 (twice): Palestinian Question: Steps for the Immediate Cessation of the Military Action of Israel in Egypt
  • October 30, 1974: South Africa (Representation in the UN)
  • June 6, 1975: Namibia Question
  • February 6, 1976: Dispute between the Comoros and France on Mayotte
  • October 19, 1976: Situation in Namibia
  • October 31, 1977 (three times): Situation in South Africa
  • April 30, 1981 (four times) : Question of Namibia
  • April 21, 1986 : Libyan Complaint against US Attack
  • January 11, 1989 : Complaint by Libya against US Downing of Aircraft
  • December 23, 1989 : Situation in Panama


  • French is one of the two working languages of the UN Secretariat, the other being English.[4]
  • France is one of the main contributors of the regular UN budget (6.5% for the 2001 budget).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "French Fourth Republic". Wikipedia. 2014. 
  2. ^ Global Policy Forum (2008): "Changing Patterns in the Use of the Veto in the Security Council". Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Subjects of UN Security Council Vetoes". Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  4. ^ Compendium - Occupational Groups
  5. ^ Bureau of International Organization Affairs (2001-09-07). "United Nations Fact Sheet". USDOS Fact Sheets. U.S. Department of State.