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United Nations Security Council Resolution 678

UN Security Council
Resolution 678
Iraq Kuwait Locator.svg
Iraq (green) and Kuwait (orange)
Date 29 November 1990
Meeting no. 2,963
Code S/RES/678 (Document)
Subject Iraq-Kuwait
Voting summary
12 voted for
2 voted against
1 abstained
Result Adopted
Security Council composition
Permanent members
Non-permanent members

United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 , adopted on 29 November 1990, after reaffirming resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674 and 677 (all 1990), the Council noted that despite all the United Nations efforts, Iraq continued to defy the Security Council.



The United Nations Security Council, invoking Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, offered Iraq one final chance to implement Resolution 660 (1990) which demanded that Iraq withdraw its forces unconditionally from Kuwait to the positions in which they were located on 1 August 1990, the day before the invasion of Kuwait began.

On 29 November 1990, the Security Council passed Resolution 678 which gave Iraq until 15 January 1991 to withdraw from Kuwait and empowered states to use "all necessary means" to force Iraq out of Kuwait after the deadline. The Resolution requested Member States to keep the Council informed on their decisions. This was the legal authorisation for the Gulf War, as Iraq did not withdraw by the deadline.[1]

The United States government strenuously lobbied governments represented on the UN Security Council, including Malaysia and Yemen, to support a resolution authorizing UN members states to use "all necessary means" for removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait.[2] Resolution 678 was adopted by 12 votes with two opposing (Cuba, Yemen) and one abstention from the People's Republic of China. China, which had usually vetoed such resolutions authorising action against a state, abstained in an attempt to ease sanctions placed on it after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989,[3] and Cuba's position was nuanced as it had voted for or abstained on previous resolutions relating to the Iraqi invasion, but did not support Resolution 678 because of its authorization of "all necessary means."[4]

The authority granted to Member States in this case contrasts with the disputed legality of U.S. actions in the invasion of Iraq of 2003. The extent of authority that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 gave is the subject of disagreement.

Sticks and carrotsEdit

Various members of the Council were rewarded with economic incentives as a result of their 'yes' vote, and those who initially opposed the resolution were discouraged from voting 'no' with the idea of economic penalties, particularly by the United States.[5] After Yemen voted against the resolution, the US, World Bank and International Monetary Fund halted aid programs to Yemen, and Saudi Arabia expelled Yemeni workers.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Murphy, Sean D. (1996). Humanitarian intervention: the United Nations in an evolving world order. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-8122-3382-7. 
  2. ^ Global Policy Forum, "Baker Twists Arms of Yemen, Colombia and Malaysia," citing James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989-1992 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995), pp. 317-320
  3. ^ Benewick, Robert; Wingrove, Paul (1999). China in the 1990s (2 ed.). UBC Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-7748-0671-8. 
  4. ^ Domínguez, Jorge I. (1996). Cuban Studies 26, Volume 26. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-8229-3954-2. 
  5. ^ Simons, Geoffrey Leslie (1998). The scourging of Iraq: sanctions, law, and natural justice (2 ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-312-21519-4. 
  6. ^ Simons, Geoff (1996). Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam (2 ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-312-16052-4. 

External linksEdit