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That means dealing with a country’s political, social, ethnic, religious and economic order—or lack thereof. Certain remedies call for in-depth, long-term action that better pertains to good governance, the rule of law and development than to diplomacy. In such situations what is actually required is action on the part of the international community as a whole—bilateral donors, international financial institutions, major trading partners, countries of the region and regional organizations. 46 • The joint action taken by the European Union and NATO in Macedonia over the spring and summer of 2001 was part of a preventive approach involving the promotion of new institutional and political parameters so as to take account of Albanian demands before a large-scale conflict inflamed the entire country, by using political and economic levers (possibility of joining the European Union and NATO).

But everything the Security Council says and does is, by definition, public (even what occurs in behind-the-scenes consultations). 93 • So long as a crisis, especially an internal crisis, has not degenerated into open conflict, the thesis that international peace and security, of which the Security Council is the main guardian, are threatened or may be threatened is open to challenge. Certain states, in particular the Russian Federation and China, but also countries of the South, in their anxiety to preserve a narrow definition of sovereignty, are in fact reluctant to see an internal conflict attract the attention of the Security Council.

Many of the Council’s statements are routine in nature or lacking in substance; not only do they fail to arouse media follow-up, they also sometimes go unnoticed by the parties concerned. 48 Others, on the other hand,98 are followed very closely by the latter and each and every word is scrutinized. 99 The nuances introduced by a particular speaker are often just as telling of his country’s position as any comments made during the meetings. However futile or pointless they may seem from the outside, these negotiations are an exercise that makes it possible to measure the balance of opinion within the Council on a particular issue.

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