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UN Security Council
Resolution 678
Iraq Kuwait Locator
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
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
  • Flag of France.svg France
  • Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
  • Flag of the United States.svg United States
  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
Non-permanent members
  • Flag of Canada.svg Canada
  • Flag of Côte d'Ivoire.svg Cote d'Ivoire
  • Flag of Colombia.svg Colombia
  • Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba
  • Flag of Ethiopia (1987–1991).svg Ethiopia
  • Flag of Finland.svg Finland
  • Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia
  • Flag of Romania.svg Romania
  • Flag of Yemen.svg Yemen
  • Flag of Zaire.svg Zaire

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]

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,[2] and Cuba's position was contradictory as it had voted for or abstained on previous resolutions relating to Iraq, but did not support Resolution 678.[3] 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.[4] Yemen, which voted against, saw its workers expelled from Saudi Arabia and had aid programmes to the country stopped by the United States, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.[5]

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.

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. Benewick, Robert; Wingrove, Paul (1999). China in the 1990s (2 ed.). UBC Press. pp. 240. ISBN 978-0-7748-0671-8. 
  3. Domínguez, Jorge I. (1996). Cuban Studies 26, Volume 26. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-8229-3954-2. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Simons, Geoff (1996). Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam (2 ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-312-16052-4. 

External linksEdit

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