Statement by Mr. Petr Iliichev, Chargé d'Affaires, at the Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security
We thank Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for her detailed briefing.
I would first like to congratulate everyone on today’s seventy-second anniversary of the victory over fascism, an extraordinary event that changed the world for the better and laid the foundations for the United Nations. It made a genuine unification of Europe possible, not one based on the delusions of some about their superiority to others, but founded on equality and mutual respect. We fully share those values, which should constitute the pillars of today’s multipolar world.
Russia has consistently advocated for the development and improvement of United Nations cooperation with regional and subregional mechanisms, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, and cooperation with the European Union (EU) is no exception. It, too, should be established on the basis of the Charter and in the framework of General Assembly resolution 65/276. We have seen the contribution that the European Union has made to solving many international problems and its emergence as a truly global player in the world arena. Russian-EU cooperation on many current issues on the international agenda has not stopped, despite the fact that relations between us have not been at their best in recent years. That is particularly noticeable in areas where Russia and the EU’s interests objectively coincide, on issues such as combating terrorism and drug trafficking, dialogues on migration and readmission, problems of disarmament and non-proliferation and situations in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and Asia, including Central Asia.
Some good examples of Russia’s cooperation with the EU have been our joint efforts to settle the Iranian nuclear-programme issue, as well as our collaboration on internal security, on which we have regularly held constructive and useful talks on counter-terrorism. We are pleased with the ongoing positive experience of Russian-EU cooperation in providing security support, including in the EU operations and missions in Chad and the Central African Republic, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. Unfortunately, the absence of a legal framework makes increasing our cooperation on crisis management difficult.
Regrettably, however, current realities and discussions in the Security Council have shown that our European partners, rather than pursuing patient and careful teamwork, have often chosen destructive, unilateral approaches that can only leave us seriously concerned. We are disturbed by the European Union’s continuing use of unilateral sanctions that bypass the Security Council. In our view, such restrictive measures are illegitimate and counterproductive, especially since in most cases their expanded use over the past two decades has increased people’s suffering without in any way helping to settle the crises they are designed to resolve. Such practices undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations and damage the authority of the EU itself.
Another example of illegal activity is the participation of the EU in the so-called coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant; it has been conducting military operations in Syria without a mandate from the Security Council or an invitation from the Syrian Government. This undermines the international order based on international law, and not on no-one-knows-whose rules. It diminishes the prospects for a global anti-terrorism front coordinated by the United Nations and makes the fight against terrorism less effective overall. We have been closely following the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including the continued exodus of refugees from conflict-affected countries, and have regretfully concluded that this sad situation is the result of external interference in the internal affairs of States and aggressive policies in those regions, accompanied by violations of the Charter and Security Council resolutions. The European Union’s military Operation Sophia in the Southern Central Mediterranean has still not been able to handle its basic task of destroying the business model of the networks that are illegally transporting and smuggling people in the region.
In the light of the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2017/95/Rev.1) on the activities of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and what it says about the EU entities’ efforts there, it would be appropriate if, where EU efforts — and those of regional organizations in crisis situations more generally — interact with United Nations political entities, they were complementary to the work of the United Nations and aimed at implementing the internationally agreed-on parameters of the settlement in question. It is unacceptable for them to subordinate the resolution of the conflict to their own agendas and priorities.
With regard to resolving the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, there is no alternative to the established settlement framework of the Minsk package of measures. The efforts must focus on fulfilling the political provisions of the agreement, which include granting special status to the Donbas region and amnesty to its citizens, separating the parties and conducting humanitarian demining. None of that is possible without conducting a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk. Only Kyiv can start action on these political aspects, and it has been stubbornly refusing to do so. For the time being, Brussels has continued to display an antagonistic attitude on the issue through its anti-Russian sanctions, which does nothing but create a sense of impunity and irresponsibility in the Ukrainian authorities.
Here is another example. At this time, when the world is once again celebrating the end of the Second World War, I would like to recall here the EU’s refusal to support draft resolutions submitted to the General Assembly by Russia on combating the glorification of Nazism (resolution 71/179). We should not ignore the acute problem of neo-Nazism in countries that Brussels protects, including the Baltic States and Ukraine, let alone play with that sort of fire for the sake of fleeting political goals. Europe should have learned that lesson by now.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that for our part we are committed to full cooperation with the European Union in working for common strategic goals. However, that should take place exclusively on a equal footing taking full account of each other’s interests and concerns.