Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the Security Council meeting on humanitarian situation in Syria
Q: What do you think about the Egyptian proposal?
V.Churkin: An interesting proposal.
Q: Ambassador, you described O'Brien’s report as dishonest, what exactly was not factual?
V.Churkin: It was quite outrageous, actually because he spoke as if the bombings are going on even now. And then he created the impression that actually chemical weapons have been used in Eastern Aleppo. It's outrageous. It's not amateur theatricals. It's UN Security Council. You cannot simply come out with your emotions described in a literary way. You need to stick to the facts and the fact that he didn't mention, the fact that there have been no bombings of Eastern Aleppo in the past 7 days — we're not asking for praise, but the failure to mention that to me was devaluing entirely his whole speech to the Security Council.
Q: Is there any response to the Castello Road proposal you've made?
V.Churkin: Oh, they said no. They said no, we're not going to do it. The Americans said no, we cannot stand together with the Russian soldiers on Castello Road. We would love the Russians to do that, this is what they said.
Q: Can I ask about extending the mandate of the JIM?
V.Churkin: Well, our position is that first, we need to understand what the 4th report is going to be, we are discussing that tomorrow. We need to understand what the value of the work has been and we need to see if we are to extend the mandate of JIM, if some added value could be given to that. You might recall that several months ago we wanted JIM to do a little more of additional work, simply tracking reports of the possible preparations by various terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq for the production or use of chemical weapons. Unfortunately, it was blocked by our western colleagues. In our view, since we are to discuss whether or not JIM needs to be extended, we need to also discuss that possibility. Actually we believe that the scope of this mechanism has been too narrow and the value of their product is questionable — with all due respect to the very hard work they have been doing. It needs to be serious discussion. So, a kind of a quick, technical rollover is not going to work.
Q: You mentioned the US bombing in Iraq, do you think that should be discussed in the Security Council?
V.Churkin: I think when we discuss Iraq it's going to come up. And the next thing we're going to do, we're going to bring the discussion of Yemen into the open, and also we intend to invite Mr. O'Brien to tell us about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. If they want to have more openness, we are fully prepared for that, I can assure you.
Q: Did Russia bomb the hospital in Idlib?
V.Churkin: We don't bomb hospitals, but I'm not aware of this situation.
Q: What did you think of the walk-out of the P3 and Ukraine?
V.Churkin: Well this is what they do regularly. I think it is strange. It is, in my view, inappropriate but this is sometimes what diplomats do - they leave their junior officers at the table. If they want to spend time in a nearby cafeteria instead of participating in the discussion and, of course, they returned when O'Brien was prepared to speak. But this is one of the tools in the hands of diplomats — in the absence of other tools you sometimes resort to that.
Q: You promised more open meetings in the Council.
V.Churkin: Yes, I said we're going to do that on Yemen on October 31st. Why not?
Q: What's the next thing on Aleppo? What's going to solve it?
V.Churkin: Well, you know, there are ongoing discussions in this Lausanne format among experts and our hope is that what did not work out with the Americans in a bilateral format can now work out with a group which is a little bit larger because there are people who can influence the situation on the ground and also who can help separate the so-called moderate groups from Jabhat al-Nusra.
Q: Ambassador, sorry, I need to amend my question. Did Russia bomb the school in Idlib today?
V.Churkin: I've never heard about this.
Q: 26 children were killed apparently.
V.Churkin: It's horrible. I hope we were not involved. The easiest thing for me is to say no, but I'm a responsible person, so I need to see what our Ministry of Defense is going to say.