Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following UNSC meeting on Syria
Q: What are the amendments that you want to add to the press statement?
A: We, together with China, have been asking for something similar on chemical Syria for about four years. Now we saw a draft press statement coming from our partners and we would be ready to adopt one, but not in the way they proposed it, because the aim of their press statement is clear – to accuse the Government of Syria, although it is not mentioned there directly, in the press statement. But mentioning of Chapter VII of the Charter clearly indicates what their real aim is. We unequivocally condemn any use of chemical weapons in Syria, we call for due investigation of alleged use of chemical weapons that were reported recently. We want the independent mechanism, for which we are advocating at the moment, to ensure professional, impartial and objective investigations.
Q: We were just told that your draft resolution is in negotiations. Are there more people moving forward with it?
A: We are in the process of expert consultations on it. It is in that process. The fact that we are consulting on it is already a confirmation, that we are moving somewhere. But will we adopt it finally – we don’t know that yet.
Q: And what kind of changes are UK and the US asking for in your draft?
A: Their stress is on the independence of the mechanism and on its relation to the role of the Security Council in the whole process. We want to ensure that the independent mechanism will not be such mechanism that was called «independent», but was not such in reality. And I would like to stress again we are told as if we killed the JIM. But our partners are too shy to recall that it was them, who technically didn’t use the veto, but used the procedural tricks to kill the mechanism themselves. We wanted to extend it then, but on a new, independent and professional basis.
Q: Is the Sochi process now driving the Geneva process rather that the other way round?
A: The Sochi process was a major boost for Geneva process, at least we hope it will be. That was admitted both by Staffan de Mistura and the Secretary-General and now it’s up to them to use the results of Sochi. We delivered Sochi to Staffan de Mistura and now it’s his turn to deliver.
Q: I want to ask about the fighter that was downed in Syria and the killing of the pilot. Can you say something about who is behind of the downing of the fighter jet and the killing of the pilot?
A: I don’t have any specific information on that, but I know that these were terrorist groups which are in that area, which are in the area of Idlib. As far as I know most of the groups that are acting there are related to Nusra, but I have no specific information which group was behind.
Q: What kind of rockets or missiles downed it?
A: They say it was a manpad. That’s all I know.
Q: Ambassador, can we ask you about the different issue? What were your emotions in the DC? You have said you will give us your view on what you saw. Were you convinced by the evidence that took you to this military base and showed you this evidence? Were you convinced that it should mean fresh action against Iran? What’s your view on that?
A: I’ve already gave a comment on it. I am not an expert to be convinced. I am the wrong target.
Q: Should you have your weapons experts, what did they tell you?
A: They were not there. I mean, we sent the information we were provided. We were promised to be provided with more information of the issue. We have not received it yet. We sent it to Moscow to study.
Q: What is your general view on Iran support of the Houthi rebels? Is there evidence for that?
A: Not to my knowledge.