Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Mr. Petr Illiichev, at the Security Council meeting on addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security
We thank you, Mr. President, for organizing today’s meeting and for the open debate format, which enables us to engage in a broad exchange of opinions on an issue as complicated as this one, the factors that make it difficult to resolve conflicts today.
Your choice of subject is timely not only for the Security Council, which, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, has the main responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, but also for the entire United Nations system, its principal organs and all its Member States.
When the Council discusses individual conflicts, we deal with the entire spectrum of threats to peace. That said, every country or regional situation has its own unique set of circumstances that must be considered when taking decisions. That context-specific approach is always at the heart of our work. All too often, unfortunately, in dealing with the most intractable threats, we have to rely on Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, which regulates those decisions.
However, in your concept note (S/2017/1016, annex), Mr. President, you rightly point out that in individual situations there may be other factors at work besides the threat to peace — these so-called challenges, which can influence the process of arriving at a settlement. They may include all kinds of circumstances that extend far beyond the framework of the list included in the concept note for today’s meeting. Unfortunately, the most urgently topical challenges to stability are beyond the reach of this list. What we have in mind, first and foremost, is outside interference in States’ domestic processes, including foreign support for such subversive processes as unconstitutional regime change and seizures of power.
The representative of Ukraine deliberately omitted to mention these important underlying causes of the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine. What he said about international law, and law in general, simply comes across as blasphemy. How can the representative of a country talk about compliance with the law when its leadership came to power as a result of a coup against the Government in Kyiv in February 2014? That was when this tragedy began. We all know that the way to resolve this conflict is through full implementation by the Kyiv authorities of the Minsk agreements, as endorsed by Security Council resolution 2202 (2015).
Getting back to the subject of the meeting, the concept note also failed to take account of the unfair distribution of access to natural resources and other assets that has been the legacy for dozens of States in the wake of colonial rule. It would also be helpful to take a look at the problems caused by unilateral economically coercive measures; the ongoing disparity in access to modern technologies, including environmentally friendly ones; the rapacious exploitation of natural resources by transnational corporations; the unfair distribution of positions in the global economic governance institutions; the failure to uphold official development assistance commitments; and the problem of poverty and growing social inequality, which, as many reports point out, is highly likely to provoke or stoke existing conflicts. Of course, none of this rules out the possibility of the negative influence on efforts to reach a settlement of a conflict of factors that have already been mentioned, such as climate change, hunger, epidemics, transnational crime and so on. However, it is important to keep in mind that none of these challenges are universal; they are unique to each specific situation.
Needless to say, the role of the United Nations is to provide support to States, which bear the primary responsibility for responding to security challenges on their territories. In that context, we firmly believe that as a general rule it is helpful for the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council to consider the interrelationships between issues of peace, security, development and human rights. However, it is vital to maintain the principle of division of labour and each of these principal organs should act within its own area of responsibility.
We proceed from the fact that the Charter of the United Nations assigned to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council a mandate to consider socioeconomic and environmental issues, which include combating climate change and ensuring sustainable water use, health care and similar issues. It is the General Assembly, with its universal membership, that makes recommendations on such issues, all of which have many different aspects. They are all considered in the relevant specialized committees and in individual forums such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Combining all these elements together and preparing balanced decisions on them demands a variety of expertise and time that the Security Council does not possess.
We believe that this type of coordinated arrangement among Member States in the principal organs of the United Nations can be a reliable basis for the work of the Secretariat also after the restructuring of its peace and security architecture that has begun. Today the General Assembly has considered the issue of requesting Secretary-General António Guterres to submit detailed proposals on this topic.
Given that, we believe it is inappropriate to transfer to the agenda of the Council general issues that come under the remit of other principal organs within the United Nations system with a much broader representation of Member States. The Council should not usurp their voices.