Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia following consultations on Maintenance of international peace and security
Q: Ambassador, what do you think about the Swedish draft?
A: It doesn’t matter what I think about the Swedish draft. The theme of the Security Council meeting was about threats to international peace and security. Preparations that certain permanent Council members are making is a clear violation of the UN Charter, the threat to international peace and security is a violation of the UN Charter. We are very concerned with this situation, with the escalation. We hope that there will be no point of no return and that the US and their allies will refrain from military action against a sovereign state. You understand that the danger of escalation is higher than simply Syria because our military are there on the invitation of the Syrian government. So the situation is very dangerous and we made it very clear at the consultations.
Q: What does the Russian Federation thins about the Swedish proposal?
A: We just had the Swedish proposal today. We didn’t have time to study it. I said at the consultations that we are grateful to Sweden for trying to come up with the text only attribution mechanism, but, frankly, in these circumstances we are finding ourselves now. This is not an immediate priority: The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war.
As to the Swedish text, we will study it, but the second priority now is for the OPCW Mission to reach Damascus and Douma and to see what really happened – that is second priority on the list. And the third will be a discussion of the mechanism.
Q: You mentioned that you want to avert the danger of war. The danger of war between the US and Russia?
A: We cannot exclude any possibilities, unfortunately, because we saw messages that are coming from Washington. They were very bellicose. They know we are there. I wish there was a dialogue through appropriate channels on this to avert any dangerous development.
Q: What about the meeting that I heard that you will call for a meeting with SG?
A: Good question. We said that it will be appropriate that we have an open briefing of the Security Council with the participation of the Secretary-General, because when we find ourselves in the situation of a threat to international peace and security, this is exactly the time when we need to hold it openly and with the participation of the Secretary-General of the Organization.
Q: When do you want that to happen?
A: I cannot give you an exact hour, but it will be soon.
A: I will not dwell upon on when exactly, but in the near future.
Q: What will be your steps if the US were to fire that Russian casualties could be avoided?
A: We want any strikes to be avoided in the first place, but of course it is even unthinkable to think that the US will strike something which is Russian military presence.
Q: The OPCW has said that their investigators are going to start working on Saturday. Are you going to make sure that they are going to get to Douma on Saturday?
A: We will do anything possible to make sure they will to do what they have to do. The Syrian authorities said they would open all gates for them. They are ready to accept them, to provide any necessary assistance. We said we would together ensure their security while working there. My concern is and my hope is that they would be able to be there on time to finish their work. That nothing prevents them from doing it.
Q: Did you come away from this meeting with the sense that a military action is imminent?
A: Unfortunately, some of our colleagues preferred to focus on other things pretending as if there there were no threat to international peace and security, even avoiding mentioning the issue which is the most pressing one.
Q: How might Russia react if strikes happen?
A: Don’t ask me. Ask appropriate people, who know better .
Q: Would those countries that you were just talking about that didn’t want to …
A: We had a closed meeting so I would prefer not to say it that’s gentlemanly for me not to mention them now. When we have an open briefing you will see all yourself. But you may make a wild guess.
Q: I’d like to ask Ambassador … You called this meeting. Were you satisfied with what’s happened. What is your reaction?
A: (Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the UN Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz): We asked for this meeting because we are in concern about these threats. And if recent history tells us something is that those threats are not just threats. A year ago the United States also stroke unilaterally Syria against the UN Charter. So we would take those threats very-very seriously. Those goals are against the United Nations Charter. And we as Members of the Security Council have responsibility not just for our own country but we represent the whole Membership. So due to that responsibility we believe that not just the Security Council but the Secretariat and the whole system should upheld the principles of the Charter. That is why we called this meeting.
Q: How do you to uphold these principles?
A: (Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the UN Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz): Respecting them. The first thing is that mainly the permanent members of the Security Council have the privilege of being permanent and have the veto-power. Those are the ones that should lead by example and those are the ones that should held the principles of the Charter at any moment, not just when it’s for their own convenience. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is that we need to mobilize all the system to upheld those principles. And right now the main threat that we are facing is exactly these threats.
Q: What would you answer to Donald Trump on his twitter?
A: (Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the UN Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz): May be I’d send him a link of the UN Charter.
Q: Ambassador Nebenzia, may I ask you about Skripals, please? The OPCW got some conclusions today. Does Russia accept those conclusions?
A: I saw a message that the report of the OPCW mission was sent to the member states including Russia. And Russian authorities said that they would study it. So it’s too early to say what they will reply. I haven’t seen it and it was not yet assessed.
Q: Would be a strike by the US a violation against the international law and the Charter in your opinion?
A: Of course it is. Even the threat of the use of force is a violation of the Charter. Let alone strikes.