Remarks by Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following UNSC meeting on the Letter dated 13 March 2018 from the Permanent Mission of United Kingdom
Q.: Are there news from Douma, Damaskus, OPCW?
A.: All I have for this morning is that they went there, there was some shooting and they retreated. Who shot? Why shot? I may suspect, that there was a provocation to prevent them from getting where they should be. But that is all I know for the moment.
Q.: But what is your assessment on the ground and in the area that is now under control of the Syrian government, where you have your military police on the ground. Is there anyone left from other groups?
A.: There may be, I don’t know. There may be some scatted individuals or groups that are still there, which prefer to stay there, but suddenly, obviously, apparently didn’t lay the arms down. Well, I don’t know. We have to figure that out. But the fact is that today as far as I know the experts went and then retreated because of the danger that was related to the gunfire.
Q.: Will they try to go in again today?
A.: Today for them is already tomorrow.
Q.: Nikki Haley said on Sunday, that there might be some new US sanctions coming on Russia for your support of Syria. Were you speaking there about this?
Q.: Would you believe now ambassador Haley, the Trump team and the White House would have talked of sanctions?
A.: I believe in God. That is it. I don’t distinguish … It’s not our game.
Q.: Do you mean that Russia cannot guarantee the safety of the OPCW mission?
A.: We said that we will provide security, but of course we have to make sure that everything is fine. We don’t want to risk the lives of the investigators.
Q.: Do you insist that the security team will be going in again to assess security? Are you going to try and ensure that Russian and Syrian security experts are with them to make sure there is no shooting again?
A.: I don’t know what exact composition of that is, but I’m sure that they are intending to do this. It’s obvious. They are trying to figure out how they can do it and how safe it is now. But I don’t know the details.
Q.: Will you feel be awkward in Sweden this weekend? Hanging out with colleagues.
A.: Awkward? I don’t know how awkward Sweden is because I have never been there. I will see how they feel about being with me. After all what happened. We will see.
Q.: The Deputy Swedish Ambassador said “The guests should come with humility and patience”. Do you think you and the other guests are capable of that?
A.: We normally express humility outside this Council and there are a lot of evidence to it.
Q.: Ambassador, Arab countries also said that they are willing to send military forces to Syria. What’s your position on this? You think that is something helpful for the Syrians?
A.: I don’t think so.
Q.: What books will be used in “literature” war? What is left in your arsenal with the British Ambassador? Does it help to solve the problem?
A.: Come on. The world library is much larger. We have just started.
Q.: For Ambassador Pierce. She said she would send you a book for Christmas.
A.: I would give something decent and..
Q.: Maybe a rabbit?
A.: White? And something that she would like. I should think over.