Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following UNSC consultations on Syria
Q: How can you comment on the resignation of the US Ambassador to UN?
A: As it is clear from what we heard today, it was her decision and we have to respect it. I regret that she is leaving, because we had good working and personal relations despite all the differences that we were and are having. But I rejoice at the fact that she is not leaving yet. It was not a resignation per se. It was an announcement of resignation. So we still have an ample time to be here together before the end of her stay with the US Mission.
Q: What will you miss the most about her?
A: She is a charismatic personality. She was a friend to all of us. And as I said many times beyond the doors of the Security Council we as a group were very friendly.
Q: Politically speaking, what next Ambassador do you hope would come in her place?
A: We are prepared to work with any Ambassador that the US President will nominate and designate and the Senate will approve. We work with anyone. We want to establish as good relations with the next US Ambassador as I had with Nikki.
Q: Did this announcement come as a shock to you?
A: “Shock” may be not a proper word. It was a surprise, not a pleasant one for me personally.
Q: How would you describe US-Russian relations at this point?
A: I would like to refrain for any words because they may sound a bit derogatory if I pronounce them. Too bad.
Q: Would you like to see a US woman-ambassador replacing Ambassador Haley and how tough was it working with Ambassador Haley?
A: I wonder what she will tell you if you ask the same question about me. Tough enough but we went along, as President Trump says.
Q: I was just wondering about the prospects of an improvement in the US-Russian relations.
A: We never lose hope. I think that finally it will come, hopefully in our life span. The sooner – the better. It is not important only for bilateral relations as such. It is important for the world and we are saying it all the time. It is not that just we or the US need it. It is the whole world that needs better relations between Russia and the US.
Q: Do you feel that you and Ambassador Haley succeeded in some areas to bridge the gap of mistrust between Russia and the US?
A: I wouldn’t be assessing her role in the US policies in the UN because I don’t want to sound impolite. We have differences on how the US conducts its foreign policy today. She was enumerating its successes. Some of those successes we don’t consider to be a success. We think that things should and could have been done otherwise. I wouldn’t be dwelling upon this at this point of time.
Q: Do you want to talk to Ambassador Haley about her resignation?
A: I think she’ll be asked many times about it when she arrives back from Washington. I’m planning to enjoy as much time with her before she leaves as I can.
Q: What are some of the things that she mentioned that you do not consider as a success?
A: The US withdrawal from the Iran deal, for example.
Q: Did you exchange any messages with her today?
A: I didn’t want to bother her but I hope I’ll see her soon.
Q: What is an area where have you achieved success with her?
A: The Security Council in fact agrees on 90-95 per cent of the matters. You, as media, prefer to see the bad things about the Security Council. Because they are all on the screens, they can be sold to the public. But we achieved a lot. We have lots of issues on the agenda that are not on the radar of the press. If you calculate how numerous they are, as I said, it is around 90-95% of the agenda.
Q: Do you hope or do you look forward to working with Ambassador Haley in her future capacity?
A: I am pretty sure, that Ambassador Haley will resurface in her new life. She is young, she is energetic, she is ambitious. I think that we will see her after she has this well deserved respite, that she was referring to.
Q: Will you give her a farewell gift?
A: Of course, I will give her a farewell gift.