Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations following the Security Council consultations
Q: Do you have any reaction to this airstrike in Yemen today that hit in Sana and killed many civilians?
A: I have just learned about from the news. Definitely that’s very sad and worrisome. You know our position on crisis in Yemen – we are looking forward to and strongly urge all parties to cease the hostilities and to come to the political dialogue without any preconditions. Without that we will not be able to solve the problem in Yemen.
Q: You had several meetings on Yemen over the last week or so, do you think the Security Council needs do anymore on getting humanitarian access?
A: The Security Council has been recently discussing the problem in Yemen both in the open format and consultations that followed. I think that there is consensus that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is dire that is recognized by everyone and it should be immediately addressed. To address it there are certain issues that have to be resolved – access first of all. But humanitarian aid alone will not be able to solve the desperate needs of the Yemeni people. So, I think it will be fare to say that Security Council is addressing this situation.
Q: Do you have any reaction to the new US sanctions put on Russia?
A: It was commented by Deputy Minister Sergei Ryabkov today. It is another unfriendly move by the United States which of course does not add any positive atmosphere and doesn’t help to stabilize relations with Russia which the American side it wants. We are not encouraged by those moves. Besides we strongly condemn unilateral sanctions, not only those aimed at us, but at anybody. When we were adopting the latest resolution on DPRK on August 5, we didn’t give any consent on having unilateral sanctions on top of that resolution. For listing either companies or people under the sanctions regime there is a 1718 Mechanism on DPRK sanctions. If the US wanted to do it legally it should had gone to that Committee to apply for listing those companies or individuals that they considered to be applicable to be put on the sanctions list. So, first we condemn that move, secondly we don’t think it is legal and thirdly, we don’t think it facilitates the stabilization and improvement in the Russia-US relations.
Q: Ambassador, question on Lebanon. Apparently there is a big difference in the approach between France and the US about the mandates. What is the position of Russia on this?
A: We do not see any reason to question the mandate of UNIFIL. We said it openly in consultations which I have just left. I think that it was shared by many. We think that UNIFIL’s mandate should be renewed in the present form. There is a “golden rule” in any peacekeeping operation – to seek the opinion of the receiving country. The receiving country Lebanon doesn’t ask for the change of the mandate and we should be guided by this.
Q: Aside from the United States were there any other countries supporting changing the mandate to deal with Hezbollah?
A: I would answer as follows. I think the majority of those who spoke supported the renewal of the mandate as it is now.
Q: Regarding the meeting of Prime Minister Netanyahu with President Putin and his comments about Iran’s role in Syria. Do you have any comment on that?
A: You know that Iran is playing a very important role in Syria. Iran, Russia and Turkey are guarantors of the Astana process which allowed to establish at least three de-escalation zones and to continue working on establishing the fourth one. This is a very important development which is recognized as real progress on the way to end that tragic war which is going on there. We know the position of Israel on Iran, but we think that Iran is playing a very constructive role in Syria. We work together on bringing the Syrian conflict to a close soon.
Q: On the Moldavian request to discuss the pullout of Russian troops from Transnistria. Do you think it is right way to do that?
A: I do not think so. It is not a very friendly and quite a sudden move. We were not even approached on that, neither were we advised in advance. We just saw the letter, that was dated August 11, but circulated over the last weekend. Of course it will not add to the peace process with its mechanism which was established long time ago (5+2). We will be saying it openly to our Moldavian colleagues. I think that this is the reflection of divide between executive and presidential branches in Moldova. Looks like a spillover from that.
Q: Will this question be added to the agenda of the General Assembly?
A: That is for the General Committee to decide which will convene in September.