Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
Q: Could you comment on President Trump signing the law with new sanctions?
A: No sensation. It was expected. You know how things developed and it was basically clear on the eve of signing. I am not supposed to comment on the domestic US policies, but this was a Catch 22 for President Trump and he basically was obliged to sign it. This bill was adopted by the US Congress on the host of absurd accusations about Russia. I really wonder, is there anything in this world today which Russia is not guilty of? Some of US officials are saying that this was a bill that might encourage Russia to cooperate with the United States. To me, that is a strange sort of encouragement. But it is not inour habit to behave like resentful children and get offended. We will not relent our efforts to find ways and means to cooperate with our partners, including the United States, not because we agree with what is in the bill or want to please the United States, but because this is in the interest of the international community, the United States and Russia. And we demonstrated that we can cooperate together.
Q: So you don’t expect it will harm your relations with Nikki Haley?
A: It is not conductive to the relations with the 45 in general. But we will be working in these conditions with a hope that it will change one day. But those who invented this bill, if they were thinking that it might change our policy, they were wrong. As history many times proved, and they should have known this, we do not bend and we do not break”.
Q:The first North Korean missile you said, there is no prove of it’s an ICBM. Is the second one ICBM?
A: According to the objective data that we possess it was not ICBM but it was an intermediate-range ballistic missile.
Q: Mr. Ambassador, you’ve just got the letter from four members of the UN (the US, Britain, France and Germany) about Iran and it’s recent launch of a satellite carrying rocket which they say is inconsistent with the Security Council resolution endorsing 2015 Nuclear deal and calling for the Security Council to consider it. What’s Russia’s position on that launch last week?
A: I didn’t receive any letters unless it arrived when I was in the Security Council. Let me see the letter. But in our reading of the JCPAP this is not a violation of the agreement because it concerns issues which were not written into the JCPAP.
Q: Has China shared the draft of the North Korea resolution with you and do you think moving forward there should be more sanctions or enforcement of the existing sanctions on DPRK?
A: Deepening the sanctions will not solve the problem. I think only the political dialogue will. We encourage all parties and primarily the United States and the North Korea to engage in it. This is a difficult thing and there is no easy solution.
Q: Ambassador, does Russia support additional sanctions on North Korea?
A: As I said, sanctions will not solve the problem. And the question is what is the aim of the sanctions. If we see that they are aimed at the people that will be an issue. If they help eliminate the nuclear program of the North Korea, that will be another thing. But we have to discuss the resolution itself first.
Q: Ambassador, you said that it’s not a violation of the JCPOA, but is it a violation of resolution 2331?
A: Let me see the letter first, then I’ll be able to comment…
Q: But you know the resolution, right?
A: I don’t know every resolution that the United Nations adopted, I’m a newcomer here, what do you expect from me?
Q: Are we expecting a resolution in the coming days? You mentioned “in the coming days”: could you clarify?
A: In the coming days we will understand whether there will be a resolution.
Q: Ambassador Nikki Haley said you discussed a lot of things on North Korea, any read out on agreements with the US?
A: We were exchanging views on that thing and that’s a difficult topic as I said. No easy solutions, no recipes that either of us has. We were exchanging views and sharing our understanding on how we can move things forward, no more than that.
Q: How would you describe your meeting with her?
A: Very good. She is a very open person offering cooperation and I reciprocated on it of course, because it’s our destiny to cooperate here. I was meeting her the whole day through yesterday on various occasions, and there will be more meetings to come in the near feature of course.
Q: Did you like her?
A: Yes, I did.