Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
Q: I just want to ask you about North Korea. Have you seen the draft now, what are your thoughts?
A: I personally have not seen the draft, I know it’s being circulated and we will have a look at it and will see what’s in it. The main problem as we said before is that unfortunately with all the good intentions sanctions don’t work they should. And that’s the main issue. It’s not that we categorically deny a possibility of new resolution, but we want the resolution to be working. And we saw by previous ones, as I said yesterday, they were not. But of course we have to discuss the text and see where we can go.
Q: Would you like to say more language in a political section on a return to dialogue? Do you want a mention of this dual suspension proposal?
A: We definitely want more on the political side of that resolution, everybody is saying that, not only us.
Q: What more can be included?
A: Again I have to repeat – the only thing which is on the table, which is on paper is the Joint Russian-Chinese proposal. We would welcome other initiatives. I have heard yesterday that the Swiss offered their mediation. I didn’t see the details, but if that works I will be happy.
Q: Is anybody working behind the scenes? Are there diplomatic contacts between capitals?
A: I hope so.
Q: Is anybody you know actually talking to Kim Jong- un's regime?
A: Talking personally? We have contacts through the embassy, we have an embassy there, they have an embassy in Moscow, China also has its embassy in Pyongyang and in Beijing and I am sure they are talking. Not known how fruitful these talks are.
Q: We you be pushing for a mention of the freeze-for-freeze proposal in this new resolution?
A: We want a reference to the need of a political dialogue based on recent initiatives that has been undertaken.
Q: Ambassador, you mentioned earlier that you want a separate draft resolution on diplomacy…
A: I would say that maybe we need a separate political resolution which stresses diplomacy rather than sanctions. That’s true, I did.
Q: Do you think there should be a separate one or should be language to be included in this one?
A: Lets see how it works, it’s difficult to say at the moment.
Let me brief you on another more important subject today I made within the Council.
I’ve announced it on the instructions from Moscow. I sent a letter both to the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General, asking them to circulate draft resolution on the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine. This letter has gone out this morning. You know that our President in his interview during the BRICS summit was speaking about. So we have asked for circulation of the draft among the Council members and we are hopeful of a meaningful dialogue on the thing that we hope will help bringing peace to this part of Ukraine.
Q: When do you think that could be a voting?
A: We are not talking about voting yet. We circulated the text for consideration. During this week we can only have consultations at an expert level, because the Council is going to Addis. It will return on September 9, and then, starting next week, we can discuss it.
Q: On DPRK. Do you think Monday is a little too optimistic?
A: It is premature. I don’t think we will be able to rush it so fast.
Q: President Trump today said that he is going to allow South Korea and Japan to buy more weapons from the US. How do you think UN can act before US acts independently?
A: You mean militarily?
A: I would prefer not to discuss any military options. I would prefer it is ruled out in any discussions. The timing of the new resolution on DPRK is a bit premature – that what I was saying. We won’t be possibly able to adopt it by next Monday, especially with the Council out. September 11 will be the first working day.
Q: Nobody has seen a text yet?
A: Honestly, I haven’t.
Q: What about an oil embargo, sending back the North Korean laborers. Are those proposals that you could live with if there is also openings on the diplomatic side?
A: I commented on that during the press conference and I was raising the issue constantly that we wouldn’t like to see the ordinary people, the citizens of Korea suffering from what their leadership is doing. And unfortunately, economic measures that might be adopted will definitely tell on the Korean people themselves, not on the Korean nuclear ballistic program. The problem should be discussed in a different format, it should be solved politically and diplomatically, we said that many times and we still repeat it.
Q: I’d like to ask you about Myanmar. Last week there was a Security Council meeting about it. Do you think there should be more steps by the Security Council about the situation in Myanmar? What’s your country’s position?
A: I think that the Security Council sent its signal, and Secretary-General sent a signal that we would like to see calming down of the situation there. And that suffering of people should be relieved and the solution should be found. We called for restraint. I think the Security Council for the time being did what it could do. And we would like to see the situation there pacifying, of course.
Q: On Yemen. There was a report today that came out from Geneva calling for an international investigation. Do you think the Council’s approach on Yemen is working, with envoys supposedly can’t go to Sana, can’t speak to the Houthi and Saudi side? Can the Council do more on Yemen?
A: The Council is doing Yemen. I replied to that question before. We’ve been discussing this situation recently and, in particular, the dire humanitarian crisis in that country which is worse than in Syria, for example. We are looking for various approaches on how to solve this issue with the assistance of the SRSG on Yemen and with the efforts by the international community. We are saying constantly that we have to solve the situation in Yemen, to have an unconditional ceasefire and political dialogue. There is no way without it.