Statement by Mr.Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on implementation of the note by the President of the Security Council in February 2018
The Security Council’s agenda for the past month has been especially full.
We would like to thank you personally, Mr. President, and your entire team for your very professional and effective execution of your functions in the presidency.
We appreciate the relevance of Kazakhstan’s initiatives, which reflect the Council’s central role in seeking and developing effective solutions to very difficult problems related to the maintenance of international peace and security. That applies particularly to the Security Council’s meeting on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (see S/PV.8160).
We believe firmly that the way to put an end to the risks and threats in this area is by observing the fundamental principles of international law and ensuring equal and indivisible security conditions for every country. The current state of affairs in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament urgently needs us to collaborate in the quest for ways to deal with its growing problems while at the same time maintaining cooperation mechanisms that have been proven to be effective and respecting the interests of all States.
We greatly appreciated the holding of a ministerial-level debate on Afghanistan and Central Asia (see S/PV.8162). Kazakhstan’s particular focus on the issue of Afghanistan has been backed up by Astana’s responsible attitude to the quest for answers to the threats to the Central Asian region emanating from Afghanistan. The dangerous situation there, including the increasing risk of Afghanistan’s northern provinces becoming a bridgehead for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, requires an integrated approach both from the regional Powers and the international community as a whole.
We assume that within the framework of initiatives designed to promote Central Asian-Afghanistan cooperation, primary consideration will be given to the positive experience of the Moscow format and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Afghanistan Contact Group. Mutually beneficial cooperation is what is needed in Eurasia today, and external actors should promote that rather than attempting to drag the countries of the region into a zero-sum game or present them with a false choice between North and South.
We welcomed the presidential statement on Afghanistan and Central Asia (S/PRST/2018/2), aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the region. It is important that we succeeded in reaching a mutual understanding on conflict prevention in the presidential statement.
However, it was also clear that discussion of this pressing issue should continue in the wider format of the General Assembly and its specialized committees. We commend the Council’s very well prepared mission to Kabul during Kazakhstan’s presidency. After a gap of many years since the previous such visit, it once again demonstrated the Security Council’s unity on the issue of the Afghan dossier and represented an important milestone in the context of resolving the country’s situation.
We were pleased with the consultations on the activities of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, which we see as a comprehensive political tool for establishing dialogue, cooperation and a peaceful resolution of the issues among Central Asian states.
It was gratifying that for the first time in three years the Council was able to agree on a press statement regarding the Centre’s activities (SC/13179). The quarterly debates on the Middle East have unfortunately confirmed the fact that the crisis trends in the region are still dominant. An episode of serious arrhythmia in the efforts to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict complicated the task of restarting a political dialogue.
The situation in Yemen is rapidly deteriorating, while the state of affairs in Syria, Libya and Iraq remains difficult. We firmly believe that breakthroughs will be possible only through coordinated international cooperation and the establishment of a unified agenda. We must strive to unite our efforts to combat terrorism and consolidate our approaches to settling serious regional crises. Russia is ready to participate in that work with all interested partners. Attempts to promote national agendas while ignoring the views of other Member States, which we unfortunately witnessed at the beginning of the month, are counterproductive and only make the quest for lasting solutions to the issues harder. In the past month, with regard to a settlement of the conflict in Syria, a ninth round of negotiations was held under the auspices of the United Nations.
We are pleased that there has been no pause in the recent inter-Syrian talks. In Sochi, in the past few days, with the support of the United Nations, the partners in the Astana process and the leading regional states held the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, an unprecedentedly major event hosted by Russia. The Security Council has consistently emphasized that it is the Syrians themselves who must determine their country’s future, and a wide representation of every stratum of Syrian society such as this is therefore simply crucial to enabling work to begin on such urgent issues as constitution-building. In that regard, our efforts dovetail fully with the logic of resolution 2254 (2015), and we hope that they will have an appropriate follow-up.
At Russia’s initiative, the Council began discussing the creation of a new international investigative mechanism to replace the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, whose reputation is tainted. It will be important to ensure that any new entity works professionally and reliably to establish all the circumstances related to the use of poisonous substances, in strict conformity with Chemical Weapons Convention rules, in order to eventually ascertain the identity of the perpetrators of such acts.
During the discussion in January of issues in West Africa and the Sahel-Saharan region (see S/PV.8156), we concluded that the countries of the region are all dealing with similar challenges and threats that should be combated through a multifaceted approach. The United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel region is a mechanism whose potential for making progress on these issues has not been fully exploited.
The extension of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus for another six months was an important step, since the mission will be particularly needed during the six-month pause in the direct talks on a settlement between the island’s two communities. The slight reduction in the size of its military component should in no way affect its overall effectiveness.
In conclusion, we would like to once again thank our friends from Kazakhstan and wish every success to the delegation of Kuwait, to which the baton of the presidency passes in February.