Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia after UNSC vote on a draft resolution on renewal of the special inspection regime off the coast of Libya
Russia abstained during the vote on France-proposed draft UNSC resolution renewing the special inspection regime on the high seas off the coast of Libya with a view to upholding the arms embargo.
We underscore that Russia alongside with other UNSC member states stood at the origins of the special inspection regime. At that moment, we hoped that this mechanism would contribute to reducing the illegal arms trafficking and therefore, promote the long-awaited political settlement of Libya’s protracted conflict. However, this never happened.
It so happened, that the European Union in fact holds a grip on all opportunities for conducting vessel inspections. We regret that in recent years, EU operation IRINI has proven little effective in terms of advancing the implementation of Libya’s arms embargo. Throughout its course, IRINI has not had any successful cases of interception of smuggled goods. By the way, same assessments can be given to its predecessor – operation SOPHIA.
Besides, the activity of European naval mariners has not always been transparent. By their own accounts, they established some “exclusive” channels for communication with the panel of experts of UNSC sanctions committee 1970, whereas members of this subsidiary body of the Council were never briefed on modalities of such communication. In some cases, activities of the EU navy were characterized by selective approach to vessels flying flags of particular states. For example, take the blatant incident with detention of Royal Diamond 7 which was effected with numerous violations and which Brussels claims to be a roaring success for some reason. It is not quite clear what happened to the confiscated cargo of standard jet fuel that our EU colleagues had planned to market – by sidestepping UNSC resolution 2292.
In the next 12 months, we will keep monitoring the activities of IRINI in promoting the implementation of Libya’s arms embargo. We will focus on whether the operation is efficient in curbing the illegal arms flows and complies with the law of the sea and its relevant mandate envisaged by UNSC resolution 2292. We will also pay attention to giving a legal assessment to the acts of European mariners.