Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Myanmar


We followed closely the briefing of ASG Khiari. We also took note of remarks by OCHA representative Lisa Doughten.

We regret that the open format of today’s meeting (which the penholders of the Myanmarese file insisted on) will not allow for a calm, non-politicized conversation aimed at finding solutions to the problems under consideration. It is obvious that there are things that cannot be discussed in the "megaphone diplomacy" mode, and we have every reason to believe that the departure from the established practice of holding Security Council meetings on Myanmar in a closed format at the insistence of Western delegations will not contribute to a productive discussion.


In order to identify solutions to the problems that Myanmar encounters today, it is necessary to discover their root causes. As with many other states, they lie in the past marred by Western colonial policies. In the few decades of its rule over Myanmar, Britain completely reshaped the status quo that had prevailed for centuries. Playing on the contradictions of the country's different peoples and ethnic groups, London set them against each other so strongly that reverberations of that can be seen until this day. This includes the Rakhine State.

Myanmar is an example of London's favorite divide-and-conquer policy. In the history of South-East Asia alone, such examples are plenty. In addition to Myanmar, hundreds of millions of people living in modern China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka became victims of British invasions and merciless exploitation of human resources. The indigenous population of Australia was on the verge of extermination.

It was Great Britain that brought destruction and mass deaths to the region, while acquiring untold riches for its elite. Suffice it to have a look at the old mansions of central London and visit the city's major museums to realize that the scale of plundering surpassed all imagination. The true attitude of Western elites to the people of South and South-East Asia is evidenced by the words of Prime Minister Churchill when hunger broke out in India in 1943 due to the plundering policies of the British crown. The British leader refused to help, saying only that the famine was Indians’ “own fault for breeding like rabbits”.

Against this backdrop, London's "phantom pains" over the irrevocably gone colonial past and its desire to grasp any opportunity to curb in any way the emergence of a new center of power in South-East Asia are obvious. The methods of the UK’s greedy policy have changed, but the essence remains the same. Because of its inability to influence Myanmar’s authorities with guns and rifles (as it did during the three Anglo-Burmese wars in the 19th century), Britain has taken to illegitimate restrictive measures. The UK is trying to use international organizations, including the UN and its Security Council, to exert political pressure. This is the real reason for convening today's meeting, and let no one be misled by the cunning rhetoric of our British colleagues about their concern for the fate of the people of Myanmar.


Speaking of the current situation in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, our long-standing friend and close partner, we should like to emphasize that neither the adoption of Security Council resolution 2669 nor some aggravation of the situation over the past five months are factors requiring the convening of an open meeting of the Security Council. The situation in Myanmar is not a threat to international peace and security. We oppose the use of the Security Council to put pressure on Naypyidaw and condemn attempts by Western delegations to politicize the Myanmarese file, including through human rights issues. If you are interested in these aspects, it is more appropriate to consider this subject at specialized platforms, including the Third Committee of the General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.

Whatever Western delegations may claim in that context, we note the efforts of the Myanmarese authorities to normalize the situation, preserve national unity and ensure the country's sovereignty. Putting pressure on Myanmar, including through unsubstantiated accusations based on information from unreliable sources, which we have heard and will continue to hear today, can only exacerbate the situation and bolster contradictions. In fact, this is what our Western colleagues are seeking, and we have no illusions in this regard.

We advocate a depoliticized and non-confrontational approach in discussing ways to resolve the problem of displaced persons from Myanmar's Rakhine State. The key factor here is promoting direct dialogue and practical engagement between Naypyidaw and Dhaka building on existing bilateral agreements. We commend the Government of Bangladesh, which has provided refugees with shelter on its territory for humanitarian reasons, despite the difficult financial, social and environmental challenges. Russia contributes to assisting the Rohingyas via the World Food Program. We welcome the work of the Myanmar-Bangladesh Joint Working Group (JWG) on repatriation, as well as its technical working group.

We see the task of the international community in assisting Myanmar and Bangladesh in implementing the relevant agreements and Rakhine development programs, while respecting the sovereignty of both countries and not interfering in their internal affairs.

We attach great importance to deepening interaction between Naypyidaw and ASEAN. We note in particular the steps taken by ASEAN Special Envoy for Myanmar Alounkeo Kittikkhun towards establishing an intra-Myanmar dialogue, implement the five-point consensus and provide humanitarian assistance to the country.

We consider the work of the trilateral ministerial consultative mechanism involving Bangladesh, Myanmar and China within the framework of the JWG established in 2019 to be very promising. We support efforts to develop cooperation between Myanmar and UNHCR and UNDP with a view to implementing the memorandum on facilitating the return and accommodation of returnees.

We share the concern of Myanmarese authorities about the increased activity of extremist groups in the territory of Rakhine since the end of last year, particularly the so-called Arakan Army. There is a lot of evidence that this militia (as well as the armed opposition in general) is supported by Western countries and used as a lever to achieve their neo-colonial goals. At the same time, in their public addresses, the US, UK, and their allies demand to increase pressure on the Myanmar leadership to expedite the return of refugees. While doing so, they leave behind the fact that the actions of their protégés further destabilize the situation in Rakhine and worsen the situation in IDP camps. In other words, the steps of Western countries, who are concerned only with promoting their own geopolitical interests in the region, make it impossible to fulfill their demands to the Myanmar authorities.

Meanwhile, the recipe for solving Myanmar's internal problems is obvious. It envisages normalizing the situation under the state of emergency that has been in effect since February 2021, continuing the process of national reconciliation, which the armed groups are refusing to do under the instigation of the West, and implementing projects in the area of socio-economic development of the territories inhabited by ethnic minorities in Rakhine and other parts of the country. There is no doubt that the issues of the civil and legal status of IDPs must be resolved; however the solution must accommodate Myanmar’s legislative norms. It is unacceptable to use the existing objective difficulties to exert pressure on Naypyidaw and attempt to undermine the domestic situation in the country. Although this goal is the driver for countries who wish to involve the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court in the Rakhine issue.

We take a different approach, putting Myanmar's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence first. We are therefore focused on constructive dialogue and substantive cooperation with all interested stakeholders in order to develop, together with the Government of Myanmar, the best ways to promote international assistance in resolving the situation in and around Rakhine State.

We call on all colleagues who are not biased in favor of Western geopolitical agenda to join our efforts.

Thank you.

Video of the statement