Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC meeting on UN peacekeeping operations
We thank UN Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix for the informative briefing.
For decades, peacekeeping has been at the heart of UN efforts to maintain peace and security, with a direct impact on the lives of millions of people. People pin great hopes on peacekeeping operations, as they are designed to address both immediate problems and to contribute to the long-term resolution of crises.
The evolution of nature and character of conflicts, dangerous environments under which missions operate, often compounded by the difficult humanitarian and socio-economic situation, make it necessary to adapt peacekeeping mechanisms. That is why Member States and the UN Secretariat are focused on optimizing peacekeeping missions, as well as improving the efficiency of work and ensuring the safety of the Blue Helmets and civilian personnel.
One of the key prerequisites for the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates is the constructive engagement with the host States that bear the main responsibility for the protection of civilians, eliminating root causes of the crisis and post-conflict reconstruction. The focus should be on the cooperation of missions and the Secretariat with host country authorities, which neither civil society nor NGOs can replace.
We also consider it important to improve trilateral cooperation between the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat in order to strengthen the spirit of partnership, cooperation and mutual trust.
Effective interaction of the UN with regional and subregional organizations on the basis of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter also undeniably adds value in terms of increasing the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. Fruitful cooperation between the UN and the African Union serves as an excellent example. We see a good potential for the development of UN partnerships with the CSTO and the SCO, which are building up their political authority and contributing to the strengthening of regional and international security.
Clear and realistic mission mandates that reflect the views of host States as well as the specific root causes of each conflict and the current situation on the ground, will help to achieve significant results in improving the effectiveness of peacekeeping. We consider it necessary to reduce secondary and non-core tasks of peacekeepers, in particular those of a human rights, social and gender nature, which distract them from performing their main functions and require significant funding. The Blue Helmets should focus their efforts on providing high-quality, painstaking assistance for a political settlement and the achievement of national reconciliation, which would both address the symptoms and the root causes of conflicts. At the same time, unconditional respect for the sovereignty of the host States, strict observance of the goals and principles of the Charter of the global Organization, as well as the basic principles of peacekeeping - the consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except for self-defense and protection of the mandate, must remain an imperative. Their flexible interpretation, even under the most noble pretexts, is unacceptable.
All aspects of mission work, including the protection of civilians, where mandated to do so, should be subject to these basic principles of peacekeeping. It is impossible for the peacekeepers to “saber rattle” and become a party to the conflict. Obsessing over robust mandates and the involvement of peacekeepers in offensive and counter-terrorist operations can undermine the neutral status of the Blue Helmets, turn them into active participants in the conflict, increasing threats to their life and health.
We fully share the view that we need to improve the security of peacekeepers. We believe that this can be achieved by improving their logistics and training.
In Russia, we provide high-quality training for both Russian and foreign peacekeepers on the basis of the training centers of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Thus, in October 2021, the UN Secretariat certified the training programs for the UN Military Observers Course at the Ground Forces Military Training and Research Center "Combined Arms Academy of the Order of Zhukov of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation" in Naro-Fominsk
We believe that the definition of the main directions for the development of UN peacekeeping activities should be determined in an inter-State format. In this regard, UNGA Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34) is a unique platform, where most of the Member States of the Organization, including troop-contributing and host States, have the opportunity to develop common approaches to the parameters of peacekeeping activities that should guide the UN Secretariat and missions on the ground. Only the unconditional respect on the ground of the agreements and obligations reached in the inter-State format can ensure the necessary level of trust between all parties involved, and thus help increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions and achieve the ultimate success. We are convinced that the solidarity of States regarding the principles of the work of peacekeeping operations will facilitate the settlement of related issues as well.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the military, police and civilian personnel of UN peacekeeping missions for their unwavering commitment to fulfilling their noble duty in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions with daily risk to their lives.
In conclusion, we would like to note that our efforts in support of UN peacekeeping have met blatant opposition from the United States. Just last week, the third United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit took place, which a delegation of the Russian Federation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, headed by Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev, was invited to attend. However, due to the actions of the US side, the participation of the Russian delegation in the Summit was disrupted - the delegates simply were not issued visas. This is yet another flagrant violation by the United States of its obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement.
In that regard, we would like to reiterate that the issuance of visas for members of delegations is an international legal obligation of the United States, not a privilege. Refusng to issue visas to delegates from individual States runs contrary to the principle of sovereign equality and hinders their effective participation in the work of the Organization.