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 the attacks against Israel


We have listened carefully to the briefing by the United Nations Secretary-General. We also noted your immediate public reaction condemning Iran's actions that you gave yesterday, Mr. Secretary-General. It is a pity that, in contrast to today's meeting, you did not volunteer to brief the Council on April 2, when an urgent briefing was called at the Russian initiative to discuss the already mentioned Israeli strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus. We would also like to see more activity on your part in bringing to the Council's attention information on other subjects that are no less turbulent for the entire Middle East region, such as Israel's attacks on its neighbors Syria and Lebanon, which have started to occur regularly. If such actions continue to be ignored, your calls for restraint by all sides, which we do share, may prove futile.


When we convened on April 2 to discuss the Israeli strike on the Iranian consular facility in Damascus, we warned that there needed to be a strong unified message from the Council that such actions are unacceptable. Not just against sovereign Iran or Syria, and not just in the Middle East but anywhere in the world. We called on our UNSC colleagues to condemn such reckless steps clearly and unequivocally so that they would not be repeated. We also warned that otherwise risks that this may recur and that the situation in the region may escalate would multiply. We even proposed a draft UN Security Council press statement consisting of depoliticized language, standard for such cases.


What was it that we heard from Western delegations? That everything was not "so obvious" to them and that it was still necessary to weigh up whether such a signal from the Council would help to stabilize the situation in the region. The United States, Great Britain and France, in fact, refused to confirm that the basic principles of international law on the inviolability of diplomatic and consular facilities, enshrined in the relevant Vienna Conventions, are valid for and apply equally to all states. You see the result.

You are aware that an attack on a diplomatic mission is a casus belli under international law. And if Western missions were under attack, you would not hesitate to retaliate and then you would be proving your case in this chamber. Because for you everything that concerns Western missions and Western citizens is sacred and must be protected. But when it comes to other states, their citizens and their rights, including the right to self-defense, then “it’s different”, that’s what you say. And you use your favorite arguments about " a lack of information", invoke legal casuistry, etc. The parade of hypocrisy and "double standards" that is unfolding in the Security Council today is so gross that even being an onlooker feels embarrassing

Russia has repeatedly warned that failure to resolve the numerous crises in the Middle East, primarily in the area of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which are often fueled by irresponsible unilateral provocative actions, will trigger an increase of tension in the region. We have repeatedly said that no country in the Middle East and North Africa should become an arena for regional and international confrontation or for settling political scores.

What happened on the night of April 14 did not happen in a vacuum. Iran's steps were a response to the UN Security Council's shameful inaction on Israel's blatant attack on Damascus (not the first one, for that matter). Syria is being constantly bombarded by Israel.

Many of you did not have the courage to point out directly that the current outbreak of escalation in the Middle East is unfolding against the backdrop of West Jerusalem’s operation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which has been going on for more than six months on an unprecedented scale, despite the unequivocal demand of UN Security Council resolution 2728 for an immediate ceasefire. We consider such "silencing" of the root causes of the current crisis unacceptable, all the more so against the background of the situation around Iran, which is being escalated by our American and other colleagues. And Israel's failure to fulfill the requirements of the UNSC resolution (which I mentioned) is an obvious disrespect for the Council – for all of you sitting in the chairs of member states – and a complete disregard for the decisions of the Security Council. No one should be able to get away with non-compliance with UNSC decisions. This is fraught with sanctions against the violators.


We all remember the dangerous escalation in January 2020, when the region was almost on the verge of conflict after the illicit killing of Qassem Suleimani and a number of Iraqi officials committed by the United States on the territory of Iraq. Washington failed to draw the right conclusions. And now its allies, too, commit irresponsible actions that undermine the stability, security and sovereignty of Iran's neighbors in the region.

The situation in the Middle East has become as heated as it may get and the conflict risks escalating to a region-wide confrontation, so we call on all parties who were involved in the incident to exercise restraint. We expect the regional states to resolve the existing problems through political and diplomatic means. We believe it is important for the constructively-minded international players to contribute to this effort.

The spiral of confrontation and bloodshed must stop. It is an urgent task for the entire international community to make all necessary efforts towards a de-escalation. Otherwise, the region could be drawn into a vicious circle of reciprocal attacks and violence.

In that connection, we note Tehran's signal that Iran does not want to further escalate hostilities with Israel. We urge West Jerusalem to follow suit and abandon the practice of provocative forceful acts in the Middle East, which are fraught with extremely dangerous risks and consequences throughout the region, which is already destabilized because of the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation.

Thank you.

Video of the statement