Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Explanation of vote by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva after the UNSC vote on a draft resolution on renewal of special inspections regime off the coast of Libya


Russia abstained on the draft UNSC resolution on the renewal of the special inspections regime off the coast of Libya for the implementation of the arms embargo, put forward by France and Malta.

We should like to recall once again that Russia, together with other members of the United Nations Security Council, stood at its origins. At the time, we had the hope that this mechanism would be able to contribute to reducing illicit arms trafficking and, consequently, help the long-awaited political settlement of the protracted conflict in the former Jamahiriya. In reality, however, the EU naval operation IRINI, which carried out all the inspections under the regime, did not contribute at all to that goal.

Year after year, we have consistently and reasonably raised concerns about Operation IRINI, its geographic scope, functionality and accountability, and its compliance with the mandate of Security Council Resolution 2292. However, throughout the entire duration of its mandate, we can hardly recall a single fully successful interception of a smuggled cargo. The hasty (and not always correct, as it turns out) conclusions made by the IRINI’s leadership regarding the military nature of cargoes raise questions. Another inherent defect of IRINI is its selective approach to patrol areas and inspection targets. Finally, the operation is simply ineffective - according to the latest findings of the group of experts of the 1970 Security Council sanctions Committee on Libya, the country is still awash in weapons. We are forced to note that the brainchild of the European Union has not brought practical results in terms of stabilizing the situation on the ground.


Our greatest concern, however, is how freely IRINI’s management handles seized cargo. The transfer of seized cars from MV Victory Roro to a third country is egregious. By the same token, they tried to sell aviation kerosene that had been confiscated from Royal Diamond 7.

According to UNSC resolution 2292 the transfer of confiscated goods to a third party does not imply their subsequent use for the intended purpose. Consequently, this EU decision runs contrary to the specialized documents of the Security Council. Such actions set a dangerous precedent that opens a wide margin for abuse in other regions. Turning a blind eye to this is unacceptable.


While working on the draft Security Council resolution on another renewal of the 2292 regime, we proposed balancing language aimed at specifying its scope and securing the leading role of the 1970 Security Council Committee in determining ways to dispose of confiscated goods. We are convinced that such a measure would contribute to more thorough compliance with the Libyan arms embargo and put an end to the high-handedness that has persisted for years. Such a task also fits within the general logic of the work of that subsidiary body of the Security Council, which monitors compliance with sanctions measures.

We regret, however, that the sponsors of the resolution have not fully addressed our concerns. There are many ambiguities in the current draft, which pave the way for contradictory interpretations and possible abuses. Unfortunately, the resolution does not respond to the many concerns that we have accumulated as regards IRINI.

In the coming year, we will continue to closely monitor the work of Operation IRINI, especially as far as its compliance with the norms of the law of the sea and the provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the delegation of Mozambique for its able leadership of the Security Council in May and wish the delegation of the Republic of Korea the best of luck next month.

Thank you.

Video of the statement