Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Maria Zabolotskaya at an "Arria-formula" meeting of UNSC members "The impact of unilateral coercive measures on global counter-terrorism efforts"

We welcome all participants to the "Arria-formula" meeting of the UN Security Council members, which we convened today to draw attention to the issue of unilateral coercive measures (UCMs) and their negative impact on counterterrorism. Unfortunately, because of a competing meeting of the Security Council, this meeting will not have translation.

At the outset, I would like to ask that all those present now stand and join in observing a minute of silence in the memory of the victims of the heinous and cowardly terrorist act at a concert hall in Moscow region, the Russian Federation, on 22 March.

I would like to start the discussion of UCMs by stating the obvious. Those measures are illegal under international law. UCMs represent an open attack on the principles of sovereign equality of states, non-interference in their internal affairs and international cooperation enshrined in the UN Charter. Such measures are a projection of the desire of those who practice the, to maintain a dominant economic position in the world and to maximize geopolitical benefits from it.

As we all know, these tools are used by Western states that openly embrace them as part of their foreign policy. Their financial wellbeing is built on centuries of colonial practices that included crimes against humanity, continent-wide genocide of peoples, slave trade, and the systematic robbery of colonies and other "dependent territories" that continues to this day, albeit in a modified form.

The UCMs are yet another manifestation of neocolonial practices and an attempt to divide the entire world into masters and slaves. For the former, there are endless exceptions from the "rules-based world order", while the latter can only count on the whip, the modern analog of which is the notorious “sanctions policy”.

The position of the United Nations with strong condemnation of such measures was formulated long ago. In the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty (adopted by UNGA Resolution 2131) it is clearly stated that “No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind”. The relevance of UN General Assembly Resolution 72/201 entitled “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries” is only growing.

Thus, the correct name for the UCMs would be illegal coercive measures. They are an example of the blatant hypocrisy of the United States of America, Great Britain and the EU countries, trumpeting at every turn their alleged care for human rights. We remember how under this pretext the mechanisms of “ombudspersons” were promoted for sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, which, by the way, are targeted and specific. At the same time, Western countries lose all interest in human rights issues as soon as it comes to their own UCMs, which, on the contrary, are designed for maximum, “carpet-like” coverage. They are not at all embarrassed by the fact that ordinary citizens suffer. This is the exact goal - to cause as much suffering as possible to the population in order to aggravate socio-economic problems, which they can conveniently use to change “undesirable” regimes.

Third states are often affected by UCMs imposed by the United States and its allies. The countries most affected are always those that already find themselves in a vulnerable position. The “collateral damage” caused, however significant, is of no concern to Washington, London or Brussels.

From the point of view of the unique mandate of the Security Council, the policy of unilateral restrictions is an attack on the established principles of international sanctions as provided in the UN Charter. Illegal UCMs imposed without a Council resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter are incompatible with the principle of international cooperation and hamper it even in those areas where there is an urgent need and objective interest in combining efforts (counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and disarmament, etc.).

Today, we would like to focus on the challenges that UCMs continue to pose to the global community in the collective effort to combat terrorism, extremism and radicalization.

UCMs restrict trade, finance and investment, objectively reducing the ability of states to devote resources to counter-terrorism.

Unilateral restrictions are a major obstacle to development, the scale of which is yet to be assessed.

UCMs exacerbate humanitarian crises and lead to shortages of essential goods, including food and medicine. The aggravation of socio-economic problems deliberately provoked by such illegal measures becomes a breeding ground for radicalization, which is actively used by extremist and terrorist groups to recruit new members and spread terrorist and extremist ideologies.

UCMs, being the antithesis of international cooperation, undermine the mechanisms of cooperation in the fight against terrorism. For instance, intelligence links are disrupted making it impossible to exchange information, leading to proliferation of terrorist acts.

Domestic political, socio-economic and humanitarian crises provoked in the states affected by UCMs lead to refugee problems and cross-border terrorist activity. Artificially fueled instability often spills over to the regional level. Neighboring countries then have to urgently seek additional resources to address the crises, often to the detriment of domestic capacity to combat terrorism and crime. An illustration is the situation in Venezuela, where illegal UCMs have contributed to regional instability and the emergence of new criminal groups. Turning to another part of the world, terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan are also benefitting from the UCMs imposed against itself, as well as Iran to destabilize the situation on the border.

In addition, unlawful unilateral measures impede the supply of goods used to combat terrorism. States imposing UCMs bear full responsibility for undermining national counter-terrorism efforts, international cooperation in the global fight against this threat, and creating conditions conducive to its proliferation.

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