Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly during the dialogue with USG Nakamitsu and the civil society

Ms. Nakamitsu,

We thank you for the detailed briefing. We share the concerns you expressed over the degradation of the situation in the area of international security. Amidst such circumstances, arms control and disarmament are destined to play a vital stabilizing role. Russia reaffirms its unfailing commitment to the broadest possible usage of diplomatic and political methods of ensuring security.

My first point is nuclear disarmament. Like all other responsible members of the global community, we are committed to a high purpose of having a world free of nuclear weapons. At the same time, we cannot agree to attempts to present the TPNW as a cure-all remedy to every problem in the area of disarmament. We respect the views of those who put forward this initiative, yet it is clear that a treaty that is developed with no account for the opinions of nuclear states, cannot constructively contribute to nuclear arms reduction. The text of the treaty was put together hastily, it does not account for the fundamental principles of the NPT. It proceeds from a misleading assumption that nuclear disarmament can be detached from the actual strategic reality, inflates tension between nuclear and non-nuclear states, and can even lead to dismantling of the effective nuclear non-proliferation regime. Adopting documents like the TPNW is like responding to an emergency by merely switching off the flashing alarm light. Whereas to really proceed with lifting the nuclear threat, we need to have a matter-of-fact priority consideration of acute global problems that you, Ms. Nakamitsu, mentioned in your statement.

Now what regards non-proliferation of biological weapons. We were very much interested to receive from the UN ODA more detailed information about the efforts it takes to create at the UN Secretariat some “intermediate capacity” that would allow to investigate cases of alleged use of biological weapons. As we understand, such proposal is contained in Secretary-General’s “Agenda for Disarmament” announced in May, 2018. It is not the first time that we ask this question, but we still would very much like to learn about the added value of this “intermediate capacity”. How is it going to be institutionalized? What is its presumed mandate? How is this initiative going to connect with the SG Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons?

We suggested several times that the Secretary-General should present this “intermediate capacity” initiative to the Security Council. To accommodate this, we could even convene a specialized meeting of the UNSC. This issue definitely needs clarity. We proceed from the assumption that any steps in this area must comply with the BTWC and be taken given due account for opinions of all interested states. Specialized mechanisms that operate under SG auspices should by no means undermine the BTWC.

Another point I want to make is the situation in the OPCW. Unfortunately, we have to state once again that Washington and its allies have reformatted this organization to have it implement their geopolitical tasks, what’s more – to the detriment of the common goal of ensuring chemical disarmament and non-proliferation. Other tracks of the OPCW activity were basically put to a back burner. Here I mean, in particular, efforts to implement Article XI of the CWC (economic and technical development) that is very important for members of the Non-Alignment Movement.

“Attributive” activity of the OPCW Technical Secretariat (TS) runs counter the CWC and encroaches on exclusive prerogatives of the UN Security Council. Today it is clear to everybody that its so-called “investigations” were political and had been commissioned by Western states, the US in the first place. They are mere attempts to eliminate the “unwanted” regime by fabricating knowingly false accusations.

The first report of the OPCW IIT of 8 April, 2020, that focused on the chemical incidents in Al Lataminah in March, 2017, that our Western colleagues like to refer to, is extremely biased, unconvincing, unprofessional and technically inaccurate. The related decision that the US thrust at the 94th session of the OPCW Executive Council puts forward a deliberately unrealistic ultimatum to Damascus. The position where Damascus subsequently found itself clearly shows that when the only proof of alleged violation of the CWC is a photo of a cylinder with industrial chlorine published on social media, any country of the world may become victim of restrictive measures imposed collectively by the West.

This being said, we do not quite understand recklessness with which the UN Secretariat treated the address of NGO “Courage Foundation” that it received in mid-January. Malpractices and violations demonstrated by the OPCW Secretariat when working on the final report about the incident in Douma (SAR) are worth proper attention, aren’t they? The emphatic silence of the UN Secretariat in this regard and, by contrast, its appreciation of ostensibly “unbiased” Technical Secretariat of the OPCW drive us at a thought that UN leadership remains indifferent to the concerns of OPCW experts who genuinely care for the authority of this once reputable and successful international mechanism.

Madame High Representative, I hope you can see now what Western delegations are doing to this topic and what are the real roots of the anti-Syrian decision that the Executive Council of the OPCW adopted in July. We have already convened two Security Council events in order to show the inside of those approaches and provide a true picture of what is happening to the OPCW – an organization that, unfortunately, relays selfish interests of certain countries. The UN must not repeat its fate when considering the Syrian chemical file; it must not encourage injustice and aggression. We ask you not to treat these initiatives arbitrarily or mechanically, not to promote them at the UN platform and to draw the Secretary-General’s attention to it. At stake is the authority of the United Nations, its Security Council and the UNSG himself.

Madame Nakamitsu, I would very much appreciate if in your reply you could address the topic and issues I raised.

I thank you.