Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Explanation of Vote on a draft resolution on COVID-19

The Russian delegation voted in favor of the draft Security Council resolution on countering COVID-19 prepared by France and Tunisia.

Despite the fact that not all our approaches were fully taken into account by the authors, we decided to support a document of an exceptional importance for the entire international community. The tough negotiations, which nevertheless led to an agreement on the text of the resolution, demonstrated that the Security Council members are able to rise above their narrow national interests and respond to the global challenges of our time.

We would like to draw attention to the fact that the resolution includes a reference to the measures proposed by the UN Secretary- General concerning the response to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on countries affected by armed conflict. We would like toremind that in his report “Shared Responsibilities, Global Solidarity: Responding to the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19” of March 2020 Antonio Guterres mentioned the need of wavering unilateral sanctions, which seriously limit the capacity of countries to respond to challenges related to the pandemic, as one of the urgent measures.

We also fully support the Secretary-General’s appeal to a global ceasefire dated 23 March 2020. The Russian Federation was among the first to announce this officially - the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation posted the corresponding statement the very next day, 24 March 2020.

We consider it extremely important that the text of the resolution clearly states that the humanitarian pause and cessation of hostilities do not apply to counter-terrorism operations. We note with concern that some negative forces are already trying to take advantage of the current situation to obtain some benefits on the ground. We are particularly concerned about the increased terrorist activity in the Sahara-Sahel sub-region, which is already facing a serious humanitarian crisis. This highlights the importance of the counter-terrorism exception agreed upon by the Council.

We note that the resolution emphasizes the importance of a coordinated, inclusive, comprehensive and global international response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the United Nations playing a key coordinating role. Such a task fits into our consistent efforts to support the World Health Organization (WHO) as the leading and coordinating body in international efforts to protect and promote public health. We underline the crucial role of this specialized agency of the UN system in ensuring the coherence of the multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, especially the medical aspects of the global response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease. WHO is the leading mechanism for mobilizing efforts of all nations to fight epidemics and infections like the one we are currently witnessing. We consider it extremely important that the international community jointly support the work of WHO.

The pandemic, which, and we can say it without exaggeration, went over the world as a steamroller, changing the usual course of everyday life, stopping economies and locking entire continents, clearly showed that humanity must show its unity in countering global challenges. And today, the Security Council has contributed to this task.