Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on cooperation between the UN and regional organizations
We welcome the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell. We listened very carefully to your assessments.
We are in favor of developing cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations based on the UN Charter – first and foremost its Chapter VIII. Cooperation with the EU is no exception. It should also be organized around this basis and within the framework of the UN General Assembly resolution 65/276 of 2011.
We also believe that regional mechanisms should complement UN efforts in their area of responsibility and within their mandate. We are convinced that collective cooperation to counter cross-border threats and challenges, as well as fostering dialogue on counter-terrorism should rank among the priorities for UN-EU cooperation. This kind of cooperation has a significant potential and we fully support this scenario.
At the same time, it is vitally important that cooperation between the UN and the EU should lead to strengthening multilateral approaches to global affairs rather than erode or revise them. True multilateralism entails consistent support for the central role of the United Nations. Promoting dubious concepts like the “rules-based order” or imposing bloc approaches and attempts to present one's own experience and achievements as a golden standard which other countries should implement back at home – all of it bears no resemblance to multilateralism and often leads to blatant interference in the affairs of other states. We would warn against such steps, for example, to be taken concerning Belarus.
Unfortunately, the relations between Russia and the EU are currently at the lowest ebb in history. This is a separate topic and not the topic of our meeting today, but I must say that our European partners more often choose destructive unilateral approaches over careful and patient collective work seeking compromise and constructive solutions with partners within the General Assembly and Security Council. This gives rise to nothing but the gravest of our concern.
The most obvious example of this stance is the illegitimate UCMs that the EU has been recently developing and then applying arbitrarily, by sidestepping the Security Council and provisions of the international law. Contrary to the official statements about their “targeted” nature, these mechanisms function unlawfully. They hinder substantially the socio-economic situation in affected countries and lead to a fall in ordinary people’s standard of living. This has been confirmed by relevant assessments by UN officials.
Again, we draw Brussels’ attention to the fact that this practice does not lead to a change in state policy. On the contrary, it leans towards neocolonialism and also pushes the affected states and all reasonable countries to unite in order to defend the interests of their own peoples and the basic principles of inter-state cooperation as enshrined in the UN Charter. Even in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU did not heed the call of the UN Secretary-General to waive unilateral coercive measures for humanitarian purposes. This indifference to human suffering does no credit to the European Union at the international stage.
The EU is an important regional player, its assistance to the UN stands in high demand. However, the efforts taken by the EU should not go beyond the frameworks set by the UNSC mandates. In this context, we still have questions regarding the naval operation IRINI in the Mediterranean. Among its proclaimed objectives was assistance with implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya. We call on the EU to tread very carefully in this region, which still cannot recover from the forcible destruction of the Libyan statehood 10 years ago, where a series of EU members directly were directly involved.
We believe the EU can do better as a mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Even more so given the fact that the UN General Assembly endowed the EU with a special mandate to this end. So far, we must state that we have seen no significant results in this connection. We would recommend to our European colleagues, rather than playing up to Pristina, to ensure that Pristina fulfils the already agreed parameters, in particular what regards creating a Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo. Once again, we call on the EU to not deviate from the principle of impartiality of mediation.
The same wish also applies to the EU policy in the Balkans as a whole. We call on our colleagues to be more careful in their approach to universal decisions achieved within the UN framework. Once ignored or arbitrarily interpreted, they risk undermining the legitimacy of a whole range of regional structures.
Finally, we take note of the ever more frequent attempts of our EU colleagues to promote their own approaches on gender, human rights, climate and other topics in UN documents by whatever means, presenting them as allegedly universal and consensus-based. There are more and more examples of this. I would like to give you a heads-up: we intend to more adamantly and uncompromisingly fight against this practice that, among other things, reflects the efforts of the EU to replace the international law with the so-called rules-based order.
I would not want my statement to make everyone think that Russia has a negative attitude to the EU. This is not the case. We are neighbors living on the same continent and we are interested in cooperation and dialogue. However, they should be built on equal footing and mutual respect. We have many questions to the EU that have occurred over recent years, but we ask them with a focus on concrete facts. We would like the EU to do the same rather than promote fake news and articulate baseless accusations in the “highly-likely” fashion.
The EU can and should play a constructive role in Europe and around the world. We see here a significant potential. Inter alia, we highly value the role of the EU as a coordinator for the JCPOA Joint Commission. There are also other areas where we cooperate successfully. Most importantly, the EU should understand that there is no place for hegemony and dominance in the modern world. Many people in the EU realize that confrontational approach towards our country is counter-productive. They also realize the erroneous character of policies that were carried out recently in the region that both Russia and the EU are neighbors with. The highlight of those policies was the anti-constitutional coup d’etat in Ukraine, and an outrage of nationalism, neonazism, ‘Russophobia’, and anticemitism in that country.
We trust that common sense will prevail at the end of the day, and we will embark on elaborating a new well-balanced model of our relations with a focus on the international law principles. Russia has always been ready to engage in this equal and honest cooperation.
We trust that our European colleagues will be able to make the right conclusions and overcome the many unfortunate trends that I have mentioned. The EU will definitely benefit from it, as well as its international partners, including Russia, and the UN, whose member states are interested in developing a constructive and effective type of cooperation with the EU alongside other regional and sub-regional organizations.
Reply by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva in response to the representative of the US:
I would like to respond to the US representative. The tone of his statement was way more bellicose and aggressive to Russia than that of the majority of other European colleagues. Perhaps, it can be explained by the fact that the US is positioned on the other side of the Atlantic, and therefore cares little about what is going on in Europe. Yet I am sure they realize well enough how dangerous such inciting rhetoric and action may be.
Once again, I would like to call on our reasonable European partners to be guided by the interests of its European homeland in the first place, to stop following the lead (sometimes it is as apparent as that) of the overseas partners, and take the side of equal constructive interaction, without mentoring, but with respect for sovereignty and internal affairs of your neighboring states. I also call on you to look into the complicated and violent situations unfolding right on your borders and to realize that unless there is respect for the choice that people make, including the people of Donetsk and Luhansk, and unless there is dialogue with them, the conflict on Donbass will not be settled. We hope that this reasonable approach will prevail. So far it has not, despite all the noble goals that you proclaim.