Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia after the UNGA vote on decision "Procedure for decision‑making in the General Assembly when an in‑person meeting is not possible"

Mr. President,

We congratulate the co-sponsors on the adoption of this decision. It’s time they savored their triumph. They won. Why not celebrate it with a glass of champagne tonight?

I would like to thank the co-sponsors. Thank you for plunging the General Assembly in discord and division that could have been avoided. Thank you for your methods of negotiating. Thank you for ignoring the interests of all delegations that had different proposals. Thank you for not letting all those who disagree with you have their concerns addressed and accounted for. Thank you for not giving time to all Member-States to look into your proposals. You seem to be or pretending to be deaf to what many delegations have been telling you openly in this hall these recent two days. Do you understand that you have divided the UNGA? Is this what you wanted to achieve? The explanations that you have given stand up to no criticism, and many of them, e.g. your assertion that decisions cannot be made at the General Committee, are simply misleading. You have pushed through this decision. You tried to present it as if you were supportive of the UNGA working on in any circumstances, and we were opposed to it.

We have already said that the difference between you and us is not that you are “for” and we are “against” the UN operating in crisis situations. We too advocate for the United Nations setting forth its work whatever the circumstances. The difference is in the methods and in the fact that you refuse to listen to any reasonable arguments. You do not want the decision that you imposed to reflect meaningful proposals of other delegations. The vote on the amendment proposed by Cuba is another example of that.

We once again express deep regret with the methods that you have employed in order to push through this doubtful decision at any cost. We also regret that you were so negligent of other delegations during the voting process. You managed to impose this decision. But is it something to celebrate?  

Mr. President,

UN Charter and the Rules of Procedure envisage voting as a decision-making tool of the General Assembly. However, they also prescribe that any decision should be taken in accordance with these Rules.

The decision that was adopted today is unprecedented and aimed at creating an alternative voting system that clearly fails to be consonant not only with the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, but with common sense as well. Besides, the endorsement procedure for this decision does not meet the Rules of Procedure either. Based on this, the legitimacy of today’s decision is rather doubtful.

We recommend to you, Mr. President, and to all your successors, to abstain from utilizing this position, so that the contradictions existing in the General Assembly not grow worse.

We were surprised to hear from the Secretariat that this decision would not incur any budgetary consequences. At the same time, we are aware that the Secretariat had started to develop the e-voting system before any mandate was elaborated. Claims that the decision would not entail any budgetary consequences sound rather optimistic, especially in the light of the liquidity crisis at the United Nations. On our part, we will request further clarification of this issue and closely monitor if the claims regarding absence of budgetary effects turn out to be accurate, because the financing of the already approved mandates should not be impeded.

Mr. President,

Today is a sad day indeed. Those who put forward and imposed this decision do not realize that they plant a time-bomb under the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. The effect of this time-bomb cannot be predicted at this point, but it may be devastating for our Organization at large.

Thank you.