Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
We thank Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo for the review of the situation at the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Middle East is at the core of global policy. The region is engulfed in multiple crises – the old and the new ones.
These days the tension in the Persian Gulf is escalating; we believe this situation is being inflated artificially. This crisis poses a threat to the peace and security in the region, and to the international efforts aimed at regulating regional conflicts. Against the backdrop of ongoing exchange of recriminations, there is an increase in military presence, i.a. by States that are not part of the region, which creates risks of an armed clash. Any incident may lead to conflict that would have devastating aftereffects.
We call upon all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation and solve problems by political and diplomatic methods. It means rejection of ultimatums, sanctions and threats in the first place. The need to develop a resilient collective security mechanism in the region based on equal dialogue becomes even more pressing. There is a relevant Russian initiative that is designed to lead crises out of a deadlock and develop confidence building and control measures.
What stands at the core of the region’s problems is the Middle Eastern settlement.
We continue to do what we can to promote the whole range of Middle East-related issues and we urge all stakeholders to do the same. We reiterate our readiness to provide a venue for a meeting of the leaders of Palestine and Israel. We make efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity and welcome steps by our Egyptian colleagues at this track.
We need active international steps aimed at improving the discouraging humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip. Thereby any assistance to Gaza should be coordinated with the legitimate authorities under President M.Abbas, and should be part of a broader task to restore the unity of Palestine.
Such background has long created a need to deploy a UN Security Council mission in the region – a mission that would build trust and help relaunch talks between the sides, support efforts that the global community has already made to build favorable circumstances to implement the only viable solution that should rest upon the international legal basis. The Security Council has developed this basis: this is the international consensus, the lack of which the distinguished representative of the United States addressed today. International consensus is international law, because a Security Council resolution is international law. We just need to implement them. Revision of an international consensus is also a responsibility of the Security Council. This is not about the lack of an internationally established legal consensus; it is about the United States that totally ignores this consensus today. I wonder if the distinguished representative of the United States understands how far he may go with such mediation, such approach and such basis.
We reject the practice of monopolization of political and diplomatic efforts. We suggest getting back to the established practice of multilateral efforts, including involvement of the ‘Quartet’ of international mediators as a unique mechanism to maintain the Middle Eastern settlement. No unilateral steps can substitute for the key principles of “two states” and “land for peace”, or for the Arab Peace Initiative, neither can they change the status of the occupied territories, including the Syrian Golans.
We will set forth our assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The activity of the UNRWA has both a humanitarian and a political dimension; it has a stabilizing effect on the Palestinian territories and on the Middle Eastern States.
Beside Palestine, regional crises of the “new generation” wait to be solved.
Counter-terrorist operation in Syria with participation of Russian Air-Space Forces made it possible to make a step forward in combatting terrorism. Eradication of a terrorist hotbed in Syria meets the interests of both Middle Eastern and North African, and European States, because it downgrades the terrorist threat and reduces the flow of migrants. The initiative of President of Russia V.Putin to build a broad anti-terrorist front remains relevant.
Now we are working to ensure political settlement in Syria. We are doing this in coordination with the United Nations, in the framework of “Astana Format”. We advocate consolidation of regional efforts. It is vital to get down to issues of social and economic revival of Syria right away, without any preconditions. We need to address the problem of refugees; the practice of keeping them in third countries forcefully must be abandoned.
The situation in Libya is in the focus of everyone’s attention. We proceed from the assumption that we can help Libyans out of the crisis only if the international stakeholders consolidate their positions. Current developments demonstrate what foreign military interventions result in. They are aimed at changing the unwanted regimes and lead to total collapse of statehood. We call upon all sides in Libya to cooperate with the UN and keep from implementing unilateral agenda; we also call upon the international stakeholders to abide by the rules of the game.
The Libyan crisis created new phenomena, such as migration waves. This problem should be solved not by means of countering the phenomenon of migration, but rather by creating acceptable living conditions in their countries of origin.
Similar approaches are also required for Yemen, where all sides should act under the unifying lead of the United Nations in order to achieve political settlement and revival of statehood.
The recent visit of the Security Council to the Middle East showed that Iraq required close international attention and cooperation in many domains of social and political life. Another important outcome of the visit was a clear signal to all of us that regional stakeholders should promote de-escalation in the Persian Gulf. No one either wants or needs war there.
Russia maintains friendly and constructive relations with all countries of the region without exception. We will take active part in promoting stabilization in the Middle East. We are ready to interact with all the interested actors, and we invite everyone to work collectively.