Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy at the UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East
We thank UN Special Coordinator Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov for his report on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Let me also welcome Mr. Krzysztof Szczerski in your capacity of the Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.
The Middle East is at the core of global politics. The region is engulfed in many crises – the old and the new ones. Russia keeps close track of the latest developments, because we are bound with the States of the region by years of mutually beneficial relations based on trust, cooperation and shared interests.
We are concerned by the remaining tension in Palestine-Israeli settlement. The process is getting even more complicated because of the ongoing settlement activity by Israel and the situation in and around Gaza.
Against this backdrop, it becomes clear that any unilateral action will not bring us closer to the resolution of the old and the new problems of the region. What is the most dangerous is the situation where some UN Member States attempt to outlaw governments of other Member States. It is obvious for us, just like for the majority of our partners, that the only way out is connection of regional and international efforts under the central role of the UN and its Security Council. This should be the starting point for whatever efforts and initiatives.
A month ago, U.S. Special Representative for the Middle East Jason Greenblatt spoke in this chamber and his statement is still fresh in our mind. Let me be frank: we are quite alarmed by speeches saying that it is useless to look for compromise for the Middle East at the United Nations and that corresponding resolutions are worthless. To take course at crushing everything that has been done in order to create an independent Palestinian State living in peace with Israel can entail the most devastating effects for the entire region and will only help radicalize the “Arab street”. In light of claims of our American colleagues about the need to “rethink and abandon the old solutions” of the United Nations regarding the Middle East, let us remind that it was UN General Assembly resolution 181 that established the State of Israel. Israel’s declaration of Independence refers to this resolution. How far is the U.S. ready to go in reconsidering “the old and useless” decisions?
On our part, we are convinced that unilateral action alongside with ignoring the international law can bring no result. They erode prospects for equitable and sustainable settlement of the long-standing Palestine-Israeli problem. We advocate for engagement of the international “Quartet” of mediators, as it is a unique mechanism to maintain the Middle East settlement that has been endorsed by Security Council resolutions.
Russia adds to promotion of the whole package related to the Middle Eastern settlement, i.a. we stand ready to provide venue for potential meeting without any preconditions of Israel’s and Palestine’s leaders. We also make efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity and welcome steps made by our Egyptian colleagues at this track.
Therefore, time has long become ripe to deploy a Security Council mission in the Middle East. It should seek to enhance trust and help launch negotiations between the sides, prevent collapse of efforts made by the global community in order to implement the only viable settlement that is based on the international legal fundament. This basis was developed by the Security Council and it is the Council that should be able to revise it. No unilateral steps can change the key principles: two-state solution, the Madrid principles, the Arab peace initiative, and the status of occupied territories, including the Syrian Golans.
We set forth our assistance to the UNRWA, whose activity has both a humanitarian and a political dimension, produces a stabilizing impact on the Palestinian territories and countries in the Middle East.
All final status issues, including Jerusalem, fundamental security questions, refugees should result from direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Search for common ground on these sensitive topics during direct negotiations will be key to their sustainability in the future.
We consistently call upon all the interested stakeholders to take steps towards de-escalation and settlement in the Persian Gulf to be achieved by political and diplomatic tools. Increase of military presence, i.a. by non-regional States, creates risks of a military clash. This crisis endangers peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the global efforts aimed at settlement of regional conflicts. What becomes even more pressing is the need to develop a sustainable collective security mechanism for the region on the basis of equitable dialogue and cooperation. The relevant Russian initiative is designed to lead conflict situations out of a stalemate and build confidence and control measures.
We should continue efforts to eradicate terrorist presence in the countries of the region. We call upon all reasonable forces to unite at this platform given respect for the UN Charter, relevant decisions of the Security Council, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, rejection of double standards. We insist that these principles must be upheld with respect to all countries that have faced the terrorist evil: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen.
I cannot fail to mention that we are concerned by the UAV incident that happened on 25 August in the skies above the Lebanese capital. Reportedly, those were Israel’s reconnaissance drones. What exacerbates the situation is Israel launching random bomb strikes against targets in adjacent Syria. The latest attack was launched past weekend on the military facility in the vicinity of Damascus.
On our part, we have repeatedly stated that such action was dangerous given the regional environment that escalated almost to a breaking point. We also warned that such action may lead to a large-scale armed conflict with the most unpredictable aftereffects. We once again call upon all sides to remain reserved and stick to the international law, including corresponding UN Security Council resolutions. In this context, we reiterate our commitment to sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and stability of Lebanon.
We emphasize the important role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the mandate of which we are about to extend soon. Peacekeepers’ activity has a stabilizing effect both on the “Blue Line” and the area within the Lebanese Republic, as well as the Middle East at large.
Russia will help stabilize the situation in the Middle East. We stand ready to interact with all interested stakeholders. We invite everyone to join the collective work.