Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UN Security Council debate on agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”
Welcome to New York. We are glad to see you in the Chair of the Security Council. We thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Ms. Mary Robinson for their statements.
In 2020 we mark two inter-connected anniversaries: 75 years since the end of World War 2 and since the founding of the United Nations. 75 years ago conditions were provided for building a post-war world order, of which the United Nations was supposed to become a frame structure, being a cornerstone of the system of global relations and multilateralism.
All principles of multilateralism are anchored in the UN Charter. Its goals and principles have the status of imperative norms of the international law. The Charter also articulates such provisions as unacceptability of threat or use of force, need to settle all international disputes by peaceful means. Failure to abide by the Charter cannot be justified. The bearing axle of this construction is the system of collective security with the Security Council at its head. Let me emphasize the word ‘collective’ in this phrase. The UN Charter is replete with ideas of collectivism, amicable relations and cooperation.
Besides, the Charter stipulates the crucial principle of sovereign equality of all states – the big and the small ones.
Formation of a polycentric and multipolar world has become irreversible. Not all are content with that. Attempts to revise the principles of the international law that are embodied in the UN Charter are presented in a beautiful wrapping.
The most vivid example of that is today’s trendy concept of a “rules-based order”. Those rules are devised and applied depending on need. The concept’s goal is to replace the universally agreed international legal instruments and mechanisms with narrow-specific formats that develop alternative non-consensus decisions that circumvent legitimate multilateral frameworks. As a matter of fact, we have to do with a small group of states that uses this concept to guise its attempts to usurp the process of elaborating consensus solutions on key issues of the global agenda.
It is most dangerous that supporters of this “rules-based order” do not hesitate to set sights on exclusive prerogatives of the Security Council. Here are several examples. Following failure to pass through the Council the politicized decisions that baselessly accuse the Syrian authorities of using prohibited toxic agents, the OPCW Technical Secretariat was granted (through blatant manipulations and in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention) with authority to determine who had been responsible for using chemical weapons. This is nothing less than an encroachment on the authorities of the Security Council. Another case of disrespect towards UNSC duties is establishment (contrary to the UN Charter) of the so-called "International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria” (IIIM).
Unfortunately, the number of such attempts to revise the international law is growing on a daily basis. Recently we have witnessed collapse of the disarmament mechanism – “torpedoing” of the ABM Treaty, withdrawal from the INF Treaty. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) are now in peril. Today the entire treaty architecture in the area of nuclear-missile arms control risks being dismantled.
We are firmly convinced that any action that aims to interfere in internal affairs of states and topple their legitimate authorities is unacceptable. We stand against unilateral coercive measures in the absence of relevant UNSC resolutions or in addition to the measures authorized by the Council. This undermines competence of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security, it does not reconcile with the UN Charter and the generally recognized principles of the international law, including peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereign equality and non-interference in domestic affairs.
Misinterpretation of the norms of international law and reckless interference have impacted the Middle East and North Africa - the region that has suffered from that for many years by now, and harder than any other place. The lack of settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, illegal intervention in Iraq, unstopping violence in Afghanistan, assassination of Libya’s leader and ruining of that country, attempt to topple the legitimate authorities in Syria, extrajudicial onslaught on an official of a sovereign state in a third country – these are but few examples of the acts that have inflicted wounds on the body of the international legitimacy and legal order.
The ultimate expression of these sorrowful trends is the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran’s nuclear program that had been endorsed by the Security Council and was crucial for nuclear non-proliferation. As a result of the escalating confrontation, the region (and the entire world) has found itself on a brink of conflict with most unpredictable aftereffects. We call for immediate de-escalation. The risk of conflict is too large, the price is too high.
We have to remind of one more violation of unconditional obligations committed by the host country of the UN Headquarters in defiance of the international law. This is what we have long been talking about. The most recent example of this artificially inflated crisis was visa denial for Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was to participate in this very meeting.
Russia believes that scrupulous compliance with the UN Charter is the only way we can preserve peace. Therefore, we state that there is no alternative to maintenance and strengthening of the system of international relations that rests on the UN Charter and its ensuing universally recognized norms and principles of the international law. Despite all complexities and contradictions of the present-day world, both for us and the majority of states the United Nations remains a crucial backbone element of global relations, a legitimate and a universal instrument that lets us collectively search for response to crises and challenges. This instrument possesses a unique mandate that can solve key global problems and maintain international peace and legitimacy. We will be standing for that.