Statement and right of reply by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at the UNSC open debate on preventive diplomacy as the common objective to all UN principal organs
We welcome the participation of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid, President of the ECOSOC Collen Vixen Kelapile and President of the ICJ Joan E. Donoghue in today’s meeting.
We thank Mexico for drawing attention to preventive diplomacy and for convening this unique event with the participation of the heads of the UN principal organs. We would like to endorse the statement of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the UN that the Permanent Representative of Venezuela Samuel Moncada will make shortly.
The goal of preventing conflicts is 76 years old. It was this goal that was enshrined as the primary one in the UN Charter in 1945. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres acceded to his post 5 years ago and started his work with a call for peace the achievement of which should run through all the areas of work of our organization, from the cessation of hostilities to negotiating a political solution to conflicts.
Over all of these years, the UN, the UNSC, its other principal organs, the Secretariat and regional and subregional organizations have carried out significant work to identify the sources of conflict and ways to prevent conflicts.
Despite all this, we keep coming back to the topic of preventive diplomacy, reiterating it again and again as an overarching priority of the UN. However, unfortunately, crises constantly recur and new hotbeds of conflict arise.
There are no swift and radical remedies to these issues. Curbing conflicts successfully depends on systematic use of early warning instruments, on tapping into the potential of preventive diplomacy, on mediation and on good offices. However, for all of these efforts to be successful, in our opinion, a number of conditions need to be met.
We are convinced that this work should not include double standards dictated by a political situation or by the particular inclinations of a state. Why for some countries are there painstaking efforts to establish a political process and time is allowed for quiet diplomacy, whereas for other countries the international community and the UNSC immediately go charging in all guns blazing, imposing sanctions including illegal unilateral ones and exerting pressure on national governments thus provoking the opposition to confrontation? This is despite the fact that it has long been clear that interference in domestic political processes in spite of the stance taken by the host parties is in no way in the interest of long-term stabilization. It is only people themselves that can determine the fate of their countries, while armed or any kind of external interference in internal conflicts only serves to create the risk of exacerbating the spiral of confrontation.
Furthermore, we also must not forget that each situation is caused by a particular set of reasons and therefore a delicate, impartial approach should be taken and a unique solution found. One-size-fits-all solutions or blanket criteria have no place here in principle. We are convinced that early warning cannot be based on an arbitrary combination of conflict indicators, even be they important such as human rights ones or SDG ones.
Events in the world highlight the increased role of mediators in preventing and settling conflicts. Their work requires great skill and, which is very important, patience. The UN Secretary-General and his special envoys’ good offices continue to remain highly relevant. No matter their previous posts or credentials, special envoys should be truly prepared to be impartial in their work, independent in their judgement and able to find non-standard solutions.
Responsibility for the effectiveness of the UN anti-crisis instrument to a large extent lies with the UN’s PKOs. We have frequently said that we do not agree with the interpretation of peacekeeping solely through the prism of the protection of civilians and provision of humanitarian aid. It is impossible to establish peace without a political process or to significantly stabilize the situation even given the thousands of Blue Helmets deployed and the billion-dollar budgets of the missions.
An important role in assisting post-conflict countries is played by the UN Peacebuilding Commission whose coordinating and mobilizing work we fully support. However, the issue of sustainable financing for peacekeeping efforts is still unresolved. We should also take a fresh look at the preventive capacity of regional and subregional organizations.
Undoubtedly, a significant role is played by the UN Secretariat. The UNHQ and the field presences have garnered significant knowledge experience, monitoring expertise and capacities for analysis of regional situations including forecasting their development into crisis situations. It is the UN Secretariat staff we are talking about when we underscore the universal nature of this institution which has unique legitimacy and plays an important role in conflict prevention.
We would like to underscore that, unfortunately, recently instead of focusing on the quest for political solutions and the use of existing instruments, we have primarily been focused on such topics as coordinating efforts of different UN organs and identifying a kind of nexus between different aspects of UN’s work as well as discussing significant issues of our times in all the different fora at the same time. One has the impression that the UNSC is already fully able, if not necessarily of carrying out all of the UN’s functions at once, at least of giving an opinion on almost all of generic issues. The same trend is observed in other UN organs as well.
From our side, we are still convinced that there is a need to do justice to the founders of the UN and to stop reinventing the wheel. In particular, the UNSC should not be distracted from its main objective that is the maintenance of international peace and security. There is a need to redouble our efforts so that all the UN organs can work effectively in accordance with the principle of the division of labor. In such a case, all building blocks of international cooperation will fall into place and create a solid foundation for prevention and settlement of conflicts.
Thank you for your attention.
Right of reply in response to the statements of various delegations:
I have to take the floor since we regret that certain delegations continue to use the most inappropriate settings to promote their propaganda work. Such an important and noble topic as conflict prevention has been no exception.
The situation in Belarus is a good example of destabilizing external interference that we talked about earlier in our statement and an example of using double standards. This also pertains to the migrant situation. We believe that the EU should refrain from such double standards in settling this issue and should bear responsibility for its actions. As for the specific situation on the Belarus-Poland border, a sustainable solution can be found only through equal dialogue with Minsk. If Brussels is prepared for it, then we are prepared to assist that.
Thank you for your attention.