Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Dmitry Chumakov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, under UNGA agenda items 14 and 120: explanation of position on the draft resolution entitled “Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic” (A/74/L.92)

Mr. President,

The Russian delegation welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly of the draft resolution entitled “Comprehensive and Coordinated Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, as amended.

We appreciate that the document clearly confirms the commitment of the international community to strengthened multilateral cooperation in addressing the pandemic and the duty of States to cooperate with one another in accordance with the UN Charter. It was the key passage in our initiative on COVID-19 resolution. It also recognizes the important contribution of the United Nations system to the global coordinated COVID-19 response in support of the measures taken by national Governments. The key leadership role of the World Health Organization within the broader United Nations efforts is rightly acknowledged.

Our delegation is pleased to see reflected in the text such issues as the importance of primary health-care and universal health coverage for the fight against the disease, as well as addressing non-communicable diseases, tuberculosis and other health scourges in the context of the current pandemic.

Russia fully supports the strong and unequivocal call in this resolution to refrain from unilateral coercive measures against developing countries, especially in the face of the common challenge of COVID-19. As rightly mentioned by the UN Secretary-General, who also calls to waive sanctions, this is the time for solidarity not exclusion. We are not speaking about sanctions against Russia. Let those who introduce them decide on that. We are speaking about sanctions against the developing countries. Maintaining the said illegal unilateral measures would not only bring suffering and hamper the rights to health, food and life itself, but also disrupt the global response to the pandemic. The so-called “humanitarian exemptions” are widely known to be futile and cannot be used as a pretext for the unlawful business as usual. The vote that took place today on the consensually agreed language of the 2030 Agenda is illustrative of the stance of various delegations with regard to international cooperation and achieving sustainable development worldwide. We urge countries that call for unilateral measures to stop being deaf to the voices of those countries who suffer most. One can try to deceive others, even themselves, but it is impossible to deceive the time. And the time will show that if the voices of those who suffer and the international law are ignored, it can only lead to greater problems.

We acknowledge the efforts of the co-coordinators of the work on the draft that were invested in the preparation of this document in extremely difficult circumstances. Many things were ultimately taken by consensus. At the same time, we have to express regret that some groups of states abused this resolution to forestall negotiations on other topics. At times the talks were aggravated by the lack of transparency and double standards in the use of language sources and decision-making on the reflection of country proposals in the text. Indeed, the process was dominated by a well-known block of States, and the starting points for negotiations were biased, which made some of the compromises unsustainable. The backbreaking timeline for adoption is also a matter of concern. We believe that this approach undermines trust among the delegations and their willingness to engage, as well as the spirit of striving for consensus.

In this context, we are forced to state our interpretation of or disassociate from specific formulations in a number of paragraphs.

Concerning PP.4, we reiterate that non-consensual and not intergovernmentally agreed papers of the ICPD regional reviews or non-UN meetings on the topic are not implied by this formulation and do not provide any guidance to Member States.

With regard to OP.19, we observe that the qualifiers (“timely”) used in it for humanitarian access distort the language from the World Health Assembly resolution WHA73.1 on timely access to medicines and vaccines. These formulations cannot provide precedents for the future General Assembly work on humanitarian emergency assistance.

We disassociate from PP.21 which features unclear wording on the so-called “multiple and intersecting forms of violence, discrimination, stigmatization, exclusion and inequalities”. The same goes for PP.22 and OP.26 that contain dubious and technically incorrect terminology on violence as well as do not fully correspond to the evidence from the related Secretary-General’s policy briefs. We strongly believe that the General Assembly should operate with unambiguous well-defined terms.

In OP.21, the expression “health-care and services” is not clear and is not in line with the usual language used for that matter. Thus, in absence of recognized definition, we are forced to disassociate from it.

We believe that mentioning the UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) in OP.28 is out of place, since that paragraph does not take into account the context and scope of this document’s applicability. Therefore, we disassociate from that reference.

The formulations of OP.47 attempt to redefine agreed approaches to actions on climate change and contain imbalanced language on energy. We are committed to mitigating the climate change, but the paragraph neglects to mention the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, thus potentially aggravating its impacts, and does not recognize the need for a sustainable approach to COVID-19 recovery efforts. Unfortunately, the coordinators have opted to ignore our suggestions on the paragraph. As a result, we disassociate ourselves from OP.47 in its entirety.

Our delegation wishes to put on record that we do not consider ourselves bound by the formulations which we dissociated from or interpreted and do not see them as agreed language for future negotiations. We kindly request the Secretariat to reflect our position in the proceedings on the today’s meeting.

Thank you.