Point of order by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Kosovo
In my capacity as President I thank Ms.Gёrvalla-Schwarz for her statement. However I would like to refute claims that the Presidency allegedly prevented Ms.Gёrvalla-Schwarz from speaking Albanian in the Council. As Presidency, we were informed that you were ready to speak English just like your predecessors did. Had you insisted on Albanian (there have been such precedents indeed, but may I stress that in those cases the briefers did not speak any of the official UN languages), then such an opportunity would have been granted to you.
In my capacity as President I would like to react to what has been said today. Since the representative of Albania raised this issue, directly or indirectly implicating the Presidency and basically accusing it of partiality, that is abusing its prerogatives, I would like to clarify this issue.
Indeed, two Council members addressed the Presidency with a request to allow Ms.Gёrvalla-Schwarz to speak Albanian. Today the representative of Albania invoked Rule 44 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure. I will cite Rule 44 for you. “Any representative may make a speech in a language other than the languages of the Security Council. In this case he shall himself provide for interpretation into one of those languages. Interpretation into the other languages of the Security Council by the interpreters of the Secretariat may be based on the interpretation given in the first such language”.
Ms.Gёrvalla-Schwarz does not fall under the category of representatives. She speaks under Rule 39, not under Rule 37 like Serbia. At 99% of UNSC meetings we have briefers and speakers under Rule 39 and none of them insists on speaking his or her own language other than the six UN official languages. We thought it should not be otherwise at this meeting. This has nothing to do with discrimination of Albania. I already referred to precedents when there were statements under Rule 39 in native languages, but exceptions were made for the speakers who did not speak either of the six official UN languages. Had it been the case with Ms. Gёrvalla-Schwarz, she would have been granted an opportunity to speak Albanian. But we all witnessed today that she masters English more than decently.
We did not object, as the representative of Albania claimed today, but we consulted with member states through the political coordinators’ network. The result of these consultations was the communication of one UNSC member to the Secretariat about a decision of Ms.Gёrvalla-Schwarz to address the Council in English. This same message was communicated to the Russian Presidency. In the message to the Secretariat that same Council member underlined that if the request to speak Albanian had reached the Secretariat prior to the communication that Ms. Gёrvalla-Schwarz decided to speak English, the former request should be disregarded.
So we reject any attempts to accuse the Presidency of non-impartiality. We conduct our duties in good faith.