RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY IN THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL: MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)
In accordance with the regular rotation, Russia was presiding over the proceedings of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during the month of June. Under Russian Presidency, the Council considered a wide range of international issues. Of course, the situation in Ukraine was a priority. Although this issue is still treated by some members in a one-sided manner, we were able to mobilize the UN support for a peaceful settlement of the protracted internal political crisis in Ukraine. We managed to draw attention of UN humanitarian agencies to the dire situation in the eastern regions of the country. Without immediate de-escalation of the situation and the cessation of all hostilities a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe cannot be avoided.
The Presidency proposed two draft resolutions on Ukraine, based on a common philosophy, namely to put an end to violence, to implement the Geneva Statement of April 17 and the “roadmap” proposed by the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE. Unfortunately, our repeated efforts to find a common approach met a strong counter-reaction of our colleagues. We were also surprised by the cynical stance taken by a number of delegations not to allow the UNSC to condemn the attack on the Russian Embassy in Kiev. The failure to respond to such an incident is an unprecedented case in the practice of the Security Council.
Meanwhile, the Council adopted a statement in connection with the death of journalists in Ukraine, appealing to the Ukrainian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of this tragedy. We will monitor what action would follow from Kiev.
The situation in Syria also remains among our top priorities in the UNSC. It is symbolic that during the Russian Presidency the operation to remove all components of chemical weapons from the Syrian territory, initiated by Russia, was completed. We also put forward a fresh initiative to ease the humanitarian sufferings of the Syrians by enabling the UN to use four crossings on the Syrian border with Turkey, Iraq and Jordan for supply of relevant humanitarian goods under UN auspices and with the consent of the Syrian authorities.
Russia continued the efforts to draw attention of the international community to Afghanistan with a special focus on the task of combating the production and illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs. It is well known that this problem has acquired a truly terrifying and global reach and has in fact become a threat to international peace and stability. The UNSC agreed the statement of the President which lays a solid foundation for mobilizing the international community to address the drug problem and provide assistance to the new leadership of the country. It is also important that the international military contingent stationed on Afghan territory continues to support actions of the Afghan authorities to address challenges associated with drug production and drug trafficking.
Of course, recent developments in Iraq attracted attention of the UNSC. Russia strongly condemns the terrorists' appalling criminal acts and supports the government and political groups in Iraq as they resist the ISIL militants by all available means. It is vital to consolidate the efforts of all Iraqi factions on the basis of combating international terrorism and extremism, and preserving the Iraqi state. More generally, the Russian Presidency was encouraging the Security Council to address the wide regional dimension that terrorist challenges are gaining in the Middle East.
Among other topics the UNSC considered during the Russian Presidency was the extension of the mandates of peacekeeping operations in Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, in the Golan Heights as well as the situation in the Middle East, Yemen, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Sudan, and the prospects for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. As one of the Council’s permanent members, Russia will continue to ensure that this body lives up to its role as the main guarantor of international peace and security.