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​Russia mobilizing UN support for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).

Published time: July 07, 2014 08:39
Ukrainian soldiers are seen in Slaviansk July 6, 2014. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

The situation in Ukraine was a priority of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in June, as Russia was presiding over its proceedings.

Although this issue is still treated by some members in a one-sided manner, Russia was able to mobilize UN support for a peaceful settlement of the protracted internal political crisis in Ukraine. We managed to draw the 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 from 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 follows from Kiev.

Under the Russian Presidency, the Council considered many other international issues. The situation in Syria remained 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 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 the supply of relevant humanitarian goods under the UN’s auspices and with the consent of the Syrian authorities.

The United Nations Security Council (Reuters)

Russia continued its 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 the 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, and 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.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.