Виступ заступника Міністра закордонних справ України Сергія Кислиці на відкритих дебатах РБ ООН щодо новітніх викликів і загроз міжнародному миру і безпеці

Виступ заступника Міністра закордонних справ України Сергія Кислиці на відкритих дебатах РБ ООН щодо новітніх викликів і загроз міжнародному миру і безпеці

As prepared. Check against delivery.

Mr. President,

Ukraine aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the EU. In my national capacity I would like to add the following.

I would like express our appreciation for your initiative to hold this open debate on the topic, which is highly fitting both for taking stock of the Council’s performance in its task of maintaining international peace and security, on the one hand, and, on the other, for presenting forward looking ideas on how to make the Council work more efficient and relevant in a rapidly changing international environment. I would like to thank also the Secretary-General for presenting his views and ideas.

Mr. President,

Let me start with a positive conclusion. Despite all the criticism and negative assessments of the UN in general and the Council’s work, which are mostly justified, currently there is no alternative to the UN and its Security Council in terms of having a global entity to safeguard international peace and security. Moreover, in recent years the Council did achieve some positive results in its line of work.

The Council can be proud of its contribution to the peace cause in Colombia, where it continues to play an important role ensuring a comprehensive implementation of the Final Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC. We believe that the UN should carefully study the lessons learned here and apply best practices in other parts of the world.

The Council demonstrated its openness and readiness to readjust its work in some instances while considering conflict situations in Africa in the light of emergence of new challenges and threats to international peace and security. On the heels of its visit to the Lake Chad Basin region, it adopted resolution 2349, which raised such underlying causes of the complex crisis in the region as extreme poverty, interethnic and intercommunal tensions, climate change.

The peaceful resolution of the Gambian constitutional crisis, which was achieved, first and foremost, thanks to the actions of the ECOWAS and the unified position of other regional partners in the Western Africa, also can be put on the positive side of the ledger of the Council’s work.

During the last two years, sanctions were lifted against Cote-d’Ivoire and Liberia. UN blue helmets left Cote-d’Ivoire no longer being needed there and remain in Liberia in significantly reduced numbers for contingency purposes.

In addressing the terrorism threat, the Council was particularly active. There were numerous discussions and some landmark decisions on countering terrorists’ efforts to spread their ideology, recruit followers, raise funds and procure weapons, plan and perpetrate attacks. Ukraine contributed to this Council’s endeavor by raising the issue of the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks. We are proud that after the adoption of resolution 2341 a number of UN member states have made concrete steps to implement it at the national level.

The agenda of the Council has expanded significantly, due to the close interlinkage of threats to international peace and security with such challenges as human rights, development and climate change, to name just a few. We welcome such a positive shift, since threats to international peace and security cannot be addressed effectively in isolation. Today’s debate is another confirmation of the growing understanding of this nexus. We hope that the Council will continue exploring this topic, and discuss how to address root causes and “multipliers of conflict” in a comprehensive way.

I cannot but mention progressive changes made in the election process of the new Secretary-General. Notwithstanding its still glaring shortcomings and outdated practices, especially in regard to the so-called non-disclosure of so-called confidential results of indicative votes on candidates, great strides have been made to ensure an equal level field for all candidates and to increase an overall transparency of the process.

Another aspect that is probably not as visible from outside the Council but nevertheless is no less important is the improvement of working methods of the Council. This is the area that never fails to attract harsh criticism from the wider UN membership, which has strong opinions on how the Council should or should not discharge its duties.

In this regard, I would like to commend the dedication and hard work of the Japanese delegation that provided impetus and leadership in negotiations on updating the President’s Note 507, a handbook for the Council’s everyday activities, as well as elaborating Note 619 on selection of chairs of the Council subsidiary bodies. We are pleased that these documents reflect a number of Ukraine’s priorities, including on making more transparent the procedure of the Council’s field visits.

Mr. President,

Alongside these positive examples of the Council’s work there is even a longer list of issues, where the Council could have put its huge potential to a better use.

These shortcomings or even outright failures are observed not only in cases, when cross-cutting, thematic or new subjects are concerned (such as environment degradation, links between human rights and security, protection of civilians, role of women and so on), but also in clear cut cases of hard security issues, which constitute a traditional purview of the Council.

For instance, the multifaceted challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain largely unresolved despite the fact that the country hosts the largest UN peacekeeping operation.

In such current hotspots in the Middle East as Syria and Yemen an array of tragic events are unfolding before our eyes and even the most intense exertion of the Council’s efforts on these files can bring results with only marginal influence on the overall situation.

Even blatant violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention are yet to be dealt with in a decisive manner. So far, impunity appears to rule the day.

The Middle East Peace Process remains in a seemingly perpetual deadlock. The composition of the Council changes, but messages and signals heard around this table for decades already are basically the same amid no progress on the ground.

The ongoing development of nuclear and missile programs by the North Korea remains a standing threat to the international peace and security despite introduction by this Council of the most robust sanctions regime in history.

The above list is by no means exhaustive as there are many other cases when the Council’s intervention was less than successful.

Mr. President,

In our opinion, this perspective on the Council’s work is important to keep in mind when we move on to consideration of such issues as the Council’s ability to address contemporary challenges to international peace and security.

We believe that the Council should be able to do much more but we also recognize the fact that it can do only so much. At the same time, debates are held, consultations are regularly conducted, numerous resolutions are adopted, press-statements are produced en masse in an almost mechanized manner. It is not say that all this is not important. It is merely to underline the point of the limited impact of the Council’s work.

The Council is not as effective as hoped and expected by the international community and many people around the globe not because it deliberately ignores some issues or does not work hard enough. On the contrary, the Council’s agenda is growing and with every passing year its members spend more and more hours deliberating in this Chamber or in the neighboring consultations room. Such a state of affairs is the result of the way the Council was conceived and constructed to function.

First, the veto right of permanent members of the Council means that a substantive action is possible only when interests of the Five if not coincide then at least do not cross. In other cases, the Council is left paralyzed. Moreover, a lack of a mechanism to overturn a veto means that there are no incentives for a veto-wielding member to try to work out a solution on a contentious issue.

Second, the scope of implementation of adopted resolutions was always limited by the level of readiness of countries to do so. Examples of non-implementations and outright violations of Security Council resolutions abound throughout its history and the list of offenders is quite extensive. This selective approach to implementation does not bode well for the Council’s ability to make a real difference in various situations on the ground.

Finally, a premise of an effective and efficient Security Council is based on the assumed and expected respect of the UN Charter and norms and principles of international law by all member states.

I would like specifically underline the importance of the latter point. To our deepest regret, the world is currently living in an era of the erosion of the rule of law, when arbitrary application and selective or arbitrary interpretation of norms and principles of international law, with respective obligations and commitments that derive from it, is becoming a routine occurrence, when might makes right. The most obvious manifestation of it is the aggressive policy of the Russian Federation towards its neighbors. In 2008 it invaded Georgia and occupied a part of the Georgian territory. In 2014 it illegally occupied and attempted to annex Crimea and then expanded the armed conflict to the Donbas region of Ukraine. Has the Council been able to provide a fitting response? The answer is well known.

In anticipation of Russia’s usual tirades about a so-call referendum in Crimea and a civil war in the Donbas I will just remind those, who may have forgotten that it all started with deployment of Russian troops without insignia in Crimea, with sending of Russian trained armed groups and Russian special operations forces into eastern Ukraine, with rocket salvos from the Russian territory into the Ukrainian territory, with Russian regular army troops crossing into Ukraine. And it continues with constant sending of arms and ammunition to sustain the war and a de-facto occupation of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The Russian delegation may also claim, as it usually does, that our remarks have no relation to the subject of today’s discussion. Our answer is very simple – Russia’s actions undermined and continue to undermine the international rule based system and they constitute a direct threat to international peace and security, which is THE SUBJECT that this Council must be concerned about.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

Ukraine is convinced that without a radical reform and a complete overhaul of the Security Council as it is right now, we can expect only more of the same – long discussions, sometimes even interesting ones, but with a limited impact where a real and concerted action is needed.

Having said that, the Council is not beyond redemption.

Not much is needed actually.

Merely a responsible attitude of permanent members to dispensing their duties for the good of the world. So far, this aspect of the Council’s work is found wanting.

I thank you.