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Russian UN envoy: Russia supports realistic initiatives on United Nations reform

February 04, 8:34 UTC+3
The topic of efficient coordination between the Security Council and the General Assembly acquired a "new meaning" in the context of elections of the new UN secretary general due this year
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Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin

© EPA/JASON SZENES, archive

UNITED NATIONS, February 4. /TASS/. Russia supports reasonable and realistic initiatives geared to boost the efficiency of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly provided they are based on the United Nations Charter principle of the division of competences of these two structures, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday.

"We support reasonable and realistic initiatives that are geared to enhance the efficiency of the activities of both the Security Council and the General Assembly. We proceed from the fact that all reform-related novelties should be based on strict observance of the division of competences between the United Nations key bodies, as is fixed in the Charter," he said at the first session of the 12th round of intergovernmental talks on reforms of the United Nations Security Council.

Resolutions of dubious legitimacy

The Russian diplomat said that in order to maintain international peace and stability it is essential to strictly obey by the Charter provisions on the Security Council’s key role in this sphere. He reminded that in conformity with part 1 of Article 12 of the United Nations Charter the General Assembly cannot issue any recommendations on any situation considered by the Security Council unless it asks for that.

"Resolutions passed by the General Assembly in bypassing of this fundamental provision are of dubious legitimacy," Churkin stressed, adding that such things do happen in the United Nations practice. Thus, in 2014 the General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the Crimean referendum on reunification with Russia as illegitimate after a similar resolution had been blocked in the Security Council.

Moreover, the Russian diplomat noted that the United Nations Security Council occasionally tackles issues that are typically in the competence of other United Nations structures. A vivid example of that, in his words, was the Security Council’s discussion of the human rights situation in North Korea and sessions dedicated to unrelated matters. The Security Council should focus on those issue "it can and must take concrete decisions," Churkin stressed.

Tug of war

Wednesday’s session was dedicated to issues of relations between the Security Council and the General Assembly. Luxembourg’s Permanent Representative Sylvie Lucas, who appointed to chair the intergovernmental talks, said the session was tasked to find points of contact among the member states on that matter. In her words, following meetings would be dedicated to other topical issues, starting from the expansion of the Security Council to its working methods.

The Russian diplomat said that in what concerns relations between the Security Council and the General Assembly "it is necessary to focus on not tug-of-war games but on those spheres where real cooperation between these two United Nations bodies not merely possible but necessary." As an example, he cited "topical issues of boosting the efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping activities" and on mediatory efforts in settling conflict.

Elections of secretary general

The Russian diplomat noted that the topic of efficient coordination between the Security Council and the General Assembly acquired a "new meaning" in the context of elections of the United Nations’ new secretary general due to take place this year. The election campaign started in December when the presidents of the United Nations’ two key bodies issued an official letter to member countries inviting them to nominate their candidates and promising to organize hearings.

Churkin noted that the process of candidate selection "has become more transparent." "We proceed from the fact that elections will be held in strict compliance with the Charter, which has it that the secretary general is appointed by the General Assembly at the Security Council recommendation," the Russian diplomat stressed.

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