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UNITED NATIONS, September 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is ready to discuss reforms of the United Nations Security Council but is against changing the procedure of using the right to veto, Russian Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday.
“Talks on reforming the United Nations Security Council should be continued,” he told Russian journalists, commenting on proposals of a number of countries to restrict the right to veto vested in the five permanent members of the Security Council, namely Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. “We are against any changes in respect of the right to veto.”
On Thursday, a high level meeting was held on the sidelines of a political discussion at the United Nations General Assembly that was dedicated to the issue of the use of the right to veto in situations when urgent measures are needed to prevent and terminate mass and serious crimes against humanity. The meeting was convened by France, which actively advocates this reform although being one of the five permanent members.
Addressing the General Assembly, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the right to veto cannot and should not be a privilege of just a few members of the Security Council. He said it was a matter of responsibility - not to paralyze the work of the Security Council but take efforts to settle conflicts.
Representatives from other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States and Great Britain, spoke at the General Assembly too but they voiced no clear position on the matter. Thus, United States Permanent Representative Samantha Power criticized Russian for having vetoed several resolutions on Syria that were geared towards imposing sanctions and using force against Damascus. She said those resolutions, if passed, would have helped avoid escalation of the conflict and numerous violations of human rights.
But Alexander Pankin, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative at the United Nations, said that the use of veto or “a threat of the use of veto have saved the United Nations Organization from dubious decisions more than once.” Thanks to this, in his words, the United Nations had not been involved in aggression against Yugoslavia, in the intervention to Iraq and had not allowed to “push Syria to an abyss.”
He reminded that the right to veto in the case of Libya had not been used but the resolution passed “was used as a pretext for air strikes and toppling of the legal government.” In the long run, he stressed, the country was plunged into chaos.