Russia calls for fairer UN, criticizes US, UK and France for ‘usurping’ key positions

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin © Mike Segar
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations has accused the US, the UK, and France of “usurping” top UN positions. Vitaly Churkin also slammed the US for abusing its powers as the UN’s host country, including showing indiscriminate bias in issuing visas.

“It can’t be considered normal when you have a situation with three highest positions – Under-Secretaries-General of peacekeeping, political, and humanitarian affairs – virtually usurped by three countries,” Vitaly Churkin said during a speech at the UN Security Council.

The envoy has called for making the UN fairer by rotating the key posts between all member states, including the position of the UN Secretary General. The current chief, Ban Ki-moon, will be stepping down at the end of 2016.

The Permanent Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations has traditionally been a representative from France, with the position currently occupied by Herve Ladsous. The Political Affairs post has usually been taken by the US, now under Jeffrey Feltman’s supervision, and the Humanitarian Affairs position has always been assigned to British representatives, at present Valerie Amos.

The Russian envoy added that the UN resolution process has been suffering due to some UNSC member states resorting to sanctions before first examining peaceful solutions. “The effectiveness of such decisions leaves a lot to be desired. Often they lead to just making the crises even worse,” Churkin said.

He also underlined that any attempt to abolish the UN veto power would threaten how the UN works, since it is “one of the key provisions of the Charter that prompts council members to reach consensus.”

“It’s clear why undermining the right of veto is the goal of those who want to seek mathematical majority in the Council,” Churkin stressed.

His comments address France’s attempts earlier this year to adopt a new regulation named “responsibility not to veto.” It states that permanent UN Security Council members – Russia, the US, China, the UK and France – would commit not to use their veto power in situations where mass atrocities have been committed.

The Russian Ambassador to the UN also slammed the US for abusing its powers power as the UN’s host country. The envoy accused the US of bias in its visa approval process and an unwillingness to listen and cooperate with some of the UN’s requests.

“Such actions by the US is the abuse of their position as the host country to the UN and it is a gross disrespect for the leadership of the Secretariat. We demand an end to this arbitrariness,” the diplomat said.

Churkin pointed to the US’ push to invite the self-proclaimed nation of Kosovo – not a UN member – to an event organized by the UN to combat extremism on September 29 as an example of misconduct by Washington.

This was done “despite protests from the leadership of the Secretariat and some delegations,” Churkin added. At the same time, he pointed out that the US has imposed visa restrictions on other “newly independent states,” such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Churkin stressed that without the two parties present at the UN it is impossible to consider Georgia’s annual resolution on recognizing the right of all refugees to return to the two former Georgian autonomous republics.