Russia takes over presidency of Security Council

Vitaly Churkin has become the Chairman of the Security Council and met with new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who faces a tough international agenda from crises in the Middle East to decreasing poverty.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s permanent ambassador to the UN, will hold the presidency for a month, in line with the UN rota system. He takes over from his Qatari counterpart Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

In an interview with Russia Today, Vitaly Churkin said the prevention and settlement of conflicts across the world will be the organisation's main objective.

“We are currently discussing our plans for January, and one of the most important elements of those plans will be the first meeting of the Security Council with the new Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Tomorrow the Security Council is going to approve our plans for January. However, it looks quite likely that the first meeting is going to take place on Monday, January 8. The subject of this meeting will be threats to international peace and security. This will be an opportunity for the Security Council to review what has been done since its previous meeting on the subject in September 2005. It is also very important to look into the future and to discuss the plans, ways and intentions which, I am sure, are going to be closer co-ordination between the Security Council and the Secretary General,” stressed Mr Churkin.

Vitaly Churkin also admitted that “Russia worked in achieving unanimity of the Security Council in addressing some of the key issues which the Security Council needed to deal with. This is our intension as presidency of the Council to do that. And when our presidency is over we will be working very hard in order to provide maximum unity and maximum effectiveness for the Security Council.”

The Russian ambassador was one of the first people Ban Ki Moon met after taking office.

“The president of the Security Council is not the tzar of the Council, and all decisions will be reached by a consensus. However, as for Russia, we will maintain our position. We must focus on key issues of maintaining international peace and security,” remarked Mr Churkin.

Widely criticised for its ineffectiveness, the UN welcomes Ban Ki Moon as not only a new Secretary General but also a new leader who describes himself a mediator, harmoniser, and balancer.

On his first day of work as Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon vowed to end the mistrust of the UN and to focus on what he described as a daunting international agenda.

“I start my duties at a daunting time in international affairs, starting from Darfur to the Middle East, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, many other crises that trouble our world from defending human rights and to the need to step up our efforts to implement – to reach the target by 2015 – the millennium development goals. These challenges and issues need to be addressed collectively,” said the new Secretary General.

Ban Ki Moon, who was previously South Korea's Foreign Minister, stressed that he was intent of solving disputes with the north.

“As Secretary General, I will first try to facilitate the smooth progress of six-party talks, and I will discuss this matter very closely with the six-party members as well as Security Council members so that I be able to do my own role,” he said.

Also Vitaly Churkin expressed Russia's concern that Georgia wasn't completely fulfilling the Security Council resolution on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. The Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on January 24, where it will hear from the UN Secretary General's representative for Georgia. The new president of the Security Council expressed hope that Georgia will comply with all requirements on settling the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, and that the report would be positive and encouraging.