70th anniversary of the United Nations: as relevant as ever

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
© Lucas Jackson
In September, the UN General Assembly session open marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Organization. The principles that have been put into the UN Charter are as important today as never before.

Among them sovereign equality of states, respect for peoples’ right to self-determination as a fundamental UN philosophy and the duty of each state to ensure the rights of its peoples in such a way as to exclude oppression. The Security Council has been designed to bear collective responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Consensus of permanent members may be difficult to reach, but acting otherwise is counterproductive, as unilateral actions over the past 25 years have proved.

It is important to remember that today the widely criticized UNSC permanent members’ right to veto is in fact the main guarantee of “checks and balances” that are so necessary in any democratic system, both national and international. It is another matter that occasional attempts are made to provoke situations that can come under a veto, sometimes with unsavory political goals, as happened several times. For example, our Western partners attempted to plant resolutions, like the one to mark the anniversary of the events in Srebrenica that were essentially partial. Though a tragedy as it was, it is not for the Security Council to take sides in a 20-year-old conflict, or in a criminal investigation into the Malaysian airliner disaster.

So, it is critical to preserve the central role of the UNSC in international crisis settlement. Of course, UNSC reform is important, but it should be supported by general agreement by the member-states, not just a two-thirds majority of them. We believe that the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America are underrepresented in the Security Council. This is why we support aspirations of India and Brazil for UNSC permanent membership along with the African continent’s permanent presence in the Council. A UNSC reform thought through to avoid making the Council too amorphous or unwieldy. Promptness in its work is yet another key principle.

These are the basic assumptions that Russia’s forthcoming presidency of the UNSC will promote. Among other tasks, we are preparing a special ministerial meeting of the Council to analyze terrorist threats that are emanating from the Middle East and North Africa. Needless to say that we will talk of our initiative of a united anti-terrorist front in the region, accompanied by a reinvigorated process of political settlement in Syria.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.