Russia’s UNSC presidency focuses on Middle East conflicts

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
Members of the United Nations Security Council at the U.N. headquarters in New York. © Lucas Jackson
This month Russia is taking over the presidency of the UN Security Council. The Council is going to be busy with the opening of the UN General Assembly session and the holding of general political debates.

This year the United Nations will celebrate its 70th anniversary, and the majority of the heads of state and government leaders will attend high-level events in New York.

The central event of the “Russian month” in the Security Council will be an open ministerial meeting on September 30 on “Maintenance of international peace and security: the settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and counterterrorism”.

It is hard to overstate the importance of the meeting proposed by Russia. It would be no exaggeration to say that a very complex and critical situation is taking shape in the Middle East and North Africa. New crises are flaring up along with old ones such as the Arab-Israeli conflict. The region is shaken by tragic conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya that are feeding each other, thereby helping instability spill over into neighboring countries. A number of states are facing a real threat to their territorial integrity.

© Stringer

All this creates conditions for a sharp increase in terrorist threats. ISIS, an unprecedented threat, emerged as a result of continued instability in Iraq, followed by attempts at external meddling in the Syrian conflict as well as flirting with the armed opposition. ISIS militants commit heinous crimes, trying to establish control over vaster territories, claiming the formation of quasi-states and declaring their geopolitical ambition of turning the clock back 13 centuries.

Under these circumstances, there is an urgent need for conducting a comprehensive and honest analysis of the nature of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and determining areas of our collective efforts with a view to building effective regional security architecture on the basis of the UN Charter. The existing issues can only be resolved by implementing a comprehensive approach based on the primacy of international law without double standards and with reliance on the Security Council prerogatives. All this meets the goals of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to form a broad anti-terrorist front against the ISIS threat.

The event is expected to be followed by an adoption of a statement by the President of the Council, emphasizing the urgent need for taking measures on settlement and prevention of new conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, and defining possible further measures on curbing terrorist risks in the region. Russia counts on broad and engaged participation by the UN member states in the discussion of this issue.

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