Russia hopes UN won’t issue “vague” resolutions again

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov hopes that in the future, the UN will not accept any ambiguity in its documents, such as the resolutions on Libya which justify furnishing rebels with weapons.

Paragraph Four of Resolution 1973, which imposed a no-fly zone over Libya, “allows anyone to do whatever they want for the sake of anything,” Lavrov pointed out while speaking at a joint media conference with his French counterpart Alain Juppe following their talks in Moscow.

He went on to say that as a result of that clause and the unwillingness of the document’s co-authors to clarify who can do what and to what extent force can be used, Russia abstained from voting on the document in the UN Security Council, though it supported all other parts of it.

Lavrov said that he believes that Russia and France, as well as other the permanent andnon-permanent members of theSecurity Council,“are interested int his body issuing documents that areclear, since theSecurity Council's decisions are under the auspices of internationallaw, and international law should not tolerate ambiguity".

“Just as we warned earlier, we are now dealing with the unpleasant situation where [the resolution] can be interpreted differently,” Lavrov noted.

The comments by Russia’s top diplomat were made in reference to France air-dropping weapons to the Libyan rebels. A day before the meeting in Moscow, Lavrov labeled the move a major violation of the UN Resolution 1970 which imposedan arms embargo on Libya and asked Paris to explain the situation.

The issue was discussed during the meeting on Friday between the Russian and French ministers.

According to Juppe, France was acting in accordance with UN Resolutions 1970 and 1973, as “anything goes” when it comes to the protection of civilians. Commenting on whether his country was planning to supply arms to rebels in other conflict-torn states like Syria, the French foreign minister said he was surprised by such a question “since there are no UN Security Council resolutions” on them.

Change of regime in Syria may lead to serious consequences

During their talks in Moscow, Lavrov and Juppe also discussed the situation in yet another Arab country that has been causingmuch concern for the international community – Syria. The Russian minister stressed that the refusal of the Syrian opposition to hold a dialogue with the country’s authorities is unacceptable.

“If the opposition is truly interested in social and governmental reforms in Syria, then brushing aside such proposals (to hold talks) is simply unacceptable,” Lavrov said. He went on to say that “this raises the suspicion that we are in fact not talking about reforms, but “regime change.”

“And we know that regime change in Syria would be fraught [with risk], considering the specificity of this state system,” Lavrov underlined.

Both the Russian and the French sides agreed that it is necessary to stop the violence in Syria and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Lavrov slams “politicized” UN draft on refugees

On Wednesday, despite opposition from Russia and other states, the UN passed a Georgia-backed draft resolution on refugees and temporarily displaced persons from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Fifty-seven delegations voted for the document, while 13 were against and 74 states abstained.

According to the Russian Foreign Minister, the consideration of the “politicized” resolution in New York without the participation of delegates from the two republics constitutes “propaganda” rather than an actual concern for human life. He pointed out that representatives from Abkhazia and South Ossetia who wanted to voice their positions at the General Assembly were simply denied American visas.

Lavrov expressed the hope that Georgia will finally fulfill their obligations under “the agreements reached by Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy (following the August 2008 war in the Caucasus) and consequently approved by all parties”.

On June 30, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that “it is regrettable that Georgia has once again opted to use a humanitarian story in the interests of political expediency, rather than for the thousands of Georgians, Abkhazians, Ossetians and citizens of other nationalities who have suffered as a result of its short-sighted and aggressive policy”.

“This was done intentionally to bypass the Geneva Discussions, which are currently the only acceptable dialogue format for the representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia to discuss, inter alia, humanitarian issues and the status of refugees and DPs,” the statement reads.

According to Moscow, Tbilisi’s unwillingness to sign any legally binding agreements on the nonuse of force with Tskhinval and Sukhum” attests to the fact that Georgia…is not disposed to conducting a serious negotiation process designed to resolve the situation in the region”.

Explaining why Russia voted against the draft resolution, the ministry said that the adoption of the document “is fraught with difficulties concerning the situation in the region, delays the solution to the multitudinous humanitarian issues, and undermines trust among the Abkhaz, South Ossetian and Georgian sides, which is an essential condition for the solution of the refugee problem, among other things.”

OSCE played “unseemly” role in the August 2008 conflict

Speaking on Friday, Sergey Lavrov also said that Moscow still has not received any reply from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as to why it had held back its monitors’ reports which attested to Georgia’s preparation for an attack on South Ossetia in August 2008.

"The OSCE playeda veryunseemly role, because the OSCE observers, who were on both sides of theone-time administrative border in South Ossetia and Georgia, didnotreportthatthe Georgian army was amassing heavy weaponry on the border with South Ossetia andaround Tskhinval. These reports were arriving in Vienna at least a day prior to the attack," he said.

According to the minister,Moscow is yet to get any response from the organization’s secretariat as to why the member-states were not informed.