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4 Aug, 2010 09:37

ROAR: “Presidency in UN Security Council will not add political levers to Russia

ROAR: “Presidency in UN Security Council will not add political levers to Russia

Analysts doubt that Moscow will be able to push its agenda during its presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

Russia has made Kosovo, Middle East, piracy and UN peacekeeping missions the priorities of its agenda as it assumes the presidency of the Security Council. On the first issue, Russia has already threatened to use its veto to defend a UN resolution.

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has rebuked London for open threats against Serbia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported. He stressed that the UN resolution on Kosovo should be observed, the paper said.

The open discussion on Kosovo was not expected to bring “any diplomatic complications or sensations,” the daily noted, adding that neither Serbia nor Kosovo have changed their positions.

However, the scandal followed the emotional address of Britian’s deputy UN ambassador, Philip Parham, the newspaper noted. The diplomat could have predicted the sharp answer from the Russian side, it added.

Parham had said that it was time to put an end to the debates over Kosovo’s independence, citing a recent decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. London also made it clear that any attempts by Serbia to undermine Kosovo’s independence could provoke confrontation with the countries that have recognized the Serbia’s breakaway republic.

Only two weeks ago, “adequate talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Britain’s counterpart William Hague took place,” the newspaper reported. But as soon as an opportunity came, London “has demonstrated its tough temper first of all to Belgrade and Moscow,” it added.

But this time, Parham’s competitive spirit was not supported by his US colleagues, the daily wrote: “Either Kosovo has ceased to be a pressing problem for them, or they disapproved of the British diplomat’s impromptu [words] aimed at a scandal. There are more burning issues to be solved together with Russia, including one regarding the Iranian nuclear problem.”

Despite the Russian UN envoy’s tough criticism of Britain’s position, many analysts doubt that Moscow will be able to propose any practical method of solving the Kosovo problem as it does not have “any levers” there. Now Russia “is not physically present” on the territory of Serbia’s autonomous republic, stressed Maksim Minaev of the Center for Political Conjuncture.

On the other hand, this does not guarantee any preferences for the West,” the analyst noted. “Thus, the Western countries are unlikely to push their agenda. But Moscow will not have many possibilities there, taking into account the potential of the United Nations and Russia’s nonparticipation in a peacekeeping mission led by the European Union.”

If Moscow had a contingent in Kosovo, it would be easier for it to form an agenda on this issue, he noted.

The UN Security Council’s presidency will not bring Russia new levers to influence international politics either, Minaev told Actualcomment.ru.

“Even in the Soviet times, in the 1970s, the Security Council was not an institution that helped to advance particular international decisions,” he said.

Even then the Soviet Union had serious problems in pushing its agenda,” Minaev stressed. “Now, when Russia’s potential is weaker (because Russia is not the Soviet Union), Moscow has even less possibilities.”

If the US’s position has not strengthened compared to the Cold War period, it is still stronger, the analyst said. This is partly explained by the fact that the US’s share of financing of the UN’s structure is one of the biggest ones, he noted.

Moscow is unlikely to influence the situation in Iraq either, Minaev said. It is assumed by many that after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the country “will solve its internal issues without support from the UN or other states,” he said.

Lebanon and the Middle East will be more interesting for Russia, the analyst believes. The peacekeeping mission in Lebanon is coming to an end. But there are reasons for its prolongation, and Russia has a stable political dialogue with Lebanon, he stated. The UN Security Council’s presidency also gives a chance to Russia to push its Middle East agenda, Minaev said.

However, the president of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Evgeny Satanovsky, believes that “Russia is not able to influence the situation in the Middle East because nobody can influence it.” And the situation in Lebanon is “a political hostage to the conflict between Iran and Israel,” he added.

The analyst described as a positive factor the fact that “we have at least demonstrated that we are not going to fight on the Iranian side.” But in the Middle East, Russia “could not do more than it is able to do,” he added.

Sergey Borisov,
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT