7 February 2012
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Permanent Representative of Russian Federation


The widely circulated Internet reports that he had graphically threatened the Prime Minister of Qatar prior to the recent Security Council vote on Syria were “blatant lies”, Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, said at Headquarters today.

“If you want to make threats and talk about arms shipments, you don’t talk in front of 20 people, including your colleagues from the Security Council,” he said at a press conference.  Stating that he had held three meetings with Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr bin Muhammad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, he noted that other members of the latter’s delegation, as well as members of the League of Arab States and the Security Council, had been present at their various meetings.

Noting that someone was clearly trying to create hostility between the Russian Federation and the Arab States, he said they should heed the Russian proverb, “Don’t spit into a well; you may need it later for a drink of water.”  Emphasizing that his country was a friend of the Arab world, even though its positions were not always well understood in all quarters, he said the Russian Federation would continue to act on principle.

In response to questions, Mr. Churkin said that, while he regretted that Saturday’s vote had drawn a Russian veto, working for a few more days would have resulted in a draft resolution that could have been adopted unanimously.

Asked whether his veto would isolate his country in the Arab world, he said that the Secretary-General of the Arab League had taken the veto in a “very business-like manner and was not overdramatizing it”.  He added:  “Let us not forget that the issue is not Russia, the issue is not the veto.  The issue is how to put an end to the violence in Syria.”  The veto was just one episode, and while some people might try to take advantage of that to create a certain image of the Russian Federation, its relations with the Arab world remained solid, he emphasized.

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For information media • not an official record