Russian Federation Assails Bloc over Sanctions, as United States Urges It to Press Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran
Describing the European Union as an indispensable partner of the United Nations, the bloc’s senior-most diplomat told the Security Council today that it was ready to move beyond the current international uncertainty and join the Organization in building a more cooperative world order.
“The European way is the United Nations way,” declared Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “The European vision is the United Nations vision.” She was delivering her statement as the Security Council discussed United Nations cooperation with the European Union in the context of its work with regional and subregional organizations.
Emphasizing that all European Union actions and initiatives were taken in full partnership with the United Nations, she noted that both organizations believed in the same principles and were built upon the same fundamental ideals. Both believed that security was not exclusively about military might, but also about diplomacy, development, economic growth and human rights, she added.
Concerning the situation in Syria, she said the European Union had worked to strengthen international support for the United Nations-led negotiations in Geneva, while insisting that the international community start looking into the country’s post-war reconstruction. Every effort must be made to preserve fragile Syrian unity, and the European Union was ready to mobilize all its resources to that end, she added.
The same approach had shaped the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic, which had managed to mobilize more than €2 billion in support of Government priorities in that country. The European Union was increasingly active as a global provider of security, she said, pointing out that collectively, its member States contributed almost 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget. The bloc’s 15 military and civilian operations worked in constant cooperation with the world body, including off the coast of Libya in operation SOPHIA, aimed at dismantling the smuggling networks operating there and enforcing the Security Council’s arms embargo, she added.
“Confrontational approaches lead nowhere,” she emphasized, declaring: “Between win-win and lose-lose, the European Union has picked sides. We stand on the side of dialogue and partnership. Where others see conflict, we look to cooperate.” The bloc believed in a global order based on rules agreed together and respected by all.
The representative of the United States said the number of times that her country and the European Union had partnered together was striking, while expressing hope for greater European Union support for efforts to address the anti-Israel bias within the Human Rights Council. Concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she urged the bloc to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions rigorously and impose tough additional measures of its own, including downgrading diplomatic ties. It should also make clear to Iran that it must end its destabilizing actions in the Middle East, including its support for terrorist organizations.
However, the Russian Federation’s representative expressed concern about destructive, unilateral approaches, describing the unilateral imposition of sanctions circumventing the Security Council as illegitimate and counterproductive “limiting measures”. Most such cases resulted in additional suffering for civilians and eroded the legitimacy of the United Nations. Although the European Union had indeed become a key player in the global arena, its cooperation with the Russian Federation was, nevertheless, in a “hard spot”, which was particularly striking given the overlap in Russian and European matters, including the struggle against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East and their joint cooperation in addressing the Iran nuclear issue. While the Russian Federation intended full cooperation with the European Union, that must take place on an equal footing, taking the interests and concerns of each side into account, he stressed.
Also speaking today were representatives of Sweden, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Ukraine, Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senegal and Uruguay.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:12 p.m.
FREDERICA MOGHERINI, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that, despite the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the bloc, it had recommitted to being the strong and united Power that its citizens and partners deserved. The European Union was, and would continue to be, an indispensable partner to its neighbours first and foremost, she emphasized.
All European Union actions and initiatives were taken in full partnership with the United Nations, particularly because both organizations believed in the same principles and were built upon the same fundamental ideals, she said. Both believed that security was not exclusively about military might, but also about diplomacy, development, economic growth and human rights. When the Secretary-General highlighted the importance of preventing conflict and mediation, his words resonated with the European Union’s Global Strategy and integrated approach to conflict and crises, she said, adding that those concepts were being turned into practice each and every day.
Recalling that an international conference on the future of Syria and the wider region had taken place in Brussels just over a month ago, she said its primary goal had been to address the urgent and dramatic humanitarian situation faced by Syrians both inside and outside their country and to support communities hosting them. The European Union had worked to strengthen international support for the United Nations-led negotiations in Geneva, and for a political solution, while insisting that the international community start looking into the post-war reconstruction of Syria, she said, emphasizing that every effort must be taken to preserve fragile Syrian unity, and that the European Union was ready to mobilize all its resources in that regard.
“This is the European way — addressing the urgent and the long term, the humanitarian, the security and the diplomatic needs at the same time,” she said. The same approach had shaped the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic, which had managed to mobilize more than €2 billion in support of Government priorities in that country. The European Union was increasingly active as a global security provider, she said, pointing out that collectively, its member States contributed to almost 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget. The bloc’s 15 military and civilian operations worked in constant cooperation with the United Nations, including off the coast of Libya in operation SOPHIA, aimed at dismantling the networks of smugglers operating there and enforcing the Security Council’s arms embargo.
She went on to state that the European Union’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy foresaw greater cooperation on security and defence matters in the region, noting that more steps had been taken towards a European Union of security and defence in one year than in the previous 60. Greater cooperation meant more efficient spending, better capabilities and more security for European citizens, she said, but it also mean that the European Union was becoming an even more reliable partner for its friends and neighbours, starting with the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Conflict-prevention depended on good development policies and strong State institutions, she said, stressing that peace would not be sustainable without decent infrastructure, good health care and education. “This is what we call resilience, and the United Nations remains a fundamental partner in this kind of work,” she noted, adding that, for that reason, the voluntary European Union contributions to the Organization’s funds and agencies amounted to half their respective total budgets. “So, let me be very clear, and speak directly to our American friends. It is essential that we all keep investing in these UN agencies,” she stressed.
She went on to warn that the terrible famine that had hit the Horn of Africa could potentially make the fragile security situation there even worse, also describing it as a powerful reminder that climate change was real and already impacting the security environment. In that context, the Paris Agreement on climate change showed the right approach to modern challenges. The greatest divide in today’s world was between those who believed that international politics were a “zero-sum game” and those who worked to build “win-win solutions”. The European way was a constant search for win-win solutions, she said, adding that the essence of the United Nations was to represent a space where compromise could prevail over confrontation.
Since the 2016 United Nations summit on refugees and migrants, the European Union had formed five new partnerships with five African countries, she continued, explaining that, the cooperative approach was already producing concrete results and could feed into discussions towards a global compact on refugees and migrants. “Confrontational approaches lead nowhere,” she emphasized, declaring: “Between win-win and lose-lose, the European Union has picked sides. We stand on the side of dialogue and partnership. Where others see conflict, we look to cooperate.” The bloc believed in a global order based on rules agreed together and respected by all. Rules were all too often perceived as a constraint on some and more than a guarantee for all, but more power politics was the perfect recipe for further destabilization, she cautioned, underlining that international rules were not a threat, but protection for every nation’s autonomy.
Those rules covered territorial integrity, the inviolability of borders and the free choice of countries in dealing with their own future. No world Power was strong enough on its own to end the multiple crises facing the world, she emphasized. That was true of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, in which no peace would be possible unless the leadership of both demonstrated courage and political will, she said, explaining that some situations called for imaginative approaches, as in Venezuela, where traditional formats seemed to have failed.
The European Union never looked for a mere photo opportunity, she said, emphasizing that a real impact mattered more than headlines. The bloc had become an indispensable partner of the United Nations, ready to move beyond the current disorder and build a more cooperative world order together. “The European way is the United Nations way,” she declared. “The European vision is the United Nations vision.”
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) described the “European project” as the single most important institutional source of peace and stability in the region since the Second World War. Because of its foundations, the European Union was a natural partner to the United Nations, in both the maintenance of international peace and security, and in ensuring a more sustainable world. Sweden shared its commitment to a world based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the universality and indivisibility of human rights, he said, emphasizing that a strong United Nations was a cornerstone of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy. Sweden supported the Secretary-General’s focus on preventing conflict and sustaining peace, and for his efforts to reform the United Nations, he said, stressing the particular importance of the strategic partnership between the European Union and the United Nations in the fields of peacekeeping and crisis management.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the European Union was a strategic peacekeeping partner with a growing role. Many of the missions it had deployed had contributed to the implementation of Council decisions, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as in Mali, Niger, Central African Republic and Somalia, where it supported the building of capacity to respond to crises. The bloc provided 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget, and drew upon all its available tools, prioritizing political solutions and addressing root causes of conflict, such as terrorism. That approach was aligned with the Secretary-General’s vision, he said. The European Union had also been a partner in seeking solutions to crisis, especially in Syria, where it had joined others in underscoring the need for intra-Syrian talks leading to a political solution. In Libya, it was providing resources for the Prime Minister to fight terrorism, while its European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean SOPHIA operation was combating the trafficking of migrants. Noting that the bloc’s proactive efforts in that regard were often downplayed or misunderstood, he stressed that it was the main provider of aid to refugees across the globe. Although it could not solve the migrant crisis alone, the European Union was shouldering its political, security, financial, moral and human responsibilities as efficiently as possible, he said.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said his country supported strengthening the European Union’s voice within the United Nations and the Council, noting that Italy’s decision to split its membership with the Netherlands had been shaped by their shared European values. The United Nations and the European Union both incorporated a holistic approach into their strategies, he said, citing the European Union Global Strategy on foreign and security policy. The bloc supported United Nations missions through its common defence and security policies, he said, citing its engagement in Somalia, Central African Republic, Mali and Libya. Protecting and saving lives was a priority, as seen in the Mediterranean every day, thanks to operation SOPHIA, which had led to the rescue of more than 34,000 people and the arrest of over 100 smugglers. “The European Union is a global driver of peace,” he emphasized, pointing to its engagement in diplomatic efforts to solve conflicts in the Middle East, and closer to home, where ending the crisis in Ukraine was a top priority.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) said that, since inception, both the European Union and the United Nations had shared the same values, which were just as relevant today as they were at the founding. Terrorism, organized crime, uncontrolled migration, climate change and globalization had led to protracted humanitarian crises, which demonstrated that the two organizations must develop complementary and collaborative approaches to such challenges. The European Union had demonstrated its ability to support the United Nations as a global provider of security, he said, noting that operation SOPHIA off Libya’s coast continued to save lives, counter illegal migration and interdict weapons that could fuel violent extremism. In Ukraine, the bloc was applying targeted sanctions to help that country in the face of Russian aggression. The European Union also helped the United Nations resolve crises through its capacity as an “honest broker”, he said.
NIKKI HALEY (United States) said the number of times that her country and the European Union had partnered to amplify joint efforts was striking. The bloc had been a close partner in addressing the conflict in Syria, including by providing humanitarian assistance, and in the long term, its commitment to supporting that country’s reconstruction would be invaluable to the Syrian people, the region and the world. Emphasizing the “imperative” of imposing sanctions on those linked to Syria’s chemical weapons programme, she stressed that, while the United States appreciated European Union efforts to apply the relevant Security Council sanctions, much more must be done. Ukraine was another area in which the two had demonstrated a shared interest in bringing a greater focus to the relationship between human rights and global security, she said.
Expressing hope that there would be greater European Union support for efforts to address the anti-Israel bias in the Human Rights Council, she also voiced deep concern over the situation of migrants in the Mediterranean, and commended the efforts of European countries to prevent human trafficking and smuggling. Additionally, the bloc’s financial contributions to African Union forces in Somalia had been central to the significant political and security progress made in that country. Concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she urged the European Union to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions rigorously and impose tough additional measures of its own, including downgrading diplomatic ties. She also called upon the European Union to make clear to Iran that its destabilization actions in the Middle East, including its support for terrorist organizations, must stop.
YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) said the European Union played an indispensable and complementary role in enabling the Council to maintain peace and security. Japan and the European Union were global strategic partners, having worked together for international peace and security, he said, noting the European Union’s key role as a member of the Middle East Quartet. Expressing strong support for the European Union Global Foreign and Security Policy, he said he looked forward to enhancing cooperation with the bloc and expressed hope for implementation of the global strategy on building maritime capacities and regional security architecture in South-East Asia.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said the European Union had helped to resolve crises far beyond its geographic “neighborhood”, citing Colombia as just one example. The bloc’s Global Strategy for foreign and security policy reflected the priorities of European Union-United Nations cooperation, he said, expressing support for their unified and integrated approach to conflicts and crisis. Stronger engagement in resolving conflict and participation in political dialogue would enhance the voice of partners struggling for peace and democratic values. Citing the Strategy on United Nations peacebuilding efforts, he joined its call for Council members not to vote against credible draft resolutions requiring action to prevent or end mass atrocities. Since the 1990s, he noted, the Russian Federation had created “controlled instability” in many countries along its borders, as in Ukraine, where it sought to halt that country’s integration with the European Union. The European Union and the United Nations should not shy away from a proactive approach to resolving conflict in Europe, he stressed.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said there should be more efforts to strengthen multilateralism through strict adherence to the United Nations Charter, including in relation to regional organizations. Concerning conflict between nations, he said all Member States must comply with Charter principles, including peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiations and dialogue, and in the absence of progress, through the International Court of Justice. The principles of non-interference and non-use or threat of force should not be a pretext for challenging the independence or territorial integrity of any State, he emphasized. Noting the European Union’s “very important” role in the negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue, as well as in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian crisis through its support for a two-State solution, he said it had also demonstrated significant commitment in Africa, including Somalia, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic. He blamed the “terrible imbalance” arising from the profound inequality prevailing around the world, saying the worst affliction today was the prevalence of war perpetrated by interventionism and lack of respect for international law.
LIU JIEYI (China) said that, as one of the world’s largest regional organizations, the European Union had achieved significant economic and political integration, and demonstrated its ability to play an active role in a multitude of international affairs, including the Iran nuclear issue, and matters in the Middle East and Africa. The European Union had rich experience in resolving conflict and peacekeeping, and should partner with the United Nations to strengthen cooperation and make even greater positive contributions to world peace, security and development by promoting multilateralism. The United Nations and the European Union should work together to promote a campaign of global governance, consultation and collaboration, in order jointly to promote peace, regional security and global development, he said. To cultivate a harmonious national security environment, they should strengthen cooperation and jointly push the abandonment of zero-sum thinking. The European Union should also provide more funding and technical support to help developing countries meet the objectives laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), noting that Europe was not immune to global challenges, described the European Union as being among the most indispensable multilateral organizations, amid the deficit in trust that other institutions had long endured. There was growing cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union on preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, fighting terrorism, combating human trafficking, tackling the effects of climate change and promoting sustainable development. Europe was an important partner for Africa, he said, expressing gratitude for the European Union’s efforts in Somalia. He also welcomed the renewed commitment to investing in Africa’s peace and development, noting that support provided through its African peace facility had been “quite significant”.
SEIF ALLA KANDEEL (Egypt) advocated enhanced partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. Amid the unprecedented challenges of terrorism, illegal migration, piracy and cross-border organized crime, the bloc was among the most influential international actors working to solve challenges in the Middle East and Africa. Its new and noteworthy Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy was and it should be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law, notably the principles of sovereignty and non-interference, and in coordination with regional actors, he said. He underscored the need for an integrated United Nations-European Union approach to peacekeeping, citing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic’s (MINUSCA) work to restore security in the Central African Republic. In that context, he urged coordination with the African Union, saying it was capable of building the capacities of the Central African Republic’s army, and proposed expanding the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean’s SOPHIA mandate in order to tackle the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, equipment and funds to Libya.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said the European Union was a “major international player” and noted its significant financial contributions both to the United Nations regular budget and to its peacekeeping budget. The two organizations had a long history of working closely on issues relating to human rights, gender equality, cybersecurity and climate change, as well as many others issues, he said, adding that the cooperation must intensify in light of increasingly complex global threats. Regional tensions in the Middle East and Africa required greater interlinkages between the European Union and other regional organizations and institutions, he said, pointing out that the European Union had fielded its own missions under its common foreign and security policy, while also providing invaluable support to peacekeeping missions deployed United Nations auspices. As part of the bloc’s commitment to multilateralism, it should pursue greater cooperation with regional and subregional organizations to address emerging threats to peace and security in Eurasia, he said, citing the situation in Afghanistan as critically important for Kazakhstan and the wider Central Asia.
PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) recalled his delegation’s frequent calls for improved cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. He noted the contributions of the European Union in resolving many international issues, saying it had indeed become a key player in the global arena. Nevertheless, cooperation between the Russian Federation and the European Union was in a “hard spot”, he said. That was particularly striking when there was an overlap in Russian and European matters, including the struggle against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East and joint cooperation in addressing the Iran nuclear issue, he said. However, destructive, unilateral approaches were of concern, including the ongoing use of unilateral sanctions that circumvented the Security Council, he said.
Describing those types of “limiting measures” as illegitimate and counterproductive, he said that, in the majority of cases, such practices had resulted in additional suffering for civilians and eroded the legitimacy of the United Nations. The European Union’s participation in the so-called anti-Da’esh coalition inside Syria was taking place without the approval of the Security Council or the Syrian Government, which raised a multitude of questions and concerns. The bloc’s operation SOPHIA had not yet managed to accomplish its main mission, he added. It was “inadmissible” to subvert conflict resolution to individual priorities, he stressed the need to focus efforts on carrying out the political aspects of the Minsk agreement in Ukraine, despite the fact that, for the time being, Brussels continued its antagonist mentality, relying on anti-Russian sanctions. The Russian Federation intended to cooperate fully with the European Union, guided by shared strategic goals, but that cooperation must take place on equal footing, taking the interests and concerns of each side into account, he said.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said that the European Union, anchored in its values, know-how and ways, had gained substantial human, institutional, technological and financial capacities, and was a leading partner of the United Nations. Their communication and coordination activities included the Council’s informal biannual meeting with representatives from the European Union Political and Security Committee, with other high-level meetings addressing strategic issues. He noted the bloc’s contribution to peace and security in the Central African Republic, Somalia and Mali, and more broadly in combating illegal trafficking and terrorism, and in managing the migrant crisis. In its cooperation with all United Nations bodies, funds and programmes, the European Union was part of almost all the Organization’s activities, he noted.
ELBIO ROSSELI (Uruguay), Council President for May, spoke in his national capacity, recognizing the European Union’s efforts in the maintenance of international peace and security through its good offices, mediation, support for national institution-building and equipping of peacekeeping operations, which meant that the multilateral system could rely on a committed partner. The bloc provided training on security sector reform in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia, in addition to having played an important role in Kosovo through its European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) electoral mission. It had contributed to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and in to negotiations around the Minsk agreement, he said. He noted that his country had received immigrants throughout the course of various wars afflicting the European continent, cautioning against criminalizing migration.