Russian foreign policy
Russian policy in Africa
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     19-05-2004

Statement by Acting Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Alexander V. Konuzin, Security Council Meeting on the Growth of UN Peacekeeping, May 17, 2004

Mr. President,

We are glad to welcome you, Mr. Minister, as the President of the Security Council. We also welcome the participation in our meeting of the United Nations Secretary General. Today the Council on Pakistan's initiative is considering a very relevant and multifaceted topic.

The amassed experience vividly shows that peacekeeping operations, including in their present multifunctional form, are the most flexible and effective instrument for solving the widest spectrum of tasks with respect to international peace and security. We're witnessing positive shifts in strengthening the capacity of member states, the Secretariat and the UN system as a whole to plan and carry out peacekeeping operations. We especially note the productive activity of the UN General Assembly's Special Committee on PKO in a substantive study of mechanisms for the further improvement of the peacekeeping capabilities of the UN. The report adopted at the recently concluded session of the Special Committee is a good mainstay for efforts to build up the UN's capabilities in this field.

It is important that this work is being conducted pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations and to the universally adopted rules and principles of international law and with a reasonable "division of labor" with regional, sub-regional and coalition structures. This is all the more relevant, as the demand for Blue Helmets is increasing in the world.

Russia continues to regard as immutable the basic principles and criteria for United Nations peacekeeping activities, including the primary responsibility of the Security Council of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, the necessity of constructive cooperation by the conflicting parties with UN missions and collaboration by the Organization with regional structures in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

Speaking at the 58th session of the UN General Assembly, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin emphasized that our country is ready to step up its participation both in peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the UN and in coalition operations approved by its Security Council. We are disposed towards constructive cooperation in the interest of improving the mechanisms of peacekeeping and post-conflict settlement, in whose framework an effective combination of the peacekeeping component with the work of the socioeconomic and humanitarian structures of the UN system would be ensured.

Of course, one of the most acute problems of the UN in the area of peacekeeping today is the ensuring of reliable safety and security for the peacekeepers in hot spots. The past year has brought quite a few striking confirmations of this: the terrorist act against the UN headquarters in Baghdad, the killing in the DRC of two military observers, the attacks on the international presences in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, that accompanied the recent outbreak of pogroms against ethnic minorities in the province. And this is a far from complete list.

In this connection we support the need to strengthen the appropriate potential both in the framework of the Department of PKO and, in the first place, in the field missions proper. It should be stressed here that the responsibility of the receiving parties for the security of the contingents and personnel of the United Nations in the zone of conflicts is in no way diminished.

The more complicated nature of the problems brought on by today's conflicts, often with a dangerous regional dimension and economic and social consequences, demands unremitting attention to the tasks of improving the comprehensive planning and deployment of multifunctional PKOs and enhancing coordination among the various components of the missions as well as their cooperation in their zone of responsibility with other international presences.

The further improvement of the "new type of partnership," as the Secretary General has defined it, between the UN, and regional organizations and coalition peacekeepers is assuming particular importance. The use of multinational forces, approved by the Security Council, is especially effective at the first stage of responding to crisis situations. It allows the necessary time for the preparation and deployment of UN operations.

Each crisis situation is unique in its own way and requires an appropriate "set of instruments" for settlement, be it a UN PKO, a coalition operation or the mission of a regional organization. Undoubtedly, this should occur in strict accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, which clearly defines the key role of the Security Council in all stages - from the establishment of an operation and elaboration of a mandate to its conclusion. In this matter it is crucial not to allow a circumvention of the authorities of the Security Council, particularly in situations where the question arises of using force on behalf of the international community. In this case military measures, beyond doubt, are a last resort and they should have an agreed-upon, reasonable and sufficient character.

The experience of UN peacekeeping in Africa, in particular in the DR of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has vividly demonstrated the inseparable link between the tasks of establishing peace and a full socioeconomic rehabilitation of the countries affected by conflicts. In this connection we support the importance of continuing the in-depth consideration of the topic of a reasonable "division of labor" between the Security Council, ECOSOC and the pertinent specialized institutions and programs at the stage of transition from peacekeeping to peace-building. Here it is important not to allow either the erosion of the appropriate prerogatives of said bodies or the "overburdening" of peacekeeping operations with tasks not intrinsic to them.

We are for the further perfecting of the effective mechanism of interaction between the Security Council members, states contributing troops to peacekeeping operations and the UN Secretariat. We entirely share the opinion about the need to make the most effective use of the practice of operational consultations of the Council pursuant to SC resolution 1353 and in the framework of the Special Mechanism of the relevant Working Group of the SC on the basis of the Note of the President of the Council of January 14, 2002.

In our opinion, one effective method for improving the military expertise within the Organization could be a step-up of the activity of the UN Security Council's Military Staff Committee, but not in the traditional understanding of the role of this body, but in a substantially extended format. Our proposal is not aimed at increasing the role of the permanent SC members, but at filling, at long last, in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 47 of the Charter the activity of the MSC with practical content as the body not of the Five, but of the entire Security Council, involving in it all the members of the Council and other concerned countries, including suppliers of peacekeeping troops for UN PKOs.

The Russian initiative is directed to integrally supplement the other measures currently being discussed for increasing the professionalization and democratization of UN peacekeeping and strengthening interaction between the Security Council, troop suppliers and the Secretariat of the United Nations.

Russia, fully aware of its responsibility in the framework of the efforts of the international community for the maintenance of peace, and as an active participant of UN peacekeeping, will continue in close cooperation with all the interested states to make a practical contribution to raising the efficiency and effectiveness of this important international institution.

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