Moscow’s last presidency dates back to February last year, the month it launched the war in Ukraine
Russia assumes the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council today, and it is not an April Fool’s joke, “the level of absurdity reaches new heights”. So comments the Ukrainian representative to the Glass Palace, Sergiy Kyslytsya, while the Foreign Minister of Kiev, Dmytro Kuleba speaks of “a slap in the face to the international community”the Russian presidency reminds us that “there is something wrong with the way the international security architecture works: a state that systematically destroys international peace and security will preside over the body charged with maintaining them.”
Each of the 15 members of the UN Security Council – 5 permanent and ten on rotation – presides over the body in turn, following the alphabetical order, and there are no codified circumstances, pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, which they can prevent. Russia last chaired it in February last yearthe month he launched the war in Ukraine.
He returns to preside over it from today, while Vladimir Putin has in the meantime received an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and has announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Despite the paradoxical situation, according to analysts for Moscow there are more disadvantages than benefits. “I think people are seeing it the wrong way. I think it should be understood that this month is more of a headache than a boon for the Russians,” Richard Gowan, the United Nations director for international crisis, told The Voice of America. Group – If they try to use the presidency to try to make trouble for the Ukrainians, or to push their war narrative, they will only get a huge backlash.”
The rotating presidency does not envisage special prerogatives, but the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasili Nebenzia, has put his hands forward, arguing that this will allow him to “supervise” some debates, including that on arms control. This will raise the need for “a new world order” to “replace the unipolar order,” he told TASS.
“Unfortunately, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, so there is no practical legal way to prevent” it from exercising the rotating presidency, commented White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre, convinced that Moscow he will take advantage of this to “spread disinformation” and justify the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia will present its work program on Monday. Among the meetings already on the agenda, a ministerial-level debate chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the defense of the UN Charter, which Moscow is accused of continuing to violate due to its aggression against Ukraine, and one on the subject of deportation of Ukrainian children in Russia, which was already planned before the arrest warrant issued against Putin.
Someone has proposed boycotting the Russian presidency and a petition is circulating online with the request to the member countries of the Security Council. In fact there is a precedent and, ironically, it was the then Soviet Union that boycotted the works at the Glass Palace, which, in 1950, did not show up for six months at the meetings: the reason being the recognition by the UN of People’s Republic of China instead of the Nationalist Government. They came back to coincide with the start of their presidency and the reason they did, Security Council Report recalls, “is that during the Korean War they passed all the votes on the UN commitment because they weren’t there to veto . So they understood that it was disadvantageous for them not to be seated in the Council”.
Speaking of precedents, in more recent history only once has a country not exercised its rotating presidency, and that was Rwanda. According to the Security Council Report, a think tank that studies the transparency and effectiveness of the Security Council, it happened in 1994, after the Rwandan genocide. A non-permanent member, Rwanda held the seat vacant for six weeks from mid-July, when Pasteur Bizimungu was elected president, to September, when the country was due to assume the presidency.
“But the new government had just taken office, they hadn’t had time to prepare – explains Security Council Report – They had just experienced the genocide and had a new government. So, they skipped Rwanda and the seat went to Spain, which was the next in alphabetical order”. However, the Council decided that Kigali would have its chance and, with the alphabetical rotation complete, assumed the presidency in December 1994. None of this compares to the current case of Russia, which, diplomatic sources insist, can do little to exploit his position as president of the Security Council: “It’s not like the G20 or the G7 or the presidency of the EU, where you have a year or six months in which you can propose your agenda.” “I think this role is a bit overrated,” Gowan says.