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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

05.10.2016

Russian position on OPCW-UN JIM report on Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Recently, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has presented to the UN Security Council its third report, in which it concluded that the Syrian Armed Forces were allegedly involved in two cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria. While appreciating the significant amount of work done by the JIM and its experts, conclusions drawn by its Leadership Panel are hardly convincing. It has become obvious that due to objective reasons it had very little chance to conduct an effective investigation. One of the main problems was lack of access to the locations due to the dire security situation on the ground.

There are also other factors that have seriously affected the quality of the investigation, including that it was carried out in some cases more than two years after the incident, some of the information materials were misleading, and sources of information were of secondary or tertiary nature. The accusation against Damascus is mostly based on the testimonies of the “witnesses” handpicked by opposition NGO’s, and the assumption that nobody but the government forces in Syria have access to aircraft, which could be used to drop barrel bombs filled with chlorine.

Taking into consideration the gaps and inconsistencies in the report, one may conclude that there is insufficient evidence to state that any party, be it the Government of Syria or even ISIL, was undoubtfully involved in the use of chemical weapons. It is also necessary to ask ourselves, what is the motive behind
such insignificant, from a military point of view, use of chlorine as a chemical weapon? Such acts serve no purpose for Damascus in view of its possession of much more destructive conventional weapons and especially given the fact that no military operations to recapture towns mentioned in the report followed the incidents. Apart from the fact that such acts carry a clear hallmark of propaganda tailored for putting the blame on the Syrian government at pivotal moments of the ongoing civil conflict.

There are talks about the need to impose sanctions against Damascus on the basis of the JIM's conclusions. There is no ground for such action which, above all, might be extremely detrimental for efforts aimed at a political settlement.

For more than two years Russia has been trying to draw attention of the international community to the fact that terrorist organizations have repeatedly used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. Together with China we proposed to adopt a brief and pragmatic UNSC resolution, which would have constituted a first step towards solving this issue. Considerations of a strictly political nature on the part of some of colleagues in the Council have caused the international community to lose a minimum of two years that could have been spent in developing measures to address the threats and challenges of chemical terrorism.

Unfortunately, the time lost in pointless political rhetoric has also affected the work of both the OPCW and the JIM, and made it much harder for them to execute their respective mandates. Even now some of the proponents of imposing sanctions against Damascus blatantly call to turn a blind eye to chemical crimes committed by ISIL. Despite of this shortsighted policy the time has come for serious action to address this problem.




LATEST EVENTS

21.02.2017 - Remembering Ambassador Churkin (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Work in New York, at a mission to the United Nations differs a lot from any Embassy. Especially so for a mission of a nation-permanent member of the Security Council. The last ten years, when Vitaly Churkin represented Russia at the UN, undoubtedly where the most busy and strenuous, given the War in Iraq, intervention in Libya, the crises in Syria and Ukraine. On all these issues there were serious differences between major powers, which increased demand for multilateral diplomacy. On many occasions those were non-stop, marathon sessions aimed at reaching consensus, finding some common ground as a basis for international action.


03.02.2017 - MEPP: inter-Palestinian conference in Moscow (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 15-17 January in Moscow there was held an inter-Palestinian informal meeting organized by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Representatives of the main Palestinian organizations were present, including Fatah, Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, the Palestinian National Initiative, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, the Palestinian Democratic Union and others.


03.02.2017 - Deal is straightforward yet Kiev drags its feet (by Ambassador Yakovenko for FT)

Sir, The latest flare-up in eastern Ukraine is just more evidence of the Kiev government choosing war over reform (Letters, February 1). It has been dragging its feet over implementation of its part of the Minsk 2 accords reached by the Normandy Four two years ago.


01.02.2017 - Crimea and Minsk Agreements: what the British media would not tell? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The recent escalation in eastern Ukraine is again presented in the British media as Russia’s attempt to wage a proxy hybrid war against Kiev’s pro-western leadership. For fear of an eventual improvement in Russia-US relationships they pray for the sanctions against Russia to stay unless the Minsk Agreements are implemented as well as a punishment for the “Russia’s annexation of Crimea”. Let me set the record straight on that.


25.01.2017 - Finally there is hope for peace in Syria. Now let's concentrate on fighting Isil (article by Ambassador Yakovenko in The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017)

For almost a year and a half, as the British government and media were accusing Russia of pursuing a military solution in Syria, we have patiently said that fighting terrorists complements the peace process. Their presence is a foreign intervention, which distorts everything. Not always was our voice heard, but today facts on the ground prove us to be right, and hope for peace is palpable.


18.01.2017 - Back to basics in international relations (letter by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for Evening Standard, published on 17 January 2017)

Recently we have seen a trend of questioning electoral outcomes in Western nations under the pretext of undue outside interference, first of all “Russian influence”. It follows that outcome of the June referendum in Britain could be also challenged on those grounds. Not all find it preposterous. But will of the people is expressed within domestic environment.


22.12.2016 - Why the elites blame post-truth politics for their failures, by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH, published 22 December

Establishment leaders in Europe and America need a reality check and to address voters' genuine concerns in a globalized world. The year 2016 has seen truly epic failures of mainstream politics and media, most significantly at the British EU referendum and the American election. In both cases seasoned analysts could not see beyond their Westminster or Capitol bubbles and foresee the outcomes. Enraged as they were, they chose to blame outside forces, often pointing the finger at Moscow, which supposedly has more influence on Western voters than home politicians. More generally, they blamed their failures on “post-truth politics”, ie, assuming that new-wave politicians (and their line-up crosses the Cold War divide in the Euro-Atlantic) run fake news stories and take advantage of a total breakdown of trust in elites and their institutions. Indeed, progressively, we have been seeing the last of established politicians, and institutions falling into disarray and irrelevance.


20.11.2016 - Bringing peace to Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for "Sunday Mirror", published on 20.11.2016)

It has to be borne in mind that Russia sent its Air Force to Syria only on 30 September 2015. According to our Western interlocutors, it was a critical moment when Damascus was about to fall to the ISIS onslaught. The foreign terrorist organizations, proscribed by the UN, such as ISIS and “Nusra”, are the single most important factor that distorted the entire setup in Syria. In fact, the terrorists are leading the opposition militarily, including in East Aleppo. Accordingly, if they call the tune on the battlefield, they’ll do the same in Syria if they prevail. Our only strategy in Syria is to allow the Syrians to decide for themselves.


19.11.2016 - Collectivism and connectivity at the heart of APEC (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 19–20 November 2016, Lima hosts regular meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. 21 countries’ leaders gather in order to discuss pressing global and regional economic issues. The Summit takes place against the background of global political and economic turbulence. The ongoing shaping of new polycentric world order is accompanied by growing instability. In the Asia Pacific, the effects of these tendencies have been mitigated by major technological and financial potential that has enabled the region to maintain its leading positions in world affairs. However, it is evident that the growing challenges will have a negative impact on the prospects of long-term growth in the region.


18.11.2016 - OPCW decision on Syria is deeply regrettable (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The decision ensures unlimited inspections of the Syria’s military infrastructure and research facilities, which provide for the basic economic needs of the country, and in some cases the region as a whole. According to those who initiated and ensured the adoption of this decision, such inspections would ultimately allow the OPCW to assume total control over the defence, research and technological capacities of the sovereign state of Syria, which has been seriously undermined by the war that is being ignited and actively sponsored by external forces.



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