Thank you Mr President, and let me start by joining others in expressing our condolences to the Kingdom of Morocco and its people after this weekend’s tragic earthquake.
Mr President, General Assembly Resolution 76/262 is an important mechanism to ensure that permanent members who use their veto must justify its use in front of this General Assembly. So, it is deplorable that once again we find ourselves holding Russia to account for abusing the veto in a way that undermines international peace and security,
Russia likes to claim it stands up to so-called Western hegemony. Yet it is Russia alone that has repeatedly used its veto to impose its will on the rest of the world where it has failed by force of argument or logic to win the votes to support its positions.
Amid escalating violence in Mali, and as the Peace Agreement comes under increasing pressure, the decision to renew the mandate should have been straightforward and following tireless efforts by the co-penholders, they produce a compromised text that passed the rest of the Council with 13 votes in favour. But instead of working for a compromise Russia tabled a take-it-or-leave-it last minute resolution of its own, which would have dissolved the Panel of Experts.
The Russian text received no support. Literally not a single other vote. That summarises better than anything else the legitimacy of Russia’ arguments.
Russia’s latest actions set a dangerous precedent as the first time a UN sanctions regime has been ended with the veto. There is no justifiable explanation for this, and today, Russia failed to provide one.
The simple truth is that Russia used its veto, alone, to end Security Council measures aimed at supporting peace in Mali. This veto will undermine the implementation of Mali’s Peace Agreement, reduce the Council’s access to information and harm Mali’s prospects for long-term stability.
And it is no wonder that Russia wanted to censor the Panel of Experts. Their final report exposed the Wagner Group’s role in human rights atrocities in Mali, and it showed that under Wagner’s watch the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has almost doubled its area of control. A security partnership with Russia is clearly not in the interest of Mali’s people but nor is it the solution to Mali’s insecurity.
The United Kingdom remains committed to supporting the peace process in Mali, as well as security across the wider continent. We urge the Transitional Administration to comply with its responsibilities under international law. And we urge the rest of the world to unite in order to help stabilise the situation in Mali.