Vitaly Churkin (1952- ), Russian Ambassador to the United Nations
Russia hopes for more fruitful cooperation with the United States in the UN under the Obama Administration. Vitaly Churkin, the permanent envoy of Russia to the UN, said as much in an interview with RIA-Novosti news agency and the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. His statements show that Moscow pins certain hopes on the accession to power of the new US president. This pertains to both bilateral and multilateral relations. Unfortunately, under the Bush Administration, Moscow and Washington did not search for consensus on key international issues at the United Nations, but, it was often turned into a rostrum for proclaiming unilateral US decisions and anti-Russian rhetoric.
The US aggression against Iraq and its recognition of the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo were the most scandalous examples of complete disregard for the UN Charter and international law. Washington did what it could to block Russia’s draft resolution on the prevention of the militarization of outer space. The former US administration wanted to have “a free hand” in placing elements of US anti-missile system in near-Earth orbit. In every possible way, Washington opposed the adoption of Russian draft resolutions on the need to oppose contemporary forms of Neo-Nazism and racism. The United States supported the governments of the Ukraine, Latvia, and Estonia when they encouraged these amoral manifestations in their countries. Likewise, contrary to facts and common sense, the Bush Administration came out in support of Georgian president Saakashvili when he unleashed a war against South Ossetia. In addition, Washington condemned Russia, which curbed the aggressor and saved from extinction the people of South Ossetia and neighbouring Abkhazia. There were other cases when the Bush Administration took an anti-Russian stance in the United Nations guided by its selfish interests.
At present, judging by the statements of President Obama and his team, Russia and the United States have a real chance of rejecting confrontation and achieving close and fruitful cooperation, including in the United Nations. The White House announced a pullout of a substantial number of US troops from Iraq this year. President Obama has not stepped up the creation of US anti-missile defence system in Europe, an idea that Russia opposes. However, Moscow would like to remind Washington that its suggestions of cooperation with the United States and Europe in the field remain in force. If Washington depends on diplomacy, not the use of force, if it relies not on unilateral, but, multi-lateral action, accommodating interests of other countries, it is bound to get Russia’s understanding and support. This also pertains to efforts aimed at enhancing the role, prestige, and efficiency of the United Nations.
2 February 2009
Voice of Russia World Service