UN / RUSSIA NEBENZIA

30-Jun-2021 00:03:28
Russian ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia said the cross-border humanitarian operation in Syria is “outdated” and “eventually it will be closed.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / RUSSIA NEBENZIA
TRT: 3:28
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 JUNE 2021, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

30 JUNE 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Vasily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“Today, facts on the ground say, and the UN confirms that, that they have increased humanitarian assistance to the northeast of Syria through the Syrian Government, through the cooperation with the Syrian Government. And in general, the humanitarian assistance in Syria on territories which are controlled by the Syrian Government has improved dramatically since the time the cross-border operation was introduced. And it was introduced in special circumstances when there was no access to many parts of Syria, not just northwest. But of course, today, it is an outdated operation, and eventually it will be closed.”
4. Wide shot, press room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Vasily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“We hear again conditions which Russia has to meet before the US will engage on certain issues. We’ve been saying many times over, and we continue to say that we are prepared to engage and to cooperate, but not on the condition of conditions. And that is a very clear thing.”
6. Wide shot, press room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Vasily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“But we believe that the conditions in Syria for the voluntary return of refugees to areas from which they fled at a certain time exist, and many Syrians are returning. On the other hand, they are prevented to return, not physically but politically, because they are being told that the conditions are not ripe there; that you will be persecuted; that you will be conscripted; you will be punished; you will end up in jail, etcetera. Practice shows that this is not the case, and the return to Syria by the refugees has been rather steady in recent couple of years.”
8. Med shot, journalist asking question
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Vasily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“The Security Council is to discuss situations of international peace and security, and there is a question which is yet to be answered, whether the situation in Ethiopia represents a threat to international peace and security. That depends on the angle from which you look at the situation of course. But to a large extent of course, it is a domestic affair. And we are – yes we do not hide it – we are in principle opponents of discussing domestic issues on the agenda of the Security Council.”
10. Med shot, journalist asking question
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Vasily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“But you have to recognize that the military has been part of the Myanmar landscape. It has been this way a long time before the current situation, and they will never go anywhere. They will be part of the political landscape of Myanmar in the future. You cannot tell the military: ‘Pack your things and go.’ They will stay there. They will be part of how the country operates. So, we have to look at that not from a black and white point of view but taking all factors into account.”
12. Wide shot, press room
STORYLINE
Russian ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia said the cross-border humanitarian operation in Syria is “outdated” and “eventually it will be closed.”

Speaking to reporters in New York today (30 Jun), The Russian ambassador said a draft resolution on the issue would be discussed today but noted that reopening the previous cross border points is a non-starter.

Nebenzia said, while discussing the issue last year to an extension the authorization for the use of the Bab Al Hawa crossing in Idlib, Russia was very clear on the need to ensure stable deliveries crossline within Syria and to rectifying the defects of the cross-border operations, including labelling the humanitarian trucks and control over the distribution of humanitarian assistance. He said many questions on this remain unanswered.

He said it was no secret that Idlib is controlled by a Security Council-designated terrorist organization and humanitarian aid not only helps the people in the province, but also those in charge. He stressed that cross-border operations, which are authorized until 10 July, are unique to Syria and total contradict humanitarian principles and principles of international humanitarian law.

The Russian ambassador noted that the Syrian Government never liked the idea of cross-border operations and considered them a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He added that the same warning being made today came when the cross-border operations into northeast Syria were stopped.

He said, “Today, facts on the ground say, and the UN confirms that, that they have increased humanitarian assistance to the northeast of Syria through the Syrian Government, through the cooperation with the Syrian Government. And in general, the humanitarian assistance in Syria on territories which are controlled by the Syrian Government has improved dramatically since the time the cross-border operation was introduced. And it was introduced in special circumstances when there was no access to many parts of Syria, not just northwest. But of course, today, it is an outdated operation, and eventually it will be closed.”

Nebenzia said he heard statements by the US that the cross-border operation in Syria is a litmus test of our future engagement with Russia on Syria. He said the US is equally interested in engagement on Syria as Russia and the international community at large, but this is not the way a mutually respectful cooperation is being envisaged.

He added, “We hear conditions which Russia has to meet before the US will engage on certain issues. We’ve been saying many times over, and we continue to say that we are prepared to engage and to cooperate but not on the condition of conditions. And that is a very clear thing.”

Nebenzia said Russia also has questions for the US on Syria and other regional issues, but it is not putting conditions on the table to consult on those issues.

Asked about the return of Syrian refugees, The Russian ambassador said this was primarily a personal choice, adding that each individual must evaluate if they can and are willing to return.

However, He said Russia believes that the conditions in Syria “for the voluntary return of refugees to areas from which they fled at a certain time exist, and many Syrians are returning.” He added, “On the other hand, they are prevented to return, not physically but politically, because they are being told that the conditions are not ripe there; that you will be persecuted; that you will be conscripted; you will be punished; you will end up in jail, etcetera. Practice shows that this is not the case, and the return to Syria by the refugees has been rather steady in recent couple of years.”

Asked about the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Nebenzia said Russia was concerned about the humanitarian situation in the region but recognized that the bulk of humanitarian assistance was and still is being provided by the Ethiopian Government. He said his country was still advocating for humanitarian access to international organizations and stressed that the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Government does produce a glimmer of hope. He added that, like any conflict situation, the solution in Tigray is political.

The Russian ambassador said the situation there will likely be discussed by the Security Council. However, he said, “The Security Council is to discuss situations of international peace and security, and there is a question which is yet to be answered, whether the situation in Ethiopia represents a threat to international peace and security. That depends on the angle from which you look at the situation of course. But to a large extent of course, it is a domestic affair. And we are – yes we do not hide it – we are in principle opponents of discussing domestic issues on the agenda of the Security Council.”

In response to a question on Russian weapons sales to Myanmar, Nebenzia noted that there is no arms embargo on the country. He said the situation there is very difficult, adding that Russia supports the restoration of the normal functioning of the country and the military said it was committed to holding elections.

The Russian ambassador said, “But you have to recognize that the military has been part of the Myanmar landscape. It has been this way a long time before the current situation, and they will never go anywhere. They will be part of the political landscape of Myanmar in the future. You cannot tell the military: ‘Pack your things and go.’ They will stay there. They will be part of how the country operates. So, we have to look at that not from a black and white point of view but taking all factors into account.”
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