Against the backdrop of requests for a “humanitarian pause”, they want to restrict Russia's rights again
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, will pay an official visit to Moscow on April 26. He has at least two significant meetings scheduled in the Russian capital: with President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Agenda expected — situation in Ukraine. But much more revealing is the timing of Guterres' arrival. His visit will coincide with a resonant meeting in the UN General Assembly, and immediately after Moscow, the Secretary General will go to Kyiv.
Photo: Global Look Press
Guterres has been talking about his desire to visit the Russian and Ukrainian capitals for a long time. Just a few days after the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, the Secretary General recognized the responsibility of the UN for the failure to prevent hostilities, but he consistently called on Moscow and Kyiv to resolve the crisis through diplomacy.
A week ago, he again delivered a message of reconciliation, speaking of the need for a “humanitarian pause”; — at least for the period of the celebration of Orthodox Easter. At the same time, it became known that Guterres sent letters to the permanent missions of Russia and Ukraine to the UN with requests for meetings with the leaders of both states.
The Russian and Ukrainian visits were promptly coordinated. According to the representative of the Secretary General Stefan Dujarric, Kyiv is ready to receive Guterres on April 28. And two days earlier, he will visit Moscow, which was confirmed by the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov. He also stressed that the Secretary General will hold talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and will also be received personally by Vladimir Putin.
The sequence of Guterres' visits can have a twofold explanation. On the one hand, the schedule largely depends on the capabilities of the host.
On the other hand — and foreign media focus on this, — during his visit to Moscow, Guterres probably hopes to “bargain” some concessions for Kyiv to come to Vladimir Zelensky, as they say, not empty-handed.
The explanation, it would seem, is logical — at least from the point of view of the attitude of the West and Ukraine to the crisis. However, this logic is essentially naive. Russian representatives have repeatedly stated that Moscow's position is clear and unchanging, and the specific conditions put forward by it have long been formulated and submitted to the Ukrainian authorities. In this context, the arrival of Guterres will mean nothing but another clumsy “conciliatory gesture”.
At the same time, the symbolism of the Secretary General's visit to Russia may lie in a different area, however, directly related to the Ukrainian situation. It was for April 26 that the UN General Assembly scheduled a meeting on the situation within the organization's Security Council. We are talking, in particular, about the right of veto, which is enjoyed by the permanent members of the Security Council, including, of course, Russia (besides it, Great Britain, China, the USA and France have this status).
It is the Security Council that takes fundamental and binding decisions within the framework of the UN. It is not surprising that the veto power of the “elected” far from being to everyone's taste. This situation is intended to be partially corrected by the resolution, the draft of which was submitted for consideration at the initiative of Liechtenstein.
The document assumes that if a certain decision is vetoed in the Security Council by one of the states the UN General Assembly will have the opportunity to meet within ten days after that and demand clarification on the issue from the vetoed permanent member.
It is easy to guess that the adoption of such a resolution will be aimed primarily at Russia, whose veto right ties the hands of the West in the Ukrainian direction. Of course, China is also targeted, whose policies also run counter to American and European ones. Therefore, there is no doubt that the document will be approved by the General Assembly.
The question is whether or not Guterres deliberately decided to combine his visit to Russia and the demonstrative meeting of the Assembly. But it is absolutely clear that such a background for negotiations with Moscow will not be positive. As, however, the next UN resolution will not be an effective measure.
The demand for mandatory clarifications on the use of the veto right will only add delay to the already bureaucratic work of the organization, but will not deprive the permanent members of the Security Council of their privileges (for this you will have to change the entire UN charter). It is symptomatic that the draft resolution was actively supported by the United States, which itself has the ability to block the decisions of the Security Council. Washington obviously understands well that the document poses no real threat.