UN Security Council again rejects Russia’s request for a meeting apropos NATO bombing

For the second time this week, the UN Security Council did not hold a meeting, requested by the Russian Federation, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1999 bombing carried out by the NATO against the former Yugoslavia, having failed to adopt the provisional agenda to do so after a procedural vote was requested by France.  

At the outset of the meeting, the representative of France underscored that the Council is charged with addressing international security crises that are referred to it — “not a forum for discussions on historical questions, particularly those of the last century”.  

Adding that another meeting concerning Kosovo will be held in April, he stressed that the Council is here “to deal with current crises”.  And, while meetings requested by any Council member on such crises — some of which involve permanent Council members — can be organized, he observed that the organ “is not here to replace historians, lawyers or jurisdictions”.  

The representative of the Russian Federation then took the floor to say that France’s delegation is manipulating procedure, adding that France, the United Kingdom and the United States misled the Council by claiming that the Russian Federation did not consult others about the meeting despite earlier discussions on this issue.  Recalling a recent decision by the Council of Europe regarding Kosovo’s membership, which contradicted resolution 1244 (1999), he asked whether such decision — “a direct continuation of the monstrous destructive line of the West in the Balkans” — became part of “history” as soon as it was adopted.

Likewise, he asked France’s representative whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is as old as the United Nations, should also be considered “a thing of the past”.  Against this backdrop, he urged Council members to support a discussion on the Kosovo issue, highlighting NATO’s responsibility for civilian casualties during the bombing of the former Yugoslavia.

The representative of the United States, meanwhile, rejected claims of procedural juggling, pointing out that the Russian Federation has itself called procedural votes on the provisional agendas for certain Council meetings.  

China’s representative also voiced regret over the result of the vote, noting the importance of Council meetings that review the lessons of important episodes in history — such as the 1999 aerial bombing campaign carried out by NATO against the former Yugoslavia.  Recent disruptions to the organ’s workflow are in nobody’s interest, he stressed, noting the Council’s heavy agenda and urging cooperation, at least on procedural matters — “the only way to keep the Council functioning”.

(Danas, 28.03.2024)



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