UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Russia clashed with the European Union and the United States in a UN meeting on Thursday that highlighted the strained relations between Moscow, Brussels and Washington.
Estonia, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, hosted the meeting to focus on cooperation between the United Nations and the 27 countries of the European Union, inviting its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to talk about the relationship and the challenges to peace and security.
The council meeting took place just ahead of this weekend’s summit of the Group of Seven Great Industrialized Nations – from which Russia was ousted in 2014 – and next week’s first meeting between US President Joe Biden and President Russian Vladimir Putin, who intervenes as relations between Washington and Moscow have sunk to post-Cold War lows.
Borrell told the board in a virtual address that the COVID-19 pandemic “has underscored the fragility of our hyper-globalized and interdependent world.”
“The demand for multilateral solutions is far greater than the supply,” he said, stressing “more divisions, more parasitism and more mistrust than the world can afford.”
“We need global cooperation based on agreed rules because the alternative is the law of the jungle, where the problems are not solved,” he said. “Every day, we see the cost of lack of multilateral action in terms of reduced access to vaccines and insufficient climate action, as well as the escalating peace and security crises.”
Borrell blamed “the rise of power politics and ideological challenges” that erode trust, underscoring the EU’s commitment to the UN and “rules-based multilateralism”. He said there had to be a step back from “selective and self-serving approaches to multilateralism”.
Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitri Polyansky strongly disagreed with Borrell’s worldview.
EU-UN cooperation should lead to strengthening multilateral approaches to world affairs, he said, but the EU more often chooses “destructive unilateral approaches rather than careful and patient collective work in search of compromise and constructive solutions “.
“True multilateralism involves constant support for the central role of the United Nations,” he said. “Promote dubious concepts like ‘the rule-based order’ or impose bloc-based approaches and attempts to present one’s own experience and achievements as a golden standard that other countries should implement at home – all this bears no resemblance to multilateralism and often leads to blatant interference in the affairs of other states.
Sadly, Polyansky said, EU-Russia relations “are currently at an all-time low.”
He warned the European bloc against any interference in the affairs of other countries, including taking action against Belarus, a close ally of Moscow.
Borrell sharply criticized the “massive crackdown on peaceful protesters” after last August’s presidential elections in Belarus, which were widely viewed as rigged, and the recent “major attack on air security”, when a civilian aircraft was diverted to his capital and a prominent journalist and his girlfriend were taken away and arrested.
The EU’s chief diplomat said the bloc had closed its airspace to Belarusian airlines and was in the process of adopting a new package of economic sanctions.
Borrell also hinted at deep differences with Moscow over Syria, where its close ally, Russia, holds the key to continuing to deliver humanitarian aid across borders to millions of people in need. and Ukraine, where Borrell called Russia a “party to the conflict” in the east and urged Moscow “to take a constructive position” to implement the Minsk peace plan.
Elsewhere, Polyansky questioned the EU’s naval operation in the Mediterranean to implement the UN arms embargo against Libya, urging him to “be very careful in this region”. He said Russia also believes the EU “can do better as a mediator” between Kosovo and Serbia, which has close ties with Moscow. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after a brutal war between ethnic Albanian separatist rebels and Serbian forces.
Polyansyky warned the EU that it intends to “fight more resolutely and without compromise” against what he said is the bloc’s promotion of its own approaches to gender, human rights. man, climate and other topics in UN documents “as allegedly universal and based on consensus.”
US political coordinator Rodney Hunter affirmed the partnership between the US and the EU, saying it is based on shared values and the pursuit of transatlantic prosperity and security. He also “unequivocally” affirmed the role of the EU as a “crucial partner of the United Nations”, in particular in the efforts of the Security Council to maintain peace and security in the world.
At the same time, Hunter sharply criticized Russia, saying its actions in Ukraine, including the occupation of Crimea, remain “a threat to European security”. He underlined the “unwavering” support of the United States and the EU for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, where Russian forces occupy the regions of Abkhazia and Ossetia. South.
“We will continue to stand with our allies and partners in calling on Russia to immediately cease its ever-evolving military, economic, diplomatic and disinformation efforts to destabilize Ukraine and Georgia,” said Hunter, adding that the US also supported EU actions against Belarus.
Polyansky ended his remarks by saying he didn’t want everyone to think “Russia has a negative attitude towards the EU”. This is not the case, he said, stressing the role of the EU in coordinating the meetings of the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers, which “we appreciate. greatly “.
Borrell said the EU was working tirelessly and making progress to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal, the lifting of sanctions on Iran and a return to the limits of the deal on Iran’s nuclear activities.
“Negotiations are intense and slow on a number of issues, including the precise sequencing of steps,” he said. “There is still a lot of work to be done. “
Polyansky said there are other areas besides the Iran nuclear deal where Russia and the EU are cooperating successfully.
“Most importantly, the EU must understand that there is no room for hegemony and domination in the modern world,” he said.