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Russia rejects the US claim that its presidency of the UN council is a joke News

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia’s ambassador to the UN on Monday dismissed descriptions by the United States and the European Union of his Security Council presidency this month as an April Fool’s Day joke and announced a meeting chaired by the minister of Foreign Relations, Sergey Lavrov, on the defense of the principles of the UN. Charter, which Moscow is widely accused of violating by invading Ukraine.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters Monday that she expects the Russians to be professional, but they will use their presidential seat “to spread disinformation and further their own agenda when it comes to Ukraine, and we will be ready to call them every time they try to do that.”

Both she and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called Russia’s takeover of the council presidency an April Fool’s Day joke.

Under Security Council rules, the presidency rotates monthly in alphabetical order among its 15 members. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that there will be no changes to the rules of the council, which is in charge of maintaining international peace and security.

He said Russia has been “an honest broker” during past council presidencies, a role “that we value and cherish, and we are always trying to maintain.”

The president of the council chairs the meetings and decides the topics of the key sessions, often chaired by foreign ministers and sometimes presidents. Lavrov will chair a session on “effective multilateralism through upholding the principles of the UN Charter” on April 24.

Monthly meetings are also required, including on the Middle East, which Lavrov will also chair, Syria and other global hotspots including Mali, Libya, Yemen, Haiti, the African Great Lakes region and Colombia.

Nebenzia responded to the US ambassador’s expectation that Russia will spread disinformation about Ukraine by calling it a “Western narrative” and stressing that “we think just the opposite”.

He said Russia plans to hold an informal council meeting on Wednesday over what Moscow says is disinformation spread by Western officials and media about the Ukrainian children taken to Russia. He said the goal of the meeting is to “dispel this narrative” that they were kidnapped.

The issue came into the spotlight when the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country’s children’s rights commissioner, accusing them of war crimes for the “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children to Russia. Moscow called the orders “outrageous” and “legally void.”

A associated press investigation first published in October found that the open effort to put Ukrainian children up for adoption in Russia was underway. Ukrainian authorities claimed at the time that almost 8,000 children had been deported to Russia, but the exact number was difficult to pin down.

Britain’s deputy UN ambassador James Kariuki said Russia was not in a position to talk about international law or UN values.

“It is waging a war of aggression against Ukraine, violating the most basic principle of the UN Charter – borders are not redrawed by force – and its president has been indicted by the ICC for systematic kidnapping of Ukrainian children,” said. .

“The UK will continue to use our council seat to challenge its illegal warfare, expose its disinformation and protect the council’s vital work to address other threats to international peace and security, including in Africa and the Middle East.”

Russia’s assumption of the council presidency also drew strong criticism from Ukraine and the Baltic nations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the “bankruptcy” of the Security Council and reiterated his call for a review of the UN body and other global institutions.

Estonian UN Ambassador Rein Tammsaar, also speaking on behalf of Latvia and Lithuania, called the Russian presidency “shameful, humiliating and dangerous” for the council’s credibility.

Under Security Council rules, a member directly concerned with an issue must withdraw from participation, and Nebenzia was asked if Russia would recuse itself when Ukraine was discussed.

“No,” he replied, indicating that the United States, Britain and France, which have been supporting Ukraine, would also have to withdraw.

The Russian ambassador recalled that after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Britain and the US held the council presidency consecutively in September and October.

“Nobody raised the question of his legitimacy to hold the presidency,” Nebenzia said. “And no one put on the table the question of withdrawing from discussing a topic that was perhaps the hottest and most topical at the time.”



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