Russian FM to chair UN Security Council meeting
March 31, 2023 03:42 AM
Moscow said Thursday its foreign minister will chair a UN Security Council meeting in April when Russia will hold the rotating presidency of the international body.
Russia has repeatedly said it has been confronted at the UN by the "collective West" that has ostracised the country since the beginning of the Ukraine offensive.
Ukraine has called for Russia to be removed from the Security Council over the military operation launched in February last year.
A "key event of the Russian presidency will be a high-level open debate on the 'effective multilateralism through the defence of the principles of the UN Charter'," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a press briefing. "This meeting will be chaired by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov."
Zakharova also said Lavrov was planning to lead a debate on the Middle East on April 25. The United States criticised Russia's move and its seat on the Security Council.
"A country that flagrantly violates the UN Charter and invades its neighbour has no place on the UN Security Council," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said.
"Unfortunately Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and no feasible international legal pathway exists to change that reality," she added, calling the presidency "a largely ceremonial position."
"Russian UN Security Council presidency on April 1 is a bad joke," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
"Russia has usurped its seat; it's waging a colonial war; its leader is a war criminal wanted by the ICC for kidnapping children."
The presidency rotates every month between the 15 member states, and Moscow last chaired the council in February 2022.
Russia would hold little influence on decisions but would be in charge of the agenda.