For the month of June, Russia will hold the chairmanship of the UN Security Council. Russia is taking over from South Korea and will hand the position over to Rwanda on July 1st.
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he expects a busy schedule over the next month. The Kremlin’s June agenda will include a summit on Afghanistan and a plethora of meetings on African issues. These include discussions over the Islamist insurgencies in Mali and Africa’s Sub-Saharan and Sahelian regions, as well as instability in Sudan and South Sudan.
Moscow maintains close relations with Syria’s Assad regime. The Kremlin will likely focus heavily on securing their interests in the Middle East during their UN chair tenure. Ambassador Churkin said to Russian journalists: “A lot of attention will be paid to the Middle East. We are going to discuss the Middle East settlement, the situation in Yemen and Libya, chemical demilitarization in Syria and the humanitarian situation in that country.” Churkin also mentioned that he would propose Security Council sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Ambassador Churkin said his country is ready to tackle any issues that may arise in June. “Every Security Council member has the right to call a Security Council meeting on any situation, which can pose a threat to international peace and security. We are ready for any surprises here,” he said. The ambassador’s statement may be interpreted as addressing the ongoing destabilization in Ukraine. Many have accused the Kremlin of getting directly involved and ignoring international law with regard to the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine and other Eastern European states.
The UN Security Council is a 15 member body. Five of the members have permanent status: the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China. All permanent members can veto a bill if they find it necessary to do so. The UN charter states that the security council’s primary responsibility is for the “maintenance of international peace and security.” UN Security council members take turns chairing the body every month in English alphabetical order.