Comment by the Information and Press Department on the joint address to the UN Secretary-General urging the withdrawal of unilateral sanctions in view of the spread of the coronavirus
On March 25, the Group of States for the Defense of the Principles of the UN Charter, including Russia, Venezuela, Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua and Syria, sent a joint message to the UN Secretary-General with a strong request for the complete and prompt withdrawal of the unilateral sanctions that prevent the states’ efforts to effectively fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russia has consistently opposed the unilateral restrictions that run counter to international law and cause substantial harm to the affected countries’ socio-economic development. Our message is based on the fact that during the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the lifting of these barriers has become urgent, especially for the distribution of necessary medical supplies to the countries that are under restrictions.
During the G20 emergency summit on March 26, President of Russia Vladimir Putin initiated the organising of “green corridors” that would be free of trade wars and sanctions for the mutual supply of medicines, food, equipment and technology. With this in mind, the Russian President suggested imposing a collective moratorium on the restrictions that affect basic necessities and the financial transactions for purchasing them.
The international restrictions introduced by the UN Security Council should not be an impediment in the fight against the pandemic. The Security Council sanctions resolutions provide for exceptions and exemptions for humanitarian needs. These safety mechanisms should work without fail and be free of some countries’ politicised approaches. Only in this way can the harmful effects of the restrictions for the population be avoided. In general, it is time to review the Security Council’s sanctions to ensure that they are of a truly targeted nature and think in terms of classifying some types of assistance as humanitarian exceptions.