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UN lawyer responds to Russian controversy over Iran drone investigation

UN lawyer responds to Russian controversy over Iran drone investigation

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The top United Nations lawyer on Wednesday retracted a Russian argument that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cannot report to the Security Council on Western accusations that Moscow used Iranian drones in Ukraine in violation of 2015. Accuracy.

Russia argued that there was no mandate for Guterres to send UN experts to Ukraine to inspect the downed drones. Tehran denies supplying Moscow with drones, and Russia has denied that its forces have used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

Guterres reports to the Council twice a year – traditionally in June and December – on the implementation of a 2015 Security Council resolution that enshrines the Iran nuclear deal. Any assessment of UAVs in Ukraine will be included in that report.

While preparing these reports, UN experts traveled to examine the evidence for a long time. Since 2017, they have traveled to inspect weapons seized by France and the ruins of ballistic missiles fired at Saudi Arabia.

“In the absence of further guidance from the Security Council, the Secretary-General will continue to prepare these reports in the manner in which they have been prepared so far,” Miguel de Serpa Soares, head of UN Legal Affairs, told the Security Council.

Western members of the Council can block any attempt by Russia to propose new directives for Guterres.

Russia asked de Serpa Soares to brief the council on Wednesday, but the move appeared to backfire.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, has accused the United States, Britain, France and Germany of violating the UN Charter by trying to exert influence on Guterres with written requests to investigate Russia’s use of drones in Ukraine.

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He told the Security Council that “the Secretariat serves only as a point of contact.” “The Secretary-General’s report can only reflect the fact that letters have been received.”

Russia said last week that it would reassess cooperation with Guterres if experts were sent to inspect the drones. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said UN experts are always ready to examine and analyze information from UN countries.

Under the 2015 resolution, the ban on conventional weapons on Iran was in effect until October 2020.

But Ukraine and Western powers argue that the decision still includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies until October 2023 and could include the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.

US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood called Russia’s argument that Guterres could not investigate as “stunning” and accused Moscow of wasting Security Council time “to divert attention from its egregious mistakes.”

Reported by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Richard Boleyn

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