the lament of vitali churkin

Churkin: Tensions with Pindostan are probably worst since 1973
Edith Lederer, AP, Oct 15 2016

UN — Russia’s UN ambassador said that tensions with Pindostan are probably the worst since 1973. But Vitali Churkin said Friday that Cold War relations between the Soviet Union and Pindostan more than 40 years ago were different than Pindo-Russian relations today. He said in an interview with three journalists at Russia’s UN Mission:

The general situation I think is pretty bad at this point, probably the worst … since 1973. But even though we have serious frictions, differences like Syria, we continue to work on other issues, and sometimes quite well.

That wasn’t the case generally during the Cold War. In 1973, according to historians, the threat of an outbreak of fighting between the USSR & Pindostan was the highest since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Churkin said:

(There’s) a string of things… It’s kind of a fundamental lack of respect and lack of in-depth discussions.

Churkin pointed to Pindostan and NATO deciding to build their security “at the expense of Russia” by accepting many East European nations formerly in the Soviet bloc as NATO members, and Pindostan’s pull-out from the ABM Treaty in 2001. One of “the greatest provocations” during the Bush 43 administration was the 2008 NATO summit, which decided that Ukraine and Georgia should become NATO members. Most important, he said, was the conflict that erupted in eastern Ukraine in Apr 2014. Churkin called it “a coup” supported by Pindostan. Soon after, Russia annexed the Crimea, which has led to Western sanctions against Moscow. Ties between Faschingstein and Moscow have deteriorated further in the past month after the collapse of the ceasefire in Syria and intensified bombing on Aleppo by Syrian and Russian aircraft, and Pindo accusations that Russia is meddling in their elections next month. But despite the strained relations, Jackass Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met Saturday in Lausanne in an effort to look at possibilities for restoring a ceasefire. Churkin also pointed to other positive achievements in Pindo-Russian relations even at this low point. He cited agreements in the UNSC in recent years supported by Moscow and Faschingstein, even on Syria, allowing cross-border aid deliveries without government approval and establishing a team of experts to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in the country. He also cited UNSCRs to combat terrorism. Pindostan and Russia were also key players in last year’s nuclear deal with Iran, and last week they agreed on the Security Council’s nomination of former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres as the next U.N. secretary-general, which Churkin said was “maybe the best success of the UNSC in the last five years.” Guterres was elected by acclamation Thursday by the UNGA. Churkin said Russia would like to normalize relations with Pindostan. He said:

If the change of administration is going to help, that’s fine. (Under Obama) we would be pushed to trying to get back to normal in our relations.

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