‘We should wait for final decision on Ukrainian plane crash’

TEHRAN, Jul. 08 (MNA) –Stressing that no third party should interfere in Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran, Ukraine Ambassador to Iran believes that as long as result of Tehran-Kiev talks is not specified, issues on the plane crash cannot be commented.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mehr news agency on Tue., Ukrainian Envoy to Iran Sergey Burdylyak pointed to the age-old and longstanding relations between Iran and Ukraine and stated that the two countries have always established amicable and friendly ties with each other.

However, last year's crash of a Ukrainian plane near Tehran has somewhat overshadowed this amicable relationship and some Western countries are trying to take advantage of this incident to create tensions between Kiev and Tehran or at least create conditions for imposition of political pressures against Tehran.

In the current situation, as influenced by propaganda and pressure from the West’s sides, some Ukrainian officials are making tenacious statements about the reasons behind the plane crash. This is while that the results of investigations and negotiations between the two sides in this regard have not yet been completed, the envoy added.

On the other hand, the situation in eastern Ukraine has become tense again in recent months and this issue created an opportunity for Western countries to use Ukraine's leverage against Russia by creating tensions between Kiev and Moscow.

To learn more about the details, we reached out to the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran Sergey Burdylyak to discuss various issues including developments in Ukraine in 2014, his experiences in different countries and his presence in religious places.

Let’s review the interview in questions and answers.

As the first question, how do you assess the level of Iran-Ukraine relations in all fields including political, economic and cultural areas, etc.?

Fortunately, I must say that relations between the two countries of Iran and Ukraine are at a good level and still is continuing properly. Both internal and external issues affect these relationships. These relations may be found more or less at times but this process has never been interrupted since the beginning of relations between Iran and Ukraine. Most importantly, we have never interfered in our affairs and our officials have never taken a stand on the other side's internal affairs and have tried to maintain relations at an appropriate level.

We do not have any problems that would prevent bilateral relations. Despite these amicable relations between the two countries, a tragic incident, namely the crash of a Ukrainian plane near Tehran, took place last year but this incident does not reflect the level of Iran-Ukraine relations.

‘We should wait for final decision on Ukrainian plane crash’

You mentioned the issue of plane crash. From the very beginning of this incident, Iran showed its goodwill and for this reason, Iran set up a Fact-Finding Group to follow up the case and even transferred the black box of the plane to a third country i.e. France. Despite Iran’s good wills over the issue, some Ukrainian officials, including Secretary of Ukrainian National Security Council, who recently visited Iran, claim that the crash was made intentionally. Is there any evidence to prove that the crash was intentional?

In response to your question, I should say that a new round of bilateral talks will begin soon in presence of representatives from the two countries. As long as these talks are not over between the two sides, nothing can be commented on it.

A question is raised here that although the crash of Ukrainian plane was not political, some countries, such as the United States, are pushing to politicize the issue. Can it be said that some Ukrainian officials, despite all goodwill showed by Iran, make false claims? Are their claims the result of pressure from countries such as the United States?

I should say that our relations with Iran are stable and Ukraine's foreign policy is stable with the Islamic Republic of Iran and no third country can interfere in Ukraine's relations with Iran. We respect the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and we expect the same from Iran.

I want to compare the work of diplomats with the work of surgeons. The work of a diplomat and a surgeon has similarities in that both the diplomat and surgeon should not make situation ‘worse and complicate’. One of my colleagues said that the results of important bilateral or international issues should be sought in "smoking rooms" (diplomats' talks). That is why I want to say that we have to wait for the diplomats of the two countries to leave the ‘smoking room’ to raise the issues between the two countries, to consult and reach a conclusion. I will be at your service again after the diplomats leave this room.

So, it can be said that any comment will not have legal validity until the outcome of negotiations is determined.

Given the importance of these negotiations, we must respect the work of diplomats and give them a chance. I have a special respect for the activity of Iranian diplomats over the case, especially the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mohsen Baharvand, who is cooperating with Ukraine in this case. On the Ukrainian side, a very experienced diplomat, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin, is also working on the case.

I want to say that we must allow them (both Iranian and Ukrainian diplomats) to resolve this issue and not create obstacles for them. I hope that after the end of the new round of talks, we will meet with you more happily and talk about this and talk about the future relations between the two countries with more optimism.

In general, it can be concluded that according to your statements raised about the issue, as long as negotiations have not been completed and the task has not been clarified, what is said about the intentional crash of the Ukrainian plane has no legal validity, isn’t it?

I do not want to comment on either the statements raised by the Ukrainian authorities or by Iranian officials on the case. The work of diplomats can be compared to a football game. During the game, the fans of the two teams may chant slogan against each other and/or even fight with each other, but after the game, they may sit together and have coffee.

As a final discussion on the issue of the plane crash, I would like to mention the crash of Malaysian MH 17 passenger plane in 2014. In that time, it was said that Ukraine had shot down the aircraft to put pressure on Russia and blame the Russians while any investigations or negotiations had not yet been conducted. At that time there were issues such as what happened to Iran against Ukraine, what do you think about this?

To shed more light on the issue, I have to say that these two incidents are different from each other. All the documents on Malaysian plane crash are available at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. After the incident, the Ukrainian side appealed to the UN Security Council (UNSC) and called for the formation of an international investigation team to conduct an independent investigation into the crash, but the Russian side, which has a veto in the UN Security Council, opposed this request.

The Ukrainian side invited many countries and experts from Malaysia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, etc. to gather evidence and investigate the crash of MH17. I personally spoke with the foreign ministers and representatives of Malaysia and the Netherlands two weeks after the Malaysian plane crash to have the plane's black boxes sent to London. I was the Special Representative of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry at the time, and I know that the black boxes were sent to London very quickly, a few weeks after the incident.

So, since there is no document about the Ukrainian plane crash and the negotiations are not over, we should not talk about it or take a stand?

I reiterate that I do not take a stand on the views and comments of the Ukrainian or Iranian sides. Both Ukrainian and Iranian officials have their own spokespersons who can be questioned about the plane crash.

‘We should wait for final decision on Ukrainian plane crash’

Views of Ukrainian ambassador on crisis in eastern Ukraine

At this stage, Ukrainian Envoy to Iran Sergey Burdylyak spoke about the 2014 Russia-Ukraine war, the humanitarian corridors of the war, the reasons behind uprising of the Ukrainian people against the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the presence of Russian generals and commanders in eastern Ukraine.

The ambassador also raised accusations against Russia and its supporters in Ukraine and said that war in eastern Ukraine was in fact an international military conflict in which Russia was considered a party to the armed conflict by the international community. The following evidence is proven:

Presence of regular armed forces of the Russian Federation in eastern Ukraine;

Direct coordination of the actions of pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine with the military command and high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation;

In February 2014, Russian Federation launched an armed military operation against Ukraine, which led to the occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

Russia organized and held an illegal "referendum" that has led to the formation of Russian puppet organizations and the confiscation of property belonging to the Ukrainian government and citizens.

Relations with Iran and the reason behind visiting shrine city of Mashhad every year

At the ending part of this interview, Ukrainian envoy to Iran pointed to the age-old and longstanding relationship between Iran and Ukraine and said, “I am an Orthodox but I have read the Holy Quran and have traveled to many parts of Iran, including all religious places. I go to Mashhad every year to visit Imam Reza (PBUH) Mausoleum and Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran was the only foreign embassy after the Vatican embassy that received clerics from the city of Qom.

You mentioned that you go to Mashhad and visit the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) every year, can you explain the reason for this?

Because I believe that there have been great and innocent personalities in different religions who have been sacrificed. I am an Orthodox and I believe in Jesus Christ as a child of God, and here I try to teach Islam and its teachings. I will also learn about it and Iranian existentialism. I believe that we all have only one God and there are different ways to reach God and the root of all of us goes to God, we are all the same and it is also mentioned in different sciences of anthropology, philosophy, etc. Therefore, I go to the shrine city of Mashhad enthusiastically and pray in the shrine of Imam Reza (Peace Be Upon Him) and ask him for help, and this is a normal thing in my religious spirits and beliefs.

Interview by Hamid Bayati 

MA/5251867

News Code 175816

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