As United Nations TIR bodies had a series of meetings in Geneva last week further to the Russian Federal Customs Service’s (FCS RF) illegal decisions to impose additional guarantees for TIR operations to, from and across Russian territory, governments from contracting parties to the TIR Convention clearly confirmed the breach of international law by the FCS RF, and called for the immediate cancellation of the FCS RF’s decision.
This call was first supported by governmental delegations from the TIR Contracting Parties who strongly voiced their concerns at the WP.30 (United Nations Working Party on Customs questions affecting Transport).
More importantly, the AC.2, which is the highest decision-making body of the TIR Convention, clearly confirmed that all recent steps from FCS RF are “contrary to the commitments of the Russian Federation under the TIR Convention”.
In complete defiance of these calls from the international community, and in the absence of a final coordinated position of the Russian Government, the FCS RF decided unilaterally, without prior notice, to immediately further extend such restrictions to the large Volga region.
Despite the official confirmation earlier this summer from the UN body in charge of supervising the TIR Convention – the TIR Executive Board (TIRExB) – that this FCS RF decision was in breach with the UN TIR Convention hence with international law, the FCS RF nonetheless star - ted introducing illegal restrictions on TIR guarantees step-by-step in the Far Eastern, Siberian and Ural Customs Directorate.
IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto, stressed: “We are faced with an extraordinary situation. The governments of the Contracting Parties to the TIR Convention, the European Union and now the highest UN TIR bodies have all confirmed that Russia is violating international law. Everyone in the public and private sectors is unanimously calling on Russian Customs to withdraw their unilateral and unfounded measures, which if implemented, will impact trade with Russia, and, moreover, the Russian economy and its citizens. Yet, Russian Customs keeps extending its unlawful measures, even on the same day as the UN bodies met to discuss the matter. This flagrant defiance of international law must now stop!”
“Russia has a long tradition of respecting international law and United Nations instruments as the best means of maintaining international peace and security, especially as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Governments and the trade community are thus behind me in calling upon the highest competent decision-making bodies of the Russian Federation, to finalise as soon as possible their consultations, before it is too late for Russian trade and its people”, Umberto de Pretto concluded.