23 Dec 2020: 'Good riddance,' says China as Germany exits UN Security Council
"Good riddance, Ambassador Heusgen." That is what China's deputy United Nations envoy, Geng Shuang, said to Germany's ambassador as the latter completed a two-year term on the UN Security Council.
The blunt remark came during Germany's Christoph Heusgen's last scheduled meeting on Tuesday after he appealed to China to release two detained Canadians around Christmas.
Here are more details.
What happened: Heusgen appealed for release of Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor
Germany on Tuesday completed its two-year term on the 15-member council. Heusgen also plans to retire after being a diplomat for over 40 years.
In his final remarks, Heusgen, whose official agenda topic was Iran, informed the council about two Canadians—Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor—who have been detained by China for two years.
He appealed to China for their release.
Detention: 'UNSC loses legitimacy if it's unconcerned about fate of individuals'
Kovrig and Spavor were detained in December 2018 after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's arrest in Canada.
Heusgen said the case of their detention represents "so many others," adding, "This Council will lose its legitimacy if it ceases to be concerned about the fate of individuals, about their protection and security, their human rights and their freedoms, their well-being, and their aspirations."
China's response: 'From the bottom of my heart: Good riddance'
The Chinese envoy accused Heusgen of misusing the council to launch "malicious" attacks on other members. Geng described Heusgen's actions as an "attempt to poison the working atmosphere."
"I wish to say something out of the bottom of my heart: Good riddance, Ambassador Heusgen," Geng said, adding that he hopes the council would be better off maintaining international peace and security in his absence.
Other details: Heusgen also spoke on Putin critic's alleged poisoning
Heusgen also advised Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, to read reports detailing Russian intelligence agency Federal Security Service's attempt to poison opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
The Russian agency has dismissed the claims as fake.
Polyanskiy said, "There's never a meeting without criticism of Russia even if that's not suitable for the subject matter. I hope that after January 1 that Christoph's symptoms will improve."