Russia’s U.N. envoy on U.S. relations: "We don't want to be loved," just "respected"

By Pamela Falk

/ CBS News

Some in GOP criticize Trump on Syria

United Nations — In the guest meeting room of the Russian Mission to the United Nations on the east side of Manhattan, Moscow's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reflected on President Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. He also addressed U.S.-Russia relations.

"All illegitimate foreign presence, which U.S. was one of, should eventually leave Syria," Nebenzia said. "We recognize that (the U.S.) contributed to fighting Da'esh," he said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"As we see that Da'esh has largely been defeated, the decision is correct," Nebenzia said.

The seasoned Russian diplomat said that Russia was not taking a victory lap over the U.S. decision to withdraw from either Syria or Afghanistan. He said that the decision was the right one but it should lead to further U.S.–Russia dialogue.

"Given how state-to-state relations should be, our relations are practically non-existent which is both a shame and a big question and a big worry not just for us, but for the rest of the world," he said.

He acknowledged the issues with Russia in the investigations of the White House. "We became a factor in the U.S. domestic policies, a major factor, and given the vulnerabilities that exist around this administration, I don't see too bright prospects for improving them any time soon."

But, he said, "We want a dialogue on issues which are important, not just for you and us, for the world itself, including strategic stability, terrorism narcotics, and regional conflicts."

"We don't want to be loved," Nebenzia said, "We just want to be respected."

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia listens during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Yemen, Tuesday Oct. 23, 2018 at U.N. headquarters. Bebeto Matthews/AP

On Friday, news reports surfaced that Mr. Trump's decision to pull out of Syria — made without consulting U.S. allies and aides — was made after a conversation with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. United States has supported Syrian Kurdish fighters to conduct a ground war against ISIS.

Internationally, a political settlement in Syria has been a long drawn out process, ongoing between Russia, Iran and Turkey, countries that are considered the guarantor states in what became known as the "Astana process."

"Turkey is an important partner in Syria, through the 'Astana' political process, one of the guarantors with whom we cooperate productively on many things," Moscow's U.N. envoy said, including on the de-escalation zones, particularly in Idlib.

Nebenzia said large groups of foreign terrorist fighters are still in Syria, terrorizing the civilians who have not fled.

Unlike the Kurds, Nebenzia wants non-Syrian forces out: "I personally think that the pullout of all foreign forces which are in Syria illegally, illegitimately, and are de facto occupying parts of the country will only help and facilitate the stabilization that we have been witnessing in Syria, especially in the last year."

However, Nebenzia cast doubt on whether or not a U.S. withdrawal from Syria will actually take place: "We heard that before, these kinds of announcements but then we heard opposite things. It looks as if, this time, it's real."

First published on December 22, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pamela Falk

Pamela Falk is CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst and an international lawyer, based at the United Nations.

United Nations - Middle East - Yemen

Top U.S. envoy in ISIS fight resigns

Brett McGurk, envoy for coalition to defeat ISIS, resigns over Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria

updated 1M ago

Government partially shuts down amid border wall fight

President Trump has insisted he will not sign any spending bill that did not include $5 billion for a border wall

updated 54M ago

164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products recalled

"Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them"

1H ago

Government officially enters partial shutdown

Both the House and Senate adjourned for the night without coming to a deal

2H ago

420K employees will go without pay during government shuts down

Even a partial closure would force a huge number of federal workers to stay on the clock without earning a dime

10H ago

Top U.S. envoy in ISIS fight resigns

Brett McGurk, envoy for coalition to defeat ISIS, resigns over Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria

updated 1M ago

Russia’s U.N. envoy on U.S. relations: "We don't want to be loved," just "respected"

"We want a dialogue on issues which are important," said Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia

updated 11M ago

Government partially shuts down amid border wall fight

President Trump has insisted he will not sign any spending bill that did not include $5 billion for a border wall

updated 54M ago

Government officially enters partial shutdown

Both the House and Senate adjourned for the night without coming to a deal

2H ago

420K employees will go without pay during government shuts down

Even a partial closure would force a huge number of federal workers to stay on the clock without earning a dime

10H ago

Top U.S. envoy in ISIS fight resigns

Brett McGurk, envoy for coalition to defeat ISIS, resigns over Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria

updated 1M ago

Russia’s U.N. envoy on U.S. relations: "We don't want to be loved," just "respected"

"We want a dialogue on issues which are important," said Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia

updated 11M ago

2 arrested in connection drones that disrupted airport flights

The Friday night flight suspension at Gatwick caused still more delays and cancellations just as the holiday travel season peaked

12H ago

"El Chapo" reduced to tears as daughters wave to their father

The Brooklyn trial of accused Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman​ wrapped up its sixth week Thursday

17H ago

World powers vote in bid to bring peace to Yemen

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to pass a resolution

19H ago

How to watch these favorite holiday movies

Here's how to watch Christmas specials on TV or your streaming device

17H ago

"Beverly Hills, 90210" making comeback with "untraditional reboot”

Some of the original "Beverly Hills, 90210" cast members are reportedly making a return to the show

19H ago

Actress linked to "El Chapo" says Sean Penn betrayed her

Mexican authorities investigated del Castillo following the secret meeting she arranged with Sean Penn and Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in 2015

20H ago

Ariana Grande, Cardi B star in Christmas "Karaoke"

Michael Bublé kicked off the holiday mashup of Darlene Love's classic, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

23H ago

Andy Cohen announces he is having a baby

In a room full of "Watch What Happens Live" audience members and "real housewives," Cohen thanked his surrogate, "who is carrying my future"

Dec 21

Astronaut remembers Apollo 8 mission: "How did we ever do that?"

Fifty years ago, a Saturn V rocket roared off a launch pad carrying humans for the first time on a journey to the moon

15H ago

Welcome to winter solstice, the shortest day of 2018

The solstice gets an entire day of recognition, but it actually happens in an instant

Dec 21

In esports, players burn out young

"It's a whole other level of stress," one player told us. By their mid-20s, many have burned out

Dec 21

Experts: Don't send sensitive info on Facebook Messenger

"I would not trust Facebook with any of my information in a million years," one cybersecurity expert told CBS News

Dec 20

Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to wrong customer

Man who reportedly never used the company's virtual assistant received 1,700 recordings it had made of a stranger

Dec 20

164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products recalled

"Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them"

1H ago

Stem cell shots tied to bacterial infections

At least 12 patients in three states became infected after getting injections for problems like joint and back pain, the CDC reports

17H ago

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg's lung surgery means

The Supreme Court Justice underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung

1H ago

FDA warns about teething jewelry after baby dies

The toddler was reportedly strangled by his amber teething necklace during a nap

19H ago

Teen who sang during brain surgery recovering

Kira Iaconetti had to be awake and sing during the operation so her surgeon could pinpoint parts of her brain to protect so she could continue her singing career

11H ago

420K employees will go without pay during government shuts down

Even a partial closure would force a huge number of federal workers to stay on the clock without earning a dime

10H ago

The tax law is 1 year old — here are the winners and losers

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly a year ago — so has it lived up to its billing?

15H ago

Salvation Army's "Red Kettle" donations lag in digital age

Money raised in the iconic charity campaign is falling as foot traffic wanes at stores and people forgo cash

19H ago

Ford recalls nearly 900,000 F-150 pickups after fires

Automaker says engine block heater cables need to be replaced in vehicles sold in U.S. and Canada

21H ago

Juul workers get $2B bonus from tobacco giant investment

Electronic cigarette startup opts to rewards its 1,500 workers after Altria purchases a 35 percent stake

21H ago

"El Chapo" reduced to tears as daughters wave to their father

The Brooklyn trial of accused Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman​ wrapped up its sixth week Thursday

17H ago

Unsealed documents reveal new details about Mollie Tibbetts investigation

Four men were the subject of police interest at times during the five-week search for the Iowa student, the AP reports

Dec 20

Deputy kills family, confesses over radio before turning gun on himself

The Florida school officer killed three relatives including his granddaughter, 6, before killing himself, sheriff says

Dec 19

Redskins safety charged with assault for fight caught on video

Police say Montae Nicholson and his girlfriend were involved in an argument that escalated into a physical assault

Dec 19

Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill

Senate voted Tuesday night to approve a sweeping criminal justice overhaul supported by President Trump

Dec 19