20 February 2017
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

24.09.2016

Why not give the Syrians a break? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

It was in the fertile soil of the ongoing civil conflict that ISIS expanded to Syria. Ever since, Russia has been urging the establishment of a common front of the international community against terrorists, including the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra, which despite its recent rebranding continues to be a terrorist organization. We agree on that with our U.S. partners, as testified to by the Lavrov-Kerry accords, reached in Geneva along the lines agreed by presidents Putin and Obama. Russia insists on declassifying this deal, so that there is not the slightest whiff of secret diplomacy about it. Terrorists played a key and leading role in the fight against government forces.
The battle for Aleppo is a case in point. The fight against terrorism creates common ground for all Syrians. Most of the terrorist fighters in Syria are foreigners, whose agenda has nothing to do with the interests and aspirations of the Syrian people. In fact, the terrorists have hijacked the cause of the opposition. This major factor distorting the entire Syrian situation has to be eliminated.
As agreed by Russia and the U.S. in their capacity as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, the opposition groups ought to disentangle themselves from the terrorists on the ground, to be part of the cessation of hostilities (CofH) and to sit at the table of inclusive negotiations on Syria’s future, as provided for in the UN Security Council resolution 2254. That is a key priority in making the CofH sustainable.
Russia and the U.S. have agreed to co-ordinate their strikes at terrorist targets in Syria and, for that purpose, help the true opposition sever its unholy alliances with terrorists. This will go a long way in ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches all those in need throughout Syria.
The Centre for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides, established by the Russian military, has been brokering support for the ceasefire at the grassroots and delivering humanitarian assistance. As a result, about 600 villages and 69 armed groups now abide by the cessation of hostilities co-sponsored by Russia and the U.S. in February.
The Syrian situation is complicated by regional rivalries. The conflict is being used to reorder regional politics along the lines of Sunni-Shia confrontation. That is why some insist on turning Syria into a Sunni state, not a secular democracy. So far, all the attempts to impose a “Sunni alternative” on Syria proved to be a cover-up for a terrorist takeover.
No one in Syria expected the conflict to be of such magnitude and to last so long. From the outset, many in Syria were misled by the precedent of Western military intervention in Libya, which the Foreign Affairs Committee in its latest report strongly condemns as a blunder. Had it not been for that, people on both sides of the civil conflict would have acted more responsibly. People know now what life under terrorist rule is like. There are more than enough grounds for a sober reassessment of the situation by all, including outside players. Why not give the Syrians a break and let them decide for themselves?
There is no reasonable alternative to a moderate politics of reconciliation and return to a peaceful life. Regional players and the international community at large should help in the economic reconstruction and social rehabilitation of this country. The world let the Syrians down in the past. We cannot fail them now.




LATEST EVENTS

14.02.2017 - UK – RUSSIA YEAR OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION: THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP? (Robin Grimes, FCO Chief Scientific Adviser, Part of Global Science and Innovation Network)

At the end of the classic film Casablanca, Rick says to the Chief of Police “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”. So, as we embark upon a year of UK Russia Science & (Science) Education events, what do we expect our scientific relationship to look like 12 months from now? There are some crucial points to bear in mind.


10.02.2017 - UK worried about its place if US-Russia ties are repaired – Russia’s UK envoy (Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

Hacking, destabilizing Western states, building up its military might, and weaponizing information – Russia is hitting the headlines and seems to be to blame for all of the world’s problems. One of the loudest anti-Russia voices is the United Kingdom, condemning Moscow’s actions and calling for economic sanctions against it. Most of the accusations are far from proven – so is there still room left for cooperation on vital issues between world powers? And now that the UK’s ally the US may be ready to change course and start making deals with Moscow, is there a chance for a change in tone? We ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom – Alexander Yakovenko.


08.02.2017 - Ambassador’s Alexander Yakovenko speech at the opening of "Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932" exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts (February 7, 2017)

It’s an honour for me to be here at the opening of this impressive exhibition. The best Russian museums have provided masterpieces from their collections which give a fascinating insight into the drastic and violent transformation of culture and society in Russia 100 years ago. Our revolution was a complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon, a direct result of our common European catastrophe, which was WWI.


30.01.2017 - Alexander Kramarenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for the “International Affairs” magazine (Moscow). Unaccomplished mission of Alexander Benckendorff and its lessons.

11 January marked 100 years since the death of the last Ambassador of the Russian Empire to the UK count Alexander Benckendorff, who was buried in the catholic Westminster Cathedral in London. This anniversary was a timely reminder of his unaccomplished mission in London, where he arrived in 1903. What was it and why is it still relevant now?


25.01.2017 - A visit to Syria by an independent group (31 August - 7 September).



13.12.2016 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for The Daily Mail (full text)

Question: Does Russia hope for better co-operation (both political and military) with the UK and how can this be achieved/ what would this look like? Answer: Unlike MI-6 Director Alex Younger’s portrayal of Russia, I can assure you that Russia doesn’t view Britain as a strategic adversary, and it just cannot be. There is nothing strategic for us to contest. We hope for real cooperation, not war of words, primarily in the fight against terrorism, including military and special services cooperation, in political settlement in Syria and other international issues.


05.12.2016 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers to media question regarding Russia’s efforts in Syria

Question: What is Russia’s position on a draft UNSC resolution on Aleppo recently presented to the Security Council? Answer: We believe that the introduction of this draft is utterly counterproductive. In the coming days experts from Russia and the United States are to begin their work on the withdrawal of all fighters from the eastern part of Aleppo and achieving an agreement on routes and timing of their exit from the city. After that the ceasefire will come into force.


30.11.2016 - Speech by Russian Ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko at the Russian-British Business Forum (30 November 2016, London)

I am pleased to witness the ongoing constructive cooperation between business communities of our two countries in spite of the unfavorable political situation. This year has seen a number of impressive business events, including those arranged by the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (as it marked its 100th anniversary), “VTB”, “Moscow Exchange” and the “Russian-British Working Group for the development of the International Financial Centre in Moscow”.


25.11.2016 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers to media question regarding listing Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as terrorist organizations

Question: What was the Western partners’ reaction as regards Russia’s initiative at the UN Security Council on listing Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as terrorist organizations?


23.11.2016 - Answers by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to media questions after the demonstration near the Embassy on the 23 of November

1. Question: How do you see today’s demonstration in support of Russia’s policy in Syria? Answer: From the very start of the Russian operation in Syria we have seen a lot of support from Britons who see that the war being waged there is а war against enemies of the whole European civilization, including Britain. This support can be felt now as well, despite the Whitehall instigated campaign to accuse Russia of “war crimes”. News of civilian suffering are cynically exploited to hamper the defeat of terrorists and their allies, to undermine the political process. It’s good that more and more people come to understand this.



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