24 April 2017
Moscow: 04:27
London: 02:27

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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

19.04.2017

"Diplomacy of Plants" Article by Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov and Regius Keeper of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Mr Simon Milne in "the Herald" newspaper, published 12.04.2017

The key commonality between plant science and diplomacy it is the sensitivity towards passing seasons. Both must learn to adapt to withstand good times and bad.

In an unsettled period for world politics and diplomacy some respite is sorely needed. When diplomatic relations are strained, innovative and creative approaches to building bridges between nations is even more in demand.

Plants recognise no boundaries and, as such, botanists are frequently granted leeway in their pursuit of plant science. Against this backdrop the Moscow Main Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) have established a new partnership in conservation and public engagement. Included in this is an exchange of native of plants between the two to bring a piece of Russia to Scottish soil and vice versa.

RBGE is passionate about its role in delivering international and national plant science and conservation. Much is still to be learned. Knowledge already acquired is being used extensively by medics and scientists, and now by diplomats. In hospitals our plant dependence is evidenced from knowing cancer patients have been treated with an extract of taxus – the yew tree – while atropine, from deadly nightshade, is administered before operations and a compound from daffodil bulbs is dispensed for Alzheimer’s disease. More routinely, our days are supplemented through direct contact with products from plant species, from cotton sheets to wooden floors, food stuffs and beverages of all kinds.

What we don’t know is which plants are yet to come to our rescue or if they are being destroyed before we learn of their existence. Already two thirds of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the USA are derived from plants and fungi. Yet over one third of the world’s plant species are under threat of extinction. Estimates suggest native forest is being lost at a rate of between 45,000 and 55,000 square miles every year – an area about the size of Greece. If this loss of our natural resources continues new solutions to pressing economic and health problems will vanish.

Botanists and horticulturists from RBGE are working in partnership around the world to better understand and protect our flora and fungi. The future depends on alliances in plant diplomacy, transcending political boundaries in the name of conserving our fragile environment.

The organisation’s newest partnership, with Siberia, is significant. As every Russian knows, this region is a very special place. It is a vast land of untouched wild nature, an essence of everything dear to all Russians, an unforgiving yet a noble land. It is held in the hearts of Russians in the same way the Highlands touch the soul of the Scots.

Russia is the largest country on Earth and has the planet’s biggest expanse of forest. Its three distinct climate regions and diverse landscapes are home to thousands of plant species. Many popular UK garden plants such as Dianthus superbus, Erythronium sibericum  and Rhododendron ledebourii and Pulsatilla turczaninovii originate from Russia.

The recent opening of the new Siberian Section of RBGE’s Rock Garden is noteworthy. It coincides with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the leading botanical institutes of both countries “to promote cooperation between the two institutions in education and in academic research in plant resources.” Now, specimens collected on fieldwork over the last six years will be on public display. In return, plants native to Scotland will be displayed in Moscow in a celebration of research without borders. Working to advance plant research, combat the loss of biodiversity and inspire the public.

RBGE is a global scientific asset, a national treasure and community resource of infinite worth. The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh is keen to contribute  by means of diplomacy and botany. Both parties consider it a significant honour and privilege to work together in enhancing such collaboration. In so doing, a lasting legacy of historic and cultural ties is created.

The Siberian Section of the Edinburgh Garden is a Gateway to Russia using the universal language of nature to communicate and foster cooperation through which a synergy can be created to yield the best harvest.

We are confident the Siberian Section and the upcoming Scottish Section of the Moscow Main Botanic Gardens will be a symbol of mutual understanding and friendship and serve as a timely reminder that the things we have in common outnumber our differences.

 

Andrey A.Pritsepov is Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh

Simon Milne MBE is Regius Keeper, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

 

 

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15218398.How_plants_can_play_a_vital_role_in_building_bridges_between_nations/




LATEST EVENTS

21.04.2017 - Embassy Press Officer on Sir Alan Duncan’s comments regarding protection of rights of LGBT community in Russia

On 20 April Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan, speaking in the Commons, accused the Government of Chechnya of inciting violence against LGBT people, persecution of gays and ill-treatment of over 100 men because of their sexual orientation. These allegations are solely based on publications in the “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper and are not supported by any other proven data. Russian law enforcement authorities received no notifications from the so-called “victims” of threats. Nevertheless, they conducted proper checks, which didn’t reveal any evidence of violence and ill-treatment of LGBT persons.


21.04.2017 - Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s interview with Kommersant newspaper, published April 19, 2017

Question: Do you know when and where President of Russia Vladimir Putin will meet with US President Donald Trump? Sergey Ryabkov: We have reaffirmed our readiness for such a meeting several times. We understand that contacts at the highest level are crucial for adjusting the agenda, areas of focus and the direction we are moving in.


20.04.2017 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 19, 2017

I would like to touch on fake news and hoaxes – in fact, blatant misinformation – in this context. I announced a figure today that shows that Russia has sent over 60 humanitarian convoys to the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Just remember what it all began with: tweets and Western press reports about Russia launching an armed invasion of Ukraine. Convoys in duly marked white lorries were made out to be carrying armoured vehicles and not humanitarian aid.


20.04.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the planned meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen

In connection with media reports on the plans to hold a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen in May, we believe it is necessary to make the following statement.


19.04.2017 - Press release on the Foreign Ministry reception to mark Orthodox Easter

Оn April 18, a reception was held at the Reception House of the Russian Foreign Ministry on behalf of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the occasion of Orthodox Easter. Attending were Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Russian Orthodox Church hierarchs, representatives of traditional faiths, Russian state officials, public figures, and diplomats.


18.04.2017 - Embassy Press Officer response to a media question on British unilateral chemical weapons investigation

Question: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently stated that British scientists conducted analysis of samples obtained from the site of the incident in Khan Sheikhoun. Yesterday Sergey Lavrov said that given the seriousness of the situation, Russia requested the FCO to provide detailed information on this British effort to upstage the competent international body, which is OPCW. Did you get the answer? Response: Not yet.


18.04.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal Mankeur Ndiaye

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal Mankeur Ndiaye, Moscow, April 17, 2017


18.04.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Syria

Question: What issues are on the agenda of the upcoming Geneva meeting on the intra-Syrian settlement? Will it be political issues only, or will military issues also be discussed, in light of the recent air strike on the Syrian airfield and the coalition landing operation near Deir Ez-Zor?


18.04.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal

On April 17, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal, who had come to Moscow on a working visit.


17.04.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar Mohammed Al-Thani, Moscow, April 15, 2017

Russia values the level of dialogue our countries have reached. We discussed the state and prospects for bilateral relations taking into account the agreements that were reached by our respective leaders in January 2016 in Moscow and follow-up discussions in August 2016, when Qatar’s Foreign Minister Al-Thani visited Sochi and met with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.



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