22 January 2018
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The humanitarian crisis in Syria must be solved “on the ground” (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

As is known, the second round of inter-Syrian talks began on 10 February in Geneva. Everybody seemed to be aware of the critical importance of maintaining dialogue between the Government and the opposition for the sake of political settlement of the conflict and agreeing on a common vision for the future of Syria.

However, once again we are witnessing what can only be described as an attempt to undermine the fragile political process. This time our partners are trying to use the humanitarian issue (as they did with the topic of chemical weapons recently) to disrupt the political process and create pretexts for a return to the military scenario aimed at a regime change. On 11 February a group of UN Security Council members introduced a draft resolution on humanitarian situation in Syria. The authors of the document interpret very selectively the situation in Syria and shift all the blame for the humanitarian crisis onto the Government ignoring the actions of militants that cause real problems in the humanitarian sphere. The draft resolution is written in a categorical tone and contains the threat of sanctions. This is in stark contradiction with the Geneva Communiqué that serves the basis for the current international efforts on Syria.

No doubt the humanitarian crisis is one of the most pressing problems in Syria. Still, emotional rhetoric and threats cannot replace practical steps “on the ground”, which are now required and are actively undertaken by international humanitarian agencies. Russia is trying to help this work in a substantial way, facilitating their dialogue with the Syrian authorities to address specific problems. Such painstaking and patient approach has successfully solved the problem of the delivery of humanitarian aid to the town of Homs and the “Yarmouk” Palestinian refugee camp (although in both cases, the militants were trying to disrupt implementation of these operations).

It is not difficult to understand that if all of us really want to improve the humanitarian situation, we need to work with the Government and the opposition – to unblock other populated areas, primarily those which are now besieged or occupied by militants – Noble, Al-Zahra, El Haseke, etc. Оur western colleagues have not shown any enthusiasm in coordinating a Homs-like operation for those localities, something that we have proposed on successive occasions. Instead, they are choosing the easiest “solution” which is to adopt another resolution.

However, since a number of our partners are convinced that the Security Council should have something to say on the humanitarian issue, Russia has prepared its own draft resolution, which we have put forward for discussion. That draft is based on the main provisions of the Presidential Statement on Syria adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on October 2, 2013. It is aimed to ensure that humanitarian problems are solved through dialogue and in accordance with international humanitarian law. For the sake of peaceful solution in Syria it is critical to refrain from making the humanitarian crisis subject matter for speculations and a pretext for turning back to the military scenario.


29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.

25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.

25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.

25.09.2017 - IX BRICS Summit – turning into a global organisation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, has emphasized the proximity of positions of the member states on the current global problems. It demonstrated that over the last 10 years BRICS has grown into a full-fledged international mechanism for global cooperation.

08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.

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