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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

26.06.2014

Syria: setting up effective work on the ground (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)

The most positive news came these days from Syria – a large-scale and unprecedented international operation for removal of all components of the Syrian chemical weapons has been successfully completed. That means that the most important and difficult stage of the plan for destruction of chemical weapons abroad, developed by the OPCW and approved by UNSC Resolution 2118, has been finished. It is worth reminding that the adoption of this plan has become possible due to the Russian President Vladimir Putin's initiative brought forward in 2013 at the most severe phase of the Syria crisis.
One can only welcome the political will of the Syrian Government, which, after acceding to the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with the support of the international community has managed in the harsh conditions to implement within record-breaking time a unique operation that has no analogues in the 17-year history of the Convention and the OPCW. And that represents a vivid example of the international community’s ability to solve in cohesion the most complex disarmament and nonproliferation tasks.
In the meantime the situation in Syria after the presidential elections indicates the serious intentions of the Syrian authorities to further improve the political climate in the country by implementing a set of trust measures. Several thousand people were freed within the framework of the general amnesty. Syrian judicial bodies in correctional facilities all over the country are working actively on the examination of cases of detainees and prisoners. As a result of this important mission, the latter have a chance to return to normal life. The government has even taken a step to allow the people, who left the Syrian Army, to return to their military duty.
The main conclusion based on the events in the post-electoral Syria is that the Syrian society, despite provocations of extremists, maintains national unity and does not demonstrate any signs of ethnic and religious split. International partners should respect the democratic choice of the Syrian people, continue the efforts to assist the political and diplomatic settlement in this country, and revise the intention to build up support for the armed opposition in Syria, which would have far reaching negative consequences.
The humanitarian situation in Syria remains a matter of serious concern. The main problems facing the delivery of humanitarian aid relate to the remoteness of areas and destroyed infrastructure, not to mention the opposition’s refusal to let humanitarian convoys pass through the populated areas under their control. The fractured groups of the armed opposition and lack of coordination among them also seriously complicate the work of humanitarian agencies.
At the same time, despite the mentioned difficulties, the work on carrying out humanitarian operations continues. The Syrian Government directly participates in this process, including by spreading the practice of local cease-fires, which allows stabilizing the situation in regions receiving supplies of humanitarian aid.
For its turn, Russia continues to make active efforts to help the recovery from the severe humanitarian situation in this country. In an effort to gain further improvements in this sphere Russia submitted a statement in favor of extending the practice of local cease-fires to the UN Council on Human Rights. It has a depoliticized, constructive and unifying character – that's why it was supported by states of various regional groups.
Considering all this, it is quite hard to understand the position of some of our partners who not only have refused to support the statement in favor of ending the violence in Syria, but did not hesitate to publicly speak out against the initiative to save lives and alleviate the humanitarian situation in Syria. And this despite the fact that the UN has been actively involved in mediation efforts to achieve local cease-fires, and the ceasefire agreements allow humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to those in need.
We believe that at this stage the main emphasis should be on the practical aspects of setting up effective work in Syria. We are also convinced that the final success in international efforts in this direction mainly depends on the effectiveness of the inter-Syrian political process within the framework of the Geneva-2, the quicker renewal of which Russian continues to insistently call for.




LATEST EVENTS

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.


14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.


26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.


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.



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