17 October 2018
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Ambassador’s Notebook: G20: On the Road to the St. Petersburg Summit


Russia has focused its G20 Presidency agenda this year on two main tasks: achieving balanced growth and creating jobs. Our priorities, supported throughout the Presidency by all our partners, are to encourage investment, increase transparency, and make regulation more effective.

The St. Petersburg Action Plan will be presented to the leaders at the St. Petersburg Summit on September 5-6. It will assess key global risks to sustainable growth and set out policies that should be applied by member countries to mitigate these risks. An updated report on continuing imbalances in G20 economies, as well as an enhanced Accountability Assessment Framework and a review of the progress made on previous G20 commitments will also be presented.

The G20 has already taken decisive steps to restore and strengthen global growth and to set it on a sustainable path. But global economic recovery is still fragile and serious downside risks remain, warranting the continued coordinated actions of G20 member economies.

Employment and job creation, including for vulnerable segments of the population, are key items on the growth agenda. On July 19, Russia hosted the Joint G20 Finance and Labor Ministers' Meeting – the first time in the G20’s history that a high-level meeting was convened in this format. The Joint G20 Finance and Labor Ministers' Communiqué reflected the commitments made on implementing integrated labor market policies, including employment policies, promoting job creation through investment and developing financial institutions, as well as building a favorable investment and business climate in G20 countries.

The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting was held on July 19-20. Our partners, including Australia – which will take over the G20 Presidency – supported further work on Russia’s investment financing initiative. The issues discussed included global economic development, monetary policy challenges (including quantitative easing), medium-term budget consolidation strategies, role of small and medium enterprises in securing an uptick in growth and job creation, further reform to the international financial architecture and problems related to taxation, including new OECD initiatives on tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The fourth G20 Sherpas’ Meeting held July 25-26 focused on consolidating ongoing work under existing initiatives developed under Russia’s G20 Presidency, and on drafting an agenda for the G20 Summit. "At the end of the previous year currency wars and tension in Europe were the main issues discussed, but this year the focus is shifting to other issues. And the issue of economic growth, which the Russian Presidency has declared central, is paramount for all G20 members," Ksenia Yudaeva, Russia’s G20 Sherpa said after the meeting.

I would also like to stress that the Outreach Strategy is an important part of Russia’s G20 Presidency. It aims to win support from different outreach groups, such as Business 20, Think 20, Civil 20, Youth 20 and Labor 20, which have all contributed to G20 policy-makers’ discussions and have great potential to deliver added value to the G20 Summit documents.

This May, at our Embassy in London, I hosted a meeting of the Business 20 Organizing Committee, bringing together the chairmen of G20 countries’ entrepreneurs' associations. Later in June, a Business 20 Summit entitled "В20-G20 Partnership for Economic Growth and Employment" was held as part of the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The B20 released its “Green Book” of recommendations to the G20 on topics such as investment and infrastructure, countering corruption, the financial system, trade, innovation, job creation and investment in human capital with a particular emphasis on future cooperation between the G20 and Business 20.

The Civil Track of Russia's G20 Presidency concluded with the Civil 20 Summit, held earlier in June in Moscow. Russia is the first presiding country to organize the civil society consultations process in this format and at this level. Civil 20 recommendations are also expected to be reflected in the G20 Summit agenda and documents.

Overall, our understanding, which our partners share, is that the G20 Summit cannot resolve overnight all the challenges that the global economy faces. That is not the point. From my perspective, the continued co-ordination of countries’ macro-economic policies on the key priorities of the international agenda is worth the effort. In this regard I am confident that G20 leaders in St. Petersburg will rise to the task of promoting further job creation and strengthening the path towards strong, sustainable and balanced growth.


27.09.2018 - Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.

06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.

22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.

16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”

24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.

21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.

17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.

26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

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