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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

30.08.2013

Responding to Syrian crisis: are there shades of international legitimacy? (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for RIA Novosti)

Some western states are announcing that they have conclusive information and evidences to blame Syrian authorities for the alleged chemical attack in Ghouta. We are observing preparations for a military option, including massive build-up of armaments in the region. It is hard to understand the true motives of these states. After disastrous interventions in Iraq without consent of the UN Security Council, and then in Libya, with UNSC mandate abused, where they effectively failed to assist bringing stability and establishing interreligious and interethnic peace, they are now repeating the same scenario.

No reliable and persuasive evidence has been produced to confirm that chemical weapons have been used, let alone who did it. Neither have we seen clear legal grounds for military action.

So far the alleged use of WMD looks much like a provocation with those behind turning it into a casus belli without any proof presented to the public. Besides, one has a lot to question about in the opposition’s version of events in Ghouta. One has to ask: cui bono? We see no rationale in government forces using chemical weapons just at the very moment when the UN fact-finding mission arrived in Syria.

At the same time, it is clear that those involved in the incident wanted to sabotage the Geneva peace talks. One cannot but recall that the government has long ago declared its readiness to negotiate, while the opposition hasn’t followed suit. Today, some external players cannot help being seen deliberately undermining the very prospect of peaceful political process. We hope that common sense will prevail sooner rather than later. Russia is determined to continue efforts aimed at bringing the conflicting parties to the negotiating table.

The latest vote in British Parliament on Syria provides a convincing proof that the international community is tired of “constructive ambiguities” and ambivalence in matters of law and order in world politics. It is also too serious a matter to outsource it to groups of countries or coalitions of the willing. Acting outside international law at one’s own risk and expense is pretty costly. Moreover, instead of helping to solve problems, it aggravates the situation in question. It turns out to be counterproductive and self-defeating. It also looms large in domestic affairs as the weapons of mass distraction topic at the time of the War in Iraq.

Like national law and order, it is something concrete, not some abstract ideas or good intentions which the road to Hell is paved with. It is also about due process and establishing facts first, and that means gathering evidence and reporting it to the UN Security Council for consideration and decision-making. Political expediency has no place in this process underpinning international legitimacy of any action. It may sound too little or quite a lot, but this is a minimum requirement for keeping the world an orderly place.

And this is precisely what Russia demands of her Western partners as regards the presumed use of chemical weapons in Syria. We don’t ask for more, but we’ll settle for nothing short of that. Unfortunately, some drew the wrong conclusions from the end of the Cold War, which allegedly, lowered the threshold of use of force. It is high time that those people stop deluding themselves. War is serious business, and it has to be treated as such.




LATEST EVENTS

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.


13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.


08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)


25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.


20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.


16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation


25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.


23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.


12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?



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