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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

05.09.2013

Syrian impasse: a tragedy of errors (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

In the course of its walk to Congress the US Administration has to devise a strategy for using force against Syria. That appears to be leading inevitably to a regime change, quite an orthodox option that failed utterly in other countries of the Middle East, but still reffects traditional value-for-money calculation of the US strategic mentality. How else one ought to understand plans to degrade Syrian military and upgrade capabilities of the opposition? The goal of finding political solution to the crisis is still professed. But the military intervention outside the international law can only render the situation more intractable.

Russia has always dealt with other countries on the basis of non-interference in domestic affairs. Though reluctantly, we received Oliver Cromwell's ambassadors. We helped ensure that nobody interfered in American affairs, were it at the time of the War for Independence or the Civil War either by way of policy of "armed neutrality" or naval demonstrations. That is why Russia can rightfully claim clarity and consistency in her foreign policy.

It is the bread of politics, domestic or foreign, to have to deal with the people we don't like. It is now widely admitted that the Western policy on Syria was based on a fundamentally flawed assumption from the very start of this crisis. The Syrian Government was expected to fall quickly or deserted by its base. It wasn't an innocent error of judgment, since it resulted in the Western partners' reluctance to encourage the opposition in earnest to negotiate with the Government on political settlement. The opposition seems, in its turn, to have been counting on Western military invasion. That is why the lack of movement on launching political process.

An idea of a traditional contact group on Syria is being put forward in Britain. It is a good point. But such a group was assembled a year ago, it agreed the Communique on 30 June 2012. The problem is that it is incomplete with Iran and the Saudi Arabia left out. We have got to have all the regional players on board since the Syrian crisis requires a regional solution. Another problem is that when Russia and US agreed on 7 May 2013 to revive this initiative, both of us undertook to bring the two side to the negotiating table. We delivered on it, when the Syrian Government accepted to go to Geneva-2. But the opposition preferred to continue waiting for the military option.

It is next to impossible to try to start a political process after the military strikes. All the more so, that the tactics of waiting for an invasion opened the door for influx of all sorts of terrorist and extremist groups of foreigners who have their own ideological agendas which have nothing to do with the national interest of Syria. As a result, the situation has degraded to the point when there is no secular/moderate alternative to the present Syrian Government, as admit Western observers.

And all of it is blamed on Russia! Tom Graham is absolutely right in questioning this dishonest shifting of responsibility. After the end of the Cold War the West/US became in charge of a truly global empire. But intellectual complacency and shortsightedness led to a tragic waste of time, political capital and financial resources required, had there been political will, to soft-land the Middle East, dominated by Western-supported authoritarian regimes into modernity, including resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. Who will answer for that?

I truly believe that it is not late yet before the guns have spoken, to pursue the political option.




LATEST EVENTS

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.


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.



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