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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

19.09.2013

Syrian chemical weapons: key step towards Syrian settlement or another tussle in New York? (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

Three weeks ago, the world was preparing for another «humanitarian intervention» - some with jubilation, others with concern. For Russia, it was clear that a «military option», however limited, against Syria, would amount to a grave violation of international law and thus would rock the world order which benefits us all. It was out of the understanding of all the disastrous consequences of such a scenario that Russia embarked upon intensive diplomatic effort to mobilise collective action on a clear threat to international community. Obviously, it helped to bring policy-making in a number of countries in line with the popular mood.

Today, the military action seems to have been averted. The Syrian Government has agreed to declare its chemical weapons stockpile, to put it under international control for subsequent destruction, and moved fast to join the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Russia and the United States have proposed a detailed framework of implementation procedure. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN Security Council are preparing follow-up decisions.

This result is something nobody could think of a month ago. It demonstrates that when political will and mutual respect are there, everything is possible. It also shows that Russia and the United States are capable of overcoming differences and fulfilling their responsibilities for international peace and security if artificial preconditions and unhelpful rhetoric are set aside. This is pure realism and common sense.

The focus is now on implementation. The Russia-U.S. arrangement reserves the central role to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body that possesses the best expertise available in the field. OPCW is to be supported by the Security Council. Some countries are continuing to advocate a Chapter VII resolution of the Council, i.e. a resolution implying use of force in case of non-compliance. But what is needed today is professional work by the OPCW with the political support of the Security Council rather than military threats, which, by the way, serve rather national egos than common sense. This is fully in line with the decisions on Syrian chemical weapons reached at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland in June 2013.

The agreement on chemical weapons and its successful implementation may open new ways for political settlement of the Syrian crisis. Russia and the U.S. have agreed to step up efforts aimed at convening a conference with both the Syrian Government and opposition represented. The Government have long ago declared their readiness for negotiations. We hope that our Western partners will soon succeed in persuading the opposition to follow suit. The more this conference is delayed, the more influence is gained in Syria by extremists whose agenda has nothing to do with Syrian national interest, and the more that conflict becomes a breeding ground for radicalisation.

So, the choice for international community is clear - either we build upon what has already been achieved, or engage in another counterproductive tussle in New York, which, while about looks and rhetoric, will put at risk what promises to be a shared success.




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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