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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

05.01.2014

Year of diplomatic breakthrough on Syria (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

2013 will remain in everybody’s memory as a watershed in international affairs.

World development has been increasingly complex and dynamic in nature both at the global and regional levels, undermining old certainties and leaving no room for simplistic assumptions. Under these circumstances, Russia has acted firmly, reasonably and thoughtfully, as should a major and responsible state.

We have been focusing on strengthening the rule of law in international affairs with the UN playing a central coordinating role. Russian diplomacy has proceeded from the need to respect the peoples’ right to determine their own future, without outside interference.

This policy of principle and Russia's ability to develop and consistently implement a clear and coherent position based on the principles of law and justice has enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority of the international community and has been an important driver in ensuring stability and balance in international affairs at this time of change. It has contributed to a joint search for solutions to the most pressing problems.

A case at hand is international agreement on how to approach the Syrian crisis. It is based on common sense and the logic of peace, and rejection of power politics. This was the result of joint work with our American and European partners, as well as Chinese friends. A year ago, nobody could believe that discussions on an international conference on Syria would bring results. Now we have fixed the date, venue and conditions for the conference.

Russia’s active stance has contributed to achieving the breakthrough and starting the practical work on placing the Syrian chemical weapons under international control with their subsequent destruction. The work is now underway. The destruction of chemical weapons will require solving much more complicated problems through combined efforts of many countries. When implemented, it will become an important step in strengthening the regime of WMD non-proliferation. Among other things, Russia plans to allocate two million euros to the OPCW and provides the Syrian authorities with vehicles and other equipment needed for this task. The fact that the process of Syria’s chemical disarmament has been quite successful largely owes itself to an open and constructive approach of the Syrian government to cooperation with the OPCW.

The decision on destroying Syria’s chemical arsenals creates a positive background for international efforts to find a negotiated solution to the Syria crisis, including an international conference aimed at launching an all-Syrian inclusive national dialogue without any preconditions. The main problem now is to understand how representative the opposition’s delegation will be. The National Coalition, which our Western and some regional partners have positioned it as almost the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, is far from being united. It is also unclear to which extent this Coalition controls those who fight “on the ground”. Jihadists, including those from foreign countries, dominate among the anti-government fighters. The Free Syrian Army, which is also presented by our Western partners as a secular force, ready to seriously negotiate the future of their country, is losing ground to the extremist groups, including those associated with Al-Qaeda and on terrorist lists in the US, EU and UN. And a newly created formation, the so-called Islamic Front, differs little from the Al-Qaeda groups operating in Syria under various names.

The direction in which the crisis in Syria is unfolding is a matter of serious concern. More and more groups obsessed with jihad and rejecting the very idea of coexistence in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic Syria are entrenching in the country. And it is exactly them who present the largest threat to the situation not only in Syria, but in the entire region. At the G8 summit in Lough Erne, leaders agreed that the Syrian Government and the opposition should join their efforts in combating terrorists and extremists, expelling them from the country. Russia has a feeling that gradually, but steadily our partners are coming to understanding that this is a clear and immediate threat. This will be one of the main topics of the conference, which we hope will take place on 22 January in Montreux.

The second problem relates to the circle of the so-called external participants. Russia remains convinced that all parties having an influence on the situation – Iran and Saudi Arabia are definitely among those – should participate. Therefore, we are calling for these two countries to be invited.

Unfortunately, the humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening. The humanitarian agencies operating in Syria blame both sides. But let's look at things in a realistic way. The main reason for this deterioration is the continuing influx of foreign militants and weapons into the country, wide-scale support for radical elements from abroad.

For Russia it is obvious that the Syrian conflict doesn’t have a military solution. Only launching the political process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué, unanimously approved by the UNSC resolution 2118, provides a chance to stop the violence and preserve Syria as a secular, sovereign state with the rights of all ethnic, religious and political groups guaranteed, and, thus, to prevent a severe destabilization of the Middle East region.

 

All articles for RT




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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