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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

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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