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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

24.09.2016

Why not give the Syrians a break? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

It was in the fertile soil of the ongoing civil conflict that ISIS expanded to Syria. Ever since, Russia has been urging the establishment of a common front of the international community against terrorists, including the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra, which despite its recent rebranding continues to be a terrorist organization. We agree on that with our U.S. partners, as testified to by the Lavrov-Kerry accords, reached in Geneva along the lines agreed by presidents Putin and Obama. Russia insists on declassifying this deal, so that there is not the slightest whiff of secret diplomacy about it. Terrorists played a key and leading role in the fight against government forces.
The battle for Aleppo is a case in point. The fight against terrorism creates common ground for all Syrians. Most of the terrorist fighters in Syria are foreigners, whose agenda has nothing to do with the interests and aspirations of the Syrian people. In fact, the terrorists have hijacked the cause of the opposition. This major factor distorting the entire Syrian situation has to be eliminated.
As agreed by Russia and the U.S. in their capacity as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, the opposition groups ought to disentangle themselves from the terrorists on the ground, to be part of the cessation of hostilities (CofH) and to sit at the table of inclusive negotiations on Syria’s future, as provided for in the UN Security Council resolution 2254. That is a key priority in making the CofH sustainable.
Russia and the U.S. have agreed to co-ordinate their strikes at terrorist targets in Syria and, for that purpose, help the true opposition sever its unholy alliances with terrorists. This will go a long way in ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches all those in need throughout Syria.
The Centre for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides, established by the Russian military, has been brokering support for the ceasefire at the grassroots and delivering humanitarian assistance. As a result, about 600 villages and 69 armed groups now abide by the cessation of hostilities co-sponsored by Russia and the U.S. in February.
The Syrian situation is complicated by regional rivalries. The conflict is being used to reorder regional politics along the lines of Sunni-Shia confrontation. That is why some insist on turning Syria into a Sunni state, not a secular democracy. So far, all the attempts to impose a “Sunni alternative” on Syria proved to be a cover-up for a terrorist takeover.
No one in Syria expected the conflict to be of such magnitude and to last so long. From the outset, many in Syria were misled by the precedent of Western military intervention in Libya, which the Foreign Affairs Committee in its latest report strongly condemns as a blunder. Had it not been for that, people on both sides of the civil conflict would have acted more responsibly. People know now what life under terrorist rule is like. There are more than enough grounds for a sober reassessment of the situation by all, including outside players. Why not give the Syrians a break and let them decide for themselves?
There is no reasonable alternative to a moderate politics of reconciliation and return to a peaceful life. Regional players and the international community at large should help in the economic reconstruction and social rehabilitation of this country. The world let the Syrians down in the past. We cannot fail them now.




LATEST EVENTS

26.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s address at the RBCC Business Forum (25 May, “BMA House”, London)

It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of the annual Business Forum held under the auspices of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. Whatever the political situation, the Chamber has always been successful in its mission to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties (“Russo-British Chamber of Commerce” was registered on the 23rd of October, 1916, in London as a joint-stock company with the aim “to promote trade between the British and Russian Empires”).


19.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at opening of the "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery” exhibition

Dear Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, It’s a real honor for me to be here today at the opening of exhibition of photographs: "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery”.


11.05.2017 - The Worshipful Mayor of Southwark speech on Victory Day (May 9 2017, Imperial War Museum)

I welcome you all here today at the Soviet War Memorial as we remember those who gave their lives during the Second World War on the 72nd anniversary of the victory of the allied forces in Europe.


09.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial (London, 9 May 2017)

Today we honour and remember men and women who fought heroically, sacrificing their lives in the fight against fascism. We also honour all those who selflessly toiled at factories to bring the Victory Day nearer. All those who suffered one way or another, went through all the hardships and tragedies of that war


17.04.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers the Daily Mail questions (17 April 2017)

1. Theresa May said today (Thursday) that Russia was on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, what is your response to that? Answer: With all my respect for Prime Minister Theresa May I’ve got to say that the opposite is true. Even former British Ambassador in Damascus Peter Ford (on the BBC the other day) said that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government is Syria. That’s why there is urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves. It seems that our Western partners don’t like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not. I think the reason is they know well what the choice of the Syrians is going to be after the 6 years of civil war.


10.04.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's opening remarks at Quantum Workshop (7 April 2017)

I am honoured to be at the opening the Trilateral Quantum Workshop organised by the Russian Quantum Centre. This is an unprecedented and very timely event. Even as somebody rather uninitiated in quantum science, I hear more and more about the advances in this area and find myself reading up on the basics of quantum technology. Luckily, wider public now has the benefit of learning more from Internet.


17.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko about learning Russian: talking points for BBC interview

Foreign languages are an essential skill in the modern world. For example, in Russia, English is taught in all schools, mostly as primary and sometimes as secondary foreign language (2 foreign languages are now mandatory). Russian, the language that has most native speakers in Europe, is equally important for economic, cultural and political reasons. Learning Russian is in high demand in Asia, including China. Today you don’t even need to physically attend classes – online education is available, in some cases even for free, by Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Moscow State University and RT TV channel. In UK, the demand for Russian is high: 21% of British employers are looking for Russian-speaking staff – this is no wonder since 600 British companies are working in our country, and the prospects are good: GDP is expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent this year.


15.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Valentina Tereshkova concert (March 14, Ambassador’s Residence)

It’s an honour and real pleasure for me to welcome a legendary woman – Dr Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut, engineer, politician, mother and friend. You are a real Russian star, our pride and a true example of patriotism.


12.03.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko's interview for Sunday Express

Q: As a precursor to Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow in the coming weeks, what is your understanding of the nature of the visit and the purpose of the invitation - given that he will be the most senior UK Government official to visit the Kremlin in a good number of years? What message does Russia hope that the visit will send to the rest of the world? A: It is going to be the first working visit at Foreign Ministers' level in our bilateral relation over the past three years. We hope that it means that our British partners are interested in resumption of political dialogue.


28.02.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Defender of the Fatherland Day reception

On 23 February, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation celebrate their main holiday - the Defender of the Fatherland Day. This day is important not only for those who wear or used to wear military insignia, but also for all those who care about the words "Motherland" and "duty". Peace of our homes is guarded by those who serve in the country as well as abroad. Throughout history people in Russia respected military, which, according to Peter the Great, was "the first of the worldly affairs as the most important for the defense of the Fatherland". As the history teaches us – the stronger the army is, the safer is the world.



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