16 July 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

06.07.2017

Article by Vladimir Putin published in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt

Ahead of my trip to Germany to take part in the Summit of the Group of Twenty, I would like to share some thoughts about cooperation within the G20 framework with the readers of Handelsblatt, one of the most popular and reputable German newspapers.

Over the years of its existence, the Group of Twenty has established itself as an important mechanism for aligning the interests and positions of the world’s leading economies. By taking coordinated action, the G20 contributed to the adoption of necessary measures that not only helped overcome the financial and economic crisis, but also laid the foundation for improving global governance, which has found itself in dire straits for a number of reasons. Importantly, by working together we have been able to find solutions to a number of long-standing issues.

For instance, Russia highly values practical steps to counter base erosion and profit shifting to so-called ‘safe havens.’ All economies suffer from such practices. Irresponsible corporate behaviour of this kind affects the quality of life of millions of people, resulting in high social costs.

Implementation of the financial regulation reform is another achievement of the G20. For example, special regulations for those banks whose bankruptcy would be undesirable or too risky because of their size.

For the first time in history, supervision bodies started monitoring transactions in the non-bank, “shadow” financial sector. Decisions regarding the key attributes for preventing and overcoming bank sector crises, organising the work of deposit security agencies and a number of other initiatives have had a major impact.

Of course, the creation of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) was a major step forward. On the back of its efforts, financial regulation reform took on a system-wide dimension and became routine, while the FSB established itself as an important partner of the IMF in its regular risk assessment studies. The FSB’s creation led to the emergence of similar structures on the national level.

Even against the backdrop of growing geopolitical risks and uncertainty, the G20 has not become less efficient as a global governance tool. This is largely attributable to the exceptional responsibility demonstrated by its presiding countries in fulfilling their mission. I am saying this based, among other things, on Russia’s own experience, since our country chaired the Group of Twenty in 2013, and benefited from substantial support and encouragement from all of its partners.

The success of the G20 is based on respect for the opinions and position of each member, regardless of the size of its economy and its place in the international monetary and financial system. Constructive discussions and the search for compromise have become the signature style of the G20, the unwritten law of relations, which its current President – Germany – is also putting into practice.

The upcoming meeting of the G20 in Hamburg is an opportunity to discuss key issues on the global agenda. We share the priorities of Germany’s Presidency and we are ready to help implement them, provided this continuity is maintained.

We welcome the decision to expand the agenda addressed by the G20 to include sustainable development, climate change, countering terrorism and corruption, healthcare, migration and refugees. It is very important that the Group is giving more attention to the digital economy as a growth driver and a new factor of global governance thanks to China’s Presidency in 2016 and Germany’s Presidency this year.

We are facing several major challenges. The old economic models have all but exhausted their possibilities. Protectionism is becoming the norm, while unilateral, politically motivated restrictions on trade and investment, as well as technology transfer, are nothing but masked protectionism. We believe that these sanctions are not only doomed to fail, but also run counter to the G20 principles of cooperation in the interests of all countries.

I am confident that only open trade based on common norms and standards can stimulate global economic growth and the gradual improvement of interstate relations. Just as it is set forth in the fundamental principles of the World Trade Organisation’s activities.

The G20 is doing substantive work on combating climate change. Human activity is greatly increasing the burden on the planet’s environment and is hence complicating the achievement of sustainable development goals. As a leading country within the international climate process,

Russia has exceeded its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. In other words, we have compensated the growing emission in other countries and regions. We view the Paris Agreement of April 2016 as a reliable international legal framework for a lasting climate settlement and intend to do our best to facilitate its implementation.

Over the past few years, the G20 has been working on the issue of migration. According to the UN, in 2017 labour migrants will remit over $500 billion to developing countries. This is three times more than the volume of official development assistance or foreign direct investment.

The G20 has been working on issues related to the migrants’ integration in the host countries’ labour markets, as well as their cultural adaptation and social protection. In addition, the G20 has formulated decisions this year that could help settle the issue of forced displacement. They are based on the strengthening of regional and global stability and the economic growth of the countries that are generating the unprecedented numbers of refugees.

Security of and in the use of ICTs is a new issue on the G20 agenda. Russia consistently advocates free access to communication technologies, including the Internet. We consider it highly important to protect human rights in the information space. At the same time, freedom in the digital sphere, just like in any other, should by no means be replaced by permissiveness and impunity. This leads to a rampage involving cyber-criminals, hacker groups and all those who encroach on the privacy of individuals or the sovereignty of states by using cutting-edge technologies.

Russia, which was among the first countries to note the danger of this challenge, has for several years been advocating the conclusion of universal international agreements under the UN auspices that are called on to combat these negative phenomena. We hope this will evoke a positive and interested response from other countries. The G20 agenda should also include digital literacy issues, a key element of protecting consumer rights in e-commerce.

I would like to note that various opportunities opened up by the digital economy and a switchover to new industrial and technological patterns simultaneously increase the gap in the development levels between rich and poor countries and aggravate inequality between various social strata. Therefore, our efforts should focus on people, their interests and concerns. I consider this to be a key-priority for G20 activities.

Obviously, the G20 can make a weighty contribution to strengthening the stability of the global economy and to maintaining its balanced development. Only by acting together and pooling our efforts can we overcome the current imbalances, ensure sustainable growth, develop fair trade and competition rules, reduce poverty and resolve acute social issues.

The Russian delegation will be actively involved in the work of the Hamburg summit, which I am sure will be highly productive. I wish our German colleagues every success in organising the summit. And, of course, we will team up with our G20 partners in implementing the agreements that will be reached at the meeting.

In conclusion, I would like to wish all Handelsblatt readers and all Germans health and prosperity.




LATEST EVENTS

14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new invitation of the OPCW experts to the UK

Question: How would you comment on the recent statement of the FCO concerning the new invitation to the OPCW experts to visit the United Kingdom in the framework of the Amesbury incident investigation? Answer: Following the new invitation extended by the UK to the OPCW technical experts “to independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent”, which Charles Rowley and Dawn Sturgess have been exposed to, we would like remind of the fact that after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March Russia proposed to the UK to use the mechanisms under Article IX, paragraph 2 of the CWC and carry out a joint investigation.


14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning course of investigation of the Amesbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the recent statements that a small bottle containing nerve agent has been found in Amesbury? Answer: Unfortunately, Russia has no access to any official information concerning both the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and other suspicious incidents in the UK, because the British side refuses to cooperate with us in any way possible. We cannot check or verify any British statements. As for this incident, we have to rely only on public statements, and we are almost sure that the British side will not be informing us directly.


11.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the activity of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down

Question: As early as in April the Russian Embassy requested assistance of the British side in arranging a meeting with Chief Executive of the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Gary Aitkenhead and his colleagues. Have you managed to ascertain whether this secret lab had produced A-234 type agents that were allegedly used against the Skripals? Answer: Sadly, the FCO has ignored our query, which brings us to the conclusion that the British authorities wish to prevent us from communicating with experts who might have some information that is inconvenient for the Conservative government. In his interview to Sky News in April, Mr Aitkenhead himself did not deny the fact that his laboratory had produced and stockpiled nerve agents, including the so-called “novichok”. He added that they “would not be allowed to operate if we had lack of control that could result in anything leaving the four walls of our facility”.


09.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the death of Dawn Sturgess

Q.: How would you comment on the information concerning the death of the British citizen Dawn Sturgess, who, according to the British authorities, was poisoned by the same nerve agent that had been used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A.: We would like to express our sincere condolences to relatives and friends of Dawn Sturgess following her tragic death. We hope that the circumstances of her poisoning will be investigated in good faith and in accordance with high international standards, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. As it stands now, the police investigation of the Skripals case is limited by political frameworks imposed by the current government.


06.07.2018 - From the Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, July 5, 2018

Media coverage of the World Cup in Russia The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues to delight with its exciting football contests. Experts and fans are unanimous is their opinion that the matches have been spectacular. There’s no need to even mention the entertainment aspect of the tournament, as fans are clearly having the time of their lives when there are no matches to watch. According to our guests’ posts on social media, the atmosphere is fantastic not only in Moscow, but other host cities as well. We can see that the enthusiasm of the fans is rubbing off on the media, which is great. Indeed, we focus on these matters, because there was so much misinformation. This is not surprising, as it is difficult to make up stories now, because everyone can see everything with their own eyes, and the mudslinging directed at our country before the World Cup doesn’t work anymore.


05.07.2018 - Embassy press officer’s comment on the statement by Ben Wallace

Q: UK Minister of State for Security at the Home Office Ben Wallace stated that he is “waiting for the phone call from the Russian state” to get explanations of the “use of chemical weapons” in Salisbury. What should he expect? A: The Russian Ambassador to the UK is ready to meet Mr Wallace – we have requested meetings at the Home Office and Metropolitan Police several times, in relation to the Skripals case, as well as the murder of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov. In both cases the FCO had suggested the Embassy should contact the police directly. Yet our letters to Scotland Yard met a resounding silence. If the British law enforcement authorities wish to end this silence and finally engaged in a substantial dialogue with Russia as envisaged in the international agreements signed by UK, we will be happy to have the opportunity to ask the many outstanding questions. We await Mr Wallace’s specific proposals as to when he will be available to meet.


05.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question on the "Russian disinformation campaign" in the context of the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents

Q: Home secretary Sajid Javid has stated in Parliament that the Russian media are already producing multiple explanations of the incident in Amesbury and that a new disinformation campaign should be expected from the Kremlin. How could you comment on this? A: It is not the first time that British officials are speculating on “disinformation” and “numerous versions” produced by the Russian “pro-government media” regarding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and now of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley in Amesbury. The Foreign Office has even provided us with the list of 28 “official Russian versions” of the Salisbury incident, among which, for example, they cited the following: “the UK poisoned Ivan the Terrible” and “the operation in Eastern Ghouta is aimed at freeing civilians from terrorists”.


05.07.2018 - Embassy press officer on UK reaction to the Amesbury incident

Q: Can you comment on statements by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Security Minister Ben Wallace that Russia refuses to cooperate over the Salisbury poisoning and that after the Amesbury incident the Russian state must “come and tell us what happened in Salisbury to keep people safe”? A: All allegations of Russia’s involvement in the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury are merely speculative and are not based on objective data of the investigation. As for the cooperation and information sharing, Russia has from the very outset proposed a joint investigation of the attempted murder of two Russian nationals. The proposal remains on the table. Unfortunately, the British investigation remains totally non-transparent. Our numerous questions on this matter remain unanswered. The UK authorities avoid any contact with the Russian side on this, or any other issues of concern. Moreover, London continues to blatantly violate its international obligations by refusing consular access to the Russian citizens, who remain isolated and are highly likely under duress by secrets service.


04.07.2018 - Answer to media question regarding the invitation of British dignitaries to the FIFA World Cup

Q: According to The Guardian, “Russia has sent out a fresh invitation to Theresa May” to visit the World Cup despite the UK “ministerial boycott”. Can you confirm this? A: No personal invitations for British political figures have been sent out and, consequently, none has been revoked. As we know, the decision not to attend the tournament on official level came from London. Moreover, there were calls in Britain to boycott the World Cup, and the media painted a bleak picture on Russia in the run-up to the event. FIFA World Cup a festival of sports for the whole world. Despite what The Guardian claims, we are not “trying to tempt” anyone in particular, but we’ll be glad to let everybody support their team. This also refers to Britain’s representatives – if UK dignitaries decide to come, they’ll encounter the same hospitality as the England players and supporters.


04.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning Russia’s requests for legal assistance in the two criminal cases related to the murder of Nikolay Glushkov and the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal

Q: The Embassy informed about two weeks ago that the British authorities had not provided any answers to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation’s requests for legal assistance in the two criminal cases related to the murder of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov and the attempted murder of the Russian citizen Yulia Skripal. Do you have any update? A: Unfortunately, we have not yet received any reply from the British side on this matter. The Embassy has recently forwarded another Note Verbale to the FCO to remind that in accordance with the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation has already sent three requests for legal assistance in the two criminal cases, namely those related to the murder of Nikolay Glushkov and the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal. As suggested by the FCO, we have contacted the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office for any updates on our requests, with no results so far.



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