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PRESS RELEASES

13.02.2015

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a gala for Diplomatic Worker Day, Moscow, February 12, 2015

We have gathered again in this room on the occasion of our professional holiday. I would like to warmly welcome to this event all of our current and former employees and our friends and colleagues from sister agencies, such as the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Staff, the Security Council and other agencies with which we interact on a daily basis.

Our professional holiday has once again clearly demonstrated the Russian leadership’s unwavering focus on the diplomatic service. In his message to the current and former employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on the website of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin stressed the Foreign Ministry’s significant contribution to upholding our national interests and strengthening the position of our country in the world arena. We also received congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly Valentina Matviyenko, Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin, committee chairmen, senators, deputies, heads of ministries, departments, and governors of the Russian regions. They all had kind words to say about the Foreign Ministry and wish us well.

We are aware of the special responsibility, the great responsibility that rests with the national diplomatic corps given the current international situation. I would like to highlight the point emphasised by President Putin in his remarks: “Under no circumstances and under no pressure, will we change our independent foreign policy, as it meets the vital interests of our people and is in line with the efforts to ensure global security and stability.”

We draw our confidence from the fact that Russia is not opposed to any associations of countries, but instead affirms the principles of equality, mutual respect of interests and collective settlement of critical problems in international relations, which are rooted in international law and the central role of the UN. We want all nations and peoples to feel equally protected and confident that their right to choose their future will be respected. In other words, we stand for truth and justice, which is the only foundation on which the emerging multipolar world order can be built. This position is supported by the majority of our international partners as evidenced by our numerous contacts, including during President Putin’s visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt that ended the day before yesterday.

Our foreign policy mainly upsets and irritates those who, contrary to the objective trend towards a multipolar world, continue to demonstrate an obsession with the idea of their own exceptionalism. The recently released updated version of the US national security strategy is based on the assumption that Washington must assume leadership in all places and at all times, and those who disagree will be subjected to a wide range of reprisals, from economic sanctions to the use of force. This strategy confirms the fact that the US is ready to use military force unilaterally in order to promote US interests. However, they tend to forget that there have been many attempts in history to achieve global domination, all of which failed. This is a particularly hopeless enterprise now, when the international system has become so complex that managing it from a single centre, without the consent of other partners, is simply impossible.

There’s nothing more absurd than trying, in these circumstances, to accuse Russia of undermining the foundations of the international system. For many years, our country has consistently called for serious debates to discuss building an indivisible and equal security in the Euro-Atlantic space on the solid foundation of the principles approved by the OSCE, the UN and the Russia-NATO Council.

On a global scale, we are strong supporters of the "new edition" of interdependence. We are pursuing this goal in collaboration with our allies, partners and associates in the CIS, the Eurasian Economic Union, the CSTO, BRICS, the SCO, the Group of Twenty, and other multilateral forums.

We strongly believe that the observance of the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II should provide new impetus to work together to address our common challenges. The Yalta Conference ended exactly 70 years ago – on February 11, 1945, to be more precise. Back then, the allies managed to rise above their self-serving interests and ideological differences and come to a mutual agreement to promote global security. The decisions of that conference embodied the spirit of international cooperation and alliance in countering a common mortal danger and laid the groundwork for the postwar world order, including the creation of the UN.

At the Munich Security Conference held a few days ago, we reiterated that a joint effort to find ways to overcome the negative trends in Europe is still an option. Of course, it should be based on equality and mutual respect. As the Munich meeting made clear, we face a choice between descending into a state of information and economic warfare and pushing one’s positions by any means, whether good or bad, and serious political and diplomatic work. For Russia, the choice is clear.

In this regard, I would like to quote renowned French and European leader Jacques Attali who recently urged Europeans to engage in a dialogue with Russia as a prospective ally, not an imaginary enemy. Similar approaches were expressed by many other politicians from France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary and other countries.

Russia will continue to play an active role and take the initiative in efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis by ensuring a speedy end to the war, withdrawing heavy weapons, resolving humanitarian problems, and establishing a stable political dialogue between Kiev and Donbass. The active participation of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande in these efforts helped achieve good results in the Normandy format meeting that ended in Minsk several hours ago.

Russian diplomacy must be energetic in all areas of our multidimensional foreign policy, and pursue productive cooperation with our partners in the Asia-Pacific region and on other continents. Deepening Eurasian integration remains our absolute priority. All of us must show dedication and creativity, and be able to work meticulously and at full capacity in accordance with the best traditions of the Russian diplomatic service.

The current international situation calls to mind what Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote in the 19th century: "We might lose for a while, be poor for a while, lose markets, reduce output, or see prices go up. But if the organism of the nation remains morally healthy - the nation will undoubtedly benefit from it, even financially."

I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings on Diplomatic Worker Day to employees of our ministry’s central office, diplomatic missions abroad and our representative offices in Russia’s regions, as well as our dear retired colleagues. I wish you and your families good health and all the best.




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