26 April 2017
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

19.04.2017

"Diplomacy of Plants" Article by Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov and Regius Keeper of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Mr Simon Milne in "the Herald" newspaper, published 12.04.2017

The key commonality between plant science and diplomacy it is the sensitivity towards passing seasons. Both must learn to adapt to withstand good times and bad.

In an unsettled period for world politics and diplomacy some respite is sorely needed. When diplomatic relations are strained, innovative and creative approaches to building bridges between nations is even more in demand.

Plants recognise no boundaries and, as such, botanists are frequently granted leeway in their pursuit of plant science. Against this backdrop the Moscow Main Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) have established a new partnership in conservation and public engagement. Included in this is an exchange of native of plants between the two to bring a piece of Russia to Scottish soil and vice versa.

RBGE is passionate about its role in delivering international and national plant science and conservation. Much is still to be learned. Knowledge already acquired is being used extensively by medics and scientists, and now by diplomats. In hospitals our plant dependence is evidenced from knowing cancer patients have been treated with an extract of taxus – the yew tree – while atropine, from deadly nightshade, is administered before operations and a compound from daffodil bulbs is dispensed for Alzheimer’s disease. More routinely, our days are supplemented through direct contact with products from plant species, from cotton sheets to wooden floors, food stuffs and beverages of all kinds.

What we don’t know is which plants are yet to come to our rescue or if they are being destroyed before we learn of their existence. Already two thirds of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the USA are derived from plants and fungi. Yet over one third of the world’s plant species are under threat of extinction. Estimates suggest native forest is being lost at a rate of between 45,000 and 55,000 square miles every year – an area about the size of Greece. If this loss of our natural resources continues new solutions to pressing economic and health problems will vanish.

Botanists and horticulturists from RBGE are working in partnership around the world to better understand and protect our flora and fungi. The future depends on alliances in plant diplomacy, transcending political boundaries in the name of conserving our fragile environment.

The organisation’s newest partnership, with Siberia, is significant. As every Russian knows, this region is a very special place. It is a vast land of untouched wild nature, an essence of everything dear to all Russians, an unforgiving yet a noble land. It is held in the hearts of Russians in the same way the Highlands touch the soul of the Scots.

Russia is the largest country on Earth and has the planet’s biggest expanse of forest. Its three distinct climate regions and diverse landscapes are home to thousands of plant species. Many popular UK garden plants such as Dianthus superbus, Erythronium sibericum  and Rhododendron ledebourii and Pulsatilla turczaninovii originate from Russia.

The recent opening of the new Siberian Section of RBGE’s Rock Garden is noteworthy. It coincides with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the leading botanical institutes of both countries “to promote cooperation between the two institutions in education and in academic research in plant resources.” Now, specimens collected on fieldwork over the last six years will be on public display. In return, plants native to Scotland will be displayed in Moscow in a celebration of research without borders. Working to advance plant research, combat the loss of biodiversity and inspire the public.

RBGE is a global scientific asset, a national treasure and community resource of infinite worth. The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh is keen to contribute  by means of diplomacy and botany. Both parties consider it a significant honour and privilege to work together in enhancing such collaboration. In so doing, a lasting legacy of historic and cultural ties is created.

The Siberian Section of the Edinburgh Garden is a Gateway to Russia using the universal language of nature to communicate and foster cooperation through which a synergy can be created to yield the best harvest.

We are confident the Siberian Section and the upcoming Scottish Section of the Moscow Main Botanic Gardens will be a symbol of mutual understanding and friendship and serve as a timely reminder that the things we have in common outnumber our differences.

 

Andrey A.Pritsepov is Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh

Simon Milne MBE is Regius Keeper, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

 

 

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15218398.How_plants_can_play_a_vital_role_in_building_bridges_between_nations/




LATEST EVENTS

25.04.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, Moscow, April 25, 2017

I have held talks with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and his delegation. OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier has come to Moscow to attend the sixth Moscow International Security Conference sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Defence. We welcome this opportunity to hold a detailed exchange of views on current issues on the OSCE agenda.


25.04.2017 - Draft OPCW decision on Syria chemical incident that Russia proposed and UK opposed

DRAFT DECISION ADDRESSING THE SITUATION AROUND THE ALLEGED USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN THE KHAN SHAYKHUN AREA OF SOUTHERN IDLIB IN THE SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC The Executive Council, Noting with grave concern reports regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Khan Shaykhun area of Southern Idlib in the Syrian Arab Republic on 4 April 2017; Underlining that the use of any chemical weapons and toxic chemicals as a weapon anywhere by anyone and under any circumstances is reprehensible and completely contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter “the Convention”) and all norms of international law and affirming that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable; Recognising the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and its readiness to continue the cooperation with the OPCW; Welcoming the request of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic for assistance in ensuring immediate and impartial investigation in the Khan Shaykhun area of Southern Idlib and the Shayrat airbase, as well as its readiness to ensure free and safe access to the Shayrat airbase, as contained in the letter to theDirector-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) dated 11 April 2017;


24.04.2017 - Foreign Ministry statement on the OSCE car explosion in Ukraine

According to statements coming from the OSCE, on the morning of April 23, 2017 an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission vehicle returning from a patrol, experienced a mine explosion in the district of Slavyanoserbsky, Lugansk Region, two kilometres away from the line of contact, resulting in the death of one paramedic from the United States working as a contractor with the OSCE. International monitors who were also in the vehicle were wounded.


21.04.2017 - Victory Day Сelebrations in the UK

Programme of 9 May Victory Day celebrations around UK


21.04.2017 - Embassy Press Officer on Sir Alan Duncan’s comments regarding protection of rights of LGBT community in Russia

On 20 April Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan, speaking in the Commons, accused the Government of Chechnya of inciting violence against LGBT people, persecution of gays and ill-treatment of over 100 men because of their sexual orientation. These allegations are solely based on publications in the “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper and are not supported by any other proven data. Russian law enforcement authorities received no notifications from the so-called “victims” of threats. Nevertheless, they conducted proper checks, which didn’t reveal any evidence of violence and ill-treatment of LGBT persons.


21.04.2017 - Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s interview with Kommersant newspaper, published April 19, 2017

Question: Do you know when and where President of Russia Vladimir Putin will meet with US President Donald Trump? Sergey Ryabkov: We have reaffirmed our readiness for such a meeting several times. We understand that contacts at the highest level are crucial for adjusting the agenda, areas of focus and the direction we are moving in.


20.04.2017 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 19, 2017

I would like to touch on fake news and hoaxes – in fact, blatant misinformation – in this context. I announced a figure today that shows that Russia has sent over 60 humanitarian convoys to the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Just remember what it all began with: tweets and Western press reports about Russia launching an armed invasion of Ukraine. Convoys in duly marked white lorries were made out to be carrying armoured vehicles and not humanitarian aid.


20.04.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the planned meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen

In connection with media reports on the plans to hold a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen in May, we believe it is necessary to make the following statement.


19.04.2017 - Press release on the Foreign Ministry reception to mark Orthodox Easter

Оn April 18, a reception was held at the Reception House of the Russian Foreign Ministry on behalf of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the occasion of Orthodox Easter. Attending were Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Russian Orthodox Church hierarchs, representatives of traditional faiths, Russian state officials, public figures, and diplomats.


18.04.2017 - Embassy Press Officer response to a media question on British unilateral chemical weapons investigation

Question: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently stated that British scientists conducted analysis of samples obtained from the site of the incident in Khan Sheikhoun. Yesterday Sergey Lavrov said that given the seriousness of the situation, Russia requested the FCO to provide detailed information on this British effort to upstage the competent international body, which is OPCW. Did you get the answer? Response: Not yet.



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