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PRESS RELEASES

28.11.2012

Statement by Andrey Denisov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, at the Opening of the 11th European Conference on Security and Defense (Berlin, November 27, 2012)

Dear Mr. Chairman,

Ministers,

Conference Participants,

It is a great pleasure for me to take the floor at the opening of the European Conference on Security and Defense as representative of a partner country. The very title of the event, "Europe and its Neighbors - Common Responsibly for a Stable Continent", already sends an important uniting message. Such philosophy accurately reflects today's reality. It demands a broad, comprehensive dialogue on a wide range of topics that are of common interest to all the countries of the continent.

I would like to highlight from the outset that historically, culturally and economically Russia has been inseparably linked to the countries of the continent situated to the west of its borders. Our country, as well as the United States of America, is an integral part of the European civilization. Throughout the centuries Russia has contributed to the expansion of the European civilization having stretched its geographical limits as far as to the Pacific Ocean.

In the last twenty years we became closer, although it is difficult to avoid disputes altogether. The main thing, however, is that we have learnt to see better our perspectives and to pursue more rationally our common goal, instead of playing “zero sum” games. To follow this track coherently, we need to translate words into deeds and lean on the concrete results to achieve genuine solidarity. Common responsibility for security in Europe should prevail over controversies. This will help unlock an enormous material and intellectual potential in pursuit of common goals instead of habitual confrontation (some would rather stay on the beaten path, though).

It was here, in Berlin, on 5 June 2008 that the President of the Russian Federation (at that time it was Dmitry Medvedev) put forward the initiative to conclude a Treaty on European security. It is based on the values and ideals of a Europe which is whole, free and at peace. Making legally binding the fundamental principle of indivisible security that has already gained political legitimacy in various pan-European documents would be a significant step towards its implementation in practice.

However, today we are witnessing increasing uncertainty in the field of security all over the world. In the face of turbulence and lack of predictability and stability, strict compliance with international law is the only safety net. Rule of law is of the same importance in international relations as it is in internal affairs.

Although the Russian initiative has not yet been supported by everyone, it helped to invigorate discussions on ways to improve Euro-Atlantic security models and to promote effective collaboration in countering real threats and risks rather than imaginary ones. We do not withdraw our proposals. They are longstanding and do not depend on the current state of affairs.

Again, we need a dialogue. We should pursue a positive and unifying agenda, overcome political and psychological reluctance to change the Cold War approaches, eliminate stereotypes of the past and refrain from attempts to restore the image of the geopolitical adversary. Under the present conditions, to strengthen one's own security to the detriment of the security of others means to create new risks. In the context of the global financial and economic crisis it will result in more trouble than good.

Dear participants,

Common responsibility for a stable Europe is not mere rhetoric. We have a shared vision of the continent’s future, common values and security threats. Today's globalized world makes it impossible to meet current transnational challenges alone or by restricted groups of nations.

In 2010, at the Astana OSCE Summit we set a common goal to create a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community. The NRC Summit in Lisbon helped reach important agreements "to work towards achieving a true strategic and modernized partnership based on the principles of reciprocal confidence, transparency, and predictability, with the aim of contributing to the creation of a common space of peace, security and stability" in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Today the European Union faces the challenge of resolving the crisis and returning to sustainable growth, while Russia is doing its best not to let the national economy slow down but to focus it on innovation-based development. A true strategic partnership between Russia and the EU will meet our common needs and concerns.

We have the essential prerequisites for reaching this goal in place. Our cultural integration and people-to-people contacts have gone even further than the political dialogue on security issues. Russia's relations with the EU help reinforce the foundation of the European economy. Now when our country has joined the World Trade Organization we will be speaking the same economic language and be guided by uniform economic rules. Those same rules have provided the basis for the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space; they will help establish a Eurasian economic union. Integration process in the CIS will gain more and more synergy with our dialogue with the EU. Step-by-step, we should remove the existing dividing lines in trade and investment within this big European and Eurasian space. Now when the competition is acquiring a civilizational dimension, a real unity of Europe would make it much more competitive. But we should not forget about another important issue of safeguarding European cultural identities under the pressure of globalization. In this particular area common efforts are indispensable.

Speaking of competition, it is important to remember that it should be fair. Competition rules are sacred both in Europe, Asia, and America. Everyone should avoid protectionism, be it in agricultural and energy sectors or in foreign investment.

The European Union is the leading trade and economic partner of Russia. Our cooperation in the field of energy, telecommunications, advanced technology and modernization is increasingly close. Contacts are growing between military and emergency response agencies, we accumulate experience of joint peacekeeping operations and discuss prospects for cooperation in various aspects of foreign policy and security.

It is important to further develop the EU-Russia political dialogue, to establish an operational coordination mechanism for actions taken by Russia and the EU on the most pressing issues of the international agenda, including those related to crisis management. We do not discard the idea to create the EU-Russia committee on foreign policy and security at ministerial level, put forward at the meeting of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel that took place in Meseberg on June 4-5, 2010.

Recently, practical cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council has significantly intensified. We no longer simply state our common threats and challenges, we have moved to sharing information and experience, to tailored projects and programs of cooperation.

I'll mention just some of them: combating terrorism and piracy, weapons and military equipment standardization, search and rescue at sea, logistics, military medicine and emergency response to natural and manmade disasters.

We effectively cooperate on Afghanistan: jointly train specialists in countering narcotics, help to maintain helicopters produced in Russia. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1386, we provide uninterrupted transit of personnel and cargo through Russian territory of personnel and cargo for the needs of the ISAF troops. On the whole, our experts are working very actively, but due to the sensitive nature of the matter, their efforts may not always be noticed by the general public.

It is high time to remove politicized obstacles on the way towards a mutually beneficial military and technical cooperation. It would be a good, “smart” addition to such initiatives as the initiative on “pooling and sharing” the EU resources and the NATO “Smart defense”.

It provides unprecedented opportunities for mutually rewarding cooperation, promotes better understanding of the changes in the military structures in European states, forms new framework of confidence and trust on the continent. Yet, if we persist in acting the same old way, we risk getting new dividing lines, in the cyberspace as well.

The ballistic-missile defense is in some way a test of our readiness for real partnership, for implementation of the principle of indivisibility of security. We are convinced that with the political will it is possible to elaborate such a “smart” configuration of the missile defense system that would protect Europe from eventual missile threats and would not have the potential to impair Russian strategic capabilities.

The only thing that is needed is a political effort to guarantee that the created assets will be used only as intended - for protection from limited missile threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic region - on the basis of clear military and technical criteria.

Here in Berlin one may well recall the words of Lord Ismay, NATO’s first Secretary General. He said that the goal of the North Atlantic alliance was “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down”. “Iron curtains” and artificial barriers are attributes of the former era of confrontation between two ideologically incompatible systems, which has now become a thing of the past. If someone continues to think in such terms, he risks “finding himself on the wrong side of history”. It is important to prevent the dominance of the logic of alienation in the presence of common challenges. It is necessary to think together about the way to capitalize the eluding “dividends of peace”, which have been widely discussed upon the end of the Cold War.

Dear colleagues,

Multipolar world has been formed. And Europe is one of its poles. New centers of financial, economic, technological and military power are on the rise. New world has not only given us transboundary challenges, but also opened up new prospects for drawing resources for our own development in places, where we have never even dared to look earlier. At the same time financial and economic shocks we faced in the last two years only underscored the simple truth that our forces are not unlimited and we should use them prudently. Joining our efforts is a force multiplier.

Today, it is the first time, when Russia takes part in the European Security and Defense Conference as a partner country. I believe it is a promising sign. Provided we have political will and give a strong impetus, we can move in the right direction very swiftly.

I wish you a fruitful work and hope that participation of the Russian experts will contribute to finding solutions how to jointly cope with contemporary threats and ensure stability and prosperity of our continent.

Thank you for your attention.




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