18 March 2018
Moscow: 08:48
London: 05:48

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UNESCO resolution on preserving Palmyra - approved 8 April

1.In the light of the recent expulsion of ISIL (Da’esh) from Palmyra –the city of priceless cultural heritage, the Russian Federation herewith submits this draft decision of the Executive Board, guided by the following considerations:
2.Resolution 38 C/48 “Reinforcement of UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict”, adopted by the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, is aimed at developing the capacity of the Organization in relation to conflict situations, particularly in the Middle East, where monuments of cultural heritage have been deliberately destroyed.
3.The expulsion of ISIL (Da’esh) from Palmyra, which was welcomed by the international community, took place practically on the eve of the 199th session of the Executive Board and calls on Member States to respond to it promptly and adequately on behalf of UNESCO.
4.It is time to take necessary concrete steps to provide effective assistance for the restoration of damaged and looted cultural properties.
5.Measures for restoring Palmyra and other damaged World Heritage sites due to armed conflict or disasters should be a priority in the forthcoming Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy for the reinforcement of UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict.
6.In practical terms, UNESCO needs to monitor the situation at World Heritage and other significant sites in Syria in order to send, as soon as security conditions allow, UNESCO mission of international team of experts to assess the damage with a view to developing a concrete plan of necessary restoration and rehabilitation works.
7.We assume that the Steering Group will undertake the implementation of these tasks for Emergencies of the UNESCO Secret ariat in close cooperation with the Group of Friends of the Coalition “Unite4Heritage”.
8.A decision “UNESCO’s Role in the Safeguarding and Preserving Palmyra and other Syrian World Heritage sites” would be a worthy response of UNESCO to safeguard and preserve Syria’s heritage.
9.We count on the support and co-sponsorship by a wide range of Member States.
10.In the light of the above, the Executive Board may wish to adopt a decision along the following lines: The Executive Board,
1.Recalling that the purpose of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in
order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights
and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations,

2.Recalling the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970), the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995), the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) and other relevant international agreements, 199 EX/28 – page
3. Recalling 38 C/Resolution 48 of the General Conference, and 197 EX/Decision 10 and 196 EX/Decision 29 of the Executive Board,
4.Recalling also Resolution 2199 of the United Nations Security Council,
5.Recalling further decisions 39 COM7 and 37 COM8C.1 of the World Heritage Committee,
6.Taking note of the Bonn Declaration on the World Heritage of 29 June 2015 and the St.Petersburg Declaration on the Protection of Culture in Armed Conflict Zones of 16 December 2015,
7.Noting with appreciati on the efforts of the international community to safeguard and preserve the world’s cultural heritage in danger,
8.Condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria particularly by ISIL (Da’esh) and ANF, whether such destruction is incidental or deliberate, including targeted destruction of religious sites and objects and noting with concern that ISIL (Da’esh), ANF and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, are generating income from engaging directly or indirectly in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites in Iraq and Syria, which is being used to support their recruitment efforts and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks,
9.Welcoming the expulsion of ISIL (Da’esh) from the Site of Palmyra,
10.Paying tribute to cultural heritage experts and professionals at risk,
11.Requests the Director-General to ensure the inclusion of safeguarding and preservation of Palmyra and other damaged World Heritage sites in Syria such as Aleppo in the forthcoming Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy for the reinforcement of UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict;
12.Urges the Director-General to promote broad participation in and coordination of the efforts among States, United Nations and its agencies, as well as other partner organizations, in restoring damaged Syrian World Heritage and other significant sites in accordance with the relevant provisions of international law and when the security situation allows;
13.Calls on Member States to provide voluntary contributions and assistance through UNESCO for as sessing the damage, and restoring and preserving Palmyra monuments and other World Heritage sites of Syria when the security situation allows;
14.Invites the Director-General to send a UNESCO mission of international experts to Palmyra and other damaged significant sites in Syria such as Aleppo when the security situation allows, to be funded by voluntary contributions from Member States and the Emergency Heritage Fund, as appropriate, so as to assess by means of documentation and inventory the extent of damages and to identify urgent needs in terms of conservation, restoration, and safeguarding with a view toward the long-term sustainability and integrity of Palmyra and other significant sites, such as Aleppo, and to ensure the presentation of a preliminary report on the situation at an information meeting of the Executive Board to be convened for this purpose, upon completion of the mission.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.

26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

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