26 September 2018
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London: 14:11

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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

26.05.2017

Ambassador Yakovenko’s address at the RBCC Business Forum (25 May, “BMA House”, London)

It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of the annual Business Forum held under the auspices of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. Whatever the political situation, the Chamber has always been successful in its mission to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties (“Russo-British Chamber of Commerce” was registered on the 23rd of October, 1916, in London as a joint-stock company with the aim “to promote trade between the British and Russian Empires”).
We are, indeed, going through interesting, stirring times full of challenges and opportunities. General elections will be held in Britain in two-week’s time. You will have a new parliament. Parliamentary elections are due in France and Germany. But key on the agenda for all nations, including Russia and the West, are issues of economic development. Our President has approved the Concept of economic security for the period of up to 2030. It provides for structural reforms and diversification. No doubt, those issues will be in the focus of our electoral campaign next year. People everywhere are concerned over standards of living and economic opportunities.
Today the political relationship between Russia and the UK, to put it mildly, is not at its best. Almost all major bilateral official mechanisms of cooperation have been frozen for the last three years. A proposed visit of British Foreign Secretary to Moscow was “postponed” and then cancelled early this year. Instead, the British side pushed forward an extravagant idea of imposing new sanctions against Russia on Syria at the G-7 ministerial in Lucca and failed.
A few words about Syria. Everyone in Europe is interested in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, not more conflict and confrontation. It should be remembered, that Russia intervened in Syria to prevent collapse of its statehood as a result of utter failure of the policies of the West and its regional allies for five years. We have to fulfill the plan of political settlement adopted by UN Security Council.
Lookindg at Europe and its landscape we see a lot of opportunities. Take Germany for an example of a constructive approach. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently had talks with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Our trade with Germany is up 43 % in January-February this year (33 % - in January-March). Hope the same attitude will ultimately prevail on the part of the British Government.
At the same time, which is noteworthy, businesses of Russia and the UK retain their direct and efficient contacts. In March, the 10th meeting of the Russian-British Joint Liaison Group on establishing the International Financial Centre in Russia took place in Moscow. Next week, the 21st annual International Economic Forum will take place in St.Petersburg, embracing leading British business associations and companies such as “City-UK”, “BP”, “Shell”, “Rolls-Royce”, “AstraZeneca” and others. More than 600 British companies keep on operating in Russia, whereas nearly all leading Russian companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange, and those include “Gazprom”, “Rosneft”, “Sberbank” and about 60 others.
I am pleased to note the recent positive trends in our bilateral trade. In the first quarter it rose by 18 % (against the drop by 8 % last year). In general, we are quite optimistic about the prospects of bilateral economic relations. And recovery of the Russian economy will contribute to this process. According to the IMF forecast, Russian GDP growth rate is to be 1,5 % this year, whereas the Russian Ministry of economic development predicts that this indicator will reach 2,0 %. We have managed to bring the inflation to its historical post-Soviet low of 4 %, which will enable us to set in motion a wide range of our own development instruments.
It is evident nowadays that the negative effect caused by the anti-Russian sanctions has turned out to be short-term and limited. But some countries lost our market in the process. It is enough to cite the fact that Russian energy companies have been successful in terms of replacing cutting-edge Western technologies in the area of production and processing with analogues of our own. Among the sectors, enjoying remarkably dynamic growth, are pharmaceutics and agriculture.
Russia is far from withdrawing into its shell. We are enthusiastic about various projects of multilateral economic cooperation. A vivid example in this connection is our attitude towards the New Silk Road initiative (“One Belt, One Road”), promoted by China. Given its natural compatibility and synergy with the Eurasian Economic Union, we can witness the emergence of a new large-scale economic configuration in Eurasia, with Russia being at the centre of this process. According to my contacts, British businesses consider Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union to be a sort of “door to Asia”, to say nothing of the opportunities, provided by economic and infrastructure projects in Siberia and the Far East of Russia.
The above bilateral cooperation on the creation of International Financial Centre in Moscow proves that efficient interaction in the economic sphere is possible even in the conditions of a political stalemate. The British Government was wise enough not to stand in its way. Let me seize the opportunity to invite British businesses to take part in the “RUSSIA CALLING!” Forum (London session will be held on the 20th-21st of June, 2017).
Unfortunately, besides purely political aspects, there are some other factors, contributing to the negative perception of Russia in the UK and, therefore, damaging the prospects for bilateral trade and economic cooperation. One of the most notorious of them is the so called “fake news” that casts a shade on Russia in various respects and aims at forging a “toxic” image of our country – a phenomenon that we encounter time and again in the British media. I wouldn’t speculate on masterminds and beneficiaries of the “fake news” mill. I’d rather stress that it is businesses that can play a significant role in providing the British society with an objective picture of Russia.
These are dark days marked by the appalling terrorist attack in Manchester. Let me once again express my deepest condolences on behalf of the Russian Federation to the people of the UK. In his letter to PM Theresa May President Vladimir Putin – in line with his previous repeated calls for creating an international united front against terrorism – expressed our willingness to build up counter-terrorism cooperation with the British partners, both on bilateral basis and within the framework of broad international efforts.
Russia is open to renewal of close and constructive dialogue and cooperation with the UK not only in the economic sphere, but also on a number of international issues. We’ll be waiting patiently until our counterparts in London are ready for it.
To conclude, I would like to recall the famous “I have a dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King. Like Dr. King, I have a dream as well. I dream of the time, when shackles impeding our bilateral trade and economic relations are cast off. I dream of the time, when all mechanisms, once devised to promote them, but frozen due to political whims, are restored (such as Russia-UK Strategic Dialogue “2+2”, Joint Steering Committee on Trade and Investment, High-level Energy Dialogue and others). And I also dream of steady increase in the number of members of the RBCC.
I wish the participants of the Forum successful and fruitful work to strengthen bilateral economic ties for the benefit of the peoples of our great nations.

 




LATEST EVENTS

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.


06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.


22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.


16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”


24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.


20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


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.



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