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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

27.09.2018

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President,

Colleagues,

In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda.

I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.

Like fifty years ago, when the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was opened for signature, our country remains committed to the goal of ridding the world of the nuclear threat. This requires careful consideration of all factors that affect strategic stability and all countries with nuclear capability must take part in the negotiations. The ambitions of certain countries to ban nuclear weapons in isolation from the fundamental principles of the NPT will not be successful and will only create ambiguity in further approaches to non-proliferation.

Speaking about the NPT, I cannot omit to mention Resolution 2231, with which the UNSC approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. Unilateral withdrawal from this plan by the United States poses a serious threat to the non-proliferation regime. That is especially true because, as many before me stressed, Teheran is diligently complying with its obligations under the JCPOA, which is confirmed by the IAEA on a regular basis.

Russia believes that it is essential to preserve the JCPOA and we are currently working on this together with Iran, China and the European Union. Otherwise we may have to face growing tensions across the Middle East, which poses risks to regional stability and the non-proliferation regime.

Breakdown of the JCPOA would also be counterproductive for the current denuclearisation efforts on the Korean Peninsula, which we welcome and strongly support.

Other serious obstacles remain on the way to nuclear non-proliferation, by which I mean the US decision to postpone the CTBT's ratification indefinitely – perhaps forever – and the lack of progress in implementing the decisions of the NPT parties to establish a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East.

There are alarming trends in chemical disarmament, primarily due to the actions of a number of Western countries that are making new unproven chemical attack accusations against the Syrian authorities. We caution against new attacks on the territory of Syria under another staged pretext. That would be a gross violation of the UN Charter and would undermine the efforts to promote a political settlement in that long-suffering country.

The Syrian Government has destroyed its entire arsenal of chemical weapons in accordance with the Russian-US agreement of 2013, which is enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution and the OPCW's decisions. But terrorist groups still have chemical warfare agents. Terrorists know how to synthesise them and are setting up production labs. Intelligence agencies have long been warning about this, including US intelligence.

Russia has repeatedly proposed devising a comprehensive strategy to combat chemical terrorism. In 2017, the UN Security Council introduced a Russian-Chinese draft of a relevant resolution. It was not our fault that it was not even considered. On a broader scale, we submitted a draft Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism as early as March 2016, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Unfortunately, the work on these documents was artificially blocked – you all probably know by which countries. Nevertheless, our proposals still remain in force.

Meanwhile, the situation in the OPCW is deteriorating, with our Western colleagues attempting to impose on its Technical Secretariat far-fetched attributive functions, grossly violating the CWC and infringing on the competency of the UN Security Council.

At the same time, the groundless highly-likely-style Salisbury affair rhetoric is gaining traction. At the same time, the United Kingdom is stubbornly evading our repeated proposals of conducting a joint investigation, although this is part of its commitments under the CWC, the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the 1965 Bilateral Consular Convention and the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959. So we wonder, if they do not want to cooperate, does it mean there is something to hide? Once again we urge London to establish a constructive dialogue with a view to establishing the truth.

The way events are unfolding suggests that nothing can be ruled out now – including provocations using biological weapons. Amid the attempts to manipulate the CWC status, I would like to caution against the temptation to use the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention for the same purposes. As a reminder, according to the convention, the right to initiate and conduct investigations belongs exclusively to the UN Security Council. No surrogates are provided for and therefore cannot be used.

I would like to remind you, incidentally, that we have repeatedly suggested making an arrangement for verifying BTWC compliance of all the parties. However, the United States rigidly blocked this proposal and eventually buried it.

This desire to keep their hands free is manifested in the demands that the BTWC regime is subjected to additional tests in connection with the buildup of military medical and biological activities, including in the post-Soviet space. We call for the renunciation of militarisation of healthcare.

Russia has consistently advocated the strengthening of the BTWC. We are implementing initiatives for this purpose, including mobile anti-epidemic teams for rapid response to biological emergencies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr President,

Dialogue between Russia and the United States, the two largest nuclear powers, is of special importance for strengthening the WMD nonproliferation regime. It was our two states that were at the cradle of the common framework for multilateral cooperation to stop WMD from falling into the hands of non-state actors and to combat acts of nuclear terrorism.

We still consider this interaction to be of fundamental importance not only for Moscow and Washington, but for the entire international community. We do not want this cooperation to be sacrificed to short-term projects and opportunistic considerations.

On a solid foundation of the UN Charter, Russia is always open to honest cooperation between the five nuclear powers and with all other countries in the interests of strengthening global strategic stability. We hope that today's meeting of the UN Security Council, the key body for maintaining international peace and security, will help take a step in this direction. In this connection, we consider US President Donald Trump’s initiative to convene this meeting very timely.

Thank you.




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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