Posted on October 1, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was one of many from every nation on Earth to speak at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Although of interest to all men and women in the world, people in America are largely ignorant of Russian political views so would become more aware by reading and listening. Sergey Lavrov has never been interviewed or seen on American television. A transcript of his address and video follows.
“Thank you very much Mr. President.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,
There is growing evidence today of a contradiction for collective and purposive efforts in the interest of developing adequate responses to challenges common to all of us, and the aspiration of a number of states for domination and a revival of the archaic block thinking based on military drill discipline and the erroneous logic of friend or foe”.
“The US-led western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights within individual countries acts from a directly opposite position in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principles of sovereign equality of states, and trying to decide for everyone what is good and what is evil”.
“Washington has openly declared its right to the unilateral use of military force anywhere to advance its own interests. Military interference has become a norm, even despite the dismal outcome of all operations of force that the US has carried out over recent years. The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, the attack against Libya, and the failure in Afghanistan”.
“Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts was the aggression against Syria prevented in 2013. There was an involuntary impression that the goal of various color revolutions and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to create chaos and instability. Today, Ukraine has fallen victim to this arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systematic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked on a course towards vertical structuring of humanity, tailored to its own far-from-inoffensive standards”.
“After they declared victory in the Cold War and the so-called End of History, the US and the EU have opted to expand the geopolitical area that is under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all people of Europe. The western partners did not heed our numerous warnings of the inadmissibility of violating the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. Time and again, they have avoided serious joint work to establish a common space of equal and indivisible security and cooperation, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean”.
“The Russian proposal to draft the European Security Treaty was rejected. We were told directly that the legally binding guarantees of security are only meant for the members of the North Atlantic Alliance, and at this time they continue to expand to the East in spite of the promises that were given to the contrary. The instantaneous switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric, to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West’s own interests, and the buildup of military infrastructure on Russia’s borders reveal the inability of the alliance to change its genetic code which it created during the Cold War”.
“The US and the EU supported the coup d’état in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukraine people which had rejected attempts to impose throughout the country an anti-constitutional order and wanted to defend its right to tis native language, culture, and history. It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that helped the population of Crimea to take its destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination”.
“This was an absolutely free choice, no matter what was invented by those who are primarily responsible for the internal conflict in Ukraine. General attempts to distort the truth and hide facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukrainian crisis. Nothing has been done to try to hold to account those responsible for the bloody February events at Maidan, and the massive loss of human life in Odessa, Mariupol, and other regions of Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in Southeastern Ukraine has been deliberately underscored”.
“Recently, new horrifying facts have been brought to light, when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk. Despite UN Security Council Resolution 2166, a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstance of the loss of the Malaysian airliner over the territory of the Ukraine has been drawn out. The perpetrators of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice, otherwise it will be difficult to count on national reconciliation occurring in Ukraine”.
“Russia is sincerely interested in the restoration of peace in this neighboring country, and this should be well understood by all who are slightly acquainted with the history of the deep-rooted and fraternal ties between these two peoples. The way towards political settlement is well known. Last April, Kiev already took upon itself an obligation in the Geneva Declaration of Russia, Ukraine, the US, and EU to immediately begin a broad national dialogue with the participation of all regions and political forces in Ukraine, with a view to carrying out constitutional reform. The implementation of this obligation would allow all Ukrainians to agree on how to live in accordance with their traditions and culture, and would enable Ukraine to restore its organic role as a binding link between the various parts of the European space, which naturally implies the preservation and respect by all of its neutral and non-block status”.
“We are convinced that with goodwill and the refusal to support the party of war in Kiev which is trying to push the Ukrainian people into the abyss of national catastrophe, a way out of the crisis is within our reach. The way to overcome a crisis has been opened with the achievement of the ceasefire agreement in Southeastern Ukraine on the basis of initiatives by Presidents Poroshenko and Putin. With the participation of their representatives of Kiev, Donetsk, Lugansk, as well as the OSCE and Russia, practical measures are being agreed upon for the successive implementation of those agreements, including the separation of the parties to the conflict, the removal of heavy weapons of Ukraine and militia forces, and the setting up of monitoring through the OSCE”.
“Russia is prepared to continue to actively promote the political settlement under the well known Minsk process as well as other formats. However, it should be crystal clear that we are doing this for the sake of peace, tranquility, and the well-being of the Ukrainian people – rather than to appease someone’s ambitions. Attempts to put pressure on Russia and to compel it to abandon its values, truth, and justice have no prospects whatsoever for success”.
“Allow me to recall some history from not so long ago. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933, the US government demanded of Moscow guarantees of non-interference into the domestic affairs of the United States and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing the political or social order in America. At that time, Washington feared a revolutionary virus, and those guarantees were put on record. And this was the basis for, of course, reciprocity between the US and the Soviet Union. Perhaps it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce the demands of that time of the US government – on a universal scale”.
“Why would the General Assembly not adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into the internal affairs of sovereign states and the non-recognition of a coup d’état as the method for the change of power? The time has come to completely exclude from international interactions attempts to exert illegitimate pressure by some states on others. The senselessness and counter-productive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we look at the example of the US blockade on Cuba”.
“The policy of ultimatums and the philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21st century, and run counter to the objective process of developing a polycentric and democratic world order”.
“Russia is promoting a positive and unifying agenda. We always were, and continue to be, open to discussion of the most complex issues no matter how unresolvable they may seem to be in the beginning. We will be prepared to search for compromises and a balance of interests, and even to exchange concessions, but only if the discussion will be truly respectful and equitable. The Minsk agreements of 5 and 19 September, on the way out of the Ukrainian crisis, and the compromise on the timeline of the agreement between Kiev and the EU are good examples to follow as is the declaration, finally, of the readiness of Brussels to begin negotiations on the establishment of a free-trade agreement between the European Union and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan as had been proposed by President Putin back in January of this year”.
“Russia has consistently called for the harmonization of integration projects in Europe and Eurasia. The political on political benchmarks and timelines of such a convergence of integrations would make a real contribution to the work of the OSCE on the topic of Helsinki Plus 40”.
“Another crucial area of this work would be to launch a pragmatic discussion, free from ideology, about the political and military architecture of the Euro-Atlantic region, so that not only members of NATO but all countries of the region including Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia would experience equal and indivisible security, and would not have to make a false choice of ‘either with us, or against us’. New dividing lines in Europe must not be allowed, even more so because in the era of globalization those lines can turn into a watershed divide between the West and the rest of the world”.
“It should be stated honestly that no one has a monopoly on truth and no one is now capable of tailoring global and regional processes to their own needs. There is no alternative today to the development of consensus regarding the rules of sustainable governance and new historical circumstances with full respect of the cultural and civilizational diversity of the world, and a multiplicity of models of development. It will be a difficult and perhaps a tiresome task to achieve such a consensus on every issue, but the recognition of the fact that democracy in every state is the worst form of government except for all the others also took time to break its way through, until Churchill proclaimed his verdict”.
“The time has come to realize the inevitability of this fundamental truth in international affairs, where today there is a huge deficit of democracy. Of course, some will have to shatter centuries-old ideas and abandon claims to eternal uniqueness, but there is no other way forward. Joint efforts can only be built on the principle of mutual respect and taking into account one another’s interests, as is the case for example in the framers of the United Nations Security Council, the G20, BRICS, and the SCO”.
“The theory of the value of collective work has been reaffirmed by practice, and this includes progress in the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the successful conclusion of the chemical demilitarization of Syria. On the point, speaking of chemical weapons, we would like to receive authentic information on the state of the chemical arsenals in Libya. We understand that our NATO colleagues, having bombed this country in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, would not like to stir up the mayhem that they have created. However, the problem of uncontrolled Libyan chemical arsenals is too serious to turn a blind eye to”.
“We think that the UN Secretary General has an obligation to show proof of his responsibility on this issue as well. What is important at this point is to see the global priorities and to avoid holding them hostage to a unilateral agenda. There is an urgent need to refrain from double standards and approaches to conflict settlement. Generally, everyone agrees that the key issue is to resolutely counter terrorists who are attempting to bring under their control increasingly broader territories in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the Sahara-Sahel area”.
“That being the case, this task should not be sacrificed to ideological schemes or the desire to settle personal scores. Terrorists, no matter what slogans they hide behind, should remain outside the law. Moreover, it goes without saying that the fight against terrorism should rely on a solid foundation of international law. An important phase in this matter was the unanimous adoption by a number of UN security resolutions, including those on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, and, to the contrary, attempts to contravene the charter of our organization do not contribute to the success of joint efforts”.
“The struggle against terrorists on the territory of Syria should be organized in cooperation with the Syrian government, which has clearly stated its readiness to join it. Damascus has already shown its capability of cooperating with international programs when it participated in the destruction of its chemical arsenals. From the very beginning of the Arab Spring, Russia called for it not to be left to extremists and for the establishment of a united front to counter the growing terrorist threat. We went against the temptation to make allies of almost anyone who proclaimed himself an enemy of Bashar Al Assad, whether it be Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, or other fellow travelers seeking regime change, including ISIL, which today is the focus of our attention”.
“As the saying goes, better late than never. It is not for the first time that Russia is making a very real contribution to the fight against both ISIL and other terrorist factions in the region. We have sent large supplies of weapons and military equipment to the governments of Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and we will continue to support their efforts to suppress terrorists. The terrorist threat requires a comprehensive approach; we want to eradicate its root cause rather than be condemned to react only to the symptoms. ISIL is only part of the problem”.
“We propose to launch, under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council, an in-depth and broad study on extremist and terrorist threats and aspects of their threat in the Middle East and North African region”.
“This integrated approach implies also the long-standing conflict should be considered primarily between the Arabs and Israel. The absence of a settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue over several decades remains and is widely recognized one of the main factors of instability in the region which is helping the extremists to recruit more and more jihadists”.
“Another literally urgent area of our common work together is the joining of our efforts to implement decisions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council to combat the Ebola virus. Our doctors are already working in Africa. There are plans to send additional humanitarian assistance, equipment, medical instruments, medicines, and teams of experts to assist the UN programs in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The United Nations was established on the ruins of World War II, and it is entering the year of its 70th anniversary. It is an obligation for us all to celebrate in an appropriate manner the anniversary of the great victory, and to give tribute to the memory of all who perished for freedom and the right of each people to determine its own destiny”.
“The lessons of that terrible war, and the entire course of events in today’s world, require us to join efforts and forget about unilateral interests and national election cycles. When it comes to countering global threats to all humanity, it should not be allowed for national egoism to prevail over collective responsibility”.