The equal, indivisible and guaranteed security of all states should become a real thing instead of being just an attractive motto, Russia’s foreign minister told a PACE plenary session.
Security in all its forms was the dominant topic of Sergey Lavrov’s Thursday address.
“Instead of the negative and relative stability of Cold War times, we all need positive stability based on collective interaction,” he said, adding that “an indifferently correct neighborhood is impossible on our continent.”
“The principle of indivisibility of European security should be legally binding,” Lavrov stressed, adding that “relations between the US, Europe and Russia need a qualitatively new interaction that could help solve common and global challenges.”
Although questions of national security are beyond the scope of the Council of Europe, it could become a humanitarian pillar for the new architecture of European security, said Lavrov.
“Due to globalization and new challenges, the concept of security underwent fundamental transformation," he explained. "Nowadays it’s not about creating coalitions against enemy states. We are dealing now with trans-border phenomena and we can counter them only by collective efforts by all states, with the broadest cooperation possible, in order to ensure the security of the individual.”
Lavrov also said he believes it’s “symbolic that the PACE session was gathering ahead of the jubilee of one of the greatest events in the history of the 20th century that determined the fate and the face of modern Europe and the entire world, the 65th anniversary of the victory over Nazism."
The foreign minister explained that the catastrophe of World War II has become a powerful catalyst that has helped Europeans to understand that “there is a need to build a common home, where human rights would be protected, democracy would be strong, the supremacy of law would be guaranteed and social problems would be solved.”
He stressed that “Russia strongly opposes the rewriting of the history of World War II in attempts to fight Stalinism.”
“Our duty is to tell young Europeans the truth about World War II,” Lavrov said, proposing that guided remembrance tours be set up around Europe.
Answering questions after his speech, the Russian foreign minister also spoke about some other issues tied to global security, among them the Iranian nuclear problem, the prospects of a joint AMD system for Russia, Europe and US, and the situation in the Caucasus region.
Lavrov said that Russia is disappointed by how Iran is reacting to the proposals made by the international community regarding the settlement of its nuclear issue.
Iran getting possession of nuclear weapons is unacceptable for Russia, the foreign minister said.
“We reject all violations of the non-proliferation regime and we reject, of course, the prospect of Iran or any other state getting possession of nuclear weapons.”
He stressed however that calls for the use of force against the Islamic Republic are unacceptable.
Everyone should understand what disastrous impact it will have for the region. The wave of negative consequences will reach Europe, not to mention the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Lavrov said that Moscow realizes Iran is a “difficult partner” but at the same time he noted that persuading those who disagree with you is what diplomacy is all about.
According to the Russian foreign minister, the 3+3 Group “creates conditions and positive incentives for Iran to sit down at the negotiation table and simultaneously uses the UN Security Council to support the claims voiced against Iran by the IAEA, calling on it to resolve issues that have still not been resolved.”
Lavrov also warned that “in the absence of cooperation on the part of Iran, sanctions could become inevitable. The UN Security Council will discuss this issue in the near future.”
Speaking on the prospects of creating a joint AMD system, Lavrov denounced US attempts to conduct the US-Russia dialogue on the analysis of common threats simultaneously with the AMD agreements with European countries.
“The discussions between Russia and the United States over the joint analysis of threats are proceeding alongside the transformation of the system [of the US missile defense] into specific agreements between the United States and some European countries. We see a certain discrepancy in this and wish to organize joint work after all.”
Lavrov reminded that last year the two countries’ presidents agreed to create a special group within the US-Russian bilateral commission, which would assess common threats, including the missile ones. However, Barack Obama’s administration has signed a number of independent agreements with European countries, which hampers the work of this group.
“The US is now building in Europe what it wants to build. NATO is waiting until the US AMD plans in Europe clarify, after which they will match it. Only after that, as far as I understand, will NATO take Russia into consideration,” Lavrov said, before adding, “We don’t give up hope, and will try to make up a new project hand in hand with the US, NATO and our European partners – but these two processes are parallel and do not intercross.”
The situation in the Caucasus region – which is the issue of continues debates for Russia and the Council of Europe – was repeatedly mentioned at plenary session.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia will not implement the resolution, adopted by PACE after the war in South Ossetia in 2008.
“We can’t implement resolutions which have been dictated by politicized reasons,” he added.
PACE has adopted several resolutions demanding that Moscow take back its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Lavrov noted that in 2008, during meetings before the war between Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, the Russian side refused to recognize the independence of these republics, although it felt some pressure as the independence of Kosovo had been already recognized.
As a result, the decision was to sign a document on the non-use of force. Russia introduced the draft, but Georgia sent ten preconditions to the Russian side, among them the withdrawal of peacekeepers from the disputed territories and the recall of South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoyty.
Russia answered that the first step needed was to sign the treaty on the non-use of force. As the Russian foreign minister said, “you know what was next.”
After the conflict in South Ossetia, the Georgian president refused to discuss the status of the republics, Lavrov said it means that “the war in [Saakashvili’s] head is not finished yet.”
“When we responded to the attacks on our peacekeepers and civilians of Tskhinval and other villages, we had no geopolitical intentions. We were saving people,” Lavrov stressed.
“There [in Georgia] these minorities are afraid to address their complaints to the PACE, as Georgia can pull the plug on them. But they have a lot of problems,” he added.
According to the Russian foreign minister, Saakashvili “genetically has an imperial attitude toward minorities” who are living on the territory of his country, and that’s what he demonstrated in August 2008.
“We respect Georgian people. I’m convinced, that there would be a day, when Georgia would have a leader, who would be elected by people and who would make the interests of his people the cornerstone of his government. And leading among these interests is an ability to live in peace and respect the neighbors,” he concluded.
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