Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly
Distinguished Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen,
For over a year and a half the situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been a nerve knot of the global politics. The deep changes that have swept over the region, intertwine with the key problems of the modern international relations and require everyone to use a comprehensive approach, to reject simplified and ideology-driven patterns and double standards.
Of particular concern is
the deepening of internal conflict in
We call upon all members
of the Action Group to fully confirm the commitments that all of us have taken
The transformations in the
I also wish to stress that
it is important to implement the decision on convening in 2012 the Conference
on establishing in the
On the whole, we support closer ties between the UN and regional entities. I would note that in our part of the world today a memorandum on cooperation was signed between the CSTO Secretariat and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. I am convinced that this will increase the efficiency of common efforts to ensure stability and security.
All our actions should rely on a solid basis of the UN Charter, where nothing provides for the right to change regimes. It is unacceptable to impose a political system of a country on its people. This was clearly stated by President Vladimir Putin speaking at the Kremlin on 26 September.
All the sequence of events in the Arab world and in other regions testifies the futility of such a policy that can lead to dangerous accumulation of interethnic and inter-religious clashes in international relations. We believe it is an obligation of all States to protect from provocations and blasphemy the religious feelings of people of any religious affiliation. At the same time, of course, there can be no justification to the acts of terror, regardless of where they are committed – be it in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen or anywhere else. Attacks against diplomats or UN personnel are absolutely unacceptable.
In general, we are convinced that today when the world lives through a transition period that is characterized by instability in the spheres of economy, politics or inter-civilizational relations, it is particularly important for the UN member States to be able to rely on accepted rules of conduct, and to agree on a joint response to the threats to global stability. We should not allow irresponsible actions dictated by expedient interests to shatter the system of international law. The world order is threatened by arbitrary interpretation of such essential principles as non-use or threat of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in their domestic affairs.
These are the key principles of the UN Charter, which confers the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security on the Security Council. In advancing the reform of the United Nations, it is necessary to preserve the capacity of the Security Council to perform these functions. Their erosion would deprive the international community of an essential mechanism for elaboration of joint approaches to the settlement of crisis situations.
It is also appropriate to mention the compulsory instruments at the disposal of the United Nations. Imposition of sanctions under the UN Charter is attributed to the competence of the Security Council. Decisions must be made on a collegial basis with the understanding that sanctions should not lead to isolation of that or another State, but rather encourage it to engage in a dialogue in order to remove questions that the UN member States may have. It is essential that the sanctions should be well-measured, and they should not cause any suffering to the population. In the past the UN Security Council discussed the issue of humanitarian limits of sanctions, but somehow the discussions faded away. We believe it is important to resume them.
There is another issue to be discussed in the Security Council – consequences of unilateral sanctions imposed by a State or a group of States sidestepping the United Nations to advance their political goals. We have no doubt that such sanctions, especially when they are applied ex-territorially, weaken the unity of the international community and undermine the effectiveness of its efforts.
For many years, the trade
and economic, and financial restrictions imposed by the
Special attention should be given to practical enforcement of the Security Council’s decisions on sanctions against non-State actors and illegal trans-border formations.
In general, the events of the recent years have clearly shown that unilateral actions that violate international law and go beyond the decisions of the UN Security Council or distort the substance of these decisions do not do any good.
No doubt, the legal norms in international affairs will be further adjusted as necessary. But these transformations should be treated with utmost responsibility and full realization of serious risks associated with them. Only consensus can be the criterion for their adoption. Violations of international law should not be portrayed as their “creative development”.
All of the above has also
to do with the debate regarding the concept of “responsibility to protect”. Its
further discussion should be held on the basis of the approaches agreed upon at
the UN Summit in 2005 that reaffirmed the need to observe the principles of the
UN Charter with regard to response to intra-State conflicts. Protection of civilians
is an issue, which is too serious to be exploited for achieving political
goals. The ambiguity of the “responsibility to protect” concept can be better
understood in light of initiatives formulated by
Let us not forget that the UN founding fathers in their wisdom agreed upon and endorsed the United Nations Charter that enshrined the principles for regulation of the multi-polar world order. Now, when the abnormal bipolar period of the Cold War is over, and when it has become obvious for everyone that there is no place for unipolarity in the modern world, and that the international reality can be only polycentric, we have a unique chance to fully implement the original potential of the UN Charter.
This is a hard challenge. International relations are clearly experiencing a lack of credibility. We regard this as the main obstacle to practical progress towards the establishment of universal foundations of equal and indivisible security – be it in the Euro-Atlantic area, the Asia-Pacific region or other parts of the world. Such a state of affairs clearly contradicts the concept of collective security embodied in the UN Charter, and the deep interdependence of the modern world where the majority of challenges and threats are common for all and have a cross-border dimension.
confidence and collective principles in the international life with the
emphasis on negotiating pursuit for compromise solutions would help substantially
reduce the level of instability and move forward in the settlement of crisis
situations not only in the Middle East, but also around
The final goal of the efforts to settle a conflict is to ensure the right to life and other fundamental human rights: political, economic and social. The events of the recent years confirm that without lasting peace and sustainable development, it is impossible to ensure human rights. In its turn, the protection of human rights should contribute to security and development of people rather than serve as a pretext for illegal interference in the domestic affairs of States.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to an international order in which their rights can be fully realized. Those who use military force and sanctions bypassing the UN Charter or engage in illicit supplies of arms, or whitewash terrorists grossly violate this right, enshrined in the aforementioned Universal Declaration.
In the recent years these values have been undergoing trials caused by manifestations of immorality, extremism and racial intolerance. Another matter of concern is the even more assertive actions of those who claiming the freedom of speech connive the glorification of Nazis and their accomplices, and desecrate the memory of the victims of the World War II and the victors of Fascism. Such actions are incompatible with the obligations under the UN Charter.
Let me recall that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights directly prohibits the propaganda of war and incitement of national and religious discord. This means that the freedom of speech and assembly cannot be used as justification for propaganda of Nazi or other radical or extremist views, as well as for abuses of any religious convictions in violation of basic principles and norms of international law.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed Russia-proposed resolution on interrelation of human rights and traditional values. It is regrettable that a number of Western States voted against this document, which is especially relevant today.
The progress towards a true partnership in international relations is possible only on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The course of events in the world leaves no alternative to anyone but to join efforts in order to build a stable, equitable and democratic international system. It would be possible to resist this objective trend and perhaps try to preserve the old order for a while. But such resistance will cost new lives, suffering and destruction. Let us display our vision and instead of looking back at the history of previous centuries, take the side of the history that is unfolding before us now and requires a lot of collective statesmanship.
Thank you for your attention.