Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Russia to oppose replacement of governments by foreign intervention
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks about the tasks facing the Foreign Ministry in 2013 and the ministry‘s approach to key international problems in an interview given to Interfax in the run-up to the New Year holidays.Russia is determined to oppose attempts to legalize the practice of replacement of governments in various countries by foreign intervention, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Interfax on Thursday.
"Contradictory processes that are unfolding in the world mean that resolute action is needed on our part," Lavrov said.
"We will continue to oppose attempts to legitimize change of regime operations under the flag of ‘responsibility for protection,‘ and to advocate the solution of problems by politico-diplomatic methods with respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all nations," he said.
"This means more complicated and subtle work than brutal military interference, but that alone can ensure long-term conflict settlements and further stable development in conflict-stricken regions of the world," the minister said.
"One can assume confidently that in 2013 the problem of conflict prevention and settlement will remain one of the priorities for the world community," he said.
"We will focus on the situation in the Middle East, in North Africa, on the Korean Peninsula, and in Afghanistan," Lavrov said. "Naturally, we will continue to make active efforts for the political settlement of conflicts in the Commonwealth of Independent States as well, primarily the Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniestrian conflicts."
Lavrov also mentioned that Russia will hold the rotating chairmanship in the Group of 20 (G20) in 2013.
"This mechanism is objectively playing an increasing role today - it is to be the center for crisis management in the financial and economic sphere, a means of putting the global economy on a trajectory of confident, sustained and balanced growth, and a way of reforming the international financial and economic architecture," he said.
Russia will propose that the G20 "give consideration to a set of measures to create new stimuli to investment in real economic sectors and initiatives on modernizing national systems of sovereign borrowings and sovereign debt management," Lavrov said.
"We will continue active work to build a unifying agenda for the transparency and predictability of energy markets, energy efficiency and ‘green growth,‘" he said.
Russia will also be focusing on "problems of support for international development, liberalization of global trade and progress at the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations, and on issues of employment and action against corruption," Lavrov said.
"An important resource for raising the efficiency of our foreign policy is more extensive use of ‘mild force‘ in foreign policy," he said.
Speaking of the Syrian settlement, Lavrov said that chances for a solution to the Syrian problem in line with the Geneva agreements are decreasing, but there still is a chance.
"Given the developments in Syria, chances for such a solution based on the communique issued by the Syria Action Group at its meeting in Geneva on June 30, 2012, are dwindling, but there still is a chance and we should struggle for it," Lavrov said.
"An alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos. The longer it persists and the larger its scale, the worse for everyone," the minister warned.
"The recent contacts in Geneva in a trilateral format - Russia-USA-Arab League/UN special representative Lakhdar Brahimi - showed that there still are opportunities to find common ground on how to ensure the implementation of the Geneva accords, if attempts to rewrite them are dropped," he said.
"We are full of determination to follow this path. It‘s now our partners‘ turn. Although in words they are supporting a political settlement, in reality they are encouraging war until Bashar Assad is deposed," the minister said.
"A double game in the current situation in Syria is extremely dangerous and fraught with the further militarization and deepening of the conflict, the surge of radical moods, terror threats and religious violence," Lavrov said.
A solution on the basis of the Geneva agreements requires "coordinated efforts by all outside parties which should speak with one voice and strive to bring the plenipotentiary representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table".
"It is necessary to stop a fierce armed standoff that claims human lives, inflicts sufferings on the people and threatens to split the Syrian state apart and cause the crisis to spill over to neighboring countries," Lavrov said.
Steps should be made to promote the speedy launch of an inter-Syrian dialogue that would determine parameters of the future changes in the interests of all Syrians, he said.
Lavrov also stressed that the use of force against Iran is fraught with most negative consequences for global security.
"The threat of the use of force against Iran is looming over the negotiating process. It‘s very alarming," he said.
"We are calling on all our partners to act with maximum prudence - threats to use force hamper the achievement of mutually acceptable agreements. A military scenario would have the most negative consequences for regional and global security, all the more so given the current turbulence in the Middle East," the minister said.
At the same time, he noted that the 5P+1 talks, in which the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - and Germany are pressing Iran for proof that its nuclear program is purely civilian, are "so far going hard but [are] undoubtedly promising," .
"Over the past year, it has been possible to find some points of contact and bring our positions closer together somewhat. It‘s a basis on which we should move forward. Meticulous and persistent efforts are needed to obtain positive results," Lavrov said. "We have no evidence that the Iranian leadership has decided to develop a military nuclear program," he said.
"The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] regularly confirms Iran‘s conscientious compliance with the Agreement on Guarantees and the absence of evidence that declared nuclear materials have been used for prohibited purposes. Admittedly, the agency notes that the framework of this agreement prevents it from becoming reliably confident that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran," the minister said.
"Deeper and comprehensive control is needed, and that is what must underlie a settlement," he said.
"At a meeting in Tehran on December 13 between IAEA representatives and the Iranians, progress was achieved to an agreement on modalities of interaction with the aim of eliminating suspicions that there were elements of a military dimension to the Iranian military program in the past," Lavrov said.
"There will be one more meeting in mid-January 2013. We hope that a definitive agreement will be reached during it," he said.
"Our principle is that Iran has an unquestionable right to a civilian nuclear program, including a right to enrichment, after all remaining issues have been clarified and - let me repeat - the entire Iranian nuclear activity has been put under reliable and comprehensive IAEA control," Lavrov said.
"The international community should respond to constructive moves on the part of Iran reciprocally, including by phasing out sanctions, both unilateral and those imposed via the UN Security Council," he said.
Concerning Russia-U.S. relations, Lavrov said Moscow continues to hope that the United States will take a constructive approach to the missile defense issue.
"There are a number of sore points in our relations, missile defense being one of them with no agreement reached thus far," he said.
The deployment of U.S. missile defense components in Eastern Europe threatens to disturb the existing balance of forces the Russia seeks to preserve, the minister said.
"The main thing is that these systems should not weaken Russia‘s deterrence arsenal or disturb the decades-old the balance of forces," he said.
Lavrov reiterated Moscow‘s demand for clear-cut guarantees that the American missile defense system is will not be directed against Russia.
"In order to alleviate Russia‘s concerns, it is necessary to work out reliable guarantees that the systems the United States is creating are not directed against Russia or our nuclear forces," he said.
"We hope the American side will take a constructive approach," he added.
Lavrov also said that Russia will keep an attentive eye on human rights violations against Russians in the United States as well as abuse of Russian children adopted by Americans.
"We will keep a close watch on violations of the rights and interests of our citizens in the United States as well as offenses against little Russians adopted by American families. We will press for adequate punishment for the offenders and draw attention to gross human rights violations inside the United States and to the non-participation of Washington in numerous human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child," the minister said.
Replacing the Jackson-Vanik amendment with the Magnitsky Law was an unfriendly move towards Russia, he said.
"The fact that one anti-Russian law was replaced by another one shows that some American politicians are still living in the distant ‘Cold War‘ past… We have repeatedly warned that this step will damage bilateral relations, that there will be a response, and so it happened," the minister said.
At the same time, he noted that there is every opportunity for boosting political dialogue and practical cooperation between Russia and the United States.
"During their June 18 meeting in Los Cabos [in Mexico], Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama reaffirmed their commitment to stable, mutually profitable and constructive cooperation and voiced readiness to work together towards new achievements".
"As we map out the future of Russian-American ties, we realize that much will depend on how accurately the sides will follow the fixed line and principles in practice," Lavrov said.
"But there doubtless are opportunities for broader political dialogue and practical cooperation in various fields on a constructive and mutually profitable basis. It‘s in our common interests to use them," he stressed.