18 Mar 2020 12:00

Kosachyov calls for lifting all sanctions in world due to coronavirus

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) - The threat of a global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and the fall of the oil prices dictates the need to lift all sanctions except for those imposed by the UN, Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

"There is a need for a global agreement on one-time and total lifting of any economic sanctions except for those imposed by the UN Security Council. Such an agreement could be initiated by the BRICS countries, supported by the G20 countries and then certified by the Security Council," Kosachyov said on Facebook.

Coronavirus, the fall of demand for energy and fluctuations of currency exchange rates, besides obvious imminent threats to people's wellbeing and safety, provoke lasting risks of mankind entering a lengthy global recession, he said.

"If one just watches the developments, or just tries to use the situation solely for one's own benefit, there will be a large-scale economic crisis, which will not spare any country," the senator said.

Among the discussed measures, from the development of a vaccine to new agreements on oil, there is an important factor that is disregarded: "artificial obstacles to the competitors' economic development disguised as instruments of political reprisal for improper behavior," Kosachyov said.

"I mean unilateral economic sanctions used bypassing the UN Security Council and against the rules of the WTO. Calls are already being made for a revision of the U.S. sanctions policies on Iran (yesterday's address by Tehran to the UN secretary-general) and the sanctions policies of the EU on Russia (again, yesterday's initiative of the German parliamentarians)," the senator said.

However, he believes it is not enough.

"The current crisis gives a unique chance of breaking the vicious circle, when sanctions are imposed in the hope for their political effectiveness (the opponent will be scared and will reform), then nothing happens except for mutual economic losses, but then sanctions become almost eternal (and maybe they do become eternal, we have not had an opportunity to check that yet) for reasons of political prestige ('we cannot become the first to make concessions')," Kosachyov said.

In the short-term perspective, it is the most prompt and effective response to challenges associated with the pandemic and the associated shocks, and in the long-term perspective it is a responsible and appropriate contribution made by the world leaders to the achievement of the goals of sustainable development declared by the UN, he said.

"But the main thing is that it can be done without looking at previous stories, without looking at politics and without losing face for everyone who got carried away by sanctions. According to specialists' estimations, only 30% of the world economy is now in the green area and 70% is in the sanctions area or in the area of unpredictability and a threat of sanctions risks. Do you imagine what potential can be released?" Kosachyov said.