martes, 21 de marzo de 2017

Lavrov: Acostúmbrense a la multipolaridad del mundo

Como ningún medio de la prensa corporativa de Occidente lo va a hacer, acercamos a los lectores de Astroboy recientes declaraciones del ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de la Federación Rusa, Sergei Lavrov, con motivo de una reunión, celebrada la semana pasada, con su par alemán. La declaración completa aparece en el sitio web Nosotros nos concentramos en la segunda mitad de la declaración, en la que el ministro ruso responde una serie de preguntas:

Título: Lavrov: get used to the multi-polarity of the world

Epígrafe: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint press conference following a meeting with Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Sigmar Gabriel, Moscow, March 9, 2017


Question: How do you interpret the negative rhetoric about Russia coming from European capitals? Is this some kind of misunderstanding for you? How do you explain the growing negative perception of Russia in the world?

Sergey Lavrov: President Putin has on many occasions talked about the reasons for the rise in negative attitudes toward Russia in Western media. I also touched on this topic, including at the recently held Munich Security Conference. In short, it must have been accumulating for a while now, since the early 2000s when our Western partners began to realise that Russia will not blindly toe their line, and that Russia has its own, I underscore this, legitimate interests in the international arena, and that Russia is interested in finding a balance of interests, rather than joining the ranks behind our Western colleagues. It must have seemed strange already at that stage. In the 1990s, everyone witnessed Russia’s propensity, with rare exceptions, to listen to the West on virtually all international matters, and started thinking that such an order had been established forever and would mark the end of history mentioned by Francis Fukuyama. The end of history failed to materialize. The world is objectively becoming “post-Western.” There was no modernism and it is unlikely there ever will be. It is time to get used to the multipolarity of the world and the fact that the leading players must understand and act on their collective responsibility for peace and stability.

All these past 15 years we have been promoting the ideas promulgated in the 1990s on the wave of civilisational unity, which translated into the adoption of documents within the OSCE and Russia-NATO Council about the commitment of all Euro-Atlantic countries to equal and indivisible security. When NATO continued to expand and the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty, we drew our Western colleagues’ attention to the fact that these processes affect our security, and we would like to begin a discussion of what can be done in practice to ensure the political commitment we all have adopted, which was not to strengthen one’s own security at the expense of the security of others. We received a simple answer that all of this is not directed against us. NATO is not expanding against Russia, and the global US missile defence system is not directed against Moscow. Later, in 2008 in Bucharest, NATO leaders adopted a notorious decision at their summit to the effect that Georgia and Ukraine will join NATO. A couple of months later, then president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili launched an attack on his own people in South Ossetia and the OSCE peacekeepers stationed there. You know how it ended.

The radical nationalist segment of the Ukrainian elite lost common sense a little later, in February 2014, when a message that Ukraine will join NATO, and therefore can do as they please, resulted in a coup the day after an agreement was reached between the legitimately elected and generally recognised President of Ukraine and the opposition leaders. This agreement was witnessed by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France. When this coup shattered all the  agreements, and the main goal in Ukraine became to abolish the Russian language and to make all Ukrainians think “in Western Ukrainian terms,” neither Germany, nor France, nor Poland called out Ukraine, let alone called on the coup perpetrators to re-establish order and return to the positions so painstakingly agreed with the help of Paris, Berlin and Warsaw.

It was also a signal that we can still feel today. We made everything in our power. President Vladimir Putin personally made great efforts to ensure that the Minsk talks, which lasted for almost 24 hours, led to compromise agreements that would be implemented without fail. Nevertheless, our Western colleagues say they will not lift their sanctions (we are not even asking for that) until Russia implements the Minsk Agreements.

True, yesterday, a US State Department spokesman said at a briefing that the Minsk Agreements should be implemented by all parties. I believe that this is great progress. He added, “including Russia”, but I believe this was through inertia. They must be implemented primarily by the opposing sides: Donbass and the Ukrainian government.

We are responding to being encircled by NATO arms and troops. The recent events, which are unfolding in keeping with the NATO Warsaw Summit, involve the deployment of ground forces from NATO countries (incidentally, including Germany) near our borders. When we call for returning to the logic of OSCE and Russia-NATO Council (RNC) summits, which posits that no one party will strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others, they tell us that this is a political slogan and it makes no sense to enshrine it in law, let alone discuss it at the practical level. So, what do you expect us to do? Do you expect us to say we are sorry and plead guilty? Our approach to this situation is somewhat different.
We have never been short on initiatives, including the idea of European security treaty, a draft of which we submitted several years ago. Our Western partners simply refused to discuss it, saying that the political slogan about equal security remains a political slogan, while legal security guarantees could only be provided by NATO only! How do you like that? Is this not a violation of all the obligations accepted since the Cold War? Essentially, this is preserving the dividing lines, which everyone vowed and pledged to obliterate, and bringing them close to Russia.

With regard to Germany, we should bear in mind that in a recent interview, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Russia is not interested in a stable Europe. There are two amusing points about that: First, it completely ignores everything that we have proposed in keeping with the concept of equal and undivided security, and second, it turns out that Russia is not part of Europe. I leave these evaluations on Ms von der Leyen’s conscience.

Regarding what needs to be done, I completely agree with Mr Gabriel. We should talk to each other and try to understand each other’s real, not fictional concerns. It is unacceptable to bang the door shut, as was the case following Georgia’s aggression in the Caucasus in 2008, when our NATO partners refused to continue working at the RNC. The same mistake was repeated after the coup in Ukraine. It was not until a couple of years later that they began suggesting that the RNC should resume its work. We agreed. Three meetings at the ambassadorial level have already taken place. However, if every time our NATO partners tell us that they are ready to meet at the RNC only to discuss Ukraine, that is the continuation of the same paranoid and aggressive policy. NATO has absolutely nothing to do with the efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in Ukraine. If their idea is to use the RNC to provoke a new round of confrontation, then we do not want to play these games. If, however, this is about substantive issues, such as safety in the airspace over the Baltic Sea or the Baltic region in general, last summer, in response to repeated calls from our Western colleagues, our military put forward concrete proposals aimed at ensuring that security. They contained initiatives on transponders and other confidence building measures. Those who urged us to take steps to ensure security in the Baltic region fell silent. We are still trying to receive a concrete response to these proposals.

If we discuss Ukraine everywhere (and we know NATO’s approach towards it), that would probably not bring us any closer to the goal that Mr Gabriel has just mentioned: Understanding each other better and looking for a balance of interests. We are absolutely ready for a balance of interests and hope the assurances that our Western partners periodically make regarding their interest in normalising relations will be followed up in practice, based on mutual respect and the desire to achieve this balance of interests.

Sergey Lavrov (adding after Sigmar Gabriel): We are discussing this. I was not referring to the geographical but to the historical west. To give you a rough idea, Western Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada comprise the historical west, which set the tune in international affairs for several centuries. The situation has changed with new centres of power coming to the fore. I am acting on the assumption that human rights and democracy are universal principles that have been sealed primarily in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted at the UN in 1948. A look at the values that are being advocated by our Western partners shows that many of them are not acceptable to other civilisations, to those who respect the values of the global religions. This is why we need to specify the term “western.”

As for the events in Tahrir Square, the protesters could rally in support of Western values but it was the Muslim Brotherhood that came to power as a result.

Question: What role could the new US administration play in eastern Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Sigmar Gabriel): We understand how the system of authority works in the United States, when a great many officials are approved for new positions, after the elections, at Senate hearings. This takes time. Few new appointments have been made at the political level in the US Department of State, apart from the Secretary of State and his first deputy. Many vacancies are yet to be filled. This is hindering active cooperation with our US partners, although there is hardly any conflict that can be settled without US assistance. This is all concerning Ukraine and our relations with Washington.

In the past three years since the adoption of the Minsk Agreements, we established a channel for consultations with the United States, in addition to the Normandy format, regardless of the fact that we may disagree on some issues. I can tell you that these consultations proceeded in the same spirit as our work in the Normandy format and were aimed at promoting the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. I am convinced that a US contribution, in whatever form, towards encouraging the implementation of the Minsk Agreements would be very useful.

Question: What can you tell us about Mr Gabriel’s critical remarks regarding Russian troops on your western border, which he described as “disproportionate”?

Sergey Lavrov: We have different data regarding the allegedly “disproportionate” military build-up in our western regions. Instead of just repeating unsubstantiated allegations about Russia building up forces for a military campaign against the West, which our Ukrainian colleagues are ready to repeat around the clock, we should be discussing the initiative we advanced long ago. The Russia-NATO Council should not discuss yet again some pro-Ukrainian statements in support of the coup in Kiev, but do what it was created to do, that is, look at the security situation in the Euro-Atlantic region. To be able to do this, everyone should show their cards and analyse the deployment of forces by all parties, and then compare the number and the scripts of military exercises.

I see the first signs of common sense in the exchange of information about military drills launched between Russia and its allies on the one hand, and the NATO countries on the other hand. This is a useful process, but to be able to talk about our future plans – unless someone wants to continue accusing Russia instead of normalising the situation – we need to sit down and let our militaries determine which forces are deployed in Europe and where. I think this would settle all the questions.

Question: Do you think the current Foreign Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, will carry on the policies of his predecessor, or that relations with Russia will deteriorate?

Sergey Lavrov: I can see that there is continuity in our relations with leaders of German diplomacy. I hope it will be maintained and strengthened.

Question: Can you comment on the continued allegations advanced by Germany, primarily the German media, regarding Russia’s influence on the election process in Germany and the creation of fake news?

Sigmar Gabriel: The German media are only responsible for themselves. This is the difference between Germany and other countries. The federal government of Germany is not advancing these accusations, and I can only speak on behalf of the German government.

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Sigmar Gabriel): I believe this is perfectly correct.

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