Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s greetings at a gala meeting on Diplomats’ Day, Moscow, February 8, 2019
Allow me to declare this gala meeting on Diplomats’ Day open. (The anthem of the Russian Federation is played)
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Every year when we gather in this hall we recall the veterans and other our comrades that have passed away in the last 12 months. This past year was no exception. Let us honour their memory with a minute of silence.
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Colleagues and friends,
I am pleased to see many familiar faces in this hall – our veterans and colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Executive Office, the Security Council, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, ministries and departments. We are sincerely grateful to you for your support and cooperation, and for a professional solidarity that helps us successfully fulfil the responsible instructions of the country’s leaders.
First of all, I would like to read a message of greetings from President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
Message of greetings by
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
Staff and veterans of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
Please accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of your professional day, Diplomats’ Day.
The foreign policy service of our country is proud of its rich history and glorious traditions, as it should be. Russian diplomats of many generations have served the Motherland with honour and have remained faithful to their professional duty.
Today, our diplomacy is making a significant contribution to strengthening peace, resolving important regional and global issues, and promoting cooperation with our foreign partners.
In today’s challenging circumstances, when international security and the rule of law are subjected to serious tests, you, the diplomats, face important and major tasks. In particular, it is imperative to enthusiastically uphold the basic principles of international law and the universal role of the UN and to strive to rally the international community in fighting the terrorist threat. Maintaining strategic stability needs much attention, especially now that the arms control and non-proliferation regime has been challenged.
Much remains to be done to further advance the peace process in Syria, as well as to find solution to other crises by political and diplomatic means.
Of course, efforts should be stepped up to promote Eurasian integration processes and to expand the external relations of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with an eye to forming Greater Eurasian Partnership.
I am confident that the staff of the Foreign Ministry’s central office and overseas missions will continue to work proactively, with full dedication and creativity in the interest of ensuring Russia’s dynamic development and further strengthening of its standing and influence on the international stage.
I sincerely wish you every success in your work. I wish good health and all the best to our esteemed veterans who have dedicated their lives to serving the Fatherland in the diplomatic field.
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We have also received several other greetings. In his message, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted the contribution of domestic diplomacy to promoting national interests in the international arena. Messages of greetings have been sent from speakers of the Federation Council and the State Duma, heads of parliamentary committees, executive government bodies, regions of the Russian Federation and the business community.
The high appreciation of the ministry’s work is borne out by the fact that in the past year alone 67 of our colleagues have received state awards, certificates of merit or thank-you letters from the President. We have recently done much to enhance the social protection of our employees and veterans. We are well aware of the outstanding problems in the pension system and measures to improve medical and health resort treatment. We will persistently work to resolve these and other problems.
This attention to our activities enhances our commitments to ensuring favourable external conditions for Russia’s sustainable development, the consolidation of its scientific and technical potential and upgrading the living standards of our citizens.
We realise that we have to resolve these tasks in conditions where the world situation continues to degrade. We are seeing persistent efforts to break the system of international security, the foundations of which were based on the results of World War II and recorded in the UN Charter. Key strategic stability agreements – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme and the INF Treaty are falling apart.
Threats and pressure, disinformation and crude methods of dishonest competition in diverse areas – from the economy to sports – are being used. This often amounts to brazen interference in domestic affairs. The developments in Venezuela are a graphic example and far from the only one. Stubborn attempts are being made to replace international law with some “order based on rules.” These rules are invented based on the principle of political expediency and are being used to justify aggressive actions against those that cherish their sovereignty, try to pursue independent foreign policy and uphold collective ways of resolving international issues based on consensus and a balance of interests.
Russia is one of the main obstacles in the way of world hegemony of a small US-led group of Western states. This explains why we are subjected to verbal attacks and unfriendly actions and a desire to impede our domestic progress and push us to the outskirts of world policy.
This is not the first time that the West has become obsessed with the syndrome of its superiority and anything-goes policy. However, it is worth remembering the lessons of history. There should be no doubt. Attempts to dictate foreign policy decisions to Moscow are doomed to failure. As Yevgeny Primakov noted in October 2014, “Russia has positioned itself as a country that is defending its national interests in a multi-polar world. The United States and its European allies do not like this but such is the objective course of history.”
Our confidence is enhanced by the fact that our views on building inter-state communication based on international law and the UN Charter, the principles of mutual respect and consideration for each other’s interests are shared by the overwhelming majority of the members of the international community that are tired of zero-sum games, sanctions and blackmail, and like us, are interested in improving the situation and promoting large-scale and equitable international cooperation.
In consistently implementing the multi-vector foreign policy course approved by President Vladimir Putin, Russian diplomacy is working hard in all areas. Our priorities include the consolidation of neighbourly relations along the entire perimeter of our borders, and promotion of the idea of broad Eurasian integration with the participation of the Asian and European countries. We are productively working in key global organisations, primarily the UN and the G20. We are enhancing cooperation in various formats with our allies and like-minded partners in the EAEU, the CSTO, the CIS, BRICS, the SCO, the RIC and other Asian, African and Latin American countries. We contribute to consolidating the efforts of the world community to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
We continue contributing to the peaceful settlement of numerous crises and conflicts, including Syria where the main terrorist bridgeheads have been routed and Syria’s statehood preserved largely owing to Russia. Now Syria has the following items on its agenda: to reach a stable political settlement based on the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress that was convened in Sochi a bit over a year ago; rebuild the country and create conditions for the return of refugees. Naturally, we will seek the full and consistent implementation of the UN Security Council resolution that unanimously endorsed the Minsk Package of Measures on a Settlement in Ukraine. We will demand that the current Ukrainian authorities fulfil their international commitments on language, education and religious rights and freedoms.
As for relations with the US, the EU and the West as a whole, we are not short on interest in cooperating on any issue but only based on equitable and mutually respectful dialogue rather than ultimatums. Our proposals in this regard are well known, but as they say, “love cannot be forced.” But we are always open to those who are ready to search for solutions to any global challenges based on equality, mutual respect and a balance of interests.
The Russian foreign policy service has always been distinguished by its traditions and careful attitude to the glorious pages of the past. Today too, the wealth of the intellectual heritage of our predecessors is a major advantage in our work. This year we will observe the dates that are linked with the lives of outstanding diplomats: the centenary of Andrey Gromyko, Georgy Pushkin, Anatoly Dobrynin, and Oleg Troyanovsky; and 90 years since the birth of Yevgeny Primakov and Yuly Vorontsov. The ministry’s departments and the Veterans Council will provide fitting observances of these memorable dates.
I hope the staff at our central office, territorial representatives and foreign missions will continue to work proactively, creatively, productively and devote all their efforts and energy to serving the homeland. I wish good health and all the best to you and your families.
Happy Diplomats’ Day to you once again.