Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)
Comment and answers of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov to the questions of mass-media following the results of the participation in the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, Astana, September, 12th, 2012
The 20th anniversary session of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia has taken place in Astana. This structure was created at the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbaev in 1992. During these years the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia has proved to be a very useful dialogue platform for the discussion of problems which the countries of the Asian continent are experiencing, and also for the search of the possibilities of their solution.
The problems are mainly connected with the threats of terrorism, drug traffic, organised crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These challenges are common for all the countries of region. Moreover, many states located in Asia experience the consequences of various conflicts and crisis situations. It concerns the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme, the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula, Afghanistan and everything that happens around it, as well as the Middle East, the Arab Spring, Syria, Middle Eastern settlement, and the Palestinian problem. The list of these unsettled conflict situations is quite long. If any situation enters into a "hot" phase (and many of them are already on the verge), the consequences will be felt far beyond the borders of the corresponding country – all states of the region will experience them, and the region will be under the threat of serious destabilization.
Therefore today we have drawn attention to the necessity to make sure that the CICA made its contribution to the efforts of other multilateral structures (and there are a lot of them in the Asian-Pacific region).
In particular, we have drawn attention to the initiative that was introduced in 2010 by Russia and China. It assumes collective building of the common security architecture based on the principles of equity in rights, non-derogation of security of any of the participants of this system and indivisibility of security with participation of all multilateral forums. Some countries are interested by this initiative. Due to obvious reasons we are not expecting that people will sit down for negotiations and will start to prepare specific conceptual documents at once. However, we are building the critical mass in order to promote the understanding that only such collective, equal security system being above all blocks can provide the reliable "safety net" for the future.
Within the frames of the Conference I have met the President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbaev, have handed him the congratulatory message of the President of Russia V.V. Putin on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and have also conducted negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan E.H. Kazykhanov. We have discussed a variety of issues of bilateral cooperation, including the forthcoming contacts at the highest level, and our interaction in the international organisations. Special attention has been given to the forthcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly, and the coordination meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states that will take place the day before the General Assembly meeting in New York. We will consider the course of accomplishment of the collective instructions given one year ago to the permanent representatives of the CSTO member states at the international organisations in New York, Vienna, Geneva and in other points, where there are multilateral structures. We will also update these collective instructions taking into account the changes which have occurred on the corresponding directions of global policy, and we will coordinate our actions on the various issues of the agenda of the United Nations.
Question: The information has appeared in foreign press that the Western partners have allegedly convinced Russia to occupy a stricter position in relation to Iran at session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. What are your comments on this issue?
S.V. Lavrov: The Iranian problem will not be discussed at the session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, because it is not included into the agenda. Now Vienna is holding the session of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, on which our Western partners wanted to adopt a project of a very strict resolution that implied some sanctions. The delegations of Russia and China have opposed against such approaches that have an obviously unilateral deviation to the resort to force. These projects do not take the necessity to create the conditions for the renewal of negotiations into consideration. Together with the Chinese party we have offered the "six" to adopt the statement that would describe our vision of the ways which will allow achieving the settlement of the situation through negotiations.
Our statement was based on the principles that were pledged in the resolution approved by the consensus of the Board of Governors of the IAEA one year ago. This resolution aims both Iran, and the IAEA at the search of possibilities of settlement of remaining questions. Finally, our Western partners have adopted all the conceptual approaches and phrasings stipulated in the Russian-Chinese statement. We have found it reasonable to transform the statement into a resolution containing the same phrasings which are aimed at the solution of the problem through negotiations instead of the use of force. Then we have brought the draft of this resolution on the approval of the session of the Board of Governors of the IAEA.
I am sure that the document will be adopted by a consensus. Thus, I can draw a conclusion that the Western countries have finally managed to admit that at the given stage their compulsory ideas are unreasonable and counterproductive.
Question: We have just received the message that the UN Security Council has made the decision not to support the initiative of Russia and not to condemn the acts of terrorism in Syria. What are your comments on this decision?
S.V. Lavrov: Certainly, it is regrettable. Till now the UN Security Council invariably responded with strict condemnation to any acts of terrorism, underlined an invariable position that the terrorism is unacceptable irregardless of any excuses. There is no justification for terrorism. The first time when our Western partners deviated from this position was when the act of terrorism in the building of the Security Service of Syrian Arab Republic in Damascus took place. It resulted in deaths of the heads of some Syrian law-enforcement structures. At that time the explanation of the Western position was that it was not quite an act of terrorism because its victims were the heads of the armed security agencies, who were participating in armed confrontation with the militants. Honestly speaking, it shocked me. Terrorism is terrorism. Paraphrasing a proverb, it is possible to state: if it looks like an act of terrorism, is planned like an act of terrorism and is executed like an act of terrorism, then it is an act of terrorism.
As far as the recent episodes are concerned, we have suggested to condemn not only the acts of terrorism in Aleppo, where 27 persons were killed and around 100 were wounded, but also a series of the acts of terrorism which took place at the same day in the various parts of Iraq, when more than 100 persons were killed, and hundreds were wounded. Our Western partners have taken a break - probably, they were consulting with capitals. And, as a result, they have abstained from any response, which conveys the suggestion about the principal change of the position of some Western countries. It appears that now it assumes that the acts of terrorism are acceptable, when the issues of political expediency from the point of view of the West are concerned. I will be very glad if our partners refute this suspicion of mine, but right now I have no choice but to preserve it.