Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Fifth Ministerial Session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, Moscow, April 16, 2019
I am delighted to welcome you to Moscow. Our meeting today, the Fifth Ministerial Session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, is rather special. It is for the first time that 14 ministers and state ministers heading foreign ministries of the member-countries of the League of Arab States (LAS) have gathered around one table within the framework of this particular event. We see this as evidence of a dynamic development of our friendly relations and their transition to a new level. We are confident that our joint efforts have turned the Forum into an effective mechanism that helps to expand and strengthen the multi-faceted Russian-Arab partnership and a useful venue for a fruitful and earnest discussion on topical international and regional problems.
Today our talks will, of course, focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including such urgent problems as the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the fight against terrorism, and nuclear non-proliferation. I hope that our traditionally frank and constructive dialogue will enable us to both exchange views and achieve a common vision on how to address the numerous problems confronting the region, which to a decisive degree are rooted in the unending attempts at outside interference in the internal affairs of the Middle East and North African states.
We believe that the pooling of our efforts is particularly needed for stabilising the difficult situation in your region. It is necessary to inflict a final defeat on terrorism, form a space of peace and security, and create conditions for sustained development of all Middle East and North African countries. Jointly with our Arab friends, we aim to facilitate the settlement of numerous conflicts solely by political and diplomatic means based on international law with an unconditional regard for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the relevant countries. We resolutely reject the attempts made by outside forces to impose on nations in the region the values and reform patterns that are alien to them.
We are planning to complement our partner exchange of views with a discussion of ways towards further promotion of Russian-Arab cooperation in trade, economic, investment, cultural and educational spheres. We will need to consider and approve a Plan of Action for 2019-2021 to implement the Forum’s principles, goals and objectives. I am pleased to note that the provisions of the previous three-year plan have been implemented almost in full.
I would like to wind up my opening remarks and now pass the floor over to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ahmed Isse Awad of Somalia as President of the LAS Council’s Troika.