Press release on Foreign Ministry Collegium meeting
On December 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired a meeting of the Foreign Ministry Collegium to discuss two issues, namely, getting the Ministry's offices ready for the presidential elections of March 18, 2018 and the Ministry’s goals at the UN in light of changing circumstances.
When discussing the presidential elections, it was noted that the Ministry’s offices fully comply with Russia's electoral legislation regarding the exercise by Russian citizens of their electoral rights outside the Russian Federation. The organisational and technical work to prepare and ensure the election process is being done properly.
In a number of states, with due account taken of national laws, our foreign missions are taking steps to organise early voting, and to open additional polling stations outside embassies or consulates.
It is recognised that in order to maximise the involvement of Russian voters abroad in the election process, priority should be given to awareness campaigns among Russian expat communities and compatriots' associations, including with the use of mass and social media.
Having considered Russia’s participation in the UN activities, the collegium identified specific goals, the achievement of which should contribute to protecting Russia’s interests within the UN. The meeting participants noted the need to make the UN stronger, and to maximise the use of its potential for implementing our country’s foreign policy priorities and interests.
The UN Secretary-General’s reform initiatives, which must be agreed upon by the member states, need special attention. It was stated that, given the objective demand for change, no distortions should be allowed which may benefit individual countries or groups of countries in the overall architecture of the Organisation.
The meeting participants underscored the need to strengthen the central coordinating role of the UN in international antiterrorism cooperation, while strictly observing the norms of international law.
They also looked into cases of erroneous interpretation by Western countries of the fundamental principles and norms of international law, including the right to self-defence and the need to combat terrorism in accordance with the Security Council resolutions, including Syria as a case in point.
The collegium members emphasised that the UN sanctions are an important, but a targeted measure of last resort aimed at curbing threats to international peace and security. They reviewed ways for counteracting the use of unlawful unilateral restrictions introduced over and above the measures agreed upon by the Security Council.
They noted the importance of increasing Russia’s representation in leadership positions in the United Nations, including its field missions.
The results of the discussion are included in a resolution adopted by the collegium.