Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Grand and General Council of the Republic of San Marino, San Marino, March 21, 2019
Esteemed Captains Regent,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I appreciate this opportunity to speak in the Public Palace that hosts the Parliament and the most important official ceremonies of the Republic of San Marino. We know that the state traditions of San Marino are already over 1,700 years old. We treat them with great respect.
I see today’s meeting as graphic evidence of the high level of mutual trust between our countries. Russia invariably conducts a peaceful foreign policy that relies on international law and the UN Charter. Russia is open to the broadest possible international cooperation in all geographical areas and in all formats based on the principles of honesty, equality, respect and consideration for each other’s interests. We value good relations with all states without exception, both large and small.
We see our ties with the Republic of San Marino as unique and valuable. As my colleague has said, we have jointly marked the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations, a landmark date, not long ago. The heads of foreign policy departments exchanged congratulatory messages in connection with this anniversary. My colleague, Nicola Renzi, and I reviewed the results that have been achieved and charted guidelines for the future.
I am confident that we can present our countries’ people with numerous achievements. In the past 25 years, we have accumulated substantial cooperation experience in the most diverse fields, from the economy to education; and this experience continues to be enriched through our new joint undertakings, such as the September 2018 agreement on establishing an interparliamentary Friendship Group and the launching of a dialogue between our legislatures’ committees on foreign affairs.
Our cooperation in tourism goes particularly well with about 150,000 Russians visiting your hospitable country. In turn, we invite the Sammarinese people to come and see today's Russia and its citizens – open, modern and friendly people – with their own eyes. They should see how the real picture differs from what our country is occasionally portrayed as in certain media. We will encourage people-to-people contacts and make every effort to ease visa regulations.
A monument to the children of Beslan in the historical centre of San Marino is a true symbol of the bonds of friendship and solidarity that unite us. This is one of the few monuments like this outside of Russia. Solemnly unveiled in the presence of the Captains Regent in 2006, it is an outstanding sign of solidarity with the victims of the terrible Beslan tragedy and an appeal to do our best to prevent such tragedies in the future. We are convinced that eradicating terrorism, which is the real scourge of modern times, can only be achieved through combining the efforts of the entire international community on a solid basis of international law. The initiative put forward by President Putin to form a broad antiterrorist front under the auspices of the UN serves this goal.
Another signature monument – the bust of the first cosmonaut Yury Gagarin – was unveiled in San Marino on October 1, 2018. Symbolically, the unveiling on the grounds of the university, which was timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, took place on the day when the Captains-Regent, present in this hall now, were sworn in. We are grateful to the San Marino authorities for assisting us in implementing this important joint cultural project.
We appreciate that despite the external pressure that San Marino was under, the republic did not become part of the anti-Russia sanctions promoted by Brussels at the behest of Washington. The independent and pragmatic approach of your country, which is conducive to promoting our trade, economic and investment ties, deserves the deepest respect. We highly appreciate the San Marino leadership’s firm commitment to preserving the neutrality of your country.
Russia is interested in strengthening the traditionally high level of interaction at various multilateral platforms, including the mutual support of candidates in elections to UN institutions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is no secret that the atmosphere on our common continent remains tense. We see the continued policy of beefing up NATO’s military-political activity: the alliance is bringing its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border. We see the erosion of the principle of indivisible security, although the pledge not to strengthen one’s security at the expense of others has been sealed in the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council documents adopted by consensus at the top level.
I believe that in such a situation when many forms of dialogue, primarily between Russia and the EU and between Russia and NATO, remain suspended not through our own fault, the OSCE can and should take action to improve the atmosphere. This is reasonable, because the organisation was established to promote a positive and unifying political, economic and humanitarian European agenda. The OSCE’s potential must be used more energetically to bring about a military-political de-escalation, to align various integration processes and, of course, to protect the rights of ethnic minorities and to uncompromisingly struggle against any forms of racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism. We hope to be able to continue constructive interaction with our San Marino friends within the OSCE framework in these and other fields.
Another pan-European organisation with an important mission is the Council of Europe. We must make broader use of the potential of this organisation as a humanitarian foundation whose aim is, according to its Statute, “to achieve a greater unity between its members.”
Regrettably, the Council of Europe is amid a deep crisis that is linked to the illegal infringement on the rights of the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly, although the CoE Statute stipulates “an equitable representation” of the member states in the organisation’s bodies. We know that most European countries do not want Russia to withdraw from the Council of Europe. We hope that common sense will eventually prevail. We appreciate San Marino’s position in favour of settling this problem in strict compliance with the CoE Statute.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our common European home needs major repairs. At the same time, any efforts to improve the current unhealthy situation will only succeed if based on the fundamental principles of international law. I am referring primarily to the sovereign equality of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, the non-use of force or the threat of force, a peaceful settlement of disputes and the right of nations to determine their own future. We have long called for launching practical work to turn Europe and the Eurasian continent as a whole into a common space of peace, security and broad economic cooperation based on the values of equality, mutual respect, neighbourliness and openness. I am sure that we see eye to eye when it comes to this.
I would like to express gratitude to you for receiving our delegation at such a high level.