Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s greetings to the Andrey Gromyko Association of Foreign Policy Studies conference participants, Moscow, December 11, 2019
This year marks the 110th anniversary of outstanding statesman Andrey Gromyko who devoted almost 50 years of his life to diplomatic service. For Russian diplomats, the Gromyko school is primarily about patriotism, professionalism, self-discipline, the ability to delve deeply into the heart of a matter, to persistently and reasonably promote the interests of the Fatherland, and to seek effective solutions in the most complicated situations. We only need to point out that Andrey Gromyko signed the UN Charter on behalf of our country. The development of the Helsinki Final Act and key agreements in the area of strategic stability and disarmament are associated with his name as well.
A number of events were held this year to hold Andrey Gromyko’s memory. With our Belarusian friends, we opened an exhibition dedicated to Andrey Gromyko at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September. Scientific conferences dedicated to his anniversary were held during the year, and documentary exhibitions were organised as well.
Creating the Association of Foreign Policy Studies in April and naming it after Andrey Gromyko was an important step in perpetuating his memory. The fact that our colleagues from Belarus are energetically participating in this work is particularly important and valuable for us. As you may be aware, Gromyko was a native of the Gomel region, Belarus. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Union State. Close foreign policy coordination remains an integral part of the comprehensive Russian-Belarusian strategic partnership and alliance.
I am pleased to note that over the past six months, the association has established itself as a popular platform for providing analytical support to Eurasian integration and diverse cooperation in the post-Soviet space in general. At least 10 events were held in various formats ranging from expert meetings to international competitions and forums. A high-level session in St Petersburg in July this year, held as part of the Russian-Belarusian Forum of Regions, came as a notable event.
The association is expanding the regional dimension of its activity. So, the first Andrey Gromyko Readings were held in Kazan in October in collaboration with Volga Federal University and with support from the Republic of Tatarstan. I think this event can be held annually with the broader involvement of our EAEU friends.
We welcome the association’s productive interaction with the youth. In 2019, the Andrey Gromyko Competition for young CIS international relations specialists was successfully held with 160 young participants. Among them were diplomats, scientists and representatives from public organisations. I am confident that the competition has proven to be effective in terms of sharing experience and processional growth. We support the plans to hold it again next year.
We know that a number of specific projects are currently underway. Among them is establishing the Andrey Gromyko Fellowship for young researchers, career enhancement for international relations lecturers in the Union State. Such initiatives command respect. MGIMO and the Diplomatic Academy could join in these efforts.
We naturally welcome the association’s commitment to step up its dialogue with the Foreign Ministry of Russia, its departments and foreign missions.
You are to discuss a wide range of issues – from Andrey Gromyko’s diplomatic heritage to the problems of European and international security as well as integration processes in Eurasia.
With this audience, it hardly seems necessary to go into the details of the current unsatisfactory situation in the Euro-Atlantic. Unfortunately, the US-led Western states still think in terms of bipolar confrontation, with the logic of a “zero sum game.” NATO continues on its course to clean up the geopolitical space for military-political development. We are alarmed by the bloc’s increased activities near Belarus’ and Russia’s borders as well as the decision taken at the alliance’s London summit to further ramp up its members’ military budgets. Such steps lead to the militarisation of Europe and are being pursued contrary to their obligation to not increase their security at the expense of others.
The arms control system is in the grips of a major crisis as well. The United States has caused enormous damage to the strategic stability architecture. Following the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, it threw out the INF Treaty. Now, the future of START is in question.
“Bloc stereotypes of thinking from previous years cannot be an effective tool for seeking and taking effective decisions in the fast-changing conditions of the modern world,” President Putin said.
For our part, we will continue to provide measured responses to hostile actions. However, we are not seeking confrontation. In contrast to the destructive course pursued by Washington and its allies, we are promoting a positive and unifying agenda aimed at preventing the emergence of new dividing lines and forming an area of equal and indivisible security and broad cooperation from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Support structures for this are in place. Several international associations are operating in the vast Eurasian space, including the CIS, the EAEU, the Union State, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the SCO. Their activities objectively contribute to improving regional stability and security. In turn, our Chinese friends are also taking part in developing Eurasia by implementing their Belt and Road Initiative.”
Russia is consistently in favour of harmonising various integration initiatives on our common continent which fit the creative concept of “the integration of integration.” This philosophy underlies President Putin’s initiative to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership with the participation of the member states of the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN. We are convinced that all countries without exception, large and small, can coexist in peace and harmony within this space.
The movement in this direction has already begun, including through the Belt and Road combined development plan that includes the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Hopefully, our European colleagues will also join in this common effort. Enhanced economic interconnectedness will be a great help in implementing the decisions of the OSCE summit in Astana on building a commonwealth of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security.
I hope that the association will continue to make an intellectual contribution to this work, to implement joint projects, and to help strengthen the professional solidarity of the foreign ministries within the post-Soviet space. This will be a sizable contribution to preserving and popularising Gromyko’s great foreign policy legacy.