Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting on Diplomats’ Day, Moscow, February 10, 2020
Allow me to open this meeting on Diplomats’ Day
(The anthem of the Russian Federation is played)
My dear friends,
We review our work in this meeting on this day every year. To my great regret, we lost some of our colleagues during the past year. I suggest observing a moment of silence in memory of all those who are not with us anymore.
I would like to wish all of you a happy holiday once again. We meet in this hall every year. I am very pleased to see many familiar faces. These include, of course, our veterans, colleagues and teammates from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government staff, the Security Council, the Federal Assembly and various ministries and departments. On behalf of the Foreign Ministry staff, I would like to thank our colleagues from other departments for their assistance and support, for their team spirit. All of this helps us to work on the most complicated tasks under the foreign policy course as defined by the President and to implement it in practice.
We received a message of greetings from President Vladimir Putin. I would like to read it.
“To the staff and veterans of the Foreign Ministry the Russian Federation,
“Russian diplomats have always deliberately and consistently defended the interests of our Fatherland. While continuing the glorious traditions of our predecessors, you carry out your duty with honour and deal with challenging and responsible foreign policy tasks.
“Thanks largely to the efficient work of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, we have managed to reach a certain degree of stability in Syria and launch an intra-Syrian Constitutional process. We are seeing visible results in the development of Eurasian integration and the EAEU’s foreign relations, as well as of allied relations within the CSTO. We are improving cooperation with China, India, other Eurasian countries as well as Latin American states. The dialogue with African countries has reached a new level.
“At the same time, the international political situation is becoming more turbulent, which means that an even more proactive approach is needed to provide strategic stability and form a just world order. To this end, we should use our position at the UN Security Council, and the opportunities provided by the current Russian presidency in the SCO and BRICS, and participation in the G20, APEC and other multilateral organisations.
“It is important to build up efforts to protect the rights and interests of our compatriots abroad, and to protect the Russian language. And, of course, the preservation of the historical truth about the Great Patriotic War is an undisputable priority. This is especially important against the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of Victory that we will mark this year.
“I am sure that you will continue to work proactively and creatively while defending Russia’s interests and strengthening its position on the global arena. The country’s leadership will continue to pay due attention to providing support and resources to the diplomatic service.
“I wish the Ministry staff new professional success, and good health, high spirits and longevity to our esteemed veterans.
We also received a message of greetings from Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin who noted the contribution made by domestic diplomacy to consolidating Russia’s potential. Kind and informal words are also included in messages from the heads of the Federation Council and the State Duma Federal Assembly, chairs of the parliamentary committees, heads of executive government bodies, regional governors and representatives of the business community.
The trust placed in us is a great responsibility. Russia’s foreign policy service has been charged with the responsible tasks of creating a favourable external environment for ensuring Russia’s dynamic development and improving the living standards of its citizens. These tasks must be resolved under difficult conditions. Hoping to maintain global domination, the United States and some of its allies continue to rely on military and economic pressure. Rejecting the realities of a multipolar world, they continue thinking in terms of an archaic deterrence policy, dividing lines and geopolitical zero sum games. They are trying to introduce a Western-centric “rules-based order,” to replace universally recognised standards of international law.
Against this backdrop, Russia, as a key global centre, is pursuing a line of strengthening the legal foundations of interstate communication, raising the UN’s prestige, reducing international tensions, achieving the political-diplomatic settlement of several regional conflicts, and searching for collective responses to global challenges.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. Together with all peoples of the former USSR this country played a decisive role in achieving this victory. President Vladimir Putin noted: “I believe each of us cannot forget and will never forget the feat of our fathers. I would very much like our colleagues in the West in general and in Europe in particular, to keep this in mind.” The President said this at the informal CIS summit in December 2019. It is important to continue countering any attempt to falsify history and glorify Nazis and their accomplices. Needless to say, it is necessary to neutralise any attempt to revise the universally recognised results of World War II. Not only our allies and partners in the CSTO, the EAEU and the CIS but almost all of the international community agree with us on this issue. This is graphically confirmed by the broadest support of Russia’s traditional initiative on countering the glorification of Nazism.
This year we will observe the 75th anniversary of this global organisation. It is impossible to overestimate the continuing relevance of the fundamental principles of its Charter. The UN Security Council continues to bear special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. President Vladimir Putin suggested holding a summit with the five powers in the UN Security Council to update the approaches to securing global stability with the firm foundation of the UN Charter and in accordance with the dictates of our time.
This year is the 60th anniversary of the UN General Assembly adoption, at Soviet initiative, of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. It would be appropriate to recall today that this country played a tangible role in the process of decolonisation and provided young states with all-round assistance and support. They remember and appreciate this. The results of the first Russia-Africa summit bear this out.
We continue working to make the developing multipolar system more fair. We want it to be based on cooperation rather than confrontation. We want globalisation to be progressive. This process must be accessible to all humankind rather than a narrow group of the elect. The overwhelming majority of states in Asia, Africa and Latin America stand in solidarity with us in this regard. They reject colonial and neocolonial approaches whether through the use of crude armed force or blackmail through illegal economic sanctions.
At this critical stage of global development, life itself requires much. I am convinced that the diplomats at the central office, regional offices and missions abroad will think outside the box and be proactive with a view to producing results, all the more so since issues of social protection for our employees are being steadily resolved owing to the attention of the national leaders to our activities (this was mentioned in the President’s Address). Progress has been made in improving and expanding housing, medical and health resort support. Efforts are being made to perpetuate the memory of diplomats, including the construction of a departmental memorial complex at the Federal Memorial Cemetery. The project on creating a modern educational centre for the Foreign Ministry on advanced studies of rare and Oriental languages is being planned. Work in these areas will continue.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all of you a happy holiday. I wish our veterans all the best and wish all of you new success for the benefit of our homeland.