17 November 202013:00

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the organisers and participants of the Potsdam Meetings Forum, Moscow, November 17, 2020

1970-17-11-2020

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Colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome the organisers and participants of the 24th plenary session of the Potsdam Meetings Forum on the theme "Russia and the EU: A space for interaction in times of crisis."

In recent years, relations between Russia and the European Union have continued to deteriorate – and not through our fault. Unfortunately, the EU colleagues, in an effort to secure unilateral advantages at the expense of others, made a very short-sighted choice in favour of the master-slave logic and archaic geopolitical zero sum games, in favour of creating new dividing lines. This includes their support of the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine, the introduction of unilateral illegitimate sanctions against Russia, and the destruction of the entire multi-level system of the Russia-EU dialogue. As a result, our continent is facing a large-scale crisis of confidence, and European businesses, including German businesses, are suffering serious losses.

Consequently, the large-scale potential of Russian-German ties remains unrealised. In Berlin, the policy of containing Russia is gaining momentum: incessant accusations, ultimatums and threats against us are becoming common tools of German foreign policy.

The current tension is turning out to be costly for European nations, whose security has become hostage to the mercenary political attitudes imposed from overseas. At the same time, we are convinced that it is still possible to create an architecture of peace as well as equal and indivisible security in Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic region. Especially because we all face common cross-border challenges and threats, from terrorism to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to which the coronavirus pandemic has recently been added. The only way to effectively deal with these threats is to unite on a generally recognised international legal basis. We see the key to success on this difficult path in the rejection of the philosophy of hegemonism and domination, of sanitary cordons and iron curtains. Russia, for its part, is always ready for fair and equal work and the search for a balance of interests.

We are convinced that the restoration of a mutually respectful good-neighbourly dialogue between Moscow and Berlin will also help to improve the situation in Europe. We are sincerely interested in this. We believe that the period of tension in our bilateral relations can and must be overcome. Representatives of our civil societies and Russian-German public dialogue platforms can contribute to these efforts. Among them, of course, are the Potsdam Meetings, which invariably provide participants with an opportunity for an open, informal, friendly discussion of not only promising, but also the most pressing and difficult issues on the current bilateral agenda.

I hope that your current meeting will traditionally be held in a constructive manner, which will allow us to start joint initiatives and create conditions for trying to improve interstate relations, which are in urgent need of this. I wish you interesting discussions and all the best.

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