Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde, Moscow, February 2, 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This is not your first visit to Moscow, Madam Minister, but today, you are arriving in your new capacity as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. We appreciate the opportunity, at the beginning of your tenure, to exchange views on the persisting and accumulating problems in this organisation. We have to tackle them jointly within the framework of the pan-European process, taking into account the key underlying principle of the OSCE, that principle being consensus. This implies taking into consideration all the opinions and achieving a balance of interests. And the role of the OSCE Chairperson in it can hardly be overestimated. We do hope that, in performing that role, you will be helped by the legacy of the legendary Prime Minister Olof Palme, who always supported a unifying agenda on our continent and tried to find ways to strengthen security for all and on an equal basis.
The OSCE has adopted many high-level statements that define the key principles for ensuring equal and indivisible security for all. We really do hope that you will not permit any deviation from those documents.
We are also going to discuss our bilateral agenda. There are good examples of advancement in our relations, but, in general, the current bilateral situation leaves much to be desired.
We continue to hear mentions of the so-called Russian military threat, as well as other anti-Russia rhetoric, but unfortunately, all our proposals to establish a dialogue on any specific concerns remain unanswered. Neither have we received any response to a Russian inquiry about the conclusion reached by a Swedish military laboratory that Alexey Navalny had been poisoned by some new substance from the so-called Novichok group – about how those results were obtained and why that conclusion was drawn. This does not in the least fit into the transparency requirements given by our German and other colleagues in relation to this or any other issue, yet, they themselves do not want to be transparent about the conclusions they use to promote an anti-Russia agenda.
We would like to discuss all these matters honestly, openly, without bias, because as neighbours, we should be interested in normal, good relations – something that the people in our countries, especially residents of borderline regions, are vitally interested in.
We also propose exchanging views on our good bilateral cooperation in the North of Europe, including in the Arctic Council, as Russia will take over the chairmanship of the council in a few months.
We have a lot to talk about. Delighted to see you. Welcome again.