20 November 202020:30

Video Message by Sergey Lavrov for the Online Conference on Global Recovery after the COVID-19 Pandemic, Jakarta, November 20, 2020


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Mr. President,

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to greet the participants in the videoconference focused on a highly relevant topic of the post-coronavirus global recovery.

I am confident that we all share the understanding that the pandemic has drastically altered the way of life of the entire humankind and has become a serious test for both individual States and global politics and economics in general. To complicate matters further, the current epidemiological crisis has come on top of many other dangerous challenges and threats, such as, for example, international terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, old unresolved and new emerging crises and conflicts, and the crumbling architecture of global stability and arms control. Unfortunately, the list goes on.

Russia has long warned against underestimating the transborder nature of most issues of our time. We have always emphasized that these issues can only be effectively tackled by working together, engaging in a constructive inter-State dialogue and uniting the efforts of key global and regional actors under a universally recognized international legal framework and with the UN as a leading coordinator. We are convinced that the only way to successfully counter COVID-19 and contain its disastrous impact is building on this foreign policy philosophy.

It is evident that in a turbulent ocean of global politics any step aimed at isolating oneself or creating individual oases of security is doomed to failure. The attempts of certain Western States to use the current situation to achieve unilateral geopolitical benefits and settle scores with unfavorable countries and their governments are all the more unacceptable. As is known, our Western colleagues keep using a wide range of illegitimate instruments, from power pressure to unilateral economic restrictions. They have never listened to the calls of the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to suspend the unilateral sanctions with respect to medical supplies, equipment and food required to fight the virus, as well as relevant financial transactions in the light of the global humanitarian emergency.

In order to justify their illegal actions that contravene the basic principles of the UN Charter, the United States and its allies actively promote the concept of a so-called «rule-based international order» that they try to present as an alternative to the universally recognized norms of international law. In short, it is about elaborating unilaterally beneficial foreign policy guidelines within non-transparent formats and subsequently imposing them on the entire international community as universal.

Such fundamentally neocolonial policy is clearly rejected by the vast majority of members of international community that no longer want to pay for the well-being of the so-called «Golden Billion». As a result, we are faced with aggravated tensions, higher risks of confrontation and increased deficit of mutual trust. It only makes it more difficult to successfully overcome common pressing issues, including COVID-19.

These destructive trends should be countered with a constructive, universally acceptable global and regional agenda. Given the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we should double our efforts to strengthen the UN-centered architecture as a foundation for a more fair and democratic multipolar world order. Today, we need to go back to the roots, to the timeless principles of interstate communication enshrined in the UN Charter. These include the sovereign equality of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, non-use of force or the threat of force, and peaceful settlement of disputes by diplomatic means. It is only on this basis that an atmosphere of mutual understanding can be created — and, without it, it is impossible to find effective and efficient solutions to the most pressing problems of the modern world. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the proposal by President Vladimir Putin to hold a face-to-face summit of the Security Council permanent members in order to recommit to the key principles of conduct in international relations and work out renewed approaches to ensuring peace, security and stability in the world.

The cooperation in the framework of new-type associations, such as BRICS and the SCO, where there are no leaders and followers and decisions are made based on a balanced consensus, demonstrates that such joint results-oriented work is, indeed, possible. Naturally, the G20 also has a role to play in the post-COVID-19 development, as it reflects the current geopolitical realities, embodying the spirit of inclusive dialogue and constructive multipolarity. It is no coincidence that both old and new world centers are part of this forum.

Amid the pandemic and the related downturn in the world economy, the need for a broad trade and economic cooperation based on the WTO norms is especially relevant. Prompt removal of various barriers and constraints, abandonment of protectionism practices and illegitimate restrictions would help the post-COVID-19 recovery. Ideally, the economy should be the solid foundation for creating the architecture of peace, mutual trust and equal and indivisible security, including in the Asia-Pacific Region. This very philosophy is at the core of Vladimir Putin’s initiative to establish the Greater Eurasian Partnership which covers a vast area from Lisbon to Jakarta, implies a convergence of potentials of different integration platforms and which is open to all the Eurasian States without exception. We are convinced that its successful implementation will ultimately benefit the entire global community which will receive a new powerful source of development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Understanding its greater responsibility for what is happening in the world, Russia will continue playing a creative, harmonizing role in international affairs, working to ensure the indivisibility of security in all its dimensions. We will continue contributing to the peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of numerous regional crises and conflicts, be it in the South Caucasus, in the post-Soviet space as a whole, in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world. To this end, we are always open for interaction with all those who are ready to work together on the principles of international law, honesty, mutual consideration of interests and concerns. We are convinced that today, when the prosperous future of all inhabitants of the Earth, our common home, is under threat, reliance on these values acquires special significance.

This fully applies to the Asia-Pacific Region. As Vladimir Putin outlined during the recent East Asia Summit, our country has consistently advocated the establishment of an atmosphere of constructive cooperation and greater stability in the region, including in the military and political spheres. In particular, Russia unilaterally declared a moratorium on deploying intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific Region and other regions of the world as long as such measures are something that the United States refrain from, as long as there are no similar American systems placed there. I would like to confirm our openness to dialogue with all the States concerned.

We will certainly continue to participate very actively in global and regional efforts to combat COVID-19 - of course, taking into account the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization on this issue. We will continue to provide assistance to the affected, both in bilateral formats and through multilateral structures. We have something to offer our partners. The first coronavirus vaccine «Sputnik V» has been developed and is already in use in Russia, the second one has been registered, and the third one is coming. We are ready to share our experience and establish broad cooperation with all interested parties.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, when the world is going through a period of severe turbulence, the dialogue should not be curtailed, but intensified. In this regard, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of various international dialogue platforms where representatives of political, economic and scientific elites can freely exchange views and jointly seek solutions to the large-scale challenges the world community is facing. I am sure that your meeting will also contribute to this work.

In conclusion, I would like to wish you fruitful discussions and all the best. Stay healthy! Thank you!

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