Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video statement on behalf of the CSTO member states at the UN General Assembly high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, Moscow, September 21, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of Collective Security Treaty member states: the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.
Today, we are marking what is truly a momentous occasion. The foundations of our shared global home, the United Nations, were laid 75 years ago. Looking back, we admire the determination demonstrated by the founding fathers of the universal organisation to build a democratic system of international relations. They came together in a shared aspiration to save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war, reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, establish conditions for a world order of justice and promote social progress.
Years later, some are inclined to take this landmark achievement for granted. However, it has to be remembered that every step in this direction was a real feat, and Victory over Nazism was the most important of them all. The free nations came together in the face of a horrible tragedy, laying the foundation for putting into practice the ideals that once seemed to be a utopia.
Against this backdrop, attempts to revise history and denigrate the role played by the nations that made a decisive contribution to Victory over fascism are totally absurd. The memory of those who fell during this dark period is sacred. All of us have to be mindful of the lessons of history, honour the exploits of the liberator soldiers and ensure the preservation of monuments erected in their glory.
Unfortunately, the Cold War that started soon after the UN was established prevented it from fully unleashing its creative potential. New hope was born only 44 years later, with the fall of the Berlin wall as a symbol of the geopolitical confrontation between two irreconcilable systems. This was not just about preventing military confrontation, but also overcoming mistrust, inequality and reigning in neo-colonial aspirations, as well as promoting constructive cooperation for the sake of building a shared future.
It is unfortunate that today military conflicts continue unabated in various regions, supplemented by a number of challenging threats the world is facing today: international terrorism, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and climate change. This year, another major challenge was added to this list: the coronavirus pandemic that sparked grave socioeconomic and other crises. In this context, the Russian Federation believes that the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to be extremely timely, and the CSTO member states unanimously supported it.
With every year, responding to these and many other global issues is becoming increasingly challenging, especially as the international community is becoming increasingly fragmented. We believe that this is largely attributable to the fact that some countries are not willing to account for the legitimate interests of other states. They are seeking to impose concepts and standards like the “rules-based world order,” while attempting to meddle in the domestic affairs of other states, using unilateral sanctions in violation of the UN Security Council prerogatives, and exhibiting intolerance and hatred.
However, history runs its course. New economic growth centres are affirming themselves on the international stage, the demand for settling armed conflicts by exclusively peaceful means is growing, and connectivity is on the rise. The world is tired of dividing lines, of separating states into friends and foes, and demands stepping up all-encompassing and inclusive mutual assistance and cooperation. In other words, the goals articulated 75 years ago at the founding of the United Nations are becoming increasingly relevant.
This makes it even more important to reaffirm our commitment to the UN Charter and the universally recognised norms of international law, emphasise that there is no alternative to genuine multipolarity and step up collective efforts to find solutions to global issues with the UN playing its central coordinating role.
This anniversary provides us with an occasion to outline the contours of the organisation’s future operations.
In today’s world, the UN must remain an effective structure carrying out coordinated work strictly in keeping with its Charter. We cannot allow the mandates of the main bodies within the UN system to be diluted or have their responsibilities overlap, since this would only set us back from achieving our goals. In its day-to-day operations, the UN should take into consideration the experience of regional organisations like the CSTO.
Peacekeeping operations account for a lion’s share of UN’s achievements. Today, there are high hopes for these operations like never before since they are expected to resolve urgent problems and bring about lasting solutions.
Settling conflicts exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means within the framework of internationally recognised negotiating formats and based on international norms must remain among the main objectives for the international community.
Expanding cooperation in fighting terrorism and its links with organised crime remains an absolute priority. Ensuring international cyber security is becoming increasingly important with the development of information and communications technology that are used to further terrorist, criminal and military ends.
We need to stave off attempts to weaken arms controls, disarmament and non-proliferation frameworks for the sake of global stability. Special attention must be given to fending off transnational threats, including the deployment of foreign terrorist fighters to conflict zones, chemical and biological terrorism, as well as ensuring that outer space is used for peaceful purposes.
The organisation must remain focused on facilitating development, which is an indispensable condition for strengthening peace. It is essential that the decolonisation process, which is complicated by the determination of the former colonial powers to maintain their influence in a new environment, is brought to an end.
To conclude, I would like to emphasise that the future of the organisation is in the hands of its member states. Just like in 1945, we need to cast aside our differences and come together for the sake of delivering on common objectives based on equitable dialogue and the mutual respect for one another’s interests. The UN offers all the necessary conditions to this effect.
Thank you for your attention.