Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks during a roundtable meeting at the Primakov Readings forum on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 15, 2020
Dear friends and colleagues,
Thank you for the invitation. It is indeed quite important to continue this tradition of the Primakov Readings.
Yevgeny Primakov was a great man, a great thinker and practitioner. And this is particularly important these days. I can hardly add anything to the analysis of the situation in the world presented by Alexander Dynkin, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). The multipolarity which Primakov foresaw is being shaped in real life, in the economy, in finance and technology. And of course, political influence comes with all this as well. The countries that have achieved success in the above areas would like to be more influential on the global arena. There is an attempt to stop or slow down this process of multipolarity being shaped but these attempts only delay an outcome and delay a deal (if we speak about deals in this world). Statistics from the IMF show that the GNP of all the BRICS countries is already higher than the GNP of G7, and this trend is supposed to continue.
So the option that we all have is to use these kinds of gatherings – the Primakov Readings, the Munich Conference, meetings of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) – any gathering of political analysts, to assess the situation. There is another option – and here we go back to Yevgeny Primakov being a practitioner. What are we going to do about this? Listening to the debates at this conference, you can draw certain conclusions. Alexander noted that US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper declared a new cold war against China. Others said that it is absolutely necessary for this conference to develop an approach to containing China, to responding to the Chinese challenge, to the Russian challenge – to contain each of these countries, separately or both of them at the same time.
This discussion as it is structured, including the report of this conference, is not intended to use this gathering of wise and experienced people to develop some kind of recommendations for Track 1 as it is called. And I think one of the deficiencies of this conference is that people just want to make some spectacular statements that will make headlines but will have no influence and no effect on the real relationship between the countries.
Yes, the new polycentric bipolarity as Alexander described might be something in the offing but we either watch it evolve or we shape things slightly more constructively.
I do not have any specific initiative in mind but I would like to remind you that a couple of weeks ago in Jerusalem, President Putin proposed to think about a summit of P5, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, – not because it is an exclusive club, exceptional countries being together but because they have, under the UN Charter, which, thank God, is still alive, special responsibility for anything that takes place in the area of international peace and security. This proposal is on the table. It would be interesting to hear your views about it.