Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question, Helsinki, March 3, 2020
Question: Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the permanent members of the UN Security Council gather for a meeting. Has there been progress towards agreeing on the date and venue for this meeting? Is the nuclear disarmament issue likely to be discussed in this format?
Sergey Lavrov: As you know, this initiative was put forward on January 23 this year while the President was speaking in Jerusalem at the World Holocaust Forum. French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping supported the initiative. US President Donald Trump also supported and accepted this proposal recently.
According to our view of what the agenda for this meeting should include – and we have informed our partners, that is, the other permanent members of the UN Security Council – these five countries need to exercise their special responsibility for maintaining global peace and security, which is built into the UN Charter. This is not just about disarmament and arms control, it is much broader than that, as it includes regional conflicts, new challenges and threats, such as international terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other forms of organised crime, as well as migration issues and new technologies that could run out of control and be added to the list of deadly threats to humankind. All of the above requires consideration at the high level.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said many times that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are not just an elite club that can resolve problems facing humankind on its own and impose its approaches on others. These are the countries that can play the role of leaders in spearheading the efforts of the entire international community to work collectively and come together rather than engage in confrontation. This is likely to be the main idea behind the proposal.
Of course, strategic stability is part of the agenda that requires urgent and creative actions but, in a broader sense, we are talking about the survival of humanity. For the first time in many years, experts have started contemplating the possibility of a nuclear war, and this is unacceptable. As you know, in Soviet times, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan approved a statement reading that there can be no winner in a nuclear war, so it must never be unleashed. We approached our American colleagues with a proposal to reaffirm this position under today’s circumstances. Now, 18 months later, we are still waiting for a reply. I believe the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council should discuss this issue as well.
Currently the date of and the venue for a meeting are being coordinated. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve an agreement before long and then we will announce our decision.