20 October 202019:02

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statement at a UN Security Council meeting held via videoconference, Moscow, October 20, 2020

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Mr Secretary-General, colleagues,

In organising today’s high-level meeting, we proceeded from the assumption that ensuring peace in the Gulf Region was an important goal for the entire international community.

The unhealthy situation in this area destabilises international relations. That is why we believe that the UN Security Council, which is responsible for maintaining international peace and security, should maintain focus on this matter.

We propose discussing what can be done specifically to back away from a dangerous line and to ensure long-term stability in the region.

Everyone remembers the atmosphere earlier this year when many feared the potential outbreak of a large-scale war in the Gulf. We managed to avoid a worst-case scenario, but we see no grounds for complacency. The situation remains unstable. Dangerous and unpredictable scenarios can unfold at any time, especially considering the presence of the religious component among the existing differences and conflicts.

We have no doubt that everyone wants the Gulf region to be peaceful and predictable. Attempts at unilateral actions - we continue to see this – are an impasse. Blackmail and dictatorship, demonisation and accusation of only one party are wrong and dangerous. We must stop recriminations and suspicions and say no to sanctions, pressure, ultimatums and provocative actions no matter which side they come from. We firmly believe this can be done even amidst today’s continuing tensions.

We need a creative philosophy. The collective efforts to build confidence based on respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states in strict accordance with international law and the UN Charter must be the key to improving the situation in the Gulf region.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the situation related to the Iranian nuclear programme continues to play an important part in keeping a lid on tensions. The speakers before me mentioned this. The agreements on the JCPOA became a major political and diplomatic milestone, made it possible to avert the threat of an armed conflict, and consolidated the NPT regime. Like all responsible parties to this agreement, Russia remains fully committed to this agreement and is convinced that the positive results of these difficult but rewarding collegial efforts must be preserved and defended.

Colleagues,

President Putin’s initiative to hold an online meeting of the heads of state of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as the FRG and Iran, seeks to develop measures aimed at preventing further escalation and forming a reliable collective security system in the Gulf. We are grateful to those who supported this initiative. In order to form a dependable regional security system, Russia has presented a collective security concept for the Persian Gulf region, based on a constructive and unifying agenda. Plans are in place to create collective response mechanisms to numerous challenges and threats with the participation of the coastal Gulf countries, including Iran and all Arab states. We propose enlisting, alongside the coastal countries, the participation of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the League of Arab States, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other stakeholders in the practical steps to implement these concepts.

The road to this goal won’t be short, nor will it be easy. However, the countries of the region must travel it themselves. The external players’ job is to help them create proper conditions for moving towards each other as they patiently and consistently eliminate historical layers of mutual grievances and differences. This calls for engaged discussion and, let’s face it, delicate approaches. For our part, we are ready to provide assistance as part of a dialogue with all partners.

UN mediation could also come in handy, including within the framework of the Secretary-General's good offices missions. As you may be aware, in Resolution 598, the UN Security Council instructed the Secretary-General to work through, in conjunction with the regional parties, measures to strengthen security and stability in the region. It is important to see what has been done and what needs to be done additionally to fulfill this direct instruction.

Our concept is not the ultimate truth. It is food for thought. Strict adherence to the principle of indivisible security is a fundamental condition if we want to move in the right direction. This means that the security problems of some countries and the problems of strengthening the security of any country cannot be resolved at the expense of the security of others or by damaging the security of any other state.

Colleagues,

I propose considering today's meeting an invitation to overcome the pile of differences by opening a respectful dialogue taking into account the concerns of all parties without exception and based on international law. And I am confident that by acting together, openly and impartially, combining political will and creative potential, we can help the Gulf states overcome this difficult historical period and create an effective regional security system, or, as a first step, to at least agree upon the basic principles.

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