Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
Address by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the Second Plenary Session of the 10th АSЕМ summit, Europe-Asia Partnership in Addressing Global Matters in an Inter-Connected World, Milan, Italy, 16 October 2014
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Congratulations to Kazakhstan and Croatia on joining this forum.
Given the current level of interaction between Europe and Asia, just as between any other regions, the future of humankind depends on our ability to develop equitable and productive cooperation. Mutual trust as an element of international relations is decreasing at an alarming pace amid deep structural changes in the world, and the skill of finding compromises and mutually acceptable solutions, which alone can provide the basis for effective cooperation, is being eroded. Some countries still interpret agreement solely as the acceptance of their views and think that they can ignore the legitimate interests of their partners and dictate their rules in the economy, politics, finance and trade. This is deepening chaos in international relations and expanding the area of crises to vast territories in the Middle East and North Africa, and now to Ukraine.
Russia, which is the only ASEM member country that is located both in Europe and Asia, has consistently stressed the need to initiate efforts to strengthen global governance mechanisms. This work should be based on international law, the principles of indivisible and equal security and mutual respect for each other's interests. Only this can prevent the growth of conflict situations in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific Region. We firmly stand for harmonising integration processes in Europe, Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific Region. Russia is ready to use its geographic position, resources and human capital towards this end. Russia will continue to increase its contribution to the development of practical cooperation between the ASEM member-countries based on a balance of interests, including by advocating the global agenda for post-2015 development, enhancing the effectiveness and coordination of emergency response cooperation, searching for sustainable solutions to climate change and energy efficiency issues, and by promoting dialogue on human rights issues based on mutual respect.
In these tumultuous times, it is vitally important to strengthen the ethical foundations of international relations by relying on traditional values that constitute the moral basis of universal solidarity. This issue was the theme of an ASEM High-Level Conference on Intercultural and Inter-Religious Dialogue, which was held in St. Petersburg in July this year. We are grateful to all participants of that important event for their active contribution.
Russia is willing to continue cooperating with all the ASEM partners to strengthen ASEM's role in the effort to create a safer and more democratic and effective international system.