Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
Speech by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the meeting of foreign ministers of the ASEM member states, New Delhi, 11 November 2013
First of all, I would like to join the words of gratitude addressed to our Indian hosts for their hospitable reception, as well as to join the condolences addressed to the people and the Government of the Philippines in connection with the disaster they have faced. We are ready to provide comprehensive assistance to overcome the consequences of this disaster.
Dear colleagues, the world has stepped into a new historical stage in its development. The geopolitical landscape is changing, the global balance of forces is qualitatively redistributed, and the polycentric system of world order is continuing to form. The nature and the geography of transborder threats is extending. The consequences of the world financial and economic crisis have not been overcome completely.
In these conditions, the meaning of collective steps in the interests of ensuring international stability, sustainable growth on a fair basis, increase of the quality of life, and rational use of natural resources, grows.
The ASEM priorities, which we support, are concordant with the ideas of the Russian presidency of the G20, within the framework of which special attention was devoted to topics like strengthening food security, extension of access to financial services and increase of the level of financial literacy, creation of modern infrastructures, and development of human capital. At the summit in St Petersburg specific measures in all these directions aimed at the recovery of the global economy, creation of new jobs, and widespread introduction of advanced technologies were reviewed and coordinated.
Russia speaks in favour of expanding interaction in the area of energy, including in combination with efforts on ecological and climatic themes. We deem it important to develop cooperation to ensure energy security technologies,observing the balance of interests of producer-countries, consumers and transitory users.
We are ready to participate actively in the active implementation of the concept named interdependency. This initiative belongs to ASEAN countries and we are satisfied with its support within the framework of the ASEM. At the recent summit of the G20 and the APEC, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin appealed for the use of the possibilities of the Russian transit potential for the transportation of freight between Asia and Europe actively in the context of interdependency. First of all, this is the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline, as well as the Northern Sea Route.
Within the framework of further development of ASEM's agenda, we propose attention should be paid to the harmonisation of efforts of the Forum with the activity of other multilateral associations – the G20, the G8, the APEC and the EAS. It would be good, if our senior officials prepared specific propositions for that before the summit of the forum in Milan in 2014.
The establishment of a sustainable international economic order is inseparable from support of international peace. Russia offered to start the formation of a modern architecture of interstate relations in the APR. Russia together with China and Brunei spoke in favour of development of framework cooperation principles in the area of regional security. In October, leaders of member states of the East Asia Summit supported this initiative, and the first round of a multilateral dialogue on this topic will be held in Bandar Seri Begawan in the near future.
Asia and Europe should strengthen their cooperation for the purposes of finding political and diplomatic outcomes to conflict situations, a counteraction to international terrorism. Unconditional priorities include settlement of the Syrian crisis, finding a solution for the Palestine-Israel confrontation, normalisation of the situation in the Middle East region in general, including overcoming negative consequences of external interference in Arab spring processes, counteracting threats of terrorism and drug trafficking coming from the territory of Afghanistan, especially in light of the 2014 factor.
We also see encouraging signs in the work to settle the situation around Iran's Nuclear Programme. We need additional efforts by both parties to resolve this problem on the basis of superposition and reciprocity principles. It is important not to miss this chance and to do everything that depends on us to use the opportunities, which have opened up. As the Geneva meeting of 9 November has shown, we see encouraging signs in the efforts to settle the situation around Iran's Nuclear Programme on the basis of superposition and reciprocity principles. I would like to use the presence of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, Catherine Ashton, to confirm our high assessment of the role played by the European Union and by her personally in ensuring our movements ahead. Now, it is important not to miss this chance, not to disturb this movement and to guide it with the unconditional priority of strengthening the regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, rather than by geopolitical considerations.
Conditions are being created for a speedier renewal of six-party talks to settle the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula. There is no alternative for these negotiations. We consider it unacceptable to use the current situation as a pretence to build-up modern armaments in northeast Asia, including the deployment of additional components of the global anti-missile defence system here.
The strengthening of interreligious consent is an extremely important task. In 2010 at the ASEM summit in Brussels Russia proposed the initiative to conduct a high level conference in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Russia. This conference under the aegis of the ASEM will be held on 3-4 July 2014 in St Petersburg. We welcome everybody to participate in it.
To end, I would like to support the proposition of India to make interaction in the ASEM format specific and applicative to the full, to start filling the work of this forum with practical content, to strengthen the ties of the ASEM with other multilateral formats in the interests of strengthening peace, security and ensuring sustainable development.