12 September 201211:03

Speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov at the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries-participants of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, Astana, September, 12th, 2012


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Dear Mr. President,

Dear colleagues,

20 years ago the President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbaev came forward with the initiative of convocation of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in the interests of providing of the peace, security and stability on the Asian continent.

During the recent times the Conference has received the status of an essential platform among the regional forums which form the modern image of Asia. The representative composition of the participants of the Conference contributes to the promotion of confidence building measures in the military, political, economic, humanitarian and other fields.

Today serious qualitative changes are taking place in the world. The international polycentric system in which Asia plays an important part is being formed.

At the same time numerous challenges and threats are remaining. We are deeply worried by the formation of some kind of Arc of Instability spanning from the North Africa to Afghanistan. The prospect of the development of situation in this country causes deep concerns, especially due to the rather controversial declarations that the foreign armies will leave Afghanistan in 2014, but the foreign bases will remain. We would like to receive an explanation considering this issue: if the antiterrorist mission is considered to be completed (and there are still serious doubts in it), does it mean that the bases remain due to some other task which is not related to Afghanistan? We all share one purpose: peaceful, safe Afghanistan, which brings neither terrorist, nor drug threats to its neighbours and the rest of the world. Therefore we appeal for all colleagues on the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia to provide the maximum openness of all plans and actions concerning Afghanistan, so much so that the mandate on foreign military presence in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was approved by the UN Security Council.

Among the other topical issues of the international agenda is the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme and the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula. We are unable to see any alternative to their settlement through negotiations in the existing formats. It is the only way to achieve the relief of the concerns of the international community. Threats, contributing to the tension and unilateral sanctions undermine the collective efforts. The risks are too great, and it is necessary to immediately refuse from placing the stakes on confrontation. And here the authority of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia could also play a salutary role.

The Syrian crisis has become one of the most acute international problems. It is inadmissible neither to be indifferent to this tragedy, nor to enter the conflict on someone's side. All the external actors, including, I hope, the participants of the CICA, are capable to demand all conflicting parties to terminate bloodshed immediately, and should do it. It is necessary to provide that the Syrians themselves – certainly, without mercenaries – should sit down at the negotiation table and begin the joint search of national reconciliation on the basis of collective agreement without external interference. This basis is expressed in the UN Security Council decisions, the six-item plan of K. Annan, the final communique of the ministerial meeting of the Syria Action Group in Geneva. We strongly support the efforts of the Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States L. Brakhimi's that are based on these documents.

The Syrian crisis is only a part of dramatic events in the region of Middle East, which negatively affect the stability of many countries and - which is especially dangerous - are used for provoking interethnic and interconfessional clashes.

The situation is aggravated with the fact that on this background we are witnessing a throwback in the efforts on the settlement of the Palestinian problem. We are sure that members of the "Quartet" of the international intermediaries that interact with the League of Arab States are obliged to prevent the attempts to use the Arab Spring to sabotage the negotiations on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the approved international legal basis.

The establishment of the zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East acquires particular importance according to the resolutions of the UN Security Council. We consider it necessary to execute the decision of the states-participants of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and assemble the conference to start substantive work till the end of this year.

The processes that are taking place in the Asian region dictate an imperative need of consolidation of efforts with the purpose of searching the effective responses to the arising challenges and threats. It is pleasant that the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia brings its contribution as a part of the partner network of complementary regional structures to the promotion of collective methods of the decision of international problems.

I would like to attract the attention to the fact that in September, 2010 Russia and China suggested to start building the security architecture in Asian-Pacific region based on equity in rights. It main principles should be the indivisibility of security, opennesses and supremacy of international law, primarily of the United Nations Charter. Our initiative was appreciated with interest by our partners in various regional associations, including the CICA. We appeal for the interested states to take part in the practical work.

The assistance to the deepening of processes of regional integration lies in the centre of our attention. The summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has just passed in Vladivostok. The Russian initiatives in the spheres of liberalisation of trade and investments, enhancement of transport and logistical systems, strengthening food safety, provision of innovative growth have been approved. The Russian party is ready for cooperation in order to achieve these purposes. Thus we are actively cooperating in such regional and transregional formats, as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the East Asian summits, the ASEAN Regional Security Forum, BRICS and Russia-India-China triangle, the Asia-Europe Forum, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, and, certainly, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures.

We state that the Turkish presidency has managed to provide continuity in work of our Conference and to give it an additional impulse. As a result we see good prospects on all tracks. The concepts and the action plans on the confidence building measures that were prepared by the coordinator countries in economic, ecological and humanitarian measurements create a sound basis for the further work. Russia, as the curator of the implementation of the Concept and the Roadmap on the Assistance to Small and Medium Business, expects the cooperation in this area to be also continued.

In conclusion I would like to emphasize: by common efforts we can achieve a lot. The key to success lies in building our relations on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, respect and taking the interests of each other into consideration.

Thank you for your attention.

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