Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s long serving Foreign Minister has delivered his country’s address to the plenary session of the 72nd meeting of the UN General Assembly.
The speech which was delivered at a rapid pace, can be characterised as a point-for-point rebuttal of the majority of issues raised by Donald Trump during his deeply controversial speech delivered on the 19th of September.
Below are the main points covered by Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov placed a heavy emphasis on the joint Chinese and Russian deep-freeze proposals which call for de-escalation on the Korean peninsula.
Lavrov stated that “military hysteria is not just an impasse but a disaster” in a clear reference to Donald Trump’s threat to “destroy” North Korea, during his address before the United Nations.
Russia’s Foreign Minister condemned “Pyongyang’s missile adventurism” but restated that diplomacy is the only means of solving the crisis.
Sergey Lavrov stated Russia’s support for the 2013 JCPOA which is colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal. By contrast, Donald Trump called the deal “an embarrassment”.
Lavrov then said that the JCPOA has been and continues to be effective and that threats against Iran are causing alarm in the wider world.
Sergey Lavrov said that it is “unacceptable” for any external power to orchestrate riots let alone take military action against Venezuela. He also affirmed Russia’s opposition to sanctions against Venezuela. He explained that unilateral actions in such areas are ineffective and pointed to the failed US embargo of Cuba.
Lavrov condemned the use of ultimatums as a means of settling geo-political disputes and warned that such leads only lead to chaos, instability and refugee crises.
Sergey Lavrov spoke positively of the defeat of ISIS on the battle field but remarked with surprise verging on disgust that al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) is “being spared by members of the US led coalition”.
He further stated that more efforts are still needed to bring stability to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
Lavrov then said that any allegations relating to the use of chemical weapons in Syria or elsewhere should be investigated thoroughly and objectively. To this end, the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should not be undermined.
Sergey Lavrov also praised the work of the Astana Group of Russia, Iran and Turkey to help bring stability to Syria.
The Russian Foreign Minister expressed regret that there has still been no just solution for the people of Palestine. He affirmed that Russia places a strong emphasis on bringing peace to Palestine at the soonest possible date. Specifically, he stated that Russia has always and will continue to attach a supreme importance on achieving Palestinian unity.
Lavrov said that Russia is willing to engage in fostering direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leadership in pursuit of the two-state solution agreed to by the United Nations.
Ukrainian regime’s war on Donbass
Lavrov stated that it is necessary to deploy UN peacekeepers to Donbass at the soonest possible moment while he deplored the fact that the lawless Kiev regime consistently fails to implement the agreements contained in the MINSK Protocols.
Lavrov devoted this portion of the speech to criticising how the current regime in Kiev came to power through a violent and lawless coup.
Lavrov reminded his audience that the United Nations was founded as a result of the Nuremberg Trials of fascist war criminals and that no one should hide behind the phenomenon of free speech in order to glorify fascism and contemporary expressions of Nazism.
NATO expansion into Europe and anti-Russian racism
Sergey Lavrov lamented that after the Cold War, the western powers “grew heady” on the heels of history and broke multiple promises to refrain from expanding NATO into parts of Europe which had formerly been part of the Warsaw Pact which was led by the Soviet Union.
He said that “NATO is trying to restore the climate of the Cold War”, something which is unacceptable based on the modern standards of global multi-polarity.
The Russian Foreign Minister further stated that NATO’s expansion into Europe created anti-Russian sentiments throughout the continent and this has led to the nationalistic desecration of monuments to those who won the war against fascism. This is a clear reference to Poland beginning to tear down monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War against fascism. Lavrov stated that the UN must raise these matters with urgency.
Lavrov further stated that the UN must do more to help the human rights disaster of stateless peoples of Europe, many of whom are also the victims of racist laws which prevent them from speaking their native languages. This is a clear reference to the discrimination against Russians in the Baltic states of the European Union.
As a country which has always respected the sovereignty and dignity of all nations, Sergey Lavrov said that Russia welcomed Donald Trump’s remarks in favour of respecting all nations rights to sovereignty, but then decried the perpetual “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” attitude of the US led NATO west.
While Russia is committed to a world free of nuclear weapons, Sergey Lavrov stated that the best way to cut down on the proliferation of nuclear weapons was through realistic and objective dialogue. He stated that an unrealistic approach to nuclear weapons, only pushes the goal of a nuclear free world further away.
Lavrov’s concluding remarks
Lavrov spoke positively of Russia’s engagement in multilateral organisations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the BRICS, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
He stated that the multipolar or “polycentric” nature of the 21st century political map should be welcomed as a positive development.
Lavrov stated that the world must reject military alliances and instead work for collective security, which includes a rational approach to cyber-security.
Sergey Lavrov concluded by quoting the Roman philosopher Seneca who said “We were born to coexist together”. Lavrov stated that the UN founding fathers understood this better than anyone.
As Donald Trump’s speech opened with warm words about an non-ideological/pragmatic new approach for American foreign policy, one which would respect the sovereignty of nations, Sergey Lavrov offered praise for words which are long overdue from the Russian perspective.
However, just as Trump devoted the remainder of his speech to the antithetical threats to make war and sow conflict among several nations, Lavrov rejected Trump’s account on all parts.
–Whereas Trump threatened war on North Korea, Lavrov said dialogue is the only answer.
–Whereas Trump threatened war and sanctions on Venezuela–Lavrov condemned both and warned against such moves.
–Whereas Trump threatened to axe the JCPOA, Lavrov spoke highly of it.
–Whereas Trump condemned the Syrian government, Lavrov praised measures to bring peace to Syria which respect Syrian sovereignty.
In this sense, Russia and the US have very different ideas of how the world ought to be run. Donald Trump has not changed this, but in many ways, has only served to magnify these differences.