SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, stated that approach of “might is right” is being used instead of “right is might”. Amid a lack of consensus among the leading Powers as to the principles of the world order, there are persistent attempts to diminish the role of the United Nations, “sideline” it or make it a malleable tool for promoting selfish interests, he noted, adding that they are visible in the “rules-based order” concept that the West is introducing into political discourse. The West seeks to exclude those who have a different point of view from the global decision-making process, he asserted, noting that Germany and France recently announced the “Alliance for Multilateralism”, despite the existence of the ultimate multilateral forum — the United Nations. Similarly, the United States initiative for a “Summit for Democracy” will hijack the right to decide the degree to which other countries meet the standards of democracy — an initiative in the spirit of a cold war.
Reiterating that the “rules-based order” is founded on double standards, he said that when it serves the West’s interests, the right to self-determination is rendered absolute — as with Kosovo, “forcefully seized from a European country, Serbia”, and recognized as an independent State. On the other hand, when self-determination contradicts the West’s geopolitical interests, as with Crimea and the 2014 referendum on that peninsula’s reunification with Russia, the result is “illegitimate sanctions”. Emphasizing the need for unity in the face of global challenges, he called for adapting the Security Council to the reality of a “polycentric world order”, enlarging it with increased representation of Asian, African and Latin American States. Concerning prospects for Russian-American dialogue on the future of arms control, he said “when there is good will, finding mutually acceptable solutions is very real”. He urged a responsible approach in other spheres of strategic stability, contrasting the withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Russian Federation’s unilateral commitment not to deploy land-based intermediate- or shorter-range missiles in regions where no similar American-made weapons are present. He encouraged members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to proclaim a similar moratorium, with mutual verification measures.
Pointing to new challenges and threats, including “militarization” of the Internet into a cyberarms race, he called for responsible use of information and communications technologies, a universal convention on combating cybercrime, and the prohibition of weapons in outer space. Regarding international conflict zones, he urged external actors in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and other hotbeds to demonstrate understanding of the cultural and civilizational specifics of those societies and reject politicization. Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be relaunched, with a galvanized role for the Quartet of international mediators, in coordination with the League of Arab States, he stressed. He offered to share the Russian Federation’s unique experience of peaceful coexistence among different civilizations, religions, and cultures, calling for strengthening the central role of the United Nations in building the environmental protection agenda. “We are all different, but this must not bar us from working for the benefit of our nations and the entire humanity,” he stressed, proposing use of a new hashtag: #UNCharterIsOurRules.