Remarks by Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, at the General Debate of 78th Session of the UN General Assembly

Must read

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many of the speakers who have spoken before me have already expressed the idea that the planet we share is undergoing irreversible changes.

Right before our eyes, a new world order is being formed. However, the shape of the future is determined by an ongoing struggle between the Global Majority, who advocates for a fairer distribution of global resources and greater cultural diversity, and the few individuals who rely on neocolonial methods to hold onto their declining power.

A kind of “business card” of the collective West has long been the rejection of the principle of equal rights and total inability to compromise.

Accustomed to looking down on the rest of the world, Americans and Europeans make promises and commitments, including written and legally binding ones, and then simply fail to fulfill them. As President Putin pointed out, the West truly is an empire of lies.

Russia, along with many countries, experienced this firsthand. In 1945, as we worked together with Washington and London to defeat the enemy on the fronts of World War II our anti-Hitler coalition allies were already preparing plans for operation ‘UNTHINKABLE’ against the USSR.Four years later, in 1949, the Americans made plans for operation ‘DROPSHOT’ to launch nuclear strikes against the USSR. These crazy plans stayed on paper.

Then the USSR created its own retaliation weapon. Although it took the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the world was on the brink of nuclear war. So that the idea of unleashing it and the illusion of winning it ceased to be the basis of US military planning.

As the Cold War came to an end, the Soviet Union played a decisive role in reuniting Germany and agreeing on the parameters of the new security architecture in Europe. Moreover, specific political assurances were given to the Soviet and then to the Russian leadership regarding the non-expansion of the NATO military bloc to the East.

Relevant records of the negotiations are in our and Western archives, they’re open access. But the Western leaders’ assurances turned out to be lies, and they had no intention of fulfilling them.

Western leaders have never been fazed by the fact that by bringing NATO closer to Russia’s borders, they were flagrantly violating the highest level official OSCE commitments not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others and to prevent the politico-military domination of any country, group or organization in Europe.

In 2021, our proposals to conclude treaties on mutual security guarantees in Europe without changing Ukraine’s non-aligned status were turned down. The West continued to systematically militarize the Russophobic regime in Kiev, which was brought to power as a result of a bloody coup d’état and used to prepare for a hybrid war against our country.

Unprecedented since the end of the Cold War was the series of recent joint exercises between the US and European NATO allies, including scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Washington-led NATO countries are not just increasing and modernizing their offensive capabilities they also moving armed confrontation into the fields of cosmos and IT.

A new dangerous manifestation of NATO’s expansionism was the attempts to extend the bloc’s area of responsibility to the entire Eastern Hemisphere under the sly slogan of “indivisibility of Euro-Atlantic’s and Indo-Pacific region’s security”.

For this task, Washington creates subordinate military-political mini-alliances under its control, such as their AUKUS, their ‘trio’ of US, Japan and the Republic of Korea, their ‘quartet’ of Tokyo, Seoul, Canberra and Wellington, and brings members into practical cooperation with NATO, which is deploys its infrastructure in the Pacific.

The unconcealed focus of such efforts against Russia and China, to break up the inclusive regional architecture around ASEAN creates the risk of the emergence of a new explosive geopolitical hotbed of tension – in addition to the already overheated European one.

I have a strong impression that the US and the collective West, that is completely subordinate to them decided to project the “Monroe Doctrine” on a global scale. Their ideas are as illusory as they are extremely dangerous, but this does not stop the ideologists of the new edition of Pax Americana.

The Global Minority is trying its best to slow down the natural course of events.

NATO’s Vilnius Declaration states that “the growing partnership between Russia and China” is as a “threat to NATO.” Speaking recently to his overseas ambassadors, President Macron expressed his concern about the BRICS expansion, treating it as evidence of “the increasing complexity of the situation on the international arena, which risks weakening the West and Europe, in particular. The world order’s principles and forms of organization where the West traditionally dominated and dominates today are being revised.’’

His revelations center around the idea that officials who meet without their knowledge or form friendships without their permission pose a significant threat to their authority. And on the idea that NATO’s advancement in the Pacific is a good thing, while BRICS’ expansion is dangerous.

Their desire is to break free from the constraints of others’ regulations. They yearn to establish relationships and engage in commerce among themselves, as well as with the global community. However, they want to level the playing field, with shared advantages for all parties involved.

Institutions like BRICS and SCO are increasingly gaining momentum, offering countries from the Global South the chance to thrive and safeguard their rightful position in a globalized world. For perhaps the first time since 1945, when the United Nations was established, there is a chance for genuine democratization of world affairs.

This inspires optimism in everyone who has faith in the rule of international law and who desires to witness the UN’s rejuvenation as the world’s primary governing entity. As a place where solutions are found together, based on a fair balance of interests.

For Russia, it is obvious that there is no other way. Despite this, the United States and its subordinate “Western collective” continue to fuel conflicts that needlessly divide humanity into opposing groups, hindering the achievement of common goals.

They’re doing everything in their power to prevent the formation of a truly multipolar and just world order. They’re trying to force the world to play by their own self-serving “rules”.

I urge Western politicians and diplomats to carefully read the UN Charter once again.

The democratic principle of sovereignty and equality of states, large and small, regardless of their internal political or socio-economic structure.

However, the West still considers itself superior to the rest of humanity in the spirit of the EU head of diplomacy J. Borrell’s statement that “Europe is a blossoming garden, and everything around it is a jungle.”

He is indifferent to this garden’s rampant Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance towards the traditional values of all the world’s religions. Burning the Koran, insulting the Torah, persecuting Orthodox clergymen, and other acts that outrage the feelings of believers have become commonplace in Europe.

The West’s use of unilateral coercive measures is a flagrant violation of the principle of sovereign equality of States.

In countries suffering from illegal sanctions (which are increasingly prevalent), it is widely recognized that the most vulnerable segments of the population bear the brunt of these restrictions. They provoke crises in the food and energy markets.

We continue to insist on the immediate and complete cessation of the unprecedented and inhumane trade, economic and financial blockade of Havana by the United States and the lifting of the absurd decision to declare Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.

Washington must, without any preconditions, abandon its policy of economic suffocation of Venezuela. We demand the lifting of US’ and EU’s unilateral sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic, which blatantly undermine their right to development.

The egotistical West has shamelessly tried to “Ukrainize” international discussions, while completely ignoring a multitude of unresolved regional crises that have persisted for years, if not decades.

Full normalization of the situation in the Middle East is impossible without resolving the main issue – the settlement of the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. Countries really depend on this supporting the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the U.N. resolutions, the Arab peace initiative.

The Palestinians have been waiting more than 70 years after a solemn promise of a state, but the Americans, who have monopolized the mediation process are doing everything they can to prevent it. We urge all responsible nations to join forces and pave the way for direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

It is encouraging that the Arab League is gaining a second wind and revitalizing its role in the region’s affairs. We are thrilled about the SAR’s reinstatement into the Arab family, and we’re also committed to supporting the ongoing normalization process between Damascus and Ankara, in collaboration with our Iranian partners.

These positive developments reinforce the efforts of the “Astana format” to advance Syrian mediation based on the restoration of the sovereignty of the SAR. With the support of the UN, we hope that Libyans can prepare for general elections in their long-suffering country. For over six decades, Libya has endured the consequences of NATO aggression, which resulted in the destruction of their state, the proliferation of terrorism in the Sahara-Sahel region and the influx of millions of illegal migrants to Europe and other parts of the world.

Analysts note that as soon as M. Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program, he was assassinated. By doing so, the West has laid bare the most dangerous risks to the entire nuclear non-proliferation regime.

It is concerning to see Washington and its Asian allies escalate the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where the US has been accumulating strategic military equipment. Russian-Chinese initiatives to prioritize humanitarian and political issues get rejected.

The situation in Sudan has taken a tragic turn, which can be seen as a direct result of the West’s unsuccessful attempts to export liberal democratic dogmas. We support constructive initiatives aimed at an early settlement of the intra-Sudanese conflict, foremost by facilitating direct dialog between the warring parties. Observing the West’s nervousness about recent events in Africa, in particular in Niger and Gabon it is impossible not to recall how Washington and Brussels reacted to the bloody coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

One day after a settlement agreement was reached under EU guarantees, which the opposition trampled on. The US and its allies supported that coup, hailing it as a “manifestation of democracy”.

The continued degradation of the situation in the Serbian province of Kosovo is also matter of concern. NATO’s supply of arms to the Kosovars and its assistance in building their army are in flagrant violation of the fundamental UNSCR 1244.

The entire world is witnessing the narrative of the Minsk agreements regarding Ukraine, which aimed to establish a distinct status for the Donbass republics but was openly undermined by Kiev with Western support. So now the EU doesn’t want to force its own Kosovar protégés to honor the 2013 agreement between Belgrade and Pristina to create a Community of Kosovo’s Serbian municipalities with special rights to preserve their language and traditions.

In both cases, the EU was the guarantor of the agreements, and it seems that their fate is the same. Results befitting their sponsors.

Brussels is now imposing its “mediation services” on Azerbaijan and Armenia, bringing destabilization to the South Caucasus along with Washington.

We urgently demand that the international community takes decisive action to resolve the unfinished matters of decolonization as directed by the resolutions of the General Assembly to put an end to colonial and neocolonial practices.

The fate of the commitments made by the West in 2009 to provide developing countries with 100 billion dollars annually for climate change adaptation programs serves as a vivid illustration of its desired global “rules”.

Compare the fate of these unfulfilled promises with the sums that the U.S., NATO and the EU have spent in support of the racist regime in Kiev. They are estimated to be up to 170 billion dollars since February 2022. Now you understand the attitude of the “enlightened Western democracies” with their notorious “values”.

Overall, there is an urgent need for early reform of the existing global governance architecture. It has long been insufficient to meet the demands of the era. The US and its allies must abandon artificial distribution of voting quotas in the IMF and World Bank, recognizing the real economic and financial weight of the Global South.

The operations of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body should also be immediately resumed.

The Security Council is also increasingly in need of enlargement, solely by addressing the underrepresentation of the world’s majority countries – Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is crucial for the new members of the Security Council, whether they are permanent or temporary, to possess credibility not only within their respective regions but also in global organizations such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

It is time to consider more just methods of forming of the UN Secretariat. The current criteria that have been in place for many years do not reflect the real weight of states in world affairs and artificially ensure the dominance of NATO and the EU.

The gaps between individuals are exacerbated by the permanent contracts that tie them to positions within the headquarters of international organizations in the host countries. It is worth noting that the majority of these organizations are located in capitals that implement Western policies.

The UN reform should be supported by a new type of association, where there are no leaders, slaves,teachers and students, where all issues are resolved on the basis of consensus, reflecting a balance of interests. This is, first of all, the BRICS, which has significantly increased its authority following the Johannesburg summit and has become a truly global organization.

At the regional level, there has been a renaissance of organizations such as the African Union, CELAC, LAS, GCC and others. Harmonization of integration processes within the SCO framework is gaining momentum in Eurasia, SEAN, CSTO, EurAsEC, CIS, and China’s Belt and Road project.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership is a forming naturally, it invites all associations and countries of our shared continent to participate, leaving no exceptions.

Positive trends are contradicted to the West’s increasingly aggressive attempts to maintain its dominance in world politics, economics and finance.

It is in our common interest to avoid fragmentation of the world into isolated trade blocs and macro-regions. But if the US and its allies are unwilling to make globalization a fair, equitable process, then the rest of us will have to draw conclusions and think about steps that will help them avoid tying the prospects of their socio-economic and technological development to neocolonial instincts of former metropolises.

The main problem is the West, because developing countries are ready to negotiate, as shown at the G-20 in India. The primary outcome is to eliminate politicization within the G20 and empower it to fulfill its original purpose: to devise universally accepted strategies for global economic and financial governance.

There are opportunities for dialog and consensus. It is important not to miss the moment. The UN Secretariat must fully take these trends into account in its work, as its official duty is to obtain consent from all Member States within the UN framework, rather than operating on the side.

As a representative of a country that played a crucial role in the defeat of fascism and Japanese militarism, I feel compelled to address an alarming issue: the disturbing trend of rehabilitating Nazis and collaborators in various European countries, particularly in Ukraine and the Baltic States. Last year, Germany, Italy and Japan voted against the UNGA resolution on the inadmissibility of glorification of Nazism for the first time.

This deplorable fact calls into question the sincerity of the repentance of the States in question for the mass crimes against humanity during the Second World War and contradicts the conditions under which they were admitted to the UN as full members.

We strongly urge the need for careful consideration of these “metamorphoses,” as they go against the stance of the global majority and the founding principles of the UN Charter.

Today, as many times in the past, humanity once again stands at a fork in the road. It is up to us to determine how history will unfold. It is in our common interest to prevent a descent into a major war and the final collapse of the mechanisms of international cooperation created by generations of predecessors.

The Secretary General launched an initiative to hold a “Summit of the Future” next year. The success of this endeavor can only be ensured by striking a fair balance between the interests of all member countries, while respecting the intergovernmental nature of our organization.

A good answer to those who divide the world into “democracies” and “autocracies” and dictate to all only their own neocolonial “rules.”


More articles

Latest article