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Lavrov: Russia's responsibility - to learn from history

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has made the annual address to the students and faculty of Moscow's State University of International Relations, marking the start of the new academic year.

The annual speech has become a tradition for Mr Lavrov. The Foreign Minister uses it to talk about key international issues and outline Russia's role in the world arena.

“Among those questions which are of the prime concern for the Russian and international public is the question of what kind of foreign policy Russia needs and what kind of Russia the world needs today. Russia has done a great deal to overcome the costs of the profound restructuring of the country, to learn how to define rates of changes in the framework of democracy and market values,” Sergey Lavrov stressed.

“We feel our responsibility along with other countries to learn lessons from the history, including modern contemporary history, and to analyse our own and other people’s mistakes,”
said Mr Lavrov.

The Foreign Minister also spoke about the AMD problems and the Kosovo problem. “We have to respond and we must uphold our standpoint to the end. One of the questions in this respect is the U.S.’ plan to deploy anti-missile defence system elements in Eastern Europe and the settlement of the Kosovo problem. Russia is not wrangling and our international partners should understand it. Along with principles, some very important, vital interests of practical policy are touched upon there. Russia is and will always be against everything that strengthens unilateral or one-sided approach to international affairs in the new conditions and undermines the principle of equal security,” he noted.

Sergey Lavrov called for a new approach Russia-U.S relations in order to consolidate the positions of all world powers on international stability and security.

“There are also elements of emancipation in Russian-American relations. First of all, it means getting rid of the hostility and the ideology that fed it. We have inherited a form of relationship between the U.S and Russia for common responsibility and maintaining strategic stability in the world. Though it is evident now that this inheritance from the past is not sufficient to build an up-to-date, stable and forward-looking relationship.

Globalisation suggests the necessity of positive interdependency, mainly in the economy sphere. On the other hand, global freedom determines  the collective leadership of the most advanced countries of the world. From historical experience we know that freedom in international relations does not mean the liberty of one state from another. It really means freedom to negotiate and come to an agreement on the basis of mutual advantage.

By the way, it is already  being done occasionally in certain cases between the five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN, between G8 members and in other diplomatic formats. At the same time it is obvious that globalisation also brings global problems which can only be resolved by the joint efforts of leading world powers. The number of world powers which might influence these problems is also growing. Therefore new forms of collective leadership guided by mutual tracking of national interests are most likely. World powers should be aware of their responsibility for the future of mankind. This tendency has already affected decisions made in the framework of the G8 and its partners. As you may know, the dialogue with traditional partners of the G8 – like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa – is being institutionalised,” said Mr Lavrov.

Mr Lavrov commented on the Russia-UK relations.

“There is nothing tragic in our relationship with the UK. Of course, we feel sorry that, with the lack of evidence in Lugovoy’s case, London has made a choice in favour of a loud and scandalous show,” he said. 

“I don’t think that, taking the decision to provide political asylum to some political figures a few years ago, the British side was seriously thinking of the possibility of changing Russia’s internal policy, but in the end London became -voluntarily or otherwise – a participant of intrigues against Russia.I  would like to repeat that we would like to see our relationship with the UK as one of a true partnership,”  the Foreign Minister added.

RT political commentator Peter Lavelle expressed his opinion on some issues touched upon in Mr Lavrov's speech.

The State University of International Relations is the oldest and most renowned international relations institution in the country.

Sergey Lavrov is a graduate from the Moscow's State University of International Relations, along with many Foreign Ministers of post-Soviet states.