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20 Dec, 2006 06:39

Russia can openly uphold its lawful interests: FM Lavrov

Russia can openly uphold its lawful interests: FM Lavrov

Russia's role in world affairs has grown over the past year, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He put it down to Russia's increasing ability to defend its own interests around the world.

Mr Lavrov was speaking at a press conference where he summed up this year's foreign policy results. In particular, a number of challenges that Russia has to face internationally have been discussed.

Speaking about the results of a year's work, Mr Lavrov has pointed out that “we have become more experienced and wiser, so we can better understand the process of globalisation, the world's problems and its approaches.”

Russia's Foreign Minister also believes, “the main thing is that we are now feeling ourselves a considerably greater role for the Russian factor in international affairs.” As the base of these changes Mr Lavrov has pointed out “not only the internal strengthening of Russia”, but also the “ability to honestly, openly uphold its lawful interests.”

Speaking about Russia's presidency of the G8, the Russian Minister said that “we are quite satisfied with our chairmanship,” and added that “the key result in the G8 was the emergence of such a balancing of the issues such as insuring energy security in the world, and the corresponding statements in the St. Petersburg [Summit's] declaration have clearly outlined the principles of our responsibilities as producers, consumers and transit countries.”

As far as relations between Russia and Europe are concerned, Mr Lavrov emphasised that Russia is trying to “build up a framework without any kind of dividing lines and to ensure the rights and welfare of people, by harmonising and upholding their social and individual rights.”

Another issue discussed at the press conference is economic partnership in the Black Sea region. Russia’s foreign minister said that “in the Organisation of Black Sea Co-operation we’ve had more than 60 multilateral undertakings including multilateral meetings of ministers responsible for energy, transportation, emergency situations, and IT.” He added that agreement on a number of infrastructure projects had been reached and they were on track to be implemented in the coming year.

Mr Lavrov also accused Georgia of violating international agreements, adding that Russia’s “main interests of stability and security in that region is to ensure co-operation of all parties involved with the peacekeepers of the CIS and to ensure fulfillment of all those decisions that the sides have adopted, including those concerning the status of Kodori Gorge. Right now the Georgian side is deploying its forces in that gorge, in violation of existing agreements.”

Foreign minister is sure that “this violation should be rectified by the UN Security Council”. He has also mentioned “provocations against Russian peacekeepers in that area”, as well as against the servicemen in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Commenting on the situation surrounding the death of the former Russian security service agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, Minister Lavrov stressed that it demonstrated the biased attitude of Western media towards Russia.

Mr Lavrov also commented on Russia's Middle East policies. He pointed out that Russia is deeply concerned by the situation in Palestine. Mr Lavrov warned of a possible split in Palestinian society and stressed Russia is helping the peace process.

Another complicated challenge of the Middle East situation is the Iranian nuclear issue. Russia's foreign minister said Moscow is against the use of force in resolving it, and stressed that “there can be no armed solution to this problem. Agreements based on that of the UN Security Council must uphold the efforts of the IAEA but not replace” the agency’s activities. They should also “help to emerge to a negotiating level with Iran rather than punish Iran,” emphasised the minister. “If these principles are observed in the current schedule, the solution of the problem can be co-ordinated very quickly.”