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23 Jan, 2008 07:53

Russia denies nationhood deals with Georgia's breakaway regions

Russia would not automatically recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, even if Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. That's according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was speaking to journalists at an internatinonal media c

“Many have  misinterpreted Russia's warning that independence for Kosovo would set a precedent.  They say Moscow is eager to see an independent Kosovo so it can start granting independence to other disputed regions. Nothing could be further from the truth about Russia’s position,” Lavrov said.

The Foreign Minister summed up developments in Russia's international affairs and foreign policy in 2007.  He also looked ahead to the immediate future.

Mutual interests

Lavrov called for all countries to abandon ideology and build their international ties on principles of multilateralism, pragmatism, co-operation and international law. Lavrov said these are the principles that Russia follows when dealing with its neighbours and other nations.

He said involving more countries into global affairs is required in the modern world.  He added that “strategic security cannot stay in the sphere of relations between Russia and the United States”. EU members, Japan, Brazil and other countries could contribute to global stability, Lavrov said. New members, he added, could be introduced into the UN Security Council following more talks.

NATO is rusty

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is also in need of reform, Lavrov said. NATO was created to follow out-of-date goals, and its present 'policy of open doors' is unlikely to solve any modern security challenges. This policy “will not create a common sphere of security, on the contrary it will fragment it,” Lavrov said.

The Foreign Minister added that another negative trend is that new NATO members feel protected against international criticism and start doing reproachable things, like glorifying Nazism. “They can get away with it, because they are members of a respectable club,” Lavrov said.

UK 'twists' diplomatic row

Sergey Lavrov told journalists that Britain is trying to turn the ongoing diplomatic row between the two countries into an issue of European solidarity. He said London is presenting the dispute to the public in a twisted and simplistic way.

For Moscow, he said, the situation is clear and logical. After the dispute over the extradition of Andrey Lugovoy, Britain’s main suspect in the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko, the two sides suspended work on several agreements. Among them was the agreement on cultural relations, which would regulate the work of the British Council in Russia. Now the western media are oversimplifying this into 'Russia gets revenge for Lugovoy case by closing British Council,' Lavrov said.