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10 Feb, 2008 06:35

"Where is Russia heading?"

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Sergey Ivanov, has addressed delegates at the world's annual security conference in Germany. The speech entitled ‘Where is Russia Heading?’ outlined Russia's future role in global security. Ivanov also spoke on the co

“The process of Russia’s revival objectively combines our ambition to occupy an appropriate place in international politics and our commitment to maintain our national interests,” said Ivanov.

He went on to say, “Russia doesn’t aim to buy the world with its petrodollars. But while welcoming foreign investment in Russia’s economy, we expect it to be two-way traffic. Yet for the moment the ratio accumulated in mutual investment is one to ten in favour of the European Union.” 

“By 2020 Russia should be among the world’s five biggest economies with GDP per capita of over $US 30,000,” he predicted.

“It would really become possible to shift the control of nuclear weapons and the process of their gradual reduction to a multilateral basis. This is precisely an area of international relations where Russia and the U.S. are obliged to show their leadership. None of us has any doubts about the importance of multilateral barriers to WMD proliferation,” Ivanov added.

To watch the full version of Ivanov’s address, please follow the link

Known as the ‘Davos’ of security forums, the annual Munich conference brings together the cream of the world’s political crop. It’s an informal meeting where defence experts and politicians often make frank exchanges.

On Saturday, the group of roughly 250 officials discussed a range of issues concerning global security. Most of them are not new: the future status of Kosovo, the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear programme. 

Iran was of special interest for the Russian delegation, headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov.

Recent reports of Tehran’s test missile launch have concerned Moscow and Washington alike. It may upset the already fragile balance between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran. This, in turn, places even more responsibility on nuclear states and their participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The biggest bone of contention between Russia and the U.S. is Washington’s plan to deploy anti-missile defence elements in Eastern Europe, which Moscow sees as a clear threat to national security.

No breakthroughs were expected or made. However, in line with the conference’s slogan, the officials are trying to find peace through dialogue.

During a meeting with the head of the IAEA, Sergey Ivanov was happy to pledge support to the non-proliferation treaty.

“As for nuclear non-proliferation, Russia has no disagreements with another key player, the U.S. We share the same position. The threat of weapons of mass destruction is real, it does exist and Russia and the U.S., as the biggest nuclear states, have to show leadership,” Ivanov said.

IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, said he is glad Russia and the U.S. are working closely together.

“I also salute the Russian initiative for establishing an international enrichment centre. This is an idea which is very important,” he added.

But perhaps the most interest is in the speeches made by the delegates.

Last year, Russia's President Vladimir Putin made his audience sit up and listen as he delivered his by now famous speech. With the memory still fresh, most of the delegates and journalists are eagerly awaiting the content of Sergey Ivanov’s speech when he takes to the stand.