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21 Mar, 2009 15:27

New security arrangement needed – Russian FM

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Europe and the U.S. to forge a new security agreement. Moscow isn’t happy with the current arrangements, and would like a legal framework incorporated in a security deal.

The idea was put forward by the Russian president last summer but Europe hasn't shown much enthusiasm for it.

Speaking at the Brussels Forum – an annual meeting of the most influential North American and European political and corporate leaders to address pressing challenges of today – Lavrov called for more legally binding international security agreement.

“Russian foreign policy is not about fear. It is about fairness,” Lavrov said adding that Russia notes unfairness of NATO’s dealing with Russia’s partners. “NATO bombed Yugoslavia without any legal justification. This bothers us. NATO takes it upon itself to judge everyone and everything.”

Lavrov then went on to call for Europe’s security to be run by the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

A similar idea was already expressed by Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008 and hasn’t been greeted with much support. Tatyana Yuryeva, a political analyst from Moscow State University of International Relations doesn’t expect Lavrov’s suggestions to be greeted with much enthusiasm this time either.

“The key point of Medvedev’s initiative [now voiced again by Lavrov] consists of a suggestion to agree on a new legally binding agreement on European security. But it's very difficult to persuade partners in the West. They prefer political binding not legal,” Yuryeva told RT.

Speaking after Lavrov, EU security affairs chief and a former NATO secretary general Javier Solana says the existing European security bodies are good enough.

“The security of Europe has schemes, has organisations, has structures and they are working properly. There is not a big need to pull down the structures of security. I think it is possible to make progress in the short term, by working in an effective manner in the NATO-Russia Council. I think there is room for improvement there,” he said.

Democracy or blackmail?

Lavrov also took a chance to lambast EU’s policies on Belarus, accusing the EU of ‘blackmail’.

“My friend [Czech Foreign Minister] Karel Schwarzenberg has stated publicly, that if Belarus recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it can forget about the Eastern Partnership. What was that: blackmail or European Democracy in action?” Lavrov asked.

Meanwhile, according to RIAN, some Russian journalists weren’t allowed into the conference room to hear Lavrov’s speech without explanation, despite having all the necessary credentials and clearances.