In International Law, Multipolarity, Russia, United Nations Charter
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the UN Security Council’s open debates “Effective multilateralism through the Defence of the Principles of the UN Charter,”

Lavrov at the UN Security Council Meeting, New York, April 24, 2023.

Originally posted by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation,  April 24, 2023.  The machine translated press conference question and answer session is below.

The 9,308th session of the UN Security Council is called to order. The provisional agenda for this meeting is called, “Maintenance of international peace and security; Effective multilateralism through the Defence of the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” The agenda is adopted.

Based on Rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure in the council, I invite the representatives of the following countries to take part in this session: Australia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Vietnam, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Kuwait, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Syrian Arab Republic, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, Uruguay, the Philippines, Ethiopia and the South African Republic. The decision is adopted.

Now the UN Security Council will start discussing Item 2 on the agenda. I would like to draw your attention to document S/2023/244 – the letter by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, dated April 3, 2023.

I would like to welcome the UN Secretary-General, his Excellency Antonio Guterres, and I give him the floor.


I would like to thank the UN Secretary-General for his briefing.


Now I will make a statement as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

Mr Secretary-General,


It is symbolic that we are holding our session on the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace that was introduced into the List of International Days by a UN General Assembly resolution on December 12, 2018.

In two weeks, we will celebrate the 78th anniversary of Victory in World War II. The defeat of Nazi Germany, the decisive contribution to which was made by my country with allied support, made it possible to lay the foundation for the postwar international order. Legally, it was based on the UN Charter while the UN that embodied true multilateralism acquired a central, coordinating role in world politics.

For a little less than 80 years of its existence, the UN has been carrying out the important mission entrusted to it by its founders. For several decades, a basic understanding by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as regards the supremacy of the charter’s goals and principles guaranteed global security. By doing this, it created the conditions for truly multilateral cooperation that was regulated by the universally recognized standards of international law.

Today, our UN-centric system is going through a deep crisis. The main reason is a striving by some UN members to replace international law and the UN Charter with a certain “rules-based” order. Nobody has seen these rules. They have not been discussed in transparent international talks. They are being invented and used to counter the natural process of the forming of new independent development centres that objectively embody multilateralism. Attempts are made to curb them through illegal unilateral measures – by denying them access to modern technology and financial services, excluding them from supply chains, seizing their property, destroying their critical infrastructure and manipulating universally accepted norms and procedures. This leads to the fragmentation of global trade, a collapse of market mechanisms, paralysis of the WTO and the final – now open – conversion of the IMF into an instrument for reaching the goals of the US and its allies, including military goals.

In a desperate attempt to assert its dominance by way of punishing the disobedient, the United States has gone as far as destroying globalisation which it has for many years touted as a great benefit for humankind serving the needs of the global economy’s multilateral system. Washington and the rest of the obeisant West is using these rules as needed to justify illegitimate steps against the countries that build their policies in accordance with international law and refuse to follow the “golden billion’s” self-serving interests. Those who disagree are blacklisted based on the precept that “he who is not with us is against us.”

Our Western colleagues have been inconvenienced by holding talks based on universal formats, such as the UN, for a long time now. In order to provide an ideological substantiation for the course on undermining multilateralism, they initiated a concept of united “democracies” as opposed to “autocracies.” In addition to “summits for democracy,” the list of participants, which is determined by this self-proclaimed hegemon, other “elite clubs” are being created in circumvention of the UN.

Summits for Democracy, the Alliance for Multilateralism, the Global Partnership on AI, the Media Freedom Coalition, the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace – all these and other non-inclusive projects were designed to thwart talks on the corresponding matters under the auspices of the UN and to impose non-consensual concepts and solutions that benefit the West. First, they agree on something privately as a small group, and then they present the things they agreed on as an “international community position.” Let’s call it what it is: no one authorised the Western minority to speak on behalf of all humankind. Please act decently and respect all members of the international community.

By imposing a rules-based order, the quarters behind it arrogantly reject the UN Charter’s key principle which is the sovereign equality of states. The “proud” statement by the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell to the effect that Europe is a “garden” and the rest of the world is a “jungle” said it all about their world of exceptionality. I would also like to quote the Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation of January 10 which runs as follows: The United West “will further mobilise the combined set of instruments at our disposal, be they political, economic or military, to pursue our common objectives to the benefit of our one billion citizens.”

The collective West has set out to reshape the processes of multilateralism at the regional level to suit its needs. Recently, the United States called for reviving the Monroe Doctrine and wanted the Latin American countries to cut down on their ties with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. However, this policy ran into an obstacle from the countries of this region who resolved to strengthen their own multilateral structures, primarily the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), while upholding their legitimate right to establish themselves as a pillar of the multipolar world. Russia fully supports fair aspirations of that kind.

The United States and its allies have deployed significant forces to undermine multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific region where an ASEAN-centered successful and open economic and security cooperation system has been taking shape for decades. This system helped them develop consensus approaches that suited the 10 ASEAN members and their dialogue partners, including Russia, China, the United States, India, Japan, Australia, and the Republic of Korea, thus ensuring genuine inclusive multilateralism. Washington then advanced its Indo-Pacific Strategy in an effort to break up this established architecture.

At last year’s summit in Madrid, the NATO countries spoke about their global responsibility and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic region and in the so-called Indo-Pacific region, even though they have always made it a point to persuade everyone that they aspired to peace and that their military programmes were purely defensive. This means NATO’s boundaries as a defensive organisation are being moved towards the western coastal regions of the Pacific. This bloc-oriented policy that is eroding ASEAN-centred multilateralism manifests itself in the creation of the AUKUS military organisation, with Tokyo, Seoul and several ASEAN countries being drawn into it. The United State is leading the effort to develop mechanisms to interfere in maritime security in a move to protect the unilateral interests of the West in the South China Sea region. Josep Borrell, whom I referred to earlier, promised yesterday to send EU naval forces to this region. No one is hiding the fact that this Indo-Pacific strategy is seeking to contain China and isolate Russia. This is how our Western colleagues interpret the concept of effective multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific Region.

As soon as the Warsaw Treaty Organisation was dissolved and the Soviet Union vanished from the political arena, many entertained the hope that the principle of genuine multilateralism without dividing lines across the Euro-Atlantic area could be brought to life. However, instead of tapping the OSCE’s potential on an equal, collective basis, the Western countries not only kept NATO but, despite their firm pledges to the contrary, pursued a brazen policy of bringing the neighbouring areas under control, including those that are and always have been of vital interest to Russia. As then US State Secretary James Baker said talking to President George W. Bush, the OSCE is the main threat to NATO. On our behalf, I would add that today both the UN and the UN Charter’s provisions also pose a threat to Washington’s global ambitions.

Russia patiently tried to achieve mutually beneficial multilateral agreements relying on the principle of indivisible security which was solemnly declared at the highest level in OSCE summit documents in 1999 and 2010. It states unambiguously in black and white that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others and no state, group of states or organisation can be assigned primary responsibility for maintaining peace in the organisation’s region or consider any part of the OSCE region its sphere of influence.

NATO didn’t care one bit about the obligations of the presidents and prime ministers of its member countries and began to do exactly the opposite, having declared its “right” to arbitrary actions of any kind. The illegal bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which included the use of depleted uranium warheads that later led to a surge in cancer cases among Serbian citizens and NATO military members is another glaring case in point. Joseph Biden was a senator then and said on camera, not without pride, that he personally called for bombing Belgrade and destroying bridges on the Drina River. Now, US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill is using the media to call on the Serbs to turn the page and “set aside their grievances.” The United States has an extensive track record of “setting aside grievances.” Japan has long been bashfully silent about who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. School textbooks don’t mention it. Recently, at a G-7 meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condescendingly grieved over the suffering of the victims of those bombings, but failed to mention who was behind them. These are the “rules,” and no one dares to disagree.

Since World War II, Washington has pulled off dozens of reckless criminal military operations without even trying to secure multilateral legitimacy. Why bother, with their set of arbitrary “rules?”

The disgraceful invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003 was carried out in violation of the UN Charter, just like the aggression against Libya in 2011. Both led to the destruction of statehood, hundreds of thousands of lost lives and rampant terrorism.

The US intervention in the domestic affairs of the post-Soviet countries also came as a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. “Colour revolutions” were concocted in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, and a bloody coup was staged in Kiev in February 2014. Attempts to seize power by force in Belarus in 2020 are part of the same approach.

The Anglo-Saxons who are at the helm of the West not only justify these lawless adventures, but flaunt them in their policy for “promoting democracy,” while doing so according to their own set of rules as well, where they recognised Kosovo’s independence without a referendum, but refused to recognise Crimea’s independence even though a referendum was held there; according to British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, the Falklands/Malvinas are not an issue, because there was a referendum there. That’s amusing.

In order to avoid double standards, we call on everyone to follow the consensus agreements that were reached as part of the 1970 UN Declaration on Principles of International Law which remains in force. It clearly declares the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states that conduct “themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as described above and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory.” Any unbiased observer can clearly see that the Nazi Kiev regime can in no way be considered as a government representing the residents of the territories who refused to accept the results of the bloody February 2014 coup against whom the putschists unleashed a war. Just like Pristina cannot claim to represent the interests of the Kosovo Serbs to whom the EU promised autonomy, Berlin and Paris similarly promised a special status for Donbass. We are well aware of how these promises play out eventually.

In his message to the second Summit for Democracy on March 29, 2023, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said some great words: “Democracy flows from the United Nations Charter. Its opening invocation of ‘We the Peoples,’ reflects the fundamental source of legitimate authority: the consent of the governed.” I will emphasise the word “consent” once again.

Multilateral efforts were made to stop the war unleashed in the east of Ukraine as a result of a government coup. These efforts towards peaceful settlement were embodied in a UN Security Council resolution that unanimously approved the Minsk agreements. Kiev and its Western bosses trampled these agreements underfoot. They even cynically admitted with a tinge of pride that they never planned to fulfil them but merely wanted to gain time to fill Ukraine with weapons to use against Russia. In doing this they publicly announced the violation of a multilateral commitment by UN members as per the UN Charter, which requires all member countries to comply with Security Council resolutions.

Our consistent efforts to prevent this confrontation, including proposals made by President of Russia Vladimir Putin in December 2021 on agreeing on multilateral mutual security guarantees were arrogantly rejected. We were told that nobody can prevent NATO from “embracing” Ukraine.

During the years since the state coup and despite our strong demands, nobody from among Kiev’s Western bosses pulled Pyotr Poroshenko, Vladimir Zelensky or Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada back when the Russian language, education, the media and, in general, Russian cultural and religious traditions were being consistently destroyed by law. This was a direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and universal conventions on the rights of ethnic minorities. In parallel, the Kiev regime was introducing the theory and practice of Nazism in everyday life and adopting related laws. The Kiev regime shamelessly staged huge torchlight processions under the banners of SS divisions in the centre of the capital and other cities. The West kept silent and rubbed its hands together. What was happening fully fit into the US’s plans to use the openly racist regime that Washington had created in the hope of weakening Russia across the board. It was part of a US strategic course towards removing rivals and undermining any scenario that implied the assertion of fair multilateralism in global affairs.

Now, all countries understand this, but not all talk about it openly – this is not really about Ukraine but about the future structure of international relations. Will they rest on a sustainable consensus based on the balance of interests or will they be reduced to the aggressive and explosive promotion of hegemony? It is inaccurate to take the Ukraine issue out of its geopolitical context. Multilateralism implies respect for the UN Charter and all of its interconnected principles, as I have already said. Russia has clearly explained the goals it is pursuing in conducting its special military operation – to remove the threat to its security that NATO has been creating for years directly on our borders, and to protect the people who were deprived of the rights that have been declared in multilateral conventions. Russia wanted to protect them from Kiev’s public and direct threats of annihilation and expulsion from the territories where their ancestors had lived for centuries. We honestly laid out for what and for whom we were fighting.

I am tempted to ask by contrast, against the backdrop of the US- and EU-fuelled hysteria – what did Washington and NATO do in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya? Were there threats to their security, culture, religion or languages? What multilateral standards were they guided by when they declared Kosovo’s independence in violation of OCSE principles and when they were destroying stable and economically wealthy Iraq and Libya that were ten thousand miles away from America’s coasts?

The shameless attempts by the Western countries to bring the secretariats of the UN and other international institutions under control came to threaten the multilateral system. The West has always enjoyed a quantitative advantage in terms of personnel, however, until recently the [UN] Secretariat tried to remain neutral. Today, this imbalance has become chronic while secretariat employees increasingly allow themselves politically motivated behaviour that is unbecoming to international officials. We call on His Excellency UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to ensure that all of his staff meet the requirements of impartiality in keeping with Article 100 of the UN Charter. We also call on the secretariat’s top officials to be guided – as they prepare initiative documents on the general agenda issues that were mentioned earlier, and the “New Agenda for Peace” – by the need to prompt the member countries on how to find ways of reaching consensus and a balance of interests, instead of playing up to neoliberal concepts. Otherwise, instead of a multilateral agenda, we will see an increasingly wider gap between the golden billion countries and the global majority.

As we speak of multilateralism, we cannot confine ourselves to an international context: in exactly the same way, we cannot ignore this international context as we speak of democracy. There should be no such thing as double standards. Both multilateralism and democracy should be respected within the member countries and in their relations with one another. Everyone knows that the West, while it imposes its understanding of democracy on other nations, opposes the democratisation of international relations based on respect for the sovereign equality of countries. Today, along with its efforts to promote its so-called rules in the international arena, the West is also suppressing multilateralism and democracy at home, resorting to increasingly repressive tools to crush dissent, in much the same way as the criminal Kiev regime is doing with support from its teachers – the United States and its allies.

Colleagues, once again, as in the Cold War years, we have approached a dangerous, and perhaps even a more dangerous, line. The situation is further aggravated by loss of faith in multilateralism where the financial and economic aggression of the West is destroying the benefits of globalisation and where Washington and its allies are abandoning diplomacy and demanding that things be sorted out “on the battlefield.” All of that is taking place within the walls of the UN which was created to prevent the horrors of war. The voices of responsible and sensible forces and the calls to show political wisdom and to revive the culture of dialogue are drowned out by those who set out to undermine the fundamental principles of communication between countries. We must all return to the roots and comply with the UN Charter’s purposes and principles in all their diversity and interconnectedness.

Genuine multilateralism today requires the UN to adapt to objective developments in the process of forming a multipolar architecture of international relations. It is imperative to expedite Security Council reform by expanding the representation of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The inordinate over-representation of the West in this main UN body undermines the principle of multilateralism.

Venezuela spearheaded the creation of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations. We call on all countries that respect the Charter to join it. It is also important to use the constructive potential of BRICS and the SCO. The EAEU, the CIS, and the CSTO are willing to contribute. We stand for using the initiatives advanced by the regional associations of the Global South. The G20 can be useful in maintaining multilateralism if its Western participants stop distracting their colleagues from priority items on its agenda in hopes of downplaying their responsibility for the pile-up of crises in the global economy.

It is our common duty to preserve the United Nations as the hard-won epitome of multilateralism and coordination of international politics. The key to success lies in working together, renouncing claims to anyone’s exceptionalism and – to reiterate – showing respect for the sovereign equality of states. This is what we all signed up for when ratifying the UN Charter.

In 2021, President Vladimir Putin suggested convening a summit of the UN Security Council permanent members. The leaders of China and France supported this initiative, but, unfortunately, it has not been brought to fruition. This issue is directly related to multilateralism. It’s not because the five powers have certain privileges over the rest, but precisely because of their special responsibility under the UN Charter for maintaining international peace and security. This is exactly what the imperatives of the UN-centric system, which is crumbling before our eyes as a result of the actions of the West, call for.

Concern about this situation can be increasingly heard in multiple initiatives and ideas from the Global South countries ranging from East and Southeast Asia, the Arab and generally the Muslim world all the way to Africa and Latin America. We appreciate their sincere desire to ensure the settlement of current issues through honest collective work aimed at agreeing on a balance of interests based on the sovereign equality of states and indivisible security.

In closing, I would like to let the reporters who are covering our meeting know that their colleagues from the Russian media were not allowed to come here. The US Embassy in Moscow cynically said it was ready to give them their passports with visas in them but only when our plane was taking off. So, I have a huge request for you. Please make up for the absence of Russian journalists. Please see to it that worldwide audiences can use your reports to glean every angle of the comments and assessments.

Answers to media questions from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a press conference following his visit to the United States as part of the Russian Presidency of the UN Security Council, New York, April 25, 2023

(The text below is a machine translation from Russian to English).

Question: You said that Russia will not forget and will not forgive the United States for the fact that the Russian journalists who were supposed to accompany you were denied American visas. What does this mean? Could you please explain.

Sergey Lavrov: There was a speech by our representative to the Committee on Information today. We find it outrageous that this is happening. All the “spells” about freedom of the press and access to information that were uttered by Western leaders, including the United States, enshrined in the decisions of the HRC and the OSCE, were adopted in the early 1990s. At that time, the Soviet Union was still openly accepting such agreements. Now, when the West has become uncomfortable with the availability of alternative points of view and the ability of the inhabitants of the planet and citizens of the respective countries to gain access to facts that do not fit into the Western narrative, it has begun to radically “attack” the media that do not obey it.

Our ambassadors in various countries, including Washington, regularly cite specific data on discrimination against the Russian media. Many years ago, France denied accreditation to the Elysee Palace to RT and Sputnik, calling them “propaganda tools”. Mr. J.Kirby, referring to our journalists who were not granted visas to participate in this part of our presidency, also said that Russian journalists are propagandists who have nothing in common with the American and democratic vision of freedom of speech. The First Amendment to the US Constitution, it turns out, means nothing in practice. We need to look at the situation with freedom of speech in the United States. I heard that T. Carlson left Fox News. Interesting news. What it is connected with, we can only guess. Clearly, the wealth of views in the American information environment has suffered.

As for our response measures. We will definitely keep in mind such dishonest behavior of the American leadership. I understand that the decision was made in the State Department. We will take this into account when the Americans need something from us.

Question: What do you think about Sudan and what is happening there? What can you say about the involvement of PMC Wagner in this? We asked Hamiti, the leader of this group, about this company. He did not deny their involvement. Who does the PMCs report to: the Russian government or another body?

Sergey Lavrov: As for Wagner ,it is a private military company. We have repeatedly touched upon this topic, including in this room, when a couple of years ago our French colleagues and the leadership of EU diplomacy, represented by Jean-Claude Juncker, met with us.The Borrelia expressed complaints to us about our relations with Mali, the Central African Republic and made a mini-scandal. In the conditions when the French began to curtail their operation “Barkhane” and close their military bases in the north of the country, where the main terrorist threat was, the Malian government, in order not to remain defenseless, turned to the services of PMC Wagner. This is their right. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali said this at a meeting of the UN General Assembly. No one makes any secret of this. The Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and a number of other countries whose Governments, legitimate authorities apply for such services, have the right to do so.

If you are concerned about this topic, check out the number of PMCs available in the United States, Great Britain, and France on the Internet. There are dozens of them. Many of them have been working right on our borders for many years, including inside Ukraine. This is also very suggestive.

As for what is happening in Sudan. This is a tragedy. People are dying. There is a significant threat to diplomats. We know this and are monitoring the situation. Today, representatives of the UN Children’s Fund have already asked our embassy to somehow shelter its employees, because they are in an unsafe place. I don’t know how this can be done. But we’ll do it now.

Remember how the Sudanese state “developed”. At first it existed in the singular, then in the form of Sudan and South Sudan. It was all before our eyes. Our American colleagues have made it one of their foreign policy priorities to divide Sudan into two parts. They asked us to persuade then-President Bashir to agree to an agreement on free expression of will and voluntary division. Frankly speaking, we were in favor of the people of Sudan deciding for themselves. As a result, the division of the country into two parts took place. South Sudan was formed. It seems that the Americans, as the initiators of this “divorce”, were supposed to help the new two states in every possible way to coexist, develop the economy and ensure the well-being of citizens, but they did not like something. I will not go into details, but the United States has announced sanctions against the leadership of Sudan and South Sudan. Then there were constant demands through the IMF. This geopolitical “engineering” doesn’t do any good.

I would recommend drawing the main conclusion from the current Sudanese crisis. Let’s not stop the Africans from negotiating with each other and adding some demands from the outside (which do not reflect the interests of these countries) to their efforts to solve their own problems in an African way.

Question: Tell us about the Ukrainian grain deal. Has Russia responded to the UN Secretary-General’s letter to President Vladimir Putin regarding the expansion and extension of this grain deal? China is the largest recipient of this grain. Did he ask Russia to extend it?

Sergey Lavrov: I will tell you right away that we do not discuss this issue with our partners from China, including for purely pragmatic reasons. We proceed from the fact that we have a common border with China, through which exports and imports are established. The Black Sea expanses are not needed for China to buy our grain. This also applies to other countries adjacent to Russia, such as Kazakhstan.

Regarding the letter sent yesterday by the UN Secretary-General A. Guterres sent it to Russian President Vladimir Putin. I hope it didn’t “leak”. This is a personal correspondence between the head of the UN and a member state of the Organization. If this paper was made public, it will not be very decent. This will mean another attempt to put pressure on a situation that is not resolved and has been brought to a standstill by our Western colleagues.

Let me remind you that when the Black Sea Initiative agreement was signed on June 22, 2022, its text explicitly stated that it concerns the export of grain and ammonia. No one thought about ammonia until the day before yesterday. Although yesterday A. Guterres told me that there is an acute shortage of fertilizers on the world market, primarily from the ammonia group. No one thought about it until the last moment.

How quickly this transaction turned from a ” Black Sea initiative “into a” Black Sea grain initiative ” and from a humanitarian initiative into a commercial enterprise raises enough questions that we have not tired of talking about and drawing attention to all this time. You have seen the statistics: less than three percent of the total volume of grain that left Ukrainian ports went to the poor countries on the corresponding WFP list (Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia). All the rest (more than eighty percent) went to either high-income or upper-middle-income countries. We discussed it and drew attention to it.

There is an attempt by our Ukrainian colleagues to organize an artificial congestion of vessels within the framework of the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul. Even in the Ukrainian press, there was information that the Ukrainian regime took bribes in order to arrange a queue for a certain ship earlier than without such bribery mechanisms.

We have drawn attention to the fact that by focusing entirely on the Ukrainian part of the deal, our colleagues, primarily at the UN, forget that Guterres initially proposed an inextricably linked “package”. Yes, he told me yesterday that the Russia-UN Memorandum is not very specific. We did this because it contains the commitment of the Secretary General and his staff to do everything possible to remove obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and grain.

I cannot say that the UN is not making efforts. A. Guterres and the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, are in favor of this and are trying to reach an agreement with countries that have declared illegal unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation. But there is practically no result. Rosselkhozbank (the main bank serving our agricultural exports) is disconnected from the SWIFT system. No one is going to return it there. Instead, we are offered one-time alternatives. The UN Secretary-General has asked three US banks to replace SWIFT and help Rosselkhozbank service its export operations. Several months passed, and, indeed, one of the banks “kindly” agreed to finance one operation. But when we are told that all further work should be based on this principle, it is not serious. If you want to systematically solve the problems of food shortages on world markets, then you just need to return our bank to the SWIFT system. If you want us and the UN Secretary-General to run around begging one or the other of the US financial institutions to be generous every time, that can’t and won’t work.

There are still problems with insurance. Although the Secretary-General told me yesterday that the stakes had dropped significantly after his contacts with Lloyd’s in London. This is all aimed at maintaining control over everything that happens and preventing our grain and fertilizers from freely entering the markets and entering certain countries on the basis of market mechanisms. This complicates the work of the World Food Programme, which helps the poorest countries.

In addition to what we are talking about, almost two hundred thousand tons of fertilizers were seized in EU ports. In August 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly announced our position, according to which companies (owners of these fertilizers) give them free of charge to the poorest countries through the WFP mechanisms. That was last August. The first shipment of twenty thousand tons (out of two hundred thousand tons) went to Malawi only six months later. Currently, two more shipments of twenty-four thousand tons each to Kenya and Nigeria are being discussed with great difficulty. This is all time-consuming and involves bureaucratic hurdles and additional overhead.

As for “our” part of the grain deal. Yes, we can see the efforts of the UN Secretary-General Alexander Lukashenko. Guterres and his colleagues, but the results are almost nonexistent. If only we do not consider the result of the dawning hope that instead of the normal supply of necessary products to world markets, it will be necessary to “manually” each time “beg” American and European ports, banks, insurance companies and other structures to show favor. This is not what we agreed on on July 22, 2022, when we supported the initiative of the UN Secretary-General, which, as he himself repeats, is of a package nature. A “package” does not consist of one part.

Therefore, unlike you, I cannot so confidently qualify what is contained in the message of the UN Secretary-General. Guterres addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is a message not to the general public, but to our President. As I understand it, the same messages were sent to Ukraine and Turkey. The response to this message will be after the addressee has read it. That’s what they do in decent homes.

Question: You don’t seem to like this deal. Don’t you have high hopes for her?

Sergey Lavrov: No comment.

Question (translated from English): On April 25 of this year, US President Joe Biden announced that he will run for a second term. Comments from Republicans (for example, D. Trump, who also announced his candidacy for a second term) indicate that they seriously fear that this could lead to a third world war. If someone were to become president of the United States, who would be “preferable” to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: Unlike journalists, who are obligated by duty to publicly analyze what is happening, the Russian government does not interfere in the affairs of other states.

Question: You spoke about the inadmissibility of NATO expansion in 2022, and on April 24 this year, because of the war, Finland and Sweden became members of the bloc. NATO Secretary General Jon Stoltenberg.  Stoltenberg supports Ukraine’s membership. Was it a miscalculation? What are the reasons for the war now that NATO’s border with Russia has doubled?

Sergey Lavrov: NATO did not intend to stop. If you look at the development of events in recent years, the process of merging the European Union and NATO in military affairs has been very active. Recently, they signed a declaration, according to which the EU, in fact, delegated to NATO the responsibility for ensuring the security of all its members and guaranteed the provision of the territory of EU countries that are not members of the alliance for the needs of the Organization. Sweden and Finland were “at the forefront” of this interaction, more often participating in the bloc’s military exercises and other events designed to synchronize the military programs of NATO and neutral states.

This is such a beautiful figure of speech that Russia did not want to allow the expansion of NATO. This is not so much what we wanted and considered necessary to prevent, as we were promised several times. They lied. Everyone knows that now. How they lied later about the Minsk agreements and much more. They didn’t blush to admit it.

The thesis that Russia tried to prevent the expansion of NATO, but in the end it accelerated it, is so seen from your “bell tower”. We also have our own “bell towers”. And the assessments that unbiased observers and political scientists make in the Russian Federation and abroad are that NATO wanted to break up Russia, and in the end it rallied. We will not draw conclusions about how all this will end now. We have clearly announced our goals and confirm them, including yesterday in our speech to the UN Security Council.

What do the Americans want? I read articles in the local press, read analysts, and talk to some of my old friends from among political scientists. They are more concerned about what will happen next. We have clearly and honestly stated our goals. What is the goal of the US, NATO and the EU? Pump up Ukraine with weapons? Now there is a “funny” theory. They say that the West should provide Ukraine with a successful counteroffensive and then ask it and President Zelensky to start negotiations. This is schizophrenic logic.

We want no threats to our security to come from the territory of Ukraine. They accumulated there for many years, especially after the coup in February 2014. We also want people who consider themselves involved in the Russian language, culture, and religion, which they have always professed through the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, not to be discriminated against, persecuted, or threatened with extermination.

There is such a “figure” in V. A. Zelensky-M. M. Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. He said that Ukraine is fighting for Western values and democracy. This is what “democracy” and “values” are, for which NATO is ready to fight “to the last Ukrainian”?

For many years, we have been drawing everyone’s attention to what is happening to national minorities in Ukraine, especially the Russian people. Laws have been passed banning education in languages other than Ukrainian, although an exception has been made for the languages of the European Union, which once again underlines the focus of this entire campaign against Russian culture. Media outlets that broadcast to Ukraine from Russia, as well as those owned by Ukrainians, but were broadcast in Russian and reflected opposition views, are prohibited. Millions of books have been thrown out of libraries. Some of them were burned in the squares, as the Nazis did. Almost all cultural contacts between our countries are prohibited.

Look at what is happening now with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We appealed to the UN Secretary-General A. Guterres, the OSCE leadership, and other authorities. The reaction is not strong.

We asked questions to the French, Germans, and Poles about the same situation when the coup d’etat took place in February 2014: they say that a day before the coup d’etat, you guaranteed a settlement, which you signed as guarantors. We were told that there are “excesses” in democratic processes. That’s all. Also, any actions of the Kiev regime were subsequently justified. At the same time, the West solemnly confirmed that it would pump it with weapons in order to defeat Russia on the battlefield, because the Kiev regime defends Western values and ideals of “democracy”. If the West is fighting for this, then it should be all the more clear what we stand for and what we will stand against to the end.

Question: Tell us more about possible contacts that you had with representatives of the United States regarding the fate of American citizens in Russian prisons. Were there any contacts or attempts?

Prisoner exchanges have already taken place in the past. What do you expect in exchange for P. Whelan and E. Gershkovich?

Sergey Lavrov: As agreed by US President John Kerry.According to the agreement reached between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Geneva in June 2021, a special channel was created to discuss the issues of detained Russian citizens in the United States and American citizens in the Russian Federation. I will not reveal a big secret if I tell you that this channel did not involve journalists and publicly “highlight” certain situations in the interests of exerting pressure on the ongoing serious, professional negotiations.

In Russia, several American citizens are serving sentences for various crimes, including the individuals you mentioned (P. Whelan and E. Gershkovich). They were detained while committing a crime – obtaining materials that constitute a state secret. We do not accept loud pathetic statements that a journalist, by definition, cannot commit crimes. There are many examples of this. They drew attention to the fact that when this campaign broke out around E. Gershkovich, no one else remembers about J. P. Blavatsky, Assange, or our citizen and journalist M. V. Butina, who spent two years in a US prison just for participating in the work of non-governmental organizations.

In the United States, about 60 Russians are in prison. In most cases, the charges are questionable. Not once during the “abduction” of our people from Europe and other countries, as the Americans do, did they deign to comply with the requirements of the bilateral consular convention, according to which, if they have suspicions about Russian citizens, they should not be abducted (as in Hollywood films), but turn to the Russian Federation and express their concerns.

I repeat that there is a channel for discussing these things. Such work does not involve publicity. In this case, it can only complicate this process for obvious reasons. You don’t need to explain this to professionals.

Question: Not so long ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey to participate in the launch ceremony of the first nuclear reactor in Turkey built by Russian companies. Does the Russian President plan to visit Turkey?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that the presidents understand that such a meeting will be important.

Question: Russia has repeatedly stated that Ukraine is not fulfilling its obligations under the grain deal. Does Russia intend to withdraw from this deal and are there still reasons to stay in it?

Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine has nothing to do with the part of the deal concerning Russian fertilizers and grain. These parts of the deal are blocked by Western sanctions. To overcome these sanctions and remove obstacles to the export of fertilizers and grain from Russia to world markets, the UN Secretary-General is working. Guterres. In this Memorandum, he pledged to do everything possible to achieve these goals. Apparently, the “impossible”will be required. We don’t see this happening yet.

As for the prospects of the deal, I just answered your colleague. Indeed, Guterres delivered a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. It will be reported. The response will be notified.

Question: President of the Czech Republic Petr Pavel said that Beijing does not need peace in Ukraine and that China is satisfied with the status quo. What is Russia’s position on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: Statements of this kind have nothing to do with the work of a normal political figure.

You mentioned the Czech Republic – and I mentioned the European Union (which still exists). High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep  Borrell said that they will develop relations with other countries depending on how they relate to Russia and China. This is an indicator of the mentality of the current European “diplomacy”.

Question: There are 80,000 refugees from Ukraine in Ireland. Did you apologize to them for having to run away from their home?

If China is your friend, why doesn’t it send you guns?

Sergey Lavrov: No one feels happy about how what is happening affects the lives of ordinary people. But their lives should attract attention not only when they are abroad and cause inconvenience to their host countries. The lives of ordinary people should attract the attention of politicians when these lives have been discriminated against and threatened by law and practice for many years on a daily basis.

No one gave a damn when we drew attention to the fact that such laws should not be adopted. The Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that all the rights of national minorities are guaranteed: political, religious, linguistic and so on. And when they asked for laws prohibiting these rights in relation to the Russian language, we applied (then we were still members of the Council of Europe) to the Venice Commission (there is such a body that analyzes the legislation of the member states of the Council of Europe for compliance with European conventions). And the Council of Europe, through this commission, passed a verdict that Ukraine should adopt a new, separate law on national minorities. They accepted it in December last year. It says that all the rights of national minorities without exception are guaranteed to the extent provided for by the current legislation. That is, in the volume in which they were truncated to almost zero. This is a mockery of justice.

As for the refugees in Ireland. Don’t know. Now there is a lot of information, including in the Western European and Eastern European information environment, that not everyone is so “needy”there. And there are scandals, someone stole something from someone, took his wife away, or vice versa. I don’t want to offend anyone. Refugees began to appear on our territory much earlier as a result of the war unleashed by the Kiev regime against its own people in the east of the country just because the population of Crimea and eastern Ukraine refused to recognize the coup and told these “guys” to leave them alone and that they wanted to solve their own problems. For this, they were declared terrorists and started a war against them. Millions of people ran to us. I do not recall that anyone in this room or at my other press conferences with the participation of Western journalists was interested in this aspect of the situation. For the last year and a half, refugees have been coming to us from areas that remain under the control of the Kiev regime.

Are you from Ireland? Very good. From time to time, I use this argument: if English was banned in Ireland, how would the British react to this? This is unthinkable, no one in the head does not fit.

And in Ukraine, the Russian language can be banned. You can publicly declare, they say, get out to your own Russia, if you consider yourself a part of Russian culture. This was said by V. A. Zelensky long before our special military operation. He was asked what he thinks about the people living on the other side of the contact line. He replied that there are people, and there are “individuals” (species). This “leader of world democracy” once said that if someone in Ukraine feels part of Russian culture, his advice is that for the sake of the future of their children and grandchildren, they should go to Russia. In plain text. And when asked what he thinks about the neo-Nazi Azov regiment (which was specifically designated as a structure that should not receive American funding even in Washington in 2013, and which marches under Nazi flags with symbols of SS divisions), he said that they have a lot of them, that they are what they are. Point. The values that V. A. Zelensky” for the Western world ” defends in the war against Russia also include such things that, frankly speaking, we got rid of long ago. But Europe has simply returned in the blink of an eye to the traditions that were still nurtured in the old days.

Question: The UN has many goals. They are constantly changing. The main goal in 1945 was to prevent a Third World War. For 75 years, we have been able to solve this problem. I listened to your address to the Security Council yesterday. It seems that you are no longer sure that this Organization can prevent a new world war.

Why aren’t you sure about this? What role can the Secretary-General play? Why doesn’t he prepare a peace plan? Does he not do this because you won’t consider him or because he doesn’t want to?

Sergey Lavrov: Don’t you want to ask him yourself?

I can only tell you about the one who’s been clacking around about World War III. President Joe Biden once said (I will not reproduce the quote verbatim) that if they help Ukraine win, they will prevent World War III. Do you analyze the statements of your president or only my speeches in the UN Security Council?

Some time ago, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, L. Truss, said that she would not hesitate to press the “red button”. When the then Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, heard all this talk, he said that France also has nuclear weapons. Then the commander of the German Air Force said that, they say, let Vladimir Putin not frighten us with a nuclear war, we are ready for it. This was all when we were completely silent about the Third World War.

Let me remind you that even under President Donald Trump, we were the ones who suggested to the Americans to re-confirm publicly, officially, and at the highest level the statement of Gorbachev-Reagan that Russia and the United States (then still the USSR and the United States) are confident that there can be no winner in a nuclear war, and it should never be unleashed. We have already proposed to do the same under Donald Trump. It didn’t work out. The Americans, if at all, were ready to discuss this statement, then with some reservations, which completely devalued it. Under President J. R. R. Tolkien,Biden our presidents made such a statement. Then we again took the initiative and a similar statement on the inadmissibility of nuclear war was adopted at the highest level by all five nuclear Powers.

When this topic is brought up, everyone immediately points the finger at Russia. They say that we are leading the world to the Third World war. Who has what hurts, he talks about it. We have such a proverb. I hope that those who utter these statements like “if Ukraine loses, then World War III cannot be avoided” or vice versa, should be sane and show responsibility.

Question: The first question concerns the withdrawal of the Israeli delegation headed by Permanent Representative Erdan from the Security Council meeting on the Middle East today. How do you view this step? Were there any communications with Israel prior to the meeting that indicated or could have indicated an appropriate decision by the Israeli delegation to leave the meeting?

The second question is related to the latest statement by the Deputy head of the Ministry of Defense of Great Britain, J. Hippy, who said that the United Kingdom has already sent thousands of Challenger shells with depleted uranium to Kiev. Tell me, what is your reaction to such statements?

Sergey Lavrov: About today’s meeting. I honestly can’t comment on the details. When we assumed the post of President of the Security Council, we discussed the schedule of meetings and their topics. No one objected to discussing the Middle East issues, including the Palestinian issue, today. Today, the representative of Israel so pathetically and emotionally asked a rhetorical question about how Russia would react if the anti-Russian meeting was scheduled for May 9, on the day of the Great Victory. You know, I worked at the UN for 10 years. We also met on May 9, discussing a variety of issues, and on other holidays of other UN member states. Such an organization. If you exclude all the dates that each country would like to leave free, you know, there will be few working days left.

But an Israeli official said he could not participate in “anti-Israel action” on such a day. Probably, you need to look for an answer to how to evaluate this. There was no “anti-Israel action”. This action, the meeting was held on the basis of the item on the agenda of the Security Council, which has been on this agenda for decades.

The Palestinian issue is the most long-standing conflict that cannot be resolved by anyone or anyone at all. Now they are trying to get away from the agreements stipulated in the Security Council resolutions again and promise some economic benefits for the fact that the Palestinians will not demand the creation of their own state. That’s what we’re talking about right now. This is not an anti-Israel event. This event, as I emphasized in my speech, is aimed at implementing the original UN decisions designed to ensure the right of the Palestinians to establish their own State and at the same time Israel’s right to security on its borders and, in general, to avoid threats to Israel’s security in the entire region. That’s what we’re talking about, not judging Israel. Today, there has also been a lot of criticism of terrorist acts carried out against Israelis. This is well known to everyone.

We have repeatedly spoken out about depleted uranium. No matter who says that it is not radioactive and is not listed in the relevant IAEA lists, there are not lists, but facts and interviews with people who suffered from depleted uranium in the same former Yugoslavia. It is available on our television, on the Internet and on Western TV channels. These people perform in Italy as well. Veterans of military operations who fought against the” regime ” of S. Milosevic (as they said at the time). You need to be aware of your responsibility. So, they’re out there on the island, so maybe it doesn’t matter so much where this depleted uranium will or won’t radiate what it contains.

Question: After February 24, 2022, many countries imposed sanctions against Russia. Do Western sanctions work? Can Russia withstand the pressure?

Sergey Lavrov: I remember that former US President Barack Obama said in 2015 that the Russian economy was already “torn to shreds.” Apparently, there is such a desire. It is stable and does not change depending on which administration is in power.

We have long concluded that we must rely on ourselves and those who are able to negotiate. We will no longer rely on those who lie, constantly deceive others, and try to gain a one-sided illegitimate advantage.

Now some Western companies, which were kicked out of Russia by their governments and who listened, are trying to return. Our government has commented on this situation. We are not sure that this issue should be resolved immediately. Let our business occupy the vacant niches. We will develop our economy through the development of material goods that history and the Lord God have given us in this world, and not through any virtual services or artificial dominance of the same dollar and dependence on this dollar.

The United States has launched a de-dollarization process. This process is now being analyzed with great concern, including by local American political scientists and economists. This is a fact. If I remember correctly, the dollar’s share in global payments fell from 55% to 47% in a year. 8% per year is significant.

The transition to payments in national currencies bypassing the dollar, euro and yen, to the development of digital currencies is already unstoppable. What will happen next with the international monetary system, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is a big question. The process is running. The Americans proved that they were not telling the truth when, for many decades after the abolition of the “gold standard” by R. Nixon, they claimed that even without gold collateral, this dollar is “not ours”, it is “our common dollar”. And that the global currency will ensure the smooth smooth functioning of all the mechanisms of the global economy.

Now they have proved that they have easily,” with the wave of an invisible magic wand, ” abandoned all the foundations that they promoted as the foundations of the world economy: fair competition, inviolability of private property, refusal to use unilateral protectionist measures, and much more. Everything that they based on the model of globalization, which, by and large, the whole world accepted and began to build their plans into this model. Today, globalization no longer has the perspective in the form in which it was. The world economy is fragmenting, deglobalizing and regionalizing.

We feel these processes and actively participate in them within the framework of the SCO, the EAEU, the agreement between the EAEU and China,and the BRICS. Brazilian President Lula da Silva is interested in preparing analytical materials for the next summit, which will be held in the summer, on how not to depend on the whims of those who have so far led the international monetary and financial system.

Question: You have talked a lot about the nature of the grain transaction, whether it is humanitarian or commercial in nature. Was Russia ready to sign such a deal from the very beginning?

You also talked about the “new world order.” Yesterday we received feedback from Member States, particularly Brazil. Why is multipolarity better than the current Western “rules-based order”? How will you convince your Western colleagues of your option?

Sergey Lavrov: I will repeat it again. The “deal” was called not grain, but the “Black Sea initiative”. In the text of this agreement itself, it was written that it concerns the expansion of opportunities to export grain and fertilizers.

No, I can’t suspect the UN Secretary-General A.Guterres is accused of being cunning when he proposed this deal. I am convinced that he acted sincerely. I know A. Guterres well. I can say this with confidence.

Another thing is that his sincere and persistent efforts aimed at persuading those who imposed sanctions to make an exception at least for agricultural exports, grain and fertilizers, did not have any result. I have already discussed this in detail today.

How can we convince our Western colleagues of the need to build a multipolar world? We won’t try to convince them. We state our positions, just as the People’s Republic of China, Brazil, and many others do. We propose to conduct business on the basis of what is written in the UN Charter: we all have equal rights, must seek a balance of interests and collectively solve world problems. Perhaps the best way to convince Western countries that a multipolar world is already emerging is simply to let the historical process continue. And they’re trying to stop him now.

Sanctions against Russia are indeed something that no one has ever seen or even imagined. But for us, this is a settled issue. We have every opportunity to avoid depending on this kind of behavior of our Western colleagues, who have proved their complete inability to negotiate. I have heard that it is now forbidden to sell semiconductors to China. At the same time, they demand from South Korea that it does not replace the dropped supplies of semiconductors from Europe and the United States with its own supplies. Preparations are underway for a new round of war for world domination, or rather a war to try to maintain world domination. Perhaps this may slow down the natural process of forming a multipolar world order, but not for long. In historical terms, I am sure that this will not be the case.

All these claims are that, as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said. Borrell, the ” Garden of Eden “(by which he means the West) is surrounded by a” jungle ” (in addition to the fact that it is racism and Nazism), is a reflection of the very philosophy that is harmful to all mankind, including the very bearers of this philosophy.

French President Emmanuel Macron, after his visit to Beijing (if we are talking about China), said that Europe should be independent, that being allies of the United States is not necessarily following the will of the United States on any issue, and mentioned Taiwan. He said that this is not a European issue. In parentheses, I note that this implied that Ukraine is a European topic. This means that it was recognized that Europe is fighting with the hands of Ukraine. But immediately after Emmanuel Macron said this, just yesterday Borrell proposed that the European Union send its naval forces to the Taiwan Strait. What does this mean? That those who support the logic of  Josep Borrell in Europe – they have completely lost all independence and are guided only by the interests of the United States, or they have not yet agreed on what their common position will be.

A multipolar world is being formed objectively. What it will be in the end, what will be the configuration, I do not know. Many people said, including yesterday at a meeting of the UN Security Council, that the G20 could become a prototype of some kind of governance mechanism.

I believe that it is better to rely on the UN Charter, with the understanding that in order to reflect new trends and realities, it will be necessary to reform the UN Security Council. Maybe it will be something similar in composition to the “twenty”, similar to membership in the “Group of Twenty”. But the phenomenon of the apparent deep under-representation of Asian, African and Latin American countries must be addressed.

Question: The Taliban recently banned women from working at the United Nations. United Nations Secretary-General A.Guterres is traveling to Doha to meet with the special envoy on the issue. What is the next step for the international community to take on Afghanistan?

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – is the plan” dead”?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, we supported the initiative of the UN Secretary-General to hold a meeting of special representatives in Doha on May 1-2, including a large number of Western countries.

Throughout 2022, and even this year, we have been working on Afghanistan in such formats as”neighboring countries”. Recently, the fourth ministerial conference of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries was held in Uzbekistan. In 2022, a similar meeting was held in China. In parallel, the Russia-China-Pakistan-Iran Quartet is working, to which we have invited India. We want this ” five “to be formed as the” core ” of the format of neighboring countries.

We maintain the Moscow format of consultations, which the United States once participated in. Then they became “capricious” after provoking what is happening in Ukraine and withdrawing from this format. There was a” troika ” of Russia-China-USA, which was joined by Pakistan. This format was also abandoned.

Apparently, in order to somehow involve the West in the processes of promoting a settlement in Afghanistan, the UN Secretary-General is convening a conference in which we will participate. We believe that the West should not “withdraw” into discussions. They have been in Afghanistan for 20 years and have done nothing to strengthen the country’s economic capabilities. There has been an explosive increase in drug production, which is still a record, although the Taliban are trying to ban it. We support their efforts.

But for the development of Afghanistan, first of all, we need money that the United States has seized and refuses to give it to the needs of the population. The West should not only return these Afghans to the people of this country when the conditions are ripe for this, but also look at compensating for the damage that it has inflicted on the Afghan state – the economy and population-over 20 years.

We believe that the Taliban are a reality “on the ground” and we need to talk to them. At the same time, we will not accept the recognition of this Government “de jure” until it fulfills its own obligations, which have been recognized in the international community. Namely, until it ensures the inclusiveness of the ruling structures. Not only in the ethnic sense, but also in the political one. Now the Taliban government, as they say, has Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras. This is true. But all these ethnic representatives are all Taliban in political terms.

It is important for civil society to ensure broad representation of the country’s political forces. Among other criteria for legal recognition, all mention basic human rights requirements, including the rights of women and girls. This will be discussed at a conference convened by the UN Secretary – General A. Guterres.

Question: What about the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program?

Sergey Lavrov: This is not a question for us. We believe that the agreement on its renewal was reached quite a long time ago. Now, for some reason, European countries have lost their enthusiasm. Americans, through various sources, already say anonymously that they need to look for something “different”. Don’t know.

It seems to me that it is a huge mistake to miss the chance to renew this transaction. Especially when relations between Arab countries and Iran are improving and normalizing. In particular, relations with Saudi Arabia have been restored with the support of the People’s Republic of China. This is a healthy process. We are in favor of establishing mechanisms for cooperation, transparency, and confidence-building in the Gulf region.

At this stage, the full resumption of this deal depends not on Iran, not on us, and not on China. Those who destroyed it must bring it back to life. If there is any chance, then only in this form. According to our estimates, the document that was agreed last year meets this task. Attempts to “impose” new requirements that did not exist in the original text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action complicate the process and reflect the very line that was discussed today: to bargain or extort unilateral advantages by blackmail.

Question: You talked about the “golden billion”. What do you think, maybe in the future there will be not one “gold”, but “eight gold billions”in the world?

The second question is about a two-state solution. Everyone welcomes it. Do you believe that there is any real possibility of achieving the existence of an independent, contiguous, sovereign Palestinian State?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that we should not give up. We are now seeing attempts to remove the political aspects of the Palestinian issue and focus on offering some economic benefits to the Palestinians. Apparently, this is a kind of bribe. Here are your financial resources, but forget about independence and the state. I can’t understand the logic.

Today we have already mentioned the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, H.Erdan, who in an emotional speech defended Israel’s right to have a Jewish state. But if so, what about the Palestinians? Then they need their own state. It is a recognition that a two – State solution is the only way to “undermine” the Jewish identity that Israel stands for.

I think that reason will prevail, and with a cool head (when it will be possible not to look back at any electoral cycles), it will be possible to do this in earnest. Although how not to look back at them? For example, in the US, they are held every two years and there is no time left for work. It is necessary to “get elected”.

I mentioned the “billion” yesterday. Of course, this is arrogantly impolite, which is written in the decisions of NATO and the European Union. Arrogance. These are the people who say that “black lives matter”.

Question: Are you personally involved in any negotiations on the release of prisoners in America and in Russia? For example, E. Gershkovich.

Sergey Lavrov: No.

Question: Ukraine’s admission to NATO does not look very realistic, despite what some say. But as an EU member – it is more realistic. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: I can’t decide for the European Union. We see how this organization is being militarized at a record pace. It is turning into an aggressive structure with the stated goal of” containing ” the Russian Federation.

Pay attention. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic regularly expresses his concern that they are being asked to join sanctions against Russia and recognize Kosovo’s independence, regardless of the fate of Serbs who have lived in the north of this province for many hundreds of years. This is what the European Union is all about.

If you pursue an anti-Russian policy, then you have a good chance. It will be interesting to look at the situation with Serbia and Turkey, which has been negotiating for many years.

There are people in the European Union who want to accept Ukraine as a matter of urgency. Then the EU will prove that all this is not in accordance with the criteria, but a pure geopolitical game – to drag in more territory that will remain “ownerless”.

Don’t know. Let them decide for themselves. But there is no doubt that the EU is not much different from NATO now. Moreover, they recently signed the NATO-EU declaration, which explicitly states that the alliance will ensure the security of the European Union, and the European Union expressed its gratitude. It was also recorded that this would be important for the “billion”.

Question: If you look at the time remaining until the end of this year, what are your expectations for peace and security on Earth? In your opinion, are there any prospects for negotiations or ending the Ukrainian or other conflicts (Yemen, Libya)? You also mentioned Sudan. What are your hopes and expectations?

Sergey Lavrov: I am not paid money for hopes or expectations. We must solve specific tasks. They are now primarily concerned with ensuring the security of our country and preventing the Ukrainian regime from discriminating and exterminating the Russians who have lived in our neighborhood for centuries. Including physical ones, as they publicly declare from the mouths of official figures.

Politics is such a thing… In May 2003, a few months after the start of the illegal war in Iraq, Bush Jr. on board the aircraft carrier, he announced that democracy had won in Iraq. This was in 2003. What are your expectations for Iraq right now? I don’t know.

From Libya – the same. Then President Barack Obama decided to lead from behind the scenes and let the Europeans go ahead. The UN Security Council resolution was grossly violated. It demanded only to establish a no-fly zone so that Gaddafi’s aircraft would not fly. She didn’t fly. But they also bombed the country, which is now “in tatters”. What Barack Obama said about Russia. This is what happened not to the Russian economy, but to a state called Libya.

I hope that there will be progress in Yemen. In my speech today, I noted that we appreciate the efforts that Saudi Arabia is making in this regard to establish a direct dialogue.

I won’t even guess about Ukraine. It’s not that there is any “schedule”. There are charts in other countries.

For the same Libya. How many times have the French announced certain conferences at which it was decided that “in four months and three days” there would be elections? This has been the case since 2015. We’re still there.

You just need to work on exercising your legal rights. Do it honestly, explaining the motives that you are guided by. This is what we have done in relation to our actions in the framework of a special military operation. And we would also like to hear from our Western colleagues on a reciprocal basis: what goals they pursue in Iraq, Libya and other places where they are trying to show some activity.

We must remain optimistic. This is unavoidable. Although they say that a pessimist is a well-informed optimist. Let’s hope that the desire to unite efforts will prevail and that it is wrong to divide the world community into “one billion” and “seven billion”. Putting yourself above others is also wrong, no matter how much the aristocratic traditions of lords and other high titles justify this. We live on the same Land.

Now we are talking about the Third World War. Who needs it? But, apparently, someone is ready to go to the end. Once again, I will quote the statement: “If Ukraine defeats Russia, we will avoid a third World war.” Here is such a simple “thing” that so far replaces the normal professional conversation of responsible politicians.

I wish you every success in your work. It’s really important. I once again urge you, given that there are fewer Russian journalists this time than there could have been, to help compensate for this number by providing extensive coverage of everything that you have heard from us.


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A worker testing part of the Nord Stream piplines.The Russian economy has survived sanctions. What's next?