Civil G8 2006

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A. V. Yakovenko. Russia's G8 presidency


A. V. Yakovenko, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

What meaning does Moscow attach to Russia's 2006 presidency of the G8?

One of Russia's foreign policy priorities is the success of our first G8 presidency. We are now concluding development of its primary content, as well as its organisation. Our work is based on the principle that we must work together with our partners and search for common ground. We are analysing the experience and results gained from previous presidencies. In performing our work, we are guided by the necessity of taking into account the interests of other G8 participants and the global community as a whole, as well as ensuring continuity in the activities of the G8.

In his preliminary plan, presented at the Gleneagles summit, President Putin has already specified priority working directions for the G8 during the Russian presidency. These are international energy security, education issues, health and demographics.

We have no intention of 'lowering the bar' as regards the political content of the G8 agenda. Close attention will be given to resolution of regional crises and counter-terrorism activity, as priority areas. And of course, the issue of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will be reflected in some form.

From what position does Russia participate in resolution of modern international problems?

We base our activities on the premise that under conditions of globalisation, the task of making international relations more systematic and predictable assumes prime importance. Our success in this task will depend, to a great extent, on how effectively the international community is able to combat global threats and challenges, such as terrorism, WMD proliferation, drug trafficking and organised crime. Essentially, we are talking about moving to a multipolar, more secure and stable world order, which must be based first and foremost on mutual trust, respect, and taking each others' interests into account when solving international problems.

Another key element in creation of a new system of international relations is a clear understanding that democracy cannot be imposed externally. Attempts at armed regime change, in any country, lead only to destabilisation. Democratic institutions must be formed on a country's own soil. The task of the international community is to assist in creation of favourable conditions for development of this process, showing respect for existing traditions and for nations' decisions on how to advance democracy, which every country makes based on the core values fixed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We consider renunciation of double standards to be a principal condition of formation of an effective world order.

We are convinced that any attempts to deal with modern threats through unilateral activity are invalid. Russia, like the great majority of countries, believes that the future world order should be one based on collective resolution of global problems. A platform must be sought for wide-ranging agreement and cooperation between the major players in the international arena, including the G8 countries, the European Union, and key countries in South-East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

The most universal mechanism for multi-state cooperation is, without doubt, the UN. We are certain that this organisation has unique legitimacy and experience of working at global and regional level. We do everything within our power to allow the UN to react more effectively to crises.

We consider mechanisms for regional cooperation to be no less important. Today, particularly in Europe, these mechanisms are all undergoing major transformations to adapt to new threats and challenges. A new more flexible and versatile structure of international relations is being constructed. The place of regional integrational unions within this structure is becoming more important; they are becoming freestanding pillars of global politics, which allows even relatively small nations to have global influence.

What, in this context, can you say about the perspectives for relations between Russia and the other CIS countries?

As regards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it seems to us that the issue of serious transformations and creation of a new basis for relations with our CIS partners is irrelevant. The core principles of our interaction as part of the CIS remain unchanged by virtue of their objective nature, and as far as I am aware, no significant adjustments to them are planned.

In the political sphere, these are such internationally applied standards as respect for national sovereignty, inviolability of international borders, territorial integrity, and a peaceful approach to dispute resolution.

In the economic field, they are development of mutually beneficent cooperation based on multi-speed and multilevel integration, and gradual transference of policy thrust toward social measures. This primarily refers to building on results already achieved with regard to unification of energy and transport systems, harmonisation of the legal and normative base, and further trade liberalisation. A key aspect is development of production, technical and corporate links in the CIS space. Incidentally, the 'mini CISs' the Eurasian Economic Community, Central Asian Cooperation and Single Economic Space are performing highly effectively in this direction.

In the humanitarian direction, we prioritise expansion of partnership in the sphere of education, health, science and culture, and strengthening the status of the Russian language as a means of international and inter-ethnic communication in the CIS countries.

We consider the most important benchmark for development of the CIS to be integrated support for national security and stability, collaborative response to new challenges and threats international terrorism, cross-border organised crime, drug trafficking, and illegal migration.

The fundamental principles of Russia's foreign policy remain unchanged. Russia will continue to set its foreign-policy course as befits a strong, peace-loving and responsible member of the global community, acting through dialogue and development of partnership. Together with other states, Russia will make constructive contributions to raising the manageability of global processes, and to formation of a more fair, secure and sustainable system of international relations.

'Interfax'

Unofficial translation from Russian

Expert opinion

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Le College de France
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Bill Pace

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Peter I. Hajnal

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