Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses the 78th UN General Assembly in New York this Saturday. EDUARDO MUNOZ (REUTERS)
Relegated to the closing session of the 78th UN General Assembly, meeting this week at the organization’s headquarters in New York, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, spoke this Saturday before the plenary session, sandwiched between the representatives of Azerbaijan and Indonesia. Tenth in the order of speeches, on the fifth day of sessions, Lavrov’s speech focused on pointing out the ongoing conflicts in the world, which he attributed, almost without exception, to the neocolonialist desire of a West “subject to “USA”. On the hottest international crisis, that of Nagorno Karabakh, he has proposed measures to build trust between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including Russian peacekeeping missions in the Armenian separatist enclave, where Baku launched an offensive this week. Regarding the strength of the interposition forces, Lavrov noted that their number “will be decided on the ground.”
Although the agenda still includes the intervention of twenty of the 193 NATO member countries, Lavrov’s speech has practically put an end to a call lackluster due to the absence of the heads of state of the main powers, from the Kingdom United or France to India, and in which the voice of the global south did not resonate with the intensity that was expected either. With few references to Ukraine, Lavrov has assured that the peace formula is “completely unviable” and that the Russian abandonment of the Black Sea agreement, which allows the export of Ukrainian grain, is due to “the failure to fulfill promises made to Moscow.” . “We do not reject the proposals (from the UN to revive the agreement), we simply believe that they are unrealistic,” he declared. Russia withdrew in July from the pact forged a year earlier through the mediation of the UN and Turkey.
The incombustible Lavrov, who has held the Russian Foreign Ministry since 2004, knows the UN very well: from 1994 until that year he was Russia’s permanent representative before the multilateral organization. The speaker has denounced the attempts of the “West as a whole” to prevent the emergence of “a new world order” also defined by “the alliance between Russia and China”, an idea that he reiterated several times. The West’s repeated message to the international community, Lavrov noted, is equivalent to saying “anyone who wants to do things without our permission will not be able to do it.” The attempt to create counterweights in forums such as ASEAN or the BRICS, whose members “defend their right to live in a multipolar architecture,” is subject to the Kremlin’s judgment due to the reality of “la pax Americana” that they want to impose, “urbi et orbi”, the United States and the West, against a multipolar world. “We don’t want to live under anyone’s yoke,” Lavrov said.
In his few allusions to the war in Ukraine, which has already passed the halfway point of its second year, Lavrov denounced “the more than 170 billion dollars spent by NATO to support Kiev since February 2022,” as well as the rejection of the international community – from the “neocolonialist West”, in his words – to Russian proposals for détente in 2021.
After a review of the history of the UN since its founding in 1945, on the ashes of World War II, Lavrov demanded “the immediate end of the bloc to Cuba, the economic harassment of Venezuela and the sanctions imposed on Syria,” while He congratulated the return of Damascus “to the Arab family”, alluding to its re-entry into the Arab League, as well as the improvement of relations between Turkey and Syria. “But the West wants to Ukrainize the international community,” he complained, choosing to let conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian one or the one in Libya fester. He also criticized the EU’s position in confronting Kosovo with Serbia, or the mediation imposed by Brussels in the Nagorno-Karabakh confrontation.
Regarding this conflict, Lavrov placed special emphasis on the defense of the Russian military mission. The head of Russian diplomacy noted that the time has come to take measures to build trust between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the separatist enclave, and that Moscow’s troops will contribute to this. The Russian Foreign Minister accused the West of trying to impose itself as mediators between the two countries, which, according to him, is not necessary. “Yerevan and Baku have really resolved the situation,” Lavrov said.
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Hungary, closer to the Kremlin
As he did a year ago, Lavrov met this Friday afternoon with his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjártó, on the sidelines of the Assembly, as confirmed by the latter to the Hungarian public television channel M1. It was a meeting of a certain political significance, since Hungary has harshly criticized the sanctions against Russia of the European Union, to which it belongs, thus opening a fissure in the closed European support for Ukraine. The bilateral has borne fruit: Szijjártó will visit Moscow in October and during the visit he will discuss energy issues with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak. “I will visit Moscow to participate in the Russian Energy Week from October 11 to 13. As you know, we consider energy cooperation as the most important part of our current interaction,” explained the head of Hungarian diplomacy in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS after his meeting with Lavrov. A visit that will probably cause resentment in Brussels.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister was not the only one who spoke with Lavrov on the sidelines of the General Assembly. His Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, announced this Friday in a statement that Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani will visit Moscow in the coming weeks. The announcement also followed the bilateral agreement between both.
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