Lavrov: BRICS-Led Economic Partnership Preferable to Geopolitics and World War

March 2, 2015

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov outlined Russia's foreign policy in a "difficult" international period, in an address to the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry. As in his Feb. 23 speech at the United Nations, Lavrov lamented the "systematic violations" of principles of the UN Charter by the U.S.A. and others. He especially emphasized the lack of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region, attributed it to the West's "line towards seizing geopolitical space and moving eastward: both through NATO expansion and the implementation of the EU Eastern Partnership initiative."

Foreign Minister Lavrov stated:

"Russian interests were not taken into account, and our numerous initiatives, including the elaboration of the European Security Treaty were either dragged out or shelved. This policy reached its peak when the Washington- and Brussels-supported unconstitutional coup and armed seizure of power took place in Ukraine in February of last year."

Lavrov denounced U.S. President Obama's latest National Security Strategy document, for expressing "a striving for global domination and a readiness to unilaterally use armed force.... This 30-page document mentions over a hundred times the issue of the exclusive right of the U.S. to implement the notorious 'American leadership.'"

He warned:

"The White House seems to have forgotten about the consequences of the attempts to gain hegemony at the expense of the interests of other members of the world community."

"Concerted efforts" by nations, Lavrov countered, are the only way to address difficult international problems. He dwelt on "Eurasian integration, our absolute priority," starting with the Eurasian Economic Union in its own right, and as "a bridge between the integration structures of Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region." Russia's current presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS, Lavrov added, is guided by "the philosophy of collective efforts," exemplified by the BRICS "projects for a new development bank and a reserve currency pool, and coordinating the strategy of economic partnership and the road map of investment cooperation," opening up "new vistas of cooperation."

Lavrov pointed to President Putin's commitment to meshing these efforts with cooperation with Europe, saying that Russia's turn to the East is envisioned as paralleling better relations with the West. But he warned that this will be impossible, "without reaffirming the principles of non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states, and without abandoning the sanctions pressure and the attempts to stage so-called color revolutions, or encouraging radical extremist forces." He said:

"We have no plans for slipping into self-isolation or confrontation. At the same time, outside pressure will not lead us to revise our principled policy. ... Washington has failed to put together a global anti-Russian coalition."

Lavrov took several questions on the implementation status of the Feb. 12 Minsk Accords on de-escalating the civil war in Ukraine's Donbass, and answered in detail questions on Syria and on Russian-Chinese relations, which he said had reached "an unprecedented level."

"[Those relations] are based on our complementary economies and shared interests. Of course, energy plays a big role, but it goes beyond Russia supplying oil and gas for the Chinese economy. There is also cutting-edge technology, primarily the nuclear power industry, which Russia is actively helping to develop in China. ... One can also mention high-tech aviation technologies and other aspects."

Lavrov defended these ties in language similar to Chinese President Xi's refrain about "win-win" cooperation:

"Some people are warning against excessive interdependence, but I see nothing dangerous in this. The world should be interdependent. When interdependence has as its legal basis a balance between partners' interests, that is only to be welcomed."