Addressing newly appointed foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin, Putin noted that the priority for all countries should be strict compliance with the rule of law and respect for the powers of the UN Security Council as an agency that bears the bulk of responsibility for international peace and security. Russia is committed to enhancing the UN’s effectiveness.
“We support the expediency of reforming it to adjust it to modern requirements. At the same time, we believe that all changes in UN work must be substantiated and based on the agreement of the majority if not all members of the international community. The UN must focus on finding solid, sustainable and lasting solutions to regional conflicts. Russia will continue to contribute to these efforts, in particular in Syria,” he told the gathering.
Agreements on four de-escalation zones in Syria have been achieved in Astana with assistance from the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – and these have been supported by a great many countries. These agreements have created conditions for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254 through a direct dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition and for rallying their efforts to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism as soon as possible and to restore peace and unity in Syria.
The Astana process, which is underway in the capital of Kazakhstan, is designed to create favourable conditions for progress towards a political settlement at the Geneva talks.
Another immediate task is to increase humanitarian deliveries and accelerate mine clearing operations in the liberated regions. Everyone who sincerely wishes peace to Syria and Syrians and who want to see refugees return to their homes should join these UN-led processes without any preconditions.
Putin further expressed concern about increasing confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear missile programme. Russia condemned Pyongyang’s activities that violate the UN Security Council resolution. But using increasingly militant rhetoric is not just a road to nowhere but also a highly destructive policy. All parties must show restraint and look for a peaceful solution. In a modern world, conflicts must be settled with due regard for many factors, some of them extremely delicate ones, and through compromise.
Speaking about the Ukrainian crisis, this approach is reflected in the Package of Measures, which was coordinated in Minsk in February 2015. This package includes all the key political and security elements of a settlement. To provide an additional impetus towards a settlement, Russia has recently advanced an initiative for a UN mission to protect OSCE observers in Donbass. Russia hopes to be able to hold a business-like and constructive discussion of this initiative at the UN Security Council.
As for bilateral relations with the United States, the current level is unsatisfactory. “We favour constructive, predictable and mutually beneficial cooperation. We are convinced that it should be based on the strict observance of the principles of equality, respect for national interests and non-interference in domestic affairs,” Putin said with optimism.
He however considers the European Union (EU) an important neighbour and a key economic partner, noting that trade has dropped by half in the past three years. Nevertheless, the EU countries amount to almost half of Russia’s foreign trade. In cooperation with their Russian partners, EU companies are carrying out large investment projects in energy, industry and high technology. Russia still confirms the importance of developing stable contacts between the Eurasian Economic Union and the EU, including the future formation of a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
In conclusion, Putin congratulated the new foreign envoys with the official beginning of an important and honourable diplomatic mission, and with the hope that their activities in Russia will be productive and will promote the development of relations between the states they represent and Russia. The Russian authorities, business and public circles will render all possible assistance.