Friday, July 19

Speech and answers to media questions by Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov following the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the BRICS countries and countries of the Global South and East, Nizhny Novgorod, June 11, 2024

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Dear ladies and gentlemen,

We have just completed the work that lasted two days. Yesterday, the participants of the BRICS association met, and today we continued our discussions with the invited states that are not yet part of the BRICS. They expressed a steady interest in developing ties with this association. In addition to the ten BRICS participants, 12 other Global Majority countries representing Asia, Africa and Latin America worked with us today.

We discussed the most pressing international problems and challenges facing all countries. We analyzed the current international situation and the role of the World majority in shaping the international agenda. During the BRICS discussions and today with the participation of invited countries, all delegations expressed the need to reform the existing global governance system with an emphasis on enhancing the role of the countries of the Global South. The need for collective efforts to achieve the goals of sustainable development, security and economic growth was noted.

Most delegations stressed the destructive nature of the selfish trade protectionism policy pursued by the United States of America and its allies. There was a very small amount of funding provided by donors for development purposes. These figures are in stark contrast to the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars and euros to the Kiev regime to continue the war against the Russian Federation, which the West has been preparing for many years and is now trying, as it claims, to defeat us on the battlefield. Such sentiments are not supported by any of the BRICS members and the countries that cooperate with this association.

Unilateral restrictive measures and illegitimate Western sanctions, which Western countries are actively introducing into their international arsenal, are called one of the negative factors undermining the right of States to development. In an attempt to maintain their dominance (everyone is convinced of this) The United States and its allies undermine the international financial and economic architecture, grossly abuse the role of the dollar and Western financial markets, and use essentially neocolonial and unscrupulous methods.

Special attention was paid to discussing security issues at the global level, countering new challenges and threats, primarily terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Crisis situations are considered, in particular in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Eurasia.

All participants, without exception, paid special attention to the tragic situation in the Gaza Strip, where 37 thousand civilians have already died and about 100 thousand were injured. The operation continues there, bringing more and more innocent victims every day. They stressed that there is no alternative to consistent efforts in support of the formation of a multipolar world order, based on the sovereign equality of states, as required The UN Charter, an equal, without a hidden agenda, interstate dialogue in order to find collective answers to the challenges and problems facing the world.

We have a common opinion that BRICS should play an initiative role in these processes. Let me remind you that unification is more than a third of the world’s area, 45% of the world’s population. In terms of GDP, the BRICS has already surpassed the “seven” – in 2023, when there were still only five members of the association, the GDP indicator for the countries of the association amounted to more than 32% of the global total.

Everyone knows the facts that confirm that the BRICS countries largely serve as the locomotive of the global economy – according to various data, the average economic growth rates of the BRICS countries continue to significantly exceed the global economic growth rates this year.

The Russian Presidency has planned about 200 events. About 70 of them have already been held. Including in such priority areas as nuclear medicine, climate, sustainable development, peaceful space exploration and a number of others. In April of this year, the The BRICS International Film Festival was held in May this year The academic forum, and today the meeting of the Ministers of Education opens. Tomorrow we are launching the BRICS Sports Games in Kazan. These are just some of the events that we are holding within the framework of our presidency.

In accordance with the agreements of the BRICS summit. In Johannesburg in 2023, a review of the work on the harmonization of modalities for the new category of “BRICS partner countries” was conducted. I would like to note that the number of States interested in joining our work is steadily growing and has already approached three dozen. All our friends in the association have an understanding that such a request cannot remain without a positive response. We will continue to work in this direction. We will prepare relevant recommendations for our summit, which will be held in Kazan on October 22-24, 2024. We feel the support of our partners, and we are ready to continue working to strengthen the entire range of our projects, whether it is security policy, economics and finance, or cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Following the results of the BRICS meeting, which took place yesterday, a succinct detailed joint statement was adopted, which reflects the approaches of the BRICS countries on topical issues on the international agenda, in the spirit of the assessments outlined above. The work has already been expanded (I am very satisfied with this) it went smoothly. Everyone was guided by consensus even on the most difficult issues, which are reflected in the text.

I recommend that all media representatives pay due attention to the joint statement in your reports from Nizhny Novgorod and in the subsequent analysis of the final work.

I am ready to answer your questions, but before we begin the interactive part of our meeting, I would like to once again express my gratitude to the management Nizhny Novgorod region and the city Nizhny Novgorod, as well as personally to the Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region for the warm welcome and assistance in the excellent organization of the event. Everyone has noted this point in their speeches today.

Question: Hungarian Foreign Minister P. Szijjarto, speaking in Baku at the Baku Energy Week (it should be noted, it was a very vivid speech), said that now, in view of all the existing conflicts in the world, blocks opposite to each other are being created again. Earlier we talked about hegemony, from which the world is moving away, but it is moving from unipolarity to bipolarity. Or is it still possible today? What needs to be done to preserve the principle of multipolarity, including in BRICS?

Sergey V. Lavrov: Multipolarity is not something that depends on the desire of any State or group of States. Multipolarity, polycentricity (we call it otherwise) is an objectively developing historical process that cannot be stopped. Although the West is trying by hook or by crook to slow it down in order to prolong its hegemony, which is proclaimed as the main goal of the United States of America and its allies. They were not shy, saying that they should not be allowed to change the world order, in which the Americans, NATO and the European Union play a dominant role. This is a frankly neocolonial mentality. It manifests itself in all the actions of the “collective West”. It is he who is trying to divide the world into different blocks. Remember, for several years now, the Americans have been convening special summits for democracy, where they personally appointed participants and sent them invitations. There was only one criterion for receiving an invitation – loyalty to the United States and, above all, to the democratic administration of J.Biden. All the others were characterized as autocracies. From the same series of division into blocks, the infamous statements of the head of EU diplomacy J.Borrell says that Europe is a blooming garden surrounded by jungles. Let’s not forget the statements of US Secretary of State E. Blinken, who stated that those who do not want to be at the democratic table, i.e. do not make a choice in favor of democratic values, risk getting into the “menu” that is served at this democratic table. It is difficult to even think of more racist neo-colonialist statements. Therefore, BRICS is not engaged in isolation from the rest of the world. On the contrary, the association has objectively developed as a group of countries interested in justice in the international arena.

BRICS does not pretend to be a kind of pole. There will be much more in their polycentric world. Today we talked about the integration processes that are developing primarily in Eurasia, as the fastest growing continent. These are the Sco, the EAEU, ASEAN, and the GCC, The CIS and a number of other integration associations. They establish connections with each other and begin to harmonize their actions according to overlapping agendas.

We see similar processes on the African continent, where the African Union is gaining more and more authority in organizing the life of the continent and the participating countries. In Latin America, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) is gaining a second wind. Especially given the active, proactive role of Brazilian President L.I. Lula da Silva. There are also a number of sub-regional integration structures. These associations want to rely more on their own strength, they do not want to depend on the whims and double standards applied by the West within the framework of the global architecture that has been established for decades – the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. All these mechanisms have been rudely used by the West to advance its selfish goals, applying double standards. Everyone wants to avoid becoming dependent on this mechanism, which is run by Americans. They grossly abuse it by imposing sanctions, threatening the disobedient, forcing everyone to join illegal sanctions and much more. The processes of globalization, which, it would seem, united the world not so long ago, are now fragmented, fragmented into regional processes that make it possible to protect and secure the participating countries in their trade, economic, financial, and investment projects from arbitrariness and negative, disruptive interference from outside.

This process is objective. BRICS, which includes countries from all regions of the World’s majority, has every opportunity to help these regional integration associations build their projects and programs, gradually harmonizing their work. At the global level, our association may well play the role of such a soft integrator, not dictating its own approaches, but striving to combine natural projects and procedures in different parts of the world. This does not mean that the BRICS and the aforementioned regional integration structures are somehow isolated from the West. We still have the opportunity to communicate within the framework of the UN. Although there, the Americans and their allies are trying in every possible way to replace collective work with certain ideas that they formulate to their circle, and then try to impose through the secretariats of international organizations that are heavily dependent on them. But I repeat, there is a platform. In case the West realizes that its efforts to maintain hegemony through blackmail, illegal sanctions, ultimatums and even military force are doomed to failure. I hope that this will happen someday, although I do not expect it soon. But if this happens and the West realizes the need for an equal dialogue with the rest of the world, I assure you that the BRICS members and other countries of the World majority will be ready for this. Of course, it will be necessary to agree on the conditions under which this dialogue will have to be conducted. There is no need to invent anything. There are The UN Charter, it says that the United Nations is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of states. Only this will allow the West to become a respectable member of the world community. In the meantime, those who are ready for equal work do it in their own circle.

Question (translated from English): There have been reports that Russia and Iran have suspended work on a comprehensive cooperation agreement. We know that the Iranian authorities have confirmed that Russian-Iranian relations will not change. The Iranian president did everything possible to strengthen these relations. Could you comment on this?

Sergey V. Lavrov: As for the work on the state agreement on cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, it cannot be signed yet. Although the text is entirely consistent. But in order for this treaty to be submitted for approval by the presidents and signed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is necessary to carry out a number of procedural, legislative actions on those issues that are already fixed in the treaty. These actions have not been completed yet.

At a meeting with I.O.Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Bagheri, we reaffirmed our commitment to this document, which is designed to bring relations between Russia and Iran to a qualitatively new level. We will be able to do this as soon as the mentioned procedural issues are resolved on the side of our Iranian colleagues.

Question (translated from English): You mentioned Palestine and international security. Is the BRICS group capable of strengthening international security and stopping the war in the Gaza Strip? You have noted that more than 37,000 Palestinians have died as a result of this conflict. This is the most serious security threat in the world.

Sergey V. Lavrov: I have already said in my opening remarks that special attention was paid to the tragedy in the Gaza Strip when discussing international problems. Immediately after October 7, 2023, after the terrorist attack that we condemned, we also condemned the methods that Israel began to use as a response to the actions of Hamas. These methods are unacceptable.

You have given the figure of 37,000 dead Palestinians, more than half of whom are women and children. About 100 thousand were injured. Of course, this is unacceptable.

We proceed from the fact that this operation should be stopped immediately. A ceasefire must be ensured, an urgent solution to the most serious humanitarian problems must be provided, and then, without any pauses or delays, it is necessary to begin implementing UN decisions on the creation of a Palestinian state that would coexist in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

Russia was the first to propose a corresponding resolution to the UN Security Council in October 2023. Arab and African countries have made similar attempts. All these attempts were blocked, except for one, when at least it was possible to adopt a resolution calling for a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan. The Americans did not use the right of veto at that time. But having skipped this resolution, they declared that it was not binding.

Just yesterday, the Security Council adopted another resolution. The Americans proposed her project. It stated that an agreement had allegedly been reached between Hamas and Israel to declare a cease-fire at the first stage for a period and accompany this cease-fire with the surrender of hostages in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Then the second stage, etc., to solve humanitarian problems.

We tried to get confirmation that such an agreement exists. We were told that the resolution says that Hamas and Israel agree. But at the UN Security Council, when this resolution was adopted, the Israeli delegation did not mention anything in its speech that there was any agreement. The Israeli delegate said that Israel will not participate in endless and meaningless negotiations and the goal set by the Prime Minister to completely destroy Hamas remains unchanged. This is a sad development.

Yesterday and today, the BRICS countries spoke with one voice in favor of immediately exerting influence on Israel, ending the bloodshed, which is already taking on super-tragic forms. This position remains in force. The international community should use all the political and legal instruments that we have in order to achieve this goal.

Question: At yesterday’s meeting, Mr. Wang Yi called the BRICS “a big golden brick”, literally translated into Russian. We observe how the West often “throws bricks” into the developing centers of the future multipolar world and builds sanctions “walls” out of bricks. At the same time, there are common interests between our countries and the West, especially when it comes to solving global issues. How can we build a “bridge” out of our bricks so that Western countries can cooperate on it?

Sergey V. Lavrov: I think you know perfectly well that we are not shutting ourselves off from the West, we are not building walls (and not only figuratively, but also literally), as is currently happening on the borders with the Russian Federation on the part of a number of members of the North Atlantic Alliance. We do not divide the world into blocks (I have already touched on this topic), we do not declare that those who disagree with us will be punished. All this is happening on the initiative of our Western colleagues.

I won’t repeat myself, it’s part of their genetic code now. After 500 years of domination in the world, after a long period when they showed complete disrespect for the great civilizations that existed before the West began to command the globe (I mean the Ottoman, Chinese, Indian, Arab civilization in the broadest sense of the word), our Western colleagues do not want to build any “bridges”. They use bricks only to build walls, as you said, and also to try to hit those who do not obey them on the head.

I have already said that we are not closing ourselves off from the West. But he must understand that nothing will come of the way he behaves, except to continue the confrontation. Processes are currently underway within the framework of BRICS and other integration associations that will protect the rest of the world from the outrages and aggression of the Western masters of the international market.

We were building a bridge across the Amur River with the People’s Republic of China. We have our half, and they have their half. But in order to start building, it is necessary for the same process to go on from the other side. And to build your half in the expectation that someday it will be useful to someone, I think it is not a very productive waste of physical and mental strength.

The West has built a “wall” between itself and the rest of the world. If he wants, let him “knock her down”, explain to us on what terms he is ready to return to the civilized world and to civilized communication. We’ll take a look.

Question: How did Moscow react to Israel’s latest hostage rescue operation in the Nuseirat camp in the Gaza Strip, which killed at least 250 Palestinians?

Is Russia preparing new proposals to resolve the situation in the Middle East? You recently said that a meeting with five Arab colleagues in Moscow is being prepared in the near future.

Sergey V. Lavrov: As for the first part of the question. Just as we reacted to the terrorist attack on October 7, 2023, and to the methods that Israel began to use in response. I consider it unacceptable when hundreds of other people who are innocent are sacrificed to save people.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan participated in negotiations on the release of hostages in various formats. We have also been involved in this work. Moreover, they bothered not only for Russian citizens, but also for citizens of other countries. These efforts have brought some results. This group of peculiar intermediaries between Hamas and Israel probably understands better than others what problems remain in order to peacefully resolve this situation.

Our position has been stated repeatedly, including in draft resolutions of the UN Security Council: an immediate and indefinite ceasefire, the release of all hostages and all Palestinians held in Israel, the solution of urgent humanitarian tasks and the mandatory resumption of negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

We held an inter-Palestinian meeting in Moscow. We have done this repeatedly. The last time it was held in late February-early March this year, all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, were present. For the first time, an event of this kind ended with the adoption of a joint statement in which everyone, including Hamas, expressed their readiness to unite the Palestinian ranks on the basis of the platform of the Palestine Liberation Organization. This has never been achieved before.

The purpose of our initiatives to restore Palestinian unity is explained by the fact that only a united Palestine can be a partner in negotiations aimed at achieving the most necessary result. As long as the Palestinians are scattered, it is unlikely to work. Now, without any Palestinians, they are starting to figure out what to do next with the Gaza Strip: whether to establish some kind of protectorate of Arab countries, whether to introduce some kind of peacekeeping forces, or artificially declare that these will be territories governed by the Palestinian National Authority. These are all initiatives that are imposed by external players. The Palestinians themselves, still in a fragmented state, depend on various external sponsors.

Our idea was to gather all external sponsors, all countries that influence, finance, and help various Palestinian factions in one way or another and agree so that there would be no disagreements between these external players and that they, united, called on the Palestinians not to play on the existing nuances in the position of external players in order to speak with one voice at the negotiations and achieve recognition of their legitimate rights at the UN.

We are still ready to do this work. But now all efforts are being made to stop the tragedy. As soon as this happens, the most important component of our long-term line in this direction will be to support the movement for the establishment of a Palestinian state in full compliance with UN resolutions.

Question: You said earlier that Moscow sees the nuclear weapons of NATO countries as a single arsenal aimed at the Russian Federation. Is it possible to imagine a situation where the West will have to take into account the joint nuclear potential of Russia, China and North Korea?

Sergey V. Lavrov: At certain stages, the United States, having undermined all the basic prerequisites that made it possible to conclude an Agreement on Measures to Further Reduce and Limit Strategic Offensive Arms, wanted to convince us that the war they are waging at the hands of Ukrainians against the Russian Federation should not interfere with the resumption of dialogue on strategic stability.

Among other arguments that we brought to our American colleagues, explaining that this is impossible in conditions when Russia is declared the target of the entire North Atlantic Alliance, an enemy that needs to be strategically defeated “on the battlefield,” we said that after the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization united against us in a single impulse, when it comes it will take some time (this will not happen soon) before resuming talks about strategic stability, we will not be able to ignore the nuclear arsenals of France and Britain, who are at the forefront of NATO members in anti-Russian actions.

As for the arsenals of the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the strategic arsenals of the Russian Federation, we are not united in any way in the union. We are united only by the fact that all three countries have been declared targets of the aggressive policy of the United States and its allies. There is nothing to say about Russia. We see how the situation around Taiwan in the South China Sea is escalating, how China is literally provoked to sudden movements on the Korean peninsula.

We see the formation of an alliance between the United States, South Korea and Japan. They are conducting exercises, including increasingly introducing nuclear components into these maneuvers. The situations are not identical. But the fact that we are categorically against playing nuclear provocations, the nuclear card, was convincingly stated by President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Question: In what context was Ukraine discussed at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers? You have already noted the organization of the event here in the capital of the Volga region – what did you manage to see and evaluate in addition to the business program? Our region is linked by strong and warm relations with the BRICS countries within the framework of trade relations and, of course, social and humanitarian contacts. The request of all Nizhny Novgorod residents is, please come to us more often.

Sergey V. Lavrov: As for what you saw in addition to the business program, you have such temptations here that you can’t tell about everything. Amazing city, people. Wherever we are on the streets, on the embankments, the atmosphere is so friendly and hospitable that all our foreign guests, without exception, fell in love with the city, its people, its beauty and the way you keep this city in an increasingly attractive state.

We talked a lot with the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, G.S. Nikitin. You can see how much he literally lives in this city and the region, how much he and his team are doing to ensure that both the region and the city flourish.

In the final communique on Ukraine, all participants confirmed their positions, set out, in particular, during the discussion of the relevant topics in the Security Council at the UN General Assembly. That’s all it says. In their speeches, some countries (not the majority) mentioned Ukraine exclusively with regard to the need to move away from any unilateral initiatives and promote a settlement not by convening “internecine meetings” that will open in Switzerland one of these days. There, as a basis for discussion, a completely empty and worthless, dead-end “formula for peace in Russia” is stated without alternative.A.Zelensky”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Brazilian Foreign Minister M. Vieira said it was important to look for a new basis for advancing the settlement. Such a basis that will be acceptable to the parties involved. It is clear that the Zelensky regime will not do anything without the permission of the United States. He just doesn’t have the right to do it.

We discussed this at bilateral meetings with our Chinese and Brazilian colleagues. We appreciate the initiatives that have been put forward at various times by the People’s Republic of China, Brazil, the Republic of South Africa, and the League of Arab States. A special delegation from the League of Arab States visited us shortly after the start of the special military operation. We see in these initiatives a sincere expression of goodwill, a desire to help find fair ways to a settlement.

I have already noted that last year’s Chinese proposals and ideas, which were formulated jointly by China and Brazil, rightly pay attention to the need to look at the root causes that are rooted in the deep security crisis in the Euro-Atlantic region and, above all, address these causes. The unacceptability of dividing the world into blocks is also emphasized, recalling the first question of today’s press conference. Neither political nor economic blocs will bring anything good. The Chinese proposals emphasize the need to seek a solution based on the implementation of the principle of indivisibility of security for all stakeholders.

We are often called upon (including by our colleagues from Asia, Africa, and Latin America) to negotiate. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly commented on this topic. We were not just ready for negotiations, we completed them in April 2022 in Istanbul. A document has already been initialed to end the fighting. As you know, the Ukrainian participants themselves admitted that they were forbidden to do this by the British, Americans and other puppeteers. Let’s call a spade a spade.

But I would ask those who are now trying to promote some initiatives to start negotiation processes to pay attention to two key circumstances. Firstly, in September 2022, V.A. Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting all Ukrainian officials from negotiating with the government of V.V. Putin. In early May this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine made an official statement that Ukraine does not recognize Vladimir Putin as a democratically elected legitimate president. Secondly, those who promote initiatives, say the right things about the indivisibility of security, the inadmissibility of creating blocs and the need to understand the root causes should nevertheless, developing their approaches, fully take into account the fact that the Russian language is completely prohibited by law in Ukraine in gross violation of all conceivable international conventions on the rights of national minorities. The Russian language is prohibited in the field of education, in the field of mass media, in culture and just in everyday communication. There, for contacting the seller or the waiter in Russian, you can get into big trouble.

Another point that echoes what has just been said is the legislative consolidation and practical implementation of the theory and practice of Nazism, outright Nazism, including the glorification of those who were sentenced by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Our comrades in different countries wholeheartedly suggest starting negotiation processes, just stopping the fighting and starting talking. Is the requirement to respect the rights of any national minority, especially such a large one as Russians in Ukraine, some kind of artificial precondition? I don’t think so. It is necessary to return the Ukrainian regime to the legal field in which all other responsible and decent members of the world community live. We have also talked about this, and President Vladimir Putin has touched on this topic more than once.

I think it’s wrong to just leave this situation and sit down at the negotiating table as if nothing had happened. Moreover, no one in the West (we had some unannounced contacts) wants to notice this Nazi, Russophobic effect and the order that this regime creates. Moreover, the West not only does not want to notice this, but it directly encourages the preservation of precisely this character of the Ukrainian state in order to further use the Kiev regime in the war against Russia.

In fact, the goal is the same as that of A. Hitler, and before that of Napoleon – to gather the whole of Europe and defeat the Russian people and state accordingly. I read an interesting thought yesterday. Mr. J.Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the White House National Security Council, said in an interview the other day that, as President J. D. made clear,Biden, they will do everything so that Ukraine has the necessary opportunities to defend itself. Next, the most important thing is that the United States does not seek a third world war. This would have terrible consequences for the European continent.

Here is the answer to the question of how the United States treats Europe. They are sure that if they provoke a nuclear war (which they are actively engaged in), only Europe will suffer. As always, as in the First World War and the Second World War, they will benefit. This is the philosophy and mentality of those who now determine the policy of the United States, and therefore those who lead Ukraine.



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