U.S. regime of war lobbies putting end on International Law

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SAA Resistance National Flag

(FNA) ~ The four “de-escalation zones” in Syria were supposed to be safe zones for everyone, even “moderate” rebels, but now the Trump White House and the Pentagon regime have done the unreasonable.

Shredding the rules of engagement and brushing under the carpet the International Law, US warplanes on Thursday attacked a vehicle convoy in a “de-escalation zone” near al-Tanf, identifying the targets are Syrian forces, and destroying multiple vehicles. Casualty figures are as of yet unknown, and the US claiming that the May 18 attack was “defensive in nature” is rubbish.

The targeted forces were 55km away from a “US training base” at al-Tanf, where US occupying troops are stationed, and the Daraa safe zone is farther away from the area that the base is in.

Syrian forces didn’t pose any threat to US ground troops. They were not there to fight. They were there to make sure the safe zones agreement holds.

It’s an agreement between Iran, Russia and Turkey, under which four de-escalation zones have gone into effect, with an aim of separating warring factions around the country.

This was working until US warplanes decided to attack Syrian forces. This makes clear that a lot can still go wrong with the deal, as the US says it has no intention to respect the agreement and will continue to dismiss the terms of the agreement, which is what the terrorist groups of ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and their regional sponsors want.

To put it mildly, if this is not state terrorism and an act of war, we don’t know what is. The US claims its ground troops are stationed in the base at al-Tanf, while in fact it is housing special forces training Qaeda-linked rebels to fight against the Syrian government.

More so, as a presidential candidate, the world’s most famous Islamophobe spent much of the election campaign needling, critiquing, denouncing, and even threatening Saudi Arabia and its terror proxies in Iraq and Syria.

Yet as president, Trump is making his first foreign visit to Riyadh, all while giving the go-ahead to US warplanes to target Syrian forces and allies on the ground, which are fighting ISIL and Al-Qaeda.

It’s a true sight to behold: US warplanes targeting Syrian forces and allies within the de-escalation zones is deliberate and by design. The world is repulsed by this deceitfulness, as it has little to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with regime change in Damascus.

This is not the first time US warplanes intentionally or accidentally struck the Syrian army.

  • Back in April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in al-Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers from the city of Homs.
  • Moreover, on September 17, 2016, US-led coalition aircraft carried out four strikes against the Syrian army near the Deir Ezzur airport, killing 62 soldiers and wounding some 100.

In the face of International Law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense, the Pentagon regime has no right to unilaterally launch strikes against a country that has not attacked the United States, and without any authorization from the United Nations. Doing so violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force.

Bombing Syria is a diversionary tactic to make intervention in Syria seem more useful than it is. The Iranian and Russian governments are not going to be intimidated by an attack on Syria’s government. They are much more likely to become more intransigent, and they view it as blatant animosity directed towards them.

Instead of respecting the de-escalation zones agreement and appreciating how close the US has come to making a huge and potentially very costly mistake, the Trump White House seems only too eager to blunder into a new war. Their cheap arguments do not provide justification for the Pentagon regime to do an end run around International Law. The hypocrisy of their rationale to train Qaeda-allied “moderates” is galling too. War-party Washington is undermining the de-escalation zones agreement, which the world community supports as helpful, and which does not justify still more US lawlessness.

The Trump administration’s strikes contravene the UN Charter, which is a binding treaty obligation for the US and helps preserve international peace and security. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the use of force in the territory of another state unless authorized by the Security Council or in self-defense in response to a sudden attack. Neither condition was met before May 18 strike.

For all these reasons, the United Nations and the international civil society must act swiftly and do its job by taking up the monumental question of whether the Trump White House and the Pentagon regime may continue to use military force against Syria.

To do otherwise would be an abdication by the UN of the powers reserved for it under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

RELATED:

Syria talks overshadowed by US military strike

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.003003&lon=38.430176&z=7&m=bs

click on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link


SOURCES:
Fars News
PressTV
Submitted by SyrianPatriots
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/usa-terrorist-state/
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PFLP Leadership on Mass Palestinian Hunger Strike


by Stephen Lendman

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat is one of hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners hunger striking for justice.

In 1967, he founded the organization, dedicated to liberating Palestine from Zionist colonial occupation. In 2002, he was politically imprisoned for 30 years – because of his prominence and determination to continue struggling for freedom.

On May 11, Beirut-based Al Mayadeen aired a statement issued by the PFLP’s leadership, addressing Palestinians, the Arab world, and freedom-loving people everywhere, saying:

“Today, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is locked in the battle of freedom and dignity…with ever more determination to continue until the achievement of its goals.”

“It is armed with the weapon of its will, the unity of the prisoners’ movement and the justice of our cause, with the support and embrace of the masses of the Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the forces of freedom in the world.”

“The prisoners face, after their declaration of the battle of the strike, a bloody war and ferocious Zionist repression that has intensified in recent days and in various prisons.”
“Dozens of leaders are isolated for participating in the strike, including Ahmad Sa’adat, Marwan Barghouthi, Abbas Sayyed, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Kamil Abu Hanish and dozens of others.”

“This repression is reinforced by the prevention of legal visits in an attempt to cover up their situation and the circumstances of their confinement, while the occupation intelligence agencies continue to use techniques of psychological warfare in order to break the strike.”

“This has only made the prisoners even more determined to continue the battle and confront these Zionist attacks.”

“The Zionist occupation prisons are prisons of horror. There are tens of severely ill prisoners, some engaged in the strike and currently barred from treatment, suffering from the policy of medical neglect.”

“The clinics that are supposed to be places of treatment and alleviation of pain are instead sites of abuse and suffering.”

“The declaration of the occupation of the establishment of so-called ‘field hospitals’ is either an attempt to better its image in the media, or to create sites of pressure on the prisoners to attempt to break the strike and carry out threatened forced feeding.”

“A number of measures against the prisoners have recently escalated, including the closure of prisons, conversion of whole sections to collective isolation sections, massive bans on family visits and the imposition of thousands of shekels in fines on strikers.”

“Despite all these measures, we have also promised to you that we will not break or give in, and so from the womb of our suffering and despite the severity of repression, we will continue this battle until victory.”

“We in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization in Israeli prisons deliver this statement to Al-Mayadeen TV channel in the context of the escalation of the battle of confrontation with the occupation.”

“We announce the enrollment of new batches of leaders and cadres in the coming hours will join the strike as well as prisoners from various political organizations.”

“(T)o the masses of our people: continue with all your determination and strength in the field of escalation of the clashes with the Zionist occupation at sites of contact.”

“We urge all forces, factions, youth, student and women’s organizations, and all sectors of our society in Palestine, in exile and in the camps to continue in this movement.”

“We have full confidence in your great struggle and we are confident in your achievements. (W)e take this opportunity on Al-Mayadeen to make a plea to the Arab masses and Arab parties, trade union and student and youth associations to build wider solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people and to take the issue of the prisoners to the street.”

“We urge you to confront all attempts to divert your attention from the just cause of Palestine, especially normalization, which is a treacherous stab in all of our backs.”

“Be with the cause of Palestine in heart and soul, and do not allow our people to be alone, we are part of you and your national role in supporting Palestine is critical.”

“(W)e call on the free people of the world to continue to develop their solidarity and support for the cause of the prisoners. We are very proud and happy when we hear of the events, sit-ins and solidarity actions in the capitals and cities of the world.”

“We urge you to escalate this movement and besiege Israeli embassies and all complicit international institutions with the occupation to pressure them and deliver the message of the Palestinian people and the suffering of prisoners.”

“This is also part of the work to hold the occupation accountable, including forcing the occupation to apply international conventions on prisoners and bringing occupation officials before the International Criminal Court for their crimes”

“(I)t is important for us to address these areas to a satellite channel of resistance and truth. Although the censorship and media blackout practiced by the occupation against us means that we cannot hear directly from this voice of resistance, we hear about you from our comrades and loved ones, and we hope you find a way to bring your free voice to us in the castles of struggle.”

“(W)e extend our appreciation and thanks to you on behalf of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement and on behalf of the PFLP in the prisons of the occupation for your keen attention to the cause of the prisoners. We hope this interest will be strengthened by dedicating even more space to this issue.”

“You are an important voice for the masses and the people, confronting policies of submission and defeat that some are attempting to impose on our Arab homeland.”

“We promise, according to the circumstances to continue to send our messages from the prisons through you.”

“In this battle for victory and dignity, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is on its way to a major strategic achievement and as promised, we will not hesitate to walk on thorns in order to win a decent place under the sun. This is our pledge and our promise to you.”

Freedom and Dignity strike day 28. Israel refuses to negotiate. Even when it does, it doesn’t, systematically breaching things agreed to.

According to PA prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe, Israeli prison officials called for a meeting with strike leaders, no further details provided.

The National Committee for Supporting the Hunger Strike said prison officials are willing to discuss Palestinian demands to split their unity in hopes of undermining the action.
Prisoners are adamant against talks without involvement of strike organizer Marwan Barghouti and PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat.
Stalemate prevails unless one side bends. On Sunday, the Addameer prisoner support group urged worldwide solidarity with courageous Palestinians, putting their bodies and lives on the line for justice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
 Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

TRUMP SUED BY WATCHDOG TO DISCOVER “LEGAL” REASONS FOR HIS ATTACK ON SYRIA

Ziad Fadel 

Image result for donald trump

(Photo courtesy of Reddit)

United to Protect Democracy (UPD) is an advocacy group whose introductory web page describes it as a “nonpartisan nonprofit” organization established to hold the President of the United States accountable “to the laws and longstanding practices that have protected our democracy through both Democratic and Republican Administrations”.  Like other organizations around the world, it sees its overall purpose as one guarding against authoritarianism and tyranny.

The governing board of UPD is made up of former Obama Administration attorneys led by legal director, Justin Florence.  They have just filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration demanding he cough up all e-mails, memoranda, advisory opinions and/or anything which could be viewed as legal argumentation justifying the April 7, 2017 attack on the Syrian Airbase at Al-Shu’ayraat southeast of Homs City.  These suits are normally filed after legal requests are made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which are rejected or ignored.  We are assuming from Mr. Trumps pattern of behavior that the requests were ignored.

The background to this legal brouhaha is an event which took place in the Alqaeda-controlled town of Khaan Shaykhoon in Idlib Province, Syria.  It was alleged, almost uniformly by compromised Western media, that the Syrian Air Force used Sarin gas (or something similar) indiscriminately killing over 80 civilians.  Without even a scintilla of evidence from objective sources, the Western propaganda organs like the BBC, CNN, NBC, inter alia, attempted to whip up a frenzied reaction in the streets of Washington D.C., London, Paris and Berlin to ignite some punishing reaction to President Assad’s encroachment over the red line which former president Obama drew in one famous statement to the Press.  The airbase was selected because of some unexplained method by which either the CIA or Pentagon determined that the Sarin gas loaded on Syrian bombers came from Al-Shu’ayraat.  Let’s forget that the base was primarily a repair-replace facility.  Let’s forget that 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched on the base and that only 23 made it to their target.  And let’s forget what the target might have been because the only damage done was to one hangar and 6 inoperable MiG23s.

In a post we published on SyrPer, we exposed the nonsensical nature of the charges against the Syrian government.  You remember the side-splitting scene of a man smoking a cigarette as masked “White Helmet” terrorists fiddled at the spot of the Sarin gas attack completely indifferent to the fact that Sarin gas is not dispelled by cigarette smoke.  And you also remember the man holding his two fake dead babies and who turned out to be a member of Alqaeda.

The United States Senate ratified the United Nations Charter on July 28, 1945 thus making the charter law in this country.  Its provisions have the same force as any statute and binds the U.S. to the obligations and duties spelled out in the body of the document.  The U.N. Charter defines exactly when a country may use force against another.  In Article 2 section 4, it provides that all states shall refrain from the threat of force or the use of force against another member state.  And if the state has an argument to use force it must take the matter to the Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII’s requirements.  Since Mr. Trump decided to use force 3 days after the incident at Khaan Shaykhoon, without consulting the Security Council, he was in violation of both American and international law.  On this issue, it is a no-brainer.

But, Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States gives the sitting president the power to engage in hostile action only with the consent of Congress.   He declined to seek Congress’ approval, unlike former President Obama’s blink in 2013 when the lies about Syrian Army use of CW were spreading in the MSM and poor Mr. Obama simply had no proof and could not bypass a Russian veto.  So, he took the matter to Congress who rejected the use of force against Syria.  At least his conduct was legal.

The U.S. Constitution is further buttressed by the War Powers Resolution passed on November 7, 1973 when an American population and Congress, aggrieved by a war in Vietnam’s jungles, sought to put limits on a president’s ability to send troops into war unilaterally.  President Nixon tried to veto the legislation unsuccessfully.   This is usually referred to as the “War Powers Act”.  50 U.S.C. Chapter 33.

“The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.”

Since the President could not argue that Syria’s alleged action threatened the United States in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, he would be hard pressed to find any justification for his criminal act against Syria.  And, given the fact he took military action without even a fig leaf of legality, it would seem this president is on the slow lane to impeachment.  The lawsuit filed by UPD only seeks the divulgence of any articulated legal reason for Trump’s inane and possibly unlawful aggression against Damascus.  Given what we know about Trump’s style of shooting from the hip, it is very unlikely there will be any academically valid articulation of his ill-advised foray into Syria.

And, you know, there is a third argument which is not being brought up sufficiently.  Mr. Trump fired 59 Tomahawks at the airbase in Syria. That cost the U.S. an estimated $100,000,000 dollars in order to inflict damage to the Syrian military in the amount of $2,000,000.  This president claims to be an economical Wunderkind of sorts.  Well, do the figuring.

أبرز التطورات الميدانية على الساحة السورية.
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Speech of Lavrov at the Military Academy of the General Staff

March 24, 2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during a lecture for senior officers of the Military Academy of the General Staff, Moscow, March 23, 2017

23 March 201714:21

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2702537

For English subtitles click the ‘cc’ button on the bottom right.

 

Mr Kuralenko,

Comrade officers, colleagues, friends,

I am grateful for the invitation to speak at the Military Academy as part of the Army and Society series of lectures. The organisers are doing a great job supporting the tradition of unity of the people and the army, as it should be and has always been in the best years of Russia’s history. Today, we will focus on Russia’s role in international politics. This theme has always been of interest to our citizens, patriots, and all the more so to servicemen protecting our state.

How is the role of state determined in international politics? Just like in other social disciplines, there are specific fundamental values ​​and criteria in international relations for making judgments on that.

Geopolitical weight is among the most important ones. It is clear that a vast country like Russia, with its wealth of resources and unique geographical location spanning Europe and Asia, is unlikely to remain on the side, let alone be isolated from international processes, especially in the modern era when trade, economic, financial, information, cultural and human relations simply demand that our planet be united into one truly unified space.

I’m aware that some entertain the notion, which is eagerly picked up by Russophobes, that Russia’s vast geography took shape due to expansion resulting from an internal sense of insecurity. As if the Russians, who for several centuries expanded their territory, were trying to “push back” a potential aggressor. To this, I can say that the greatest misfortunes in the past centuries came to Russia almost always from the West, while Russia, according to Mikhail Lomonosov’s famous dictum, “expanded through Siberia,” bringing different peoples and lands in the East under its wing. Many centuries of experience of harmonious coexistence of different ethnicities and religions within one state now allow Russia to promote a dialogue and form partnerships between cultures, religions and civilisations, which is also what happens within the UN, the OSCE and other international and regional organisations.

Another hallmark associated with our vast Russian territory concerns respect for the state, which is the guarantor of the country’s unity and the security of its citizens. A strong state also underpins an independent foreign policy. In international relations, all of that is embodied in the notion of sovereignty.

The sovereignty of states, their equality as the main subjects of international relations, was substantiated and approved within the Westphalian system that took shape in Europe in the 17thcentury. Currently, these traditional notions are being questioned in a number of Western countries. They are trying to secure for themselves, for example, the ability to interfere in other people’s affairs under the pretext of non-compliance with all sorts of unilaterally engineered human rights concepts like the so-called “responsibility to protect.” We are against such a distorted interpretation of the most important universal international legal norms and principles. Healthy conservatism with regard to the inviolability of the stabilising foundations of international law unites Russia with most countries of the world.

Of course, it takes more than just the size of a country’s territory for it to be considered “big and strong” in today’s world. There is also the economy, culture, traditions, public ethics and, of course, the ability to ensure one’s own security and the security of the citizens under any circumstances. Recently, the term “soft power” has gained currency. However, this is power as well. In other words, the power factor in its broad sense is still important in international relations. Its role has even increased amid aggravated political, social, and economic contradictions and greater instability in the international political and economic system. We take full account of this fact in our foreign policy planning.

Thanks to its advanced nuclear deterrent capabilities, Russia plays an important stabilising role in global politics. At the same time, strategic stability for us is not confined to maintaining the nuclear balance between us and the United States. Given globalisation processes, the increasing mutual dependence of countries and the development of technologies, including military technology, we’re taking a broader view of this concept. In politics, strategic stability is a state of international relations that ensures strict compliance with international law by all countries and their associations, respect for the legitimate interests of all countries and peoples and non-interference in their political affairs. In the military context, it means consistently bridging the gap between military capabilities, ensuring a high level of confidence, transparency and predictability and abstaining from steps which may be perceived as a threat to the national security of other countries, forcing them to resort to retaliatory measures. We stand for the strengthening of all aspects of strategic stability which is the foundation for a lasting peace and reliable, equal and indivisible security for all.

Recently, there has been a push towards forcing the nuclear states to abandon their nuclear arsenals and banning nuclear weapons altogether. It is crystal clear that this is premature. Let me remind you that it wasn’t for nothing that the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty wrote into it that the nuclear arsenals had to be fully scrapped but only in the context of general and complete disarmament. We are prepared to discuss the possibility of further gradual reductions in nuclear capabilities but only if we take all the factors influencing strategic stability into account and not just the quantity of strategic offensive weapons. Another reason why we’re prepared to discuss this issue is the growing sense of urgency about making this process multilateral. The restrictions on nuclear capabilities which Russia and the United States have repeatedly accepted for many years have led them to a situation where, essentially, they cannot proceed doing this on the bilateral basis.

We take pride in the fact that there has been a qualitative change in the Russian Armed Forces’ capabilities in recent years. It’s particularly important to note that the position of Russia today is that force can only be used in strict compliance with international law and its own laws and commitments – not to conquer, and not to export political ideas as repeatedly happened in world history and in our past history, for that matter, but to defend our most vital interests, when all other means have been exhausted, or to help our allies and friends at their request, as is happening today in Syria at the invitation of the country’s legitimate government.

Regretfully, not all countries in the world are so scrupulous in providing legal grounds for the use of military force. We have noted cases of loose interpretations of the UN Charter and of removing any boundaries for designating something a threat to one’s own security.

The negative trend of using economic tools of coercion is accelerating in international relations. These are diverse kinds of unilateral sanctions and restrictions that clash with the UN Security Council’s positions and prerogatives. As we know, there are attempts to use these tools on Russia, on the assumption that we are especially sensitive to this kind of influence.

However, it is impossible, and will remain impossible to ignore the fact that Russia is among the largest and most stable economies in the world. It is hard to overestimate its role in some fields of the global economy, particularly in energy, including nuclear energy.

Whether some people like it or not, Russia remains the economic centre of gravity for the post-Soviet countries. This objective factor, not Moscow’s mythical urge to “revive the empire”, underlies the movement toward Eurasian integration. We and our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union are linked in today’s globalised world by centuries-long economic and cultural contacts and the intertwined destinies of our nations. We also advance the EAEU’s foreign contacts to implement President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to form a multilevel integration model in Eurasia. Interest in this initiative is growing steadily.

Historical traditions should also be mentioned among the factors that determine a nation’s role in world politics. “History is the memory of States,” said Henry Kissinger, the theoretician and practitioner of international relations. By the way, the United States, whose interests Mr Kissinger has always defended, did not aspire to be the centre of the liberal world order for a greater part of its own fairly short history, and did not see that role as its preeminent mission. Its Founding Fathers wanted its leadership and exceptional nature to derive from its own positive example. Ironically, the American elite, which emerged as freedom fighters and separatists anxious to cast off the yoke of the British crown, had transformed itself and its state by the 20th century into a power thirsting for global imperialist domination. The world is changing, however, and – who knows – America might yet purify itself and return to its own forgotten sources.

Russia has its own experience with messianic fervour. Its current foreign policy is pragmatic, not ideological. Our country has its traditions and wholesome values, and we do not try to impose them on anyone. We warn our partners at the same time that when they are in Rome they should do as the Romans do.

After many centuries of trials, our country made it to the forefront of international and European politics under Peter the Great – his name graces one of the academies whose students, as I understand it, are here today – and then fully participated in European affairs during the Vienna Congress of 1814-1815. At that time, with the direct participation of Alexander I, a system for a balance of power that existed for many years and mutual recognition of national interests, precluding domination of any one state, was created in Europe.

The ensuing developments show us the futility of any efforts to drive our country out of the European or international arena. Resolving any pressing international issues without Russia became impossible. We can also see the major damage caused by such efforts to all the participants in this process. The collapse of the Vienna system (during which events such as the Crimean War of 1853-1856, the unification and the rise of Germany, and the final collapse of monarchy in France took place) resulted in the bloodletting of World War I. After it ended, Soviet Russia was left outside of the Treaty of Versailles, which largely predetermined its brief existence. The distrust of Western democracies and the reluctance to interact with us on an equal footing doomed the attempts to create collective security in Europe in the 1930s, which resulted in the even greater destruction of World War II. Only after it was over were the foundations of the international order laid with our active participation, which remain relevant to this day.

The UN is called on to play the central coordinating role in the international order. It has proved that there are no alternatives to it and that it enjoys unique international legitimacy despite all the shortcomings of this huge “organism” which unites almost 200 states. Russia supports ensuring the inviolability of the UN Charter’s key provisions, including those related to consolidating the outcomes of World War II. We support comprehensive efforts to expand the capacity of this international organisation to efficiently adapt to new international realities.

In modern Europe, the roots of many problems can be seen in the irrational and doomed desire to sideline Russia, the Eurasian power. NATO and EU expansion has reached the point where Ukraine and other CIS countries were all but presented a false choice: either you are with Russia, or with Europe. Such an ultimatum was beyond the capacity of yet inherently unstable Ukrainian statehood. As a result, a major crisis in the heart of Europe broke out directly on the borders of Russia and the West. Frankly, the prospects for its settlement and the implementation of the Minsk agreements have so far been bleak. First, this is due to the lack of political will and a realistic vision for the future of this country from the Ukrainian government, and due to its attempts to look for ways to resolve Ukrainian problems not on the basis of pragmatic interests in the name of national harmony and prosperity, but at the behest of external sponsors who have no regard for the aspirations of Russians, Ukrainians and Eastern Slavs, in general.

We do not see that our European partners are willing to work honestly in favour of creating a common security and cooperation space. A fair settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in line with the Minsk agreements, which we have consistently advocated, could become part of it. In general, the European Union has been tangibly “losing itself” recently. In fact, they are serving other people’s interests, failing to find their own unified voice in foreign affairs. We are patient people, and we will wait for our colleagues to realise that due to a number of reasons – including historical, geopolitical, economic, and cultural – we, Russia and Europe, need each other.

The historical, geopolitical, moral foundations that shape the foreign policy of Russia are solid and constant. They set the tone of our day-to-day diplomatic efforts which, in keeping with the Constitution, are guided directly by the President of the Russian Federation.

The world is really changing fast. Another “industrial revolution” is unfolding, and a new, more technologically advanced way of life is taking shape.  Uneven development, a wider gap in the wealth of states and nations, and the battle for resources, access to markets, and control over transport arteries are exacerbating differences. Competition is acquiring civilisational dimensions and becoming a rivalry of values and development models.

In the region of the Middle East and North Africa, the situation has reached a point beyond which lies the annihilation of states and of the regional political map. This widespread chaos has been conducive to an unprecedented increase in the threat of terrorism embodied by the aggression of the so called Islamic State and other similar groups. Global terror is a challenge to international security, and it can only be addressed by establishing a joint international coalition, acting on a solid legal basis — as Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in his speech at the 70th United Nations General Assembly.

The redistribution of the global balance of power continues. We are witnessing new centres of economic power and associated political influence come into being in the world. The Asia-Pacific Region has established itself as the driver of the world economy. Latin American and African nations, which have considerable human and resource potential, are taking a more active role. These developments bring into stark relief the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world. The need to democratise relations between states is becoming a more pressing issue.

The formation of a polycentric international order is an objective process. It is in our common interest to make it more stable and predictable. In these conditions, the role of diplomacy as a tool to coordinate balanced solutions in politics, economics, finance, the environment, and the innovation and technology sectors has increased significantly. Simultaneously, the role of the armed forces as the guarantor of peace has increased too.

It is clear that there simply isn’t any other way except painstaking daily work to achieve the compromises necessary to peacefully overcome the numerous problems in the world. History shows that betting on hegemony and one’s own exceptionalism leads to greater instability and chaos.

There is an objective, growing need for Russia-advanced approaches to key modern issues that are free of ideology and rooted in the principles of multilateralism and respect for international law. More and more countries are coming to share these approaches, which strengthens Russia’s authority and its role as a balancing factor in world politics.

We do not favour confrontation or isolationism. Guided by the Foreign Policy Concept approved by President Vladimir Putin, we will continue to advance a positive agenda in our relations with our partners and neighbours, including the United States and the European Union.

Under the current circumstances, there is no alternative to an independent, pragmatic and multi-vector foreign policy based on the consistent defence of national interests along with the simultaneous development of equal cooperation with all who are interested in reciprocating. All our actions are aimed at protecting our sovereignty and creating conditions for the peaceful and sustainable development of Russia and the Russians.

Thank you for your attention. I will now take questions.

Question: Recent experience shows that, in terms of the damage they cause, aggressive actions in the media at times have consequences similar to the use of weapons of mass destruction. In your opinion, isn’t it time, at the UN, in the format of bilateral ties with other states, to move forward with drafting and signing a comprehensive treaty in this field, similar to strategic arms limitation treaties?

Sergey Lavrov: We’ve been working on this for several years now. Russia put forward an initiative that became known at the UN as International Information Security [Initiative]. It has been a subject of independent resolutions at a number of UN General Assembly sessions. While initially these resolutions were rejected by some of our Western partners, in recent years resolutions related to the UN contribution to international information security have been adopted unanimously.

Several years ago, a group of government experts was set up. It drafted a report that was approved by consensus at the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly expressed support for continuing this effort in the context of identifying specific cyberspace risks at present. Another government expert group was also formed, which is beginning to work. It is meant to prepare specific proposals in one and a half years.

I’d like to say right away that despite the apparently constructive participation of all states in this discussion, we are aware of the desire [of certain states] to limit themselves to discussions and not reach practical international legal agreements. So, alongside the work that I just mentioned, Russia and its partners, in particular in the SCO, have drafted a document entitled Code of Conduct for Cyberspace. It was also distributed at the UN and is designed to promote targeted dialogue on the legal aspects of this problem. Overall, we believe (and we have already submitted this proposal) that it is time to draft an international convention on cyber security, including the elimination of threats and risks related to hacking. We were the first to propose penalising and banning hacking within the framework of international law. We will see how those who are accusing Russian hackers of seeking to blow up the world in the style of James Bond will respond to this.

There is another important topic related to these issues. It concerns internet governance. For several years now a discussion on the democratisation of the internet and internet governance has been ongoing at the International Telecommunication Union. A very serious ideological struggle, if you will, is under way. Some people are upholding free market principles but there are also those who believe that farming out the internet to the free market is tantamount to giving it away to just one country. In this context, serious debate lies ahead.

We see all these problems. The majority of countries agree on the need to enforce some generally acceptable order. Focused work is under way but it is too early to expect any results yet.

Question: I am a participant in the Aerospace Forces’ operation in Syria, so my question is related to that country. The results achieved by the Russian centre for reconciliation in Syria show how effective it has been. At the same time such things as the search for missing persons and the return of POWs often encounter difficulties related to inter-agency coordination. Do you believe direct cooperation between the centre for reconciliation of opposing sides and the Russian Embassy in Syria in dealing with certain problems would be possible?

Sergey Lavrov: Actually, this comes as a surprise to me. I was under the impression (and I receive daily confirmation of it) that this cooperation exists. If you have facts pointing to insufficient cooperation in this respect, please let us know. The Russian Embassy in Damascus and the centre in Hmeymim are in daily contact on issues of both the centre’s practical operation and Syria’s international contacts with its foreign partners with our assistance. A delegation of MPs from Europe and the Russian Federal Assembly recently visited it. The Hmeymin centre and our Embassy were actively involved in organising that visit.

If you were somewhat concerned by the topic you mentioned – the exchange of POWs – perhaps the Embassy is not supposed to play a leading role in this process. As far as my colleague and friend Sergey Shoigu and I see our roles, the main objective here is to establish contact with those who are holding POWs who fought terrorists and extremists. The most important thing here is contact between military departments, intelligence services, the Hmeymim centre, our Turkish partners and other countries that have their special forces (or their representatives in other forms) on the ground and have influence with the militants. Politically, we actively cooperate with the Russian Defence Ministry through the Astana process. At the most recent meeting in Astana, a week ago, in addition to preparing constitutional reform, consolidating the ceasefire and developing a mechanism to respond to ceasefire violations, the topic of establishing dialogue between the parties to the conflict with the aim of exchanging POWs as a humanitarian confidence building measure was also addressed. I’m highlighting in particular the aspect you have mentioned. To be sure, things can always be better and communication can always be taken to a higher level. I assure you that the efforts of the Embassy and the Hmeymim centre are well coordinated.

Question: US President Donald Trump, in a recent statement, unexpectedly proposed revisiting the issue of reducing strategic arms as a platform for bargaining. Should strategic nuclear forces today be a subject of negotiations with the Americans or would it be advisable at this point to put them outside the bounds of Russian-US relations?

Sergey Lavrov: To a very large extent, President Trump’s position on the majority of key issues on the foreign policy agenda, including further steps to limit strategic nuclear weapons as you’ve mentioned, has yet to be finalised. By the way, if I remember right, Donald Trump mentioned the issue of cooperation with us in this field as an example. He was asked whether he would be prepared to lift sanctions on Russia. I believe that was the way the question was formulated. He responded by saying they should see if there were issues on which they could cooperate with Russia on a mutually beneficial basis in US interests, in particular, mentioning nuclear arms control. At the same time, as you know, the US president said the Americans should modernise and build up their nuclear triad. We need to wait until the military budget is finally approved under the new administration and see what its priorities and objectives are and how these funds will be spent.

As for our further conversation, I briefly mentioned in my address that we are ready for such a conversation but it should be conducted with acknowledgment of all strategic stability factors without exception. Today, those who propose implementing the so-called nuclear zero initiative as soon as possible, banning and destroying nuclear weapons and generally outlawing them absolutely, ignore the fact that since the nuclear bomb was made and this new kind of weapon began to be produced on a large scale in the USSR, the US, China, France and the UK, colossal changes have taken place in military science and technology. What is being developed in the US under the codename Prompt Global Strike are non-nuclear strategic weapons. If they are developed (and this work is moving forward very actively, with the objective of reaching any point in the world within an hour), of course, they will be more humane than nuclear weapons, because there will be no radiation, no Hiroshima or Nagasaki effect. However, in terms of military superiority, my friends at the Defence Ministry tell me the effect will be more devastating than from a modern nuclear bomb.

What’s more, our American partners are not abandoning the programme of deploying weapons in outer space, and they are essentially alone in voting against the initiatives co-sponsored by us, China and many other colleagues to commit not to do so. The Americans refuse to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which is also an important strategic stability factor. And of course the global missile defence system has an absolutely direct impact on strategic stability.

Another point: imbalances in conventional weapons, which are also being modernised very quickly. We always begin our dialogue with NATO by stressing the need to restore normal relations. We propose normalisation and agreements on mutual verification measures but before that, it is necessary to sit down and look at what each of us has deployed in proximity to each other, as well as in the entire Euro-Atlantic region. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered if we want not simply to ban nuclear weapons as idealists, but to ensure peace and security in the world and ensure strategic stability that will be sustainable and based on global parity. Everything that I’ve mentioned needs to be discussed. I may have missed some other factors.

I should also add that restrictions imposed by Russia and the US on each other have reached a point where it is hard to say that we will be able to do a great deal together anymore. All states that have nuclear weapons should be brought in – importantly, not only those that have them officially but also de facto.

Question: The United States started using the so-called managed chaos technology long ago. What can be used to counter such technology on the international scale? Is there a response to the concept of global stability and security management? Which countries could potentially initiate this project?

Sergey Lavrov: The concept of managed chaos appeared long ago as a method of strengthening US influence. Its basic premise is that managed chaos projects should be launched away from the United States in regions that are crucial for global economic and financial development. The Middle East has always been in the focus of politicians and foreign policy engineers in Washington. Practice has shown that this concept is dangerous and destructive, in particular for the countries where the experiment was launched, namely Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

In the case of Afghanistan, the United States launched its operation there with international support following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The UN Security Council unanimously confirmed the US right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The US operation against the Taliban and al-Qaeda was supported by all countries. It’s another matter that after receiving the international approval, the United States and its NATO allies, which took over in Afghanistan, started acting rather inconsistently, to put it mildly. During their operation in Afghanistan, the terrorist threat has not been rooted out, while the drug threat has increased many times over. The drug industry prospered. There is factual evidence that some of the NATO contingents in Afghanistan turned a blind eye to the illegal drug trafficking, even if they were not directly involved in these criminal schemes. Afghanistan is a separate case, although the current developments there, which are a result of the NATO operation’s failure, despite the carte blanche the bloc received from the international community, can be considered an unintended cause of managed chaos. In Iraq, Syria and Libya, this chaos was created intentionally.

I have also mentioned Yemen. The situation there can be described as a huge humanitarian catastrophe. It is not at the top of the international agenda, for some reason, although representatives of the UN Secretariat who are responsible for humanitarian affairs have described the situation in Yemen as the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world”, larger than in Syria or Iraq. Responsible politicians have come to see that the managed chaos theory is destroying life in many regions. Some parties can benefit in the short term from fluctuations on the raw materials markets provoked by the revolutions orchestrated by external forces, but this theory ultimately backfires at its engineers and executors in the form of massive migration inflows, which terrorists use to enter these countries. We can see this in Europe. Terrorist attacks have been staged even in the United States. The Atlantic Ocean has not protected it from the terrorist threat. This is the boomerang effect. Serious people are coming to see this. Reliance on international law is the only weapon against this threat. The UN Charter offers the necessary tools for this. Military force can only be used by decision of the UN Security Council, or a country can resort to anticipatory self-defence in keeping with the spirit of the UN Charter when an armed attack is imminent and inevitable. Russia acts in keeping with these premises in its relations with other countries. China, India, Brazil and the majority of other countries share this view.

There is one more thing connected with the issue of managed chaos and its consequences.

The policy of countries in Africa and Latin America, as well as their regional organisations – the African Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) – is based on a formal principle on the unacceptability of the unconstitutional change of power via a coup d’état. Since this danger is not purely African or Latin American (we have seen it surface in other parts of the world), we have proposed that the UN General Assembly formalise the universal unacceptability of coups as a means of changing government. Last autumn, a resolution was adopted at the initiative of a large group of co-authors – our Cuban colleagues were among the most active advocates of this idea, alongside other countries. This resolution recognised the importance of creating a more democratic and equitable world order and openly rejected the change of governments through unconstitutional coups and attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of states and to impose alien ideas and values on them as unacceptable. It is also unacceptable when national jurisdictions are applied extraterritorially, when a country hunts down other countries’ legal entities and nationals around the world even though they have not violated international law but are believed to have violated the national legislation of the said country. Three countries voted against this resolution and a few dozen countries – mostly Western ones – abstained. The resolution was adopted by a far larger vote than some other resolutions that our Western partners like to quote, for example the resolution on the violation of human rights in Crimea.

Question: Because of the sharp decline in authority of international institutions, including the UN, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe which are potentially under the influence of their American partners and curators, the Russian Federation needs other alternatives to solve vital issues, sometimes directly with the heads of states including the US, Germany, India, China and other powers. Don’t you think we should resume direct state-to-state relations?

Sergey Lavrov: Direct state-to-state relations have never been suspended. In spite of the very tight agenda of international organisations, bilateral dialogue with the overwhelming majority of states has today become even more intensive. For now there is an objective pause in our relations with the US because our American colleagues, the new administration has not yet made all its post appointments for the leading positions at the State Department, the Pentagon and other agencies. In addition to departmental heads, their deputies have yet to be appointed, which calls for Senate approval. And it is unclear when these appointments will be made, so there is a natural waiting period. But I have met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. As for the General Staff, several meetings have been held between the Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasismov and US General Joseph Dunford who heads the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. There has been contact on another level on how to avoid unforeseen and unintended incidents in Syria between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the US-led coalition. So, bilateral dialogue is important with any country. Regarding multilateral, universal and regional institutions, we are well aware of their shortcomings, but these are, if you like, inevitable.

The UN has 193 member countries. The West, Russia, China, India, Africa and Latin America – they are all interested in promoting their viewpoints on decisions that are taken and then implemented, or set the political agenda for further discussions. Of course, we would like to have a say on all these matters. From time to time our Western partners find a way to obstruct us, or put forward absolutely unacceptable ideas which we have to block. In such situations some “well-wishers” like to say that the UN has outlived its usefulness because the right of veto is abused and so on. This is disingenuous. The veto was included in the UN Charter at the insistence of the US after the League of Nations came to a sad end precisely because its activities and mechanisms did not provide for a special role of the big powers. Because of this the US decided that it had no time to just listen to moralising without being able to exert decisive influence. That’s why today the right of veto is not some kind of privilege, but an instrument for maintaining stability in international affairs which guarantees that no decision by the international community can be taken unless it is backed by the five permanent UN Security Council members. This needs to be understood.

Our French colleagues are pushing the idea that the UN Security Council members should voluntarily refrain from exercising their veto when mass human rights violations are involved. We asked them how they see it from the purely practical point of view. If there are 99 victims, this is not yet a violation, and if there are a hundred, we should refrain from using the veto? This is an old concept. Previously it was served “under the guise” of responsibility to protect, of humanitarian intervention, arguing that the international community had the right to intervene in certain conflicts regardless of UN Security Council resolutions if genocide or some other mass human rights violations are taking place in a country.  This is a mathematical approach. Who will determine whether or not mass violations are taking place? This is a very cynical approach, where they say that the death of one person is a tragedy, but a list of military casualties are statistics. You can discuss this at length, but the right of veto must remain part of any concept for reforming the UN Security Council. It needs to be reformed and made more representative. Without the right of veto by current permanent Security Council members it will be unable to function and will morph into an organ that rubberstamps shortsighted and ideologically charged documents. The OSCE does not have the veto right, but it has the principle of consensus which also sometimes leads to exhausting debates. Nevertheless consensus safeguards the interests of those who take part in that organisation. This can be useful in spite of all the criticism it incurs in connection with  OSCE activities in Ukraine. In any case the presence in that country of a special monitoring mission, which we support, helps to bring down the level of violence and keep the situation under control. We witnessed a flare-up of violence, for example, the day before yesterday the radicals from the Azov battalion were acting provocatively around Mariupol. The mission records these facts which we then use in our work with the Normandy four, at the Contact Group to motivate the Ukrainian authorities to stop sabotaging the Minsk Agreements.

I can cite some positive examples for any international organisation, but we have to keep in mind that none of them – neither the UN, nor the OSCE, nor the G20, not even BRICS or the SCO — will follow the wishes of any one country a hundred per cent. It’s always a compromise, a consensus or a balance of interests. As our President Vladimir Putin constantly stresses, we are not imposing anything on anyone, we are always ready to look for a balance of interests through mutual concessions with any country that is ready to talk with us as an equal. This is how diplomacy works. The same is true for bilateral relations. Sometimes it is even more difficult to reach an agreement bilaterally than multilaterally because in a multilateral format, say at the UN, you have allies you can call on and they will exert additional pressure. In bilateral talks your partner is sitting opposite you and it’s either you or him who gains the upper hand. It’s better that no one should gain the upper hand and that there should be a consensus. We are ready for this kind work, including, as I said, with the US because we are well aware what great influence the relations between the two biggest nuclear powers have on the overall situation in the world. We are prepared to exercise our responsibility for such influence through dialogue with the US.

Question: Today we see a growing split of the world political elites. There are globalists who express the interests of transnational corporations and world financial organisations and there is a new political concept, the so-called populists who express the interests of the people in their countries. A vivid example is the election of US President Donald Trump, and there are a number of other political leaders who are seen as fringe politicians in the West, for example Marine Le Pen. Given this, it is not by chance that Russia is seen as a leader in half of the world. Is this view justified? Can we talk about a future victory for one of these ideologies? How would this influence today’s world order?

Sergey Lavrov: I wouldn’t call Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen “fringe politicians” if only because they absolutely fit into the principles that underlie the functioning of the American and French states. Marine Le Pen is a European member of parliament and her party is active in the national parliament.  Donald Trump has been elected in full accordance with the American constitution, with its two-level indirect system of electing the president. I would not even call them populists. The word “populist” has a negative connotation. You said interestingly that populists are those who represent the people. There are nuances in the interpretation of the word “populist.” In modern Russian it tends to be applied to people who go into politics, but do not bear the responsibility for their words and just seek to lure voters. A populist is someone who might promise to triple wages while the budget absolutely cannot support it, etc. So I would rather call them realists or anti-globalists, if you like. Having said that, anti-globalists are also associated with hooligans who try to disrupt the G20 and G7 summits, and so on. Come to think of it, even now that the new president of the world’s largest power has declared that it is necessary to think not of global expansion, but of how America lives, the role of globalists will be changing. American corporations have already demanded a reduction in manufacturing in developing countries to move it to the US in order to create jobs there. Granted, this may not be very good news for the consumer because labour is more expensive in the US, so the prices for goods, cars and so on will increase. But this is the trend. In general, President Trump’s conceptual slogans during his election campaign to the effect that America should interfere less in the affairs of other countries and address its own issues send a very serious signal to the globalists themselves. Again, up until now the US has been perceived as a symbol of globalism and the expansion of transnational corporations. Those who represent their interests are the huge team that has taken up arms against President Trump and his administration and in general against everything he does, and which tries, in any way possible, to throw a spanner in the works. Something similar things are happening in France where mountains of compromising materials of ten or fifteen years ago have been unearthed which invariably are presented through an “anti-Russia prism.” It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a dirty campaign when at stake are the concepts and ideas of how to develop the state and their country, and a smear war is being waged. We had this not so long ago, and I don’t see anything good about it.

In parallel the global market and the global trade system are being reappraised through the actions and statements of the new US administration. As you know, they have walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and said they would work through regional and bilateral agreements. We believe, though, that the World Trade Organisation which it took us such a long time to join did provide a common umbrella for world trade. Some regional structures could be built into these universal systems so as not to break the ties with the non-members of these regional organisations to maintain some common contact and exchanges through the WTO. That too is now under threat. So, we are in a period of rethinking our approaches, and I don’t think it has everything to do with Trump. These changes have been brewing; otherwise the American position on so many issues could not have changed so abruptly. They were long in coming, and the WTO was in a major crisis when the Western countries categorically refused to listen to the leading developing countries on a range of issues connected with investment, financial services, etc.

I wouldn’t say that there are globalists and populists. There are simply people who want to get elected and follow a well-trodden path and preserve the neoliberal structures that are all over the place in the West, and then there are people who see the neoliberalism and permissiveness which are part of the neoliberal approach as a threat to their societies, traditions and cultures. This is accompanied by philosophical reflections and practical discussions of what to do about the problem of illegal migrants, their own roots and religions, whether it is politically correct to remind people that you are an Orthodox or Catholic or whether you should forget about religion altogether. I have said more than once that the European Union wanted to adopt a constitution many years ago and was drafting it. The commission was headed by Giscard d’Estaing and he proposed a very simple sentence about Europe having Christian roots. He was prevented from doing so on the grounds that it would not be politically correct and would insult the Muslims. In reality it turns out that if you are cautious about making your religious roots known you end up not caring about the religious roots of others and the consequences are not usually good. Therefore, at the UN and UNESCO, we actively support all the initiatives that are particularly relevant today: the Dialogue of Civilisations, the Dialogue of Cultures and the Dialogue of Religions. It is not by chance that they have become topical issues on the agenda because they reflect the fermentation within societies and the need to somehow search for a national consensus.

Question: The traditional definition of war is “war is nothing more than an extension of state policy by alternate means.” We usually understand “alternate means” as military violence and therefore claim that war always involves military action. Do you think it would be correct to say that the nature of war has changed in contemporary circumstances, that is, now the term includes measures for information, economic, political and psychological impact?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, in the West they coined the term ‘hybrid war.’ As a matter of fact, this is the concept they seem to be forming based on their experience. Unilateral economic sanctions are definitely a declaration of war, no doubt about it. An information war is underway when slander becomes a mandatory condition for the media. This is an objective fact. These days we talk a lot about Syria. Allegedly, there is a non-governmental organisation called the White Helmets funded by several Western countries and countries in the Persian Gulf. A film about this organisation won the Oscar for best documentary this year. They present themselves as a humanitarian agency helping people attacked by bombs – particularly, in Syria. On several occasions, they were caught lying and showing staged video clips. For one such clip, they painted a girl with red paint and on camera she was sitting down and allegedly suffering from Russian and Syrian bombs. Several days ago in Geneva, an American journalist presented research in which he proved that the White Helmets are fake and that they only deal with developing falsified and provocative news, while dragging Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and armed forces through the mud. He also proved that they are providing direct assistance to terrorists and extremists, including medical supplies and equipment, and treating injured members of extremist groups. This is just one example. But anywhere you go, when I just try talking to my Western colleagues, the White Helmets are exempt from any criticism and seem to have a monopoly on the truth. There are many other tricks like that. Certainly, in a wider perspective, cyberspace is an area where there is a material possibility to inflict potentially very serious harm. Cyber forces were created and, apparently, they have some significance. This is exactly why we need forums where these things can be discussed as a single package. The military discusses purely military issues, which now extends to cyberwars. Those dealing with information and sharing experience are trying to convince each other that the media must be used not for provocation but to reconcile people. When it comes to the economy, it should be understood – and many have come to realise this – that unilateral sanctions will come back like a boomerang and hit the countries that joined them, especially small countries. It is very short-sighted to impose unilateral sanctions on a country like Russia, with its huge potential, human and natural resources. By encouraging dialogue in each of these areas to build a general understanding, mutually beneficial and generally acceptable approaches, we need a forum where all these issues can be considered in their relation to each other because they all affect the general status of international relations. Except for the UN, there is no other framework like this. This is a very topical issue and we have no doubt that it will be in the centre of very heated and engaging debates for the foreseeable future.

To be continued…

Many thanks to our research assistant Baaz for discovering the video.

Comments of the Russian MID on the EU authority on human rights

March 22, 2017

The EU has long lost its moral right to act as an authority on human rights issues

The following statement is an important step taken by the MID. Until recently, they refrained from directly pointing out that the European nations that are orchestrating the anti-Russian campaign are the same nations that participated in the  war on the USSR in 1941-1945. Some of them sent their armies to invade Russia and to burn Russian towns and villages and to hang Russians women and children, some of them were busy producing tanks, ammunition and ropes, while others were treating the injured invaders and financing the war.

Let’s list the crimes of the Western nations against the Russians every time we write about their political representatives, governments and military alliances.

Today marks the 74th Anniversary of the horrific massacre, Ukrainian nationalists & Nazis burned 150 people alive

 Comment by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information and Press Department on a declaration by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union on Crimea and the European Parliament resolution on Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and situation in Crimea

March 20th, 2017

We were perplexed by the March 18 declaration by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union on Crimea, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia. Apparently, Brussels remains detached from reality and refuses to acknowledge the obvious, positive changes in the lives of the people in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, which are now part of the Russian Federation.

Instead of repeating unsubstantiated assertions by Kiev regarding alleged “human rights violations” and the “annexation of Crimea,” European officials wishing to receive objective information regarding the situation in Russia’s Crimea would do better to visit the peninsula and see with their own eyes what is happening there, as many unbiased public and political figures from EU member countries have already done.

The EU invokes international law but seems to forget about its gross violations in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and, for that matter, Ukraine, with the goal of toppling unwanted regimes in which its member countries took an active part. The EU has yet to respond adequately to the regular marches and rallies of Waffen-SS veterans in Latvia, which not only insult the memory of millions of victims, but also ignore the rulings of the Nuremberg Tribunal, as well as the UN General Assembly resolutions on inadmissibility of the glorification of Nazism.

Fabrications about “threats to international security” and the “ongoing militarisation” of Crimea also come as a surprise. The EU prefers not to notice the deployment of US missile defence elements in Romania and Poland, the ever more frequent NATO exercises in the Black Sea, and the increased NATO military presence in Eastern Europe, which have a negative impact on the security situation in Europe, including the Black Sea region.

The attempt to portray the EU’s blanket discriminatory restrictive measures against Crimeans as part of the “policy of non-recognition” of the reunification of Crimea with Russia appears cynical. In the context of EU visa policies, they are reminiscent of “visa reprisals” and run counter to a range of norms of international law. The same applies to the EU’s appeals to UN member states to impose sanctions on Russia.

The adoption by the European Parliament on March 16 of the resolution on Ukrainian Political Prisoners in Russia and Situation in Crimea once again demonstrates a prejudiced approach to human rights. Clearly, the EU has long lost its moral right to act as an authority on human rights issues. For the sake of dubious political expediency, Brussels prefers to turn a blind eye to the actions of the Kiev regime and the Ukrainian nationalists blocking water and energy supplies to Crimea, non-payment of pensions and benefits, as well as the blocking of railway links with southeastern Ukraine, not to mention the numerous migrant issues in the EU itself, including the disappearance of migrant children and violations of their rights, the status of “non-citizens” in Latvia and Estonia, growing racism and xenophobia throughout the European Union, and the blatant human rights violations in the course of involvement of a number of EU countries in the infamous secret CIA prisons. Those are the cold hard facts. However, MEPs in their resolutions on Crimea prefer to see only the mythical deterioration of the situation of the Crimean Tatar population, despite the fact that real progress in restoring its rights was made only after reunification of the peninsula with Russia.

To reiterate, Crimea and Sevastopol are an integral part of the Russian Federation, and methods of political or economic pressure, to which the European Union persistently resorts, are futile efforts and will not change this fact.

Nikki Haley Calls Apartheid Israel ‘the one true democracy in the Middle East’

Out of all of Trump’s appointees, Nikkie Haley is probably one of the worst. Formerly a governor of South Carolina, Haley is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. That’s her in the video above giving a presentation at the UN last Thursday.

I’m not sure how much Haley knows about international law. According to Wikipedia, she graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. How she ended up as UN ambassador, after criticizing Trump in the general election, is unclear. *

At any rate, Haley seems fully unaware that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Nor does she seem to comprehend why other UN-member states might press for resolutions seeking to call Israel to account, both for its settlements as well as its 50-year occupation of the West Bank–land universally recognized as necessary for a Palestinian state. So perhaps she is simply uninformed and does not understand the nature of Israel’s occupation or its devastating impact upon the lives of those forced to live under it. Or at least that’s one possibility.

The other possibility, of course, is that Haley does understand these things…and that she simply believes Israel is exceptional and should not have to follow the same laws and international standards that apply to other states. If so, apparently in Israel are those who would agree with her. Less than a week after her talk at the UN–in which she accused the body of a “prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues”–an Israeli military court handed down an 18-month sentence to an Israeli soldier who carried out an execution-style slaying of a wounded Palestinian in March of last year. There was no doubt the soldier was the one who pulled the trigger. The shooting was captured live on video. The sentence of 18 months he received for killing a Palestinian is lighter than what Palestinian children are often given for throwing stones.

* Incredibly, Haley also voiced criticism of Trump–over his stance on Russia–during her congressional confirmation hearings back in January. At that time she accused Russia of “war crimes,” and said, “They (the Russians) have done some terrible atrocities.”

British radio station interviews the Saker

January 19, 2017

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