Russian Federation – Minister for Foreign Affairs Addresses General Debate, 74th Session

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September 27, 2019

Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN (New York, 24 – 30 September 2019).

Transcript : http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3822351

28 September 201900:13
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 27, 2019

Unofficial translation

Distinguished Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations which was established as a result of the Victory in World War II and the realization of the need for a collective mechanism to maintain international peace and security, is getting closer. Regrettably, the events of the Cold War, which started soon after, prevented this tremendous creative potential from being unleashed.

The hope arose again almost 30 years ago when the Berlin Wall symbolizing confrontation of the two irreconcilable systems fell. It was the hope for the possibility to finally turn the grievous pages of wars – not only hot but also cold – and to join efforts for the benefit of all mankind.

However, we have to admit – although World War III was prevented thanks to the UN, the number of conflicts on the planet has not declined and enmity has not weakened. New most acute challenges emerged – international terrorism, drug trafficking, climate change, illegal migration, the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is getting harder to address these and many other challenges from year to year. The fragmentation of international community is only increasing.

In our view, the reason for the current state of affairs lies, first and foremost, in the unwillingness of the countries which declared themselves winners in the Cold War to reckon with the legitimate interests of all other states, to accept the realities of the objective course of history.

It is hard for the West to put up with its weakening centuries-long dominance in world affairs. New centers of economic growth and political influence have emerged and are developing. Without them it is impossible to find sustainable solution to the global challenges which can be addressed only on the firm basis of the UN Charter through the balance of interests of all states.

Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others. In a nutshell, “we are liberals, and we can do anything”. Pursuing these aspirations, the West is less frequently recalling international law and more often and importunately dwelling upon the “rules-based order”.

The aim of such a concept is obvious – to revise the norms of international law which no longer suit the West, to substitute it for the “rules” adjusted to its self-serving schemes which are elaborated depending on the political expediency, and to proclaim the West and only the West as an indisputable source of legitimacy. For instance, when it is advantageous, the right of the peoples to self-determination has significance and when it is not – it is declared “illegal”.

In order to justify revisionist “rules” the West resorts to manipulation of public consciousness, dissemination of false information, double standards on human rights, suppression of undesirable media, bans on practicing journalism. Moreover, the West got “apt students” among its wards on the post-Soviet territory.

Instead of equal collective work, closed formats beyond legitimate multilateral framework are being created, and approaches agreed upon behind closed doors by a narrow group of the “select few” are then declared “multilateral agreements”. This is accompanied by the attempts to “privatize” the secretariats of international organizations, to use them in order to advance non-consensual ideas in circumvention of universal mechanisms.

Attacks on international law are looming large. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231 is broadly discussed. Washington not just repudiated its obligations enshrined in this Resolution but started demanding from others to play by American “rules” and sabotage its implementation.

The United States set a tough course for abolishing the UN resolutions on international legal framework of the Middle East settlement. It suggests waiting for some “deal of the century”, meanwhile it has taken unilateral decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. A two-state solution to the Palestinian issue – which is essential for satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and providing security for Israel and the whole region – is under threat.

Apparently, when NATO members were bombing Libya blatantly violating the UNSC resolution, they were also guided by the logic of their “rules-based order”. It resulted in the destruction of Libyan statehood, and international community is still disentangling the disastrous repercussions of NATO’s adventure with African countries affected the most.

“Hidden agendas” in countering terrorism remain – despite the universally binding Security Council decisions on listing terrorist organizations, some countries made it a “rule” to cover terrorists and even to engage in cooperation with them on the ground as it is happening, for instance, in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. The United States has already been saying it loud that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is a rather moderate structure which “can be dealt with”. As recent discussions on the situation in the Syrian Idlib showed, the United States wants to induce members of the UNSC to such unacceptable logic.

The West also has its own “rules” regarding the Balkans where it is pursuing an open course for undermining the UNSC decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina settlement.

Universal conventions together with the SC resolutions are an integral part of international law. The West would like to substitute even them for its “rules” as it happened in the OPCW whose Technical Secretariat was illegally granted “attributive” functions through unlawful manipulations and unscrupulous pressure in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and exclusive prerogatives of the Security Council.

Playing with Conventions obliging all countries to provide linguistic, educational, religious and other rights of national minorities continue. Even here our Western colleagues are guided by their “rules” – they turn a blind eye to the open denial of national minorities’ relevant rights and indulge the retaining of an ignominious phenomenon of statelessness in Europe.

The course for the revision of international law is more frequently observed in the persistent policy of rewriting the history of World War II, justifying an increasing number of manifestations of neo-Nazism, vandalism against the monuments to the liberators of Europe and Holocaust victims.

The key principles of the UN Charter – non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or the threat of force – are also undergoing durability tests.

We are now facing the attempts to add Venezuela to the list of countries whose statehood was destroyed before our eyes through aggression or coups inspired from abroad. Like the overwhelming majority of the UN members, Russia is rejecting the attempts to return the “rules” dating back to the times of Monroe Doctrine to Latin America, to change from outside regimes in sovereign states descending to the methods of military blackmail, unlawful coercion and blockade as it happens in relation to Cuba in defiance of the UN resolutions.

Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted at the initiative of our country. However, a number of Western states are still clinging to the old “rules”, ignoring this Declaration and other decisions of the General Assembly on decolonization addressed directly to them, while keeping former overseas territories under their control.

This November marks another anniversary – 20 years since the adoption of the Charter for European Security and the Platform for Co-operative Security. These documents set out principles of cooperation for all countries and organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region. Heads of states and governments solemnly declared that no one should provide his own security at the expense of other’s security. Regrettably, the consensus reached back then today is substituted for taken as a “rule” NATO practice, the organization which continues thinking in terms of searching for enemies, while moving its military infrastructure to the East to the Russian borders and increasing its military budgets, although they already exceed the Russian one more than 20 times. We call on NATO to return to the agreements on shaping equal and indivisible security in the OSCE area. Recently, responsible European politicians have been speaking in favor of it, which, in particular, was demonstrated during the meeting of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and France in August.

The Asia-Pacific region needs a reliable and open architecture. It is dangerous to yield to the temptation and divide it into conflicting blocs. Such attempts will contradict the task to join efforts of all countries in the region in order to effectively address the continuing threats and challenges there, including the task to resolve a whole range of issues on the Korean Peninsula exclusively by peaceful means.

Actions taken by the United States, which, following its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, destroyed the INF Treaty with the overwhelming support of all NATO members, caused a huge damage to the global system of strategic stability which had been established for decades. Now the United States is questioning the future of the New START Treaty, refusing to ratify the CTBT. Moreover, it has lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in its doctrinal documents. The United States is setting course for transforming cyberspace and outer space into the arena for military confrontation.

In order to prevent further escalation of tensions, Russia proposed several initiatives. President Vladimir Putin announced the decision not to deploy land-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe or other regions if and as long as the Americans refrain from doing it. We called on the United States and NATO to join such a moratorium. We have also repeatedly suggested Washington that we start negotiations on prolonging the New START Treaty. Together with China we support the harmonization of a legally binding document on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. So far, the reaction of the United States and its allies has not been encouraging.

We are alarmed by the protracted lack of answer to our proposal made to American colleagues already a year ago – to adopt a high-level Russian-American statement on unacceptability and inadmissibility of the nuclear war which by definition cannot have a winner. We call on all countries to support this initiative.

Today I would like to make an announcement – at the current session of the General Assembly we are introducing a draft resolution on Strengthening and Developing the System of Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Agreements. We invite everyone to conduct substantial talks. The adoption of the resolution would greatly contribute to the creation of conditions for a successful hosting of another NPT Review Conference next year.

Russia will continue to work persistently in order to strengthen universal security. In this sphere, we are acting with utmost responsibility, exercising restraint in enhancing defence capacity – obviously, without any damage to the effective delivery of national security and in full compliance with international law.

We support the consolidation of efforts to combat international terrorism under the auspices of the UN. In the interests of mobilizing the potential of regional organizations to suppress the terrorist threat Russia initiated a Ministerial meeting of the Security Council with the participation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Among the most critical tasks of the world community is elaboration of generally acceptable approaches to the digital sphere management and understanding of the processes related to the creation of artificial intelligence. Last year, the General Assembly endorsed the beginning of the substantive work on discussing the rules of the responsible conduct of states in information space. Resolution on Combating Cybercrime was adopted at Russia’s initiative. It is important to work for achieving legally binding agreements on all aspects of international information security.

We need to step up efforts to facilitate the settlement of numerous crises and conflicts in all regions of the world. The main point is to seek compliance with already existing agreements from parties without allowing them to invent pretexts to refuse from implementing obligations already taken during negotiations. This also concerns conflicts on the post-Soviet territory, including the need to strictly follow the provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures to settle the crisis in the East of Ukraine.

In Syria, where major success in combating terrorism has been achieved, further advancement of the political process lead by the Syrians with the assistance of the UN is at the forefront. With the decisive contribution of Russia, Turkey, and Iran as guarantors of the Astana format, the establishment of the Constitutional Committee has been finished, which was announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres a few days ago. Post-conflict reconstruction and creation of conditions for the return of the refugees are the items on the agenda. Here the UN system is to play an important role.

Yet, on the whole, the Middle East and North Africa still face many challenges. We witness what is happening in Libya and Yemen. Prospects for the Palestinian settlement are on the verge of collapse. Efforts to play the “Kurdish card” – which is combustible for many countries – are alarming.

The Persian Gulf region is facing artificial escalation of tensions. We call on overcoming the existing disagreements through dialogue without baseless accusations. On our part, we made a contribution having presented this summer the renewed Russian concept of the collective security in this region.

Supporting the efforts of the African states to put an end to conflicts on their continent, yesterday Russia organized the meeting of the Security Council on strengthening peace and security in Africa. At the end of October, Sochi will host the first ever Russia-Africa Summit. We hope its outcomes will help increase the effectiveness of addressing modern challenges and threats and of work to overcome the problems of development African countries are facing.

The reform of the SC is aimed at improving the UN anti-crisis and peacekeeping activities. Given the realities of the multipolar world, the main task is to find a formula which would correct an obvious geopolitical imbalance in its current composition and would ensure increased representation of African, Asian, and Latin American countries in the Council with the broadest possible agreement of the UN Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dividing lines are harmful not only to the world politics but also to the economy. Its inclusive growth is curbed as a result of the WTO norms being substituted for other “rules” – methods of unfair competition, protectionism, trade wars, unilateral sanctions, and open abuse of the American dollar status. All this leads to the fragmentation of the global economic space, negatively affects people’s standards of living. We believe it necessary to get back to the substantial work both in the UN system organizations and in the G-20. To this end, we will contribute to the creation of favorable conditions, including through the opportunities offered by BRICS, where Russia will assume the chairmanship in 2020.

Together with other like-minded countries we support the harmonization of integration processes. This philosophy lies at the core of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), SCO, ASEAN, and which is open to all other Eurasian states, including the EU countries. We have already started moving in this direction by interconnecting development plans of the EAEU and the Chinese Belt And Road Initiative. Consistent implementation of these endeavors will contribute not only to increasing economic growth but also to laying a solid foundation in order to form the territory of peace, stability, and cooperation from Lisbon to Jakarta.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the run-up to the next anniversary of the United Nations, I would like to underline – the UN-centered system of the world order, despite all trials, is stable and has a great margin of safety. It is a kind of a safety net which guarantees – if the UN Charter is respected – a peaceful development of mankind through finding a balance of sometimes rather contradictory interests of various countries.

At the outcome of these 75 years the main conclusion is probably that the experience of de-ideologized cooperation of states at the face of common threat, gained in the years of that most severe war, is still relevant.

Today’s challenges and threats are no less dangerous.

Only working together we will be able to effectively address them. Half a century ago a prominent scientist and public figure, the Nobel Prize Laureate Andrei Sakharov wrote the following – The division of mankind threatens it with destruction. If mankind is to get away from the brink, it must overcome its divisions It was the unity which was considered the key task of the UN by its Founding Fathers. Let us be worthy of their legacy and memory.

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ماذا سيفعل الأميركيون لضمان أسواق النفط؟

يونيو 14, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– ليس من إثبات قانوني على مسؤولية إيران عن أي من الحوادث التي تصيب سوق النفط وتتسبب بالمزيد من التدهور في استقراره والمزيد من الصعود في أسعاره، لكن الأكيد أن ما تشهده منطقة الخليج من حوادث تستهدف سوق النفط يتمّ على خلفية النظر إلى مشهد التوتر الناتج عن الاستهداف الأميركي لقدرة إيران على تصدير نفطها من جهة، والرد الإيراني القائم على معادلة، إذا لم نستطع تصدير نفطنا فإن غيرنا لن يستطيع ذلك أيضاً، والعالم كله ينظر للتصعيد القائم الآن وفقاً لمعادلة أبعد من كيف تثبت واشنطن قوتها، أو كيف تردّ واشنطن على ما تتهم إيران به، فالسؤال الكبير دولياً هو مَن يضمن عودة الاستقرار إلى سوق النفط وإلى أسعاره؟

– إذا سلكت واشنطن طريق الاستهداف العسكري المباشر أو غير المباشر، الضيّق والمحدود أو الأوسع، فإن ذلك سيعني تصاعد الوضع أكثر واستدراج ردود على الردود من نوعها، مباشرة أو غير مباشرة، محدودة أو واسعة النطاق، لكن الأكيد هو أن سوق النفط ستبلغ المزيد من الاضطراب والأسعار ستبلغ المزيد من السقوف العالية، وإذا سلكت واشنطن طريق التجاهل واكتفت بالتحذير والسعي لردود دبلوماسيّة، فإن ذلك يقول إن الخط البياني للأحداث التي استهدفت سوق النفط سيتصاعد وبات هو الحاكم المسيطر على معادلات هذا السوق، وعنوانها، إن لم تستطع إيران تصدير نفطها فإن غيرها لن يستطيع.

– بالتوازي تتبقى ثلاثة أسابيع أمام نهاية مهلة الستين يوماً التي ستبادر إيران بنهايتها إلى التخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم والتخزين لليورانيوم المخصب، وصولاً لامتلاك ما قالت واشنطن ودول الغرب إنه نقطة الخطر، اي امتلاك إيران ما يكفي لإنتاج أول قنبلة نووية، رغم قرارها بعدم فعل ذلك. والسؤال الموازي ماذا ستفعل واشنطن عندها، أو ماذا ستفعل واشنطن قبلها لمنع بلوغ تلك اللحظة، وبمعزل عن المسؤوليات القانونية التي لا تفيد في مثل هذه الحالات تواجه واشنطن أخطر اختبار لمشهد قوتها على الساحة الدولية حيث تبدو كل الخيارات صعبة، ويبدو الزمن الذي تحتاجه واشنطن لاختبار فعالية إجراءاتها الاقتصادية التصعيدية بوجه إيران أكبر بكثير من الزمن الذي وضعت فيه طهران واشنطن أمام اللحظات الحرجة لضمان استقرار سوق النفط ومواجهة مستقبل ملفها النووي.

– الطريق السالك الوحيد أمام واشنطن لتفادي الأسوأ هو استغلال الوقت المتبقي قبل دخول مهلة الستين يوماً حيّز التنفيذ في الشق النووي، والذهاب إلى قمة العشرين في نهاية الشهر الحالي بخريطة طريق، لتأجيل متبادل أميركي وإيراني للحزمة الأخيرة من الخطوات التصعيديّة لستة شهور تمنح خلالها الوساطات الفرص المناسبة للوصول إلى مبادرات سياسية بديلة. وهذا يعني تراجع واشنطن عن كل ما صدر عنها من عقوبات منذ نهاية شهر نيسان الماضي عندما قامت بإلغاء الاستثناءات الممنوحة على شراء النفط والغاز من إيران لثماني دول، وما تلاها من عقوبات على المعادن والبتروكيماويات الإيرانية، مقابل تراجع إيران عن مهلة الستين يوماً، وتوصل الدول المعنية لضمانات للتعاون في منع أي استهداف لأسواق النفط، وسيتلقف الروس والصينيّون والأوروبيّون واليابانيّون هذه المبادرة وتتجاوب معها إيران، التي كان مدخل خيارها التصعيدي التصعيد الأميركي الجديد.

– تبريد التصعيد سيفتح الطريق للبحث عن سقوف منخفضة لتسويات واقعية في سورية واليمن بعيداً عن المطالب الأميركية الوهمية والخيالية. ويفتح طريق تجميد النزاع حول الملف النووي الذي لا يزعج إيران خروج واشنطن منه ولا يريح واشنطن عودتها إليه، ويصعب على الطرفين التنازل في بنوده، وإلا فإن الرعونة الأميركية التي كانت وراء الخطوات الأخيرة في التصعيد تحتاج لخريطة طريق نحو الحرب والفوز بها، وادعاء واشنطن بامتلاكها كذبة ستفضحها كل محاولة للعب بالنار في منطقة تقف على برميل بارود، ربما تكون كلفة الحروب فيه أعلى بكثير من كلفة التسويات، مع فارق أن بين خاسر وخاسر سيختلف الوضع كثيراً. فهناك مَن سيخسر مكانته العالمية كحال أميركا ووجوده كحال «إسرائيل» ونظام حكمه كحال أنظمة الخليج، فوق الخسائر البشرية والمادية المؤلمة التي سيتساوى فيها مع إيران وحلفائها.

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Iranian FM Spokesperson: We Are Working To Enhance Peace, Security and Stability in Syria, the Region

By Mokhtar Haddad

In his first interview with a non-Iranian media outlet, the spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Minister, Sayyed Abbas Mousavi, said that the visit by his country’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, to Damascus and later to Ankara is very important.

Speaking to al-Ahed News Website, he explained that the visit would have a great impact on the expansion and development of the Islamic Republic’s relations with Syria and Turkey, especially in the fields of economy and trade.

Mousavi also pointed out that the visit is of particular importance in bridging differences on regional issues.

According to Mousavi, the visit is an important step to removing existing obstacles when it comes to settling the crisis in Syria as communications, negotiations and efforts to reach a political solution continue.

“We hope to see positive results from these endeavors in the near future as we take another step towards peace, stability and security in Syria and the region,” the foreign ministry spokesperson told Al-Ahed.

Zarif visited the Syrian capital a few days ago where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials. He, then, headed to the Turkish capital Ankara where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish officials. The meetings Zarif held focused on bilateral relations between Iran, Damascus and Ankara as well as ways to enhance these relations since the Islamic Republic has excellent relations with both countries.

Observers described this visit as important in the light of the developments in the region and the world, especially regarding the Syrian dossier.

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Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

South Front

March 07, 2019

Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

At the eve of the 8 year anniversary of the Syrian war, the battle for one of the last ISIS strongholds in Syria is still raging. The so called “caliphate” is on its last knees as US president Trump declares that “100 percent of ISIS ‘caliphate’ has been taken back.

Trump was of course only referring to the US coalitions “efforts” and didn’t even bother to mention that it is Syria and her allies that have done most of the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, he was right about ISIS losing all of the territories they occupied in Syria, but what happens now?

The US has for long declared that their presence (occupation) in Syria is mainly to fight ISIS, while sometimes also claiming to “prevent Iran from entrenching itself” in Syria. Of course any serious observer who has the slightest interest in Middle Eastern politics understands that this is a lie.

The US’ top priority has been from the beginning to save its masters in Israel from their day of reckoning. In the long run this objective is and has always been linked to the much greater plan of destroying the Islamic Republic, the only true threat to Israel’s continued existence. For years Washington has deceived and fooled a vast majority of the world’s population and “analysts” into believing that its presence in Syria is tied to “fighting ISIS”, while hiding their intentions to overthrow the Syrian government and destroying the Resistance Axis. Now, Washington’s true objective will resurface for everyone to see.

This goal has not been linked to a specific US administration but has been a very longstanding policy for decades no matter who’s the president.

Despite Trump’s bogus declaration back in December that the US is pulling out of Syria, Washington recently backtracked and declared it won’t fully withdraw its troops from Syria but will leave “400 peacekeeping forces”, making these soldiers an official occupation force as the last ISIS stronghold is about to be destroyed. This new situation leaves the US and European allies without any cloak of legality since the pretext of “counterterrorism” is no longer plausible.

But this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Only a fool would believe that the US has spent so much time and money on training and arming Kurdish militias to grab as much land as possible east of the Euphrates, just to let the Syrian government take all the land back in a deal with the Kurdish militias.

The continued US occupation makes any kind of reconciliation between the Kurdish militias and Damascus impossible. Now that the ISIS terrorists are gone, the future of the Kurdish militias remain very much at the hands of Washington. Where will they be used next?

Turkey has for long threatened to invade north eastern Syria as Turkish president Erdogan vowed to create a “safe zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border after a phone call between him and Trump. At the same time Trump has threatened Turkey to refrain from attacking its Kurdish proxies in that region. This contradictory situation became even messier when Moscow declared that it will not accept such a “safe zone” without Damascus approval, a highly unlikely outcome as relations between Damascus and Ankara remain very hostile.

To the northwest, jihadist group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham has outmanoeuvred and taken over most of the other “rebel groups’” positions and now remains the sole powerhouse in the Idlib province. Turkey’s inability or rather lack of interest to remove these terrorists has opened up the possibility for a new Syrian Army offensive on the region. If history is to repeat itself, we should expect Washington to threaten Damascus to refrain from launching this offensive.

Meanwhile, voices are being raised in neighbouring Iraq, demanding US forces stationed near the Syrian border to leave the country. Despite the unlikelihood of US troops withdrawing from Iraq, such a scenario would give Washington even more incentive to hold on to its foothold in Syria.

Washington has recently showed a great obsession with Iran and will do its utmost to destroy the Iranian-Syrian alliance and to isolate Iran, making the Islamic Republic an easy target for Washington’s next planned “humanitarian intervention”. This is manifested through Washington’s strategic occupation of eastern Syria and the Al-Tanf region, located right next to the Iraqi border and close to the Golan Heights. This was further proven after President Assad’s surprise visit to Iran where Iranian officials revealed that Washington had offered Assad to back his presidency in exchange for him breaking ties with Tehran.

Terrorist forces in Syria may be on the verge of defeat, but their sponsors in Washington remain as dangerous as ever. The last chapter of the Syrian war is yet to be written.

Iranian, Syrian Top Diplomat Discuss Closer Ties

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February 27, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, held talks on a range of issues, including the latest efforts to boost strategic relations between the two countries.

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Zarif and Moallem also exchanged views about the outcomes of a recent historic visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran.

Assad paid an unannounced visit to Iran and met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Monday.

Speaking at the meeting, the Leader praised the resistance of Syria’s government and people that led to the defeat of Washington and its regional mercenaries.

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that the triumph of the resistance front in Syria has made Americans angry and prompted them to hatch new plots, adding, “The issue of the buffer zone, which Americans seek to establish in Syria, is among those dangerous plots that must be categorically rejected and stood against.”

Conflicts erupted in Syria back in 2011, when a small group of opposition forces took up arms against Damascus.

Soon, however, a mix of international terrorists and paid mercenaries mingled with and then largely sidestepped the armed Syrian opposition groups, effectively turning the Arab country into a battlefield for foreign governments opposed to Assad.

But the Syrian military, with advisory military help from Iran and Russia — and a Russian aerial bombardment campaign — has retaken control of much of the country, and the conflict is generally believed to be winding down.

Source: Tasnim News Agency

President Al-Assad Visits Iran, Holds Meetings with Sayyed Khamenei and President Rouhani

Monday, 25 February 2019 18:24

TEHRAN, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad on Monday visited Iran and held meetings with Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and President Hassan Rouhani.

President Al-Assad congratulated Sayyed Khamenei and the Iranian people on the 40th anniversary of  the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution which has been over the past four decades an example to follow in terms of building a strong state that is able to achieve the interests of its people and is fortified enough against all forms of foreign intervention and that adopts principled stances in support of the region’s peoples and their just causes.

President Al-Assad –Sayyed Khamenei meeting discussed developments in the region and reviewed the deep-rooted brotherly relations between the Syrian and Iranian peoples and stressed that these relations have been the main factor that enhanced the steadfastness of Syria and Iran in the face of enemies’ schemes which aimed at destabilizing the two countries and spread chaos in the entire region.

Sayyed Khamenei congratulated President Al-Assad, the Syrian people and army on the victories achieved on terrorism, pointing out that these victories have dealt a heavy blow to the western-American schemes in the region.  He stressed that these schemes necessitate more caution against future plots the West may prepare in reaction to their failure.

Khamenei Vows Firm Support for Syria

The supreme leader affirmed his country’s firm support for Syria until its full recovery and until terrorism is completely eliminated,  pointing out that Syria and Iran are each other’s strategic depth.

President Al-Assad: Governments of some region’s countries should stop obeying dictates of the West 

 On his part, President Al-Assad stressed that achieving the interests of the peoples of the region’s countries necessitates that the governments of these countries stop obeying the dictates of some western countries, at the top of which is the United States, and adopt balanced policies based on respecting other countries’ sovereignty and non-interference in their internal affairs, particularly after experience has proved that subordination and implementing others’ dictates bring worse results than the adherence of countries to their sovereign decision.

The two sides reiterated that the policy of escalation and the attempts to spread chaos practiced by some western states, particularly against Syria and Iran, won’t prevent the two countries from pressing ahead with defending the interests of their peoples and supporting the regions’ just causes and rights.

Presidents Al-Assad and Rouhani discuss efforts exerted within Astana process to end the war on Syria

Later, President Al-Assad met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the strategic level the Syrian-Iranian relations have reached.

President Al-Assad thanked Iran’s leadership and people for supporting Syria during the terrorist war waged on the country.

On his part, President Rouhani asserted that the Iranian people’s support for Syria started from a principled stance on supporting legitimacy which resists terrorism.

“Syria’s victory is a victory for Iran and the entire Islamic nation,” President Rouhani said, pointing out that Tehran will continue supporting the Syrian people to complete the elimination of terrorism and start reconstruction.

Talks during the meeting also focused on the efforts exerted within Astana process to end the war on Syria.

President Rouhani talked to President Al-Assad about the recent Sochi summit of the leaders of the three guarantor states of Astana process on Syria. The viewpoints of two presidents were identical on ways to achieve the hoped-for progress that preserves Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that leads to full elimination of terrorism in Syria.

The two leaders agreed on continuous coordination at all levels to serve the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

 Hamda Mustafa

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عودة النازحين أم عودة العلاقات؟

فبراير 21, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يحتلّ ملف عودة النازحين السوريين إلى بلادهم أولوية اهتمامات المسؤولين اللبنانيين، في ملف العلاقات اللبنانية السورية. وهو ملف يستحق الاهتمام، خصوصاً لجهة فصله عن الشروط الدولية الهادفة لاستعماله للضغط على كل من لبنان وسورية الضغط على لبنان لفرض شروط تبقي حمل النازحين على عاتق الدولة والاقتصاد والمجتمع في لبنان، ليتحوّل بلداً متسوّلاً للمساعدات ومرتهناً لشروط المانحين، فيسهل تطويعه في الملفات الصعبة كمستقبل سلاح المقاومة، وما سماه المانحون في مؤتمر سيدر بإدماج العمالة السورية بالمشاريع المموّلة أو ما أسموه بالاستقرار عبر تسريع استراتيجية الدفاع الوطني التي يقصد أصحابها هنا «نزع أو تحييد سلاح المقاومة»، والضغط على سورية عبر تحويل كتل النازحين إلى ورقة انتخابية يمكن توظيفها في أي انتخابات مقبلة، بربط عودتهم بما يسمّيه المانحون بالحل السياسي، والمقصود تلبية شروطهم حول الهوية السياسية للدولة السورية أو استخدام النازحين لاحقا في ترجيح كفة مرشحين بعينهم لإقامة توازن داخل الدولة السورية يملك المانحون تأثيراً عليه.

– السؤال الرئيسي هنا هو رغم أهمية ملف النازحين، هل يمكن اختزال العلاقات اللبنانية السورية بعودة النازحين؟ وهل يمكن النجاح بإعادة النازحين بلا عودة العافية إلى العلاقات اللبنانية السورية؟ والجواب يبدأ من نصوص اتفاق الطائف حول اعتبار العلاقات المميزة بسورية التجسيد الأهم لعروبة لبنان، وما ترجمته معاهدة الأخوة والتعاون والتنسيق السارية المفعول حتى تاريخه، والتي تشكل وحدها الإطار القانوني والدستوري لمعالجة قضية النازحين، حيث يتداخل الشأن الأمني بالشأن الإداري بالشؤون الاقتصادية، وكلها لها أطر محددة في بنود المعاهدة يسهل تفعيلها لبلورة المعالجات، بحيث يصير البحث عن هذه المعالجات من خارج منطق المعاهدة والعلاقات المميزة، سعياً هجيناً لبناء علاقة تشبه الحمل خارج الرحم، وهو حمل كاذب لا ينتهي بمولود ولا بولادة.

– عند الحديث عن عودة العلاقات بين لبنان وسورية سيكون مفيداً الاطلاع على ما نشرته صحيفة الشرق الأوسط السعودية، من دراسة استطلاع رأي أجراها مركز غلوبال فيزيون لحساب مؤسسة بوليتيكا التي يرأسها النائب السابق فارس سعيد، حول عودة العلاقات اللبنانية السورية، والجهة الناشرة كما الجهة الواقفة وراء الاستطلاع وخلفياتهما السياسية في النظر لسورية والعلاقة معها، تكفيان للقول إن الأرقام التي حملتها الدراسة يجب أخذها من كل مسؤولي الدولة اللبنانية بعين الاعتبار، حيث 70 من المستطلعين أعلنوا تأييدهم لعودة العلاقات بين البلدين، ووقف 30 ضد هذه العودة. وفي تفاصيل توزّع أسباب المستطلعين يتضح أن نسبة تأثير الموقف السياسي والعقائدي تحضر في الرافضين للعلاقة بين البلدين، بينما أغلب المتحمّسين لعودة العلاقات ينطلقون من اعتبارات تتّصل بالمصلحة اللبنانية الصرفة، فيظهر المعارضون مجرد دعاة لمعاقبة بلدهم لأنهم يحملون أحقاداً أو خلفيات عدائية تخص موقفهم السياسي وهؤلاء أكثر من 90 من الرافضين، بينما لم تظهر الخلفية السياسية في صف دعاة عودة العلاقات إلا بنسبة ضئيلة لا تذكر، لكن من بين المؤيدين لعودة العلاقات الذين شكلوا 70 من اللبنانيين وفقاً للعينة المختارة لتنفيذ الاستفتاء، لم يحتل ملف عودة النازحين نسبة 10 من المستطلعين، بينما احتلت عناوين مثل عودة الترانزيت نسبة نصف المؤيدين أي ثلث المستطلعين.

– التعافي اللبناني بقوة الجغرافيا السياسية والاقتصادية له معبر واحد هو تعافي العلاقات اللبنانية السورية، والتذاكي في التعاطي مع هذا العنوان، أو التهاون بربطه بأطراف ثالثة، سيعقد التعافي اللبناني وضمناً سيجعل ملف عودة النازحين مربوطاً بأطراف ثالثة، فجعل ملف تجارة الترانزيت لبنانياً سورياً، لا لبنانياً سورياً خليجياً، يتوقف على جعل العلاقة اللبنانية السورية شأناً لبنانياً سورياً لا شأناً ينتظر ضوء الخليج الأخضر، وجعل قضية النازحين شأناً لبنانياً سورياً، لا لبنانياً سورياً أوروبياً، يتوقف على جعل العلاقة اللبنانية السورية شأناً يخصّ اللبنانيين والسوريين وحدهم ولا ينتظر إذناً أوروبياً.

– من المهم أن يلتفت اهتمام الحكومة إلى أن ما فعله وزير شؤون النازحين يستحقّ التقدير، لأنه نابع من خلفية إيمان بالعلاقة اللبنانية السورية، وما يستحق الاهتمام هو التفات الحكومة إلى حاجتها لهذه الخلفية بدلاً من وقوع البعض في أحقادهم أو حساباتهم التي قالت استطلاعات الرأي إنها لا تهمّ اللبنانيين.

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