Iran Defense Minister Tells Turkish Counterpart: Independent Countries Have Challenged US Hegemony

July 21, 2022

By Staff, Agencies 

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani says the United States is seeking to create a unipolar and hierarchical world order, but independent countries and new poles of power in the world have challenged Washington’s hegemony.

During a meeting with his visiting Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Tehran on Tuesday, Ashtiani stated that the world and the West Asia region, due to geopolitical and geostrategic rivalry of global powers, are experiencing a period of transition and are undergoing fundamental changes as a new order is being created.

“The United States is seeking to create a unipolar and hierarchical world order. Naturally, independent countries and new poles of power in the world have challenged the US hegemony, and are standing against the process,” the Iranian defense chief pointed out.

He added that West Asia is enjoying relative peace following a turbulent and chaotic period as a result of threats caused by terrorism, extremism, separatism and proxy wars.

“However, threats still loom in the region, and important regional countries are still required to use their capacities in order to ensure security,” Ashtiani said.

The Iranian defense minister went on to describe combat against extremism, terrorism and separatism as a common concern for both Iran and Turkey, stressing the significance of cooperation and coordination between the two neighboring countries in this regard.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s approach to regional issues is founded on participation of regional countries to resolve issues through dialogue, respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, and opposition to any border and territorial changes,” Ashtiani stated.

He also touched on attempts by some regional Arab attempts to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, saying, “The occupying regime of al-Quds is the bitter and implacable enemy of Muslim countries.” 

Ashtiani stated that Iran views Turkey as an effective country in the Muslim world, which has numerous capacities in political, economic and international dimensions.

“Naturally, coordination and cooperation between the two countries is needed to strengthen mutual relations, and to protect the benefits of the region and Muslim world,” he said.

Ashtiani further stated that Iran and Turkey have significant capacities in military and defense sectors, stating that there are enormous opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, and Tehran is ready to dispatch high-profile defense, military and technical delegations to Ankara.

‘Enemies are trying to use terrorism to start proxy wars in region’

Akar, for his part, pointed to the wide range of commonalities between Iran and Turkey, and said cooperation between the two countries is important to maintain bilateral and regional stability and security.
“Nowadays, terrorism is a tool of imperialism. Enemies are trying to foment insecurity in the region through such a tool and launch a proxy war,” the Turkish defense minister said.

He highlighted that Turkey’s positions regarding the landmark 2015 Iran have always been clear, and emphasized the need for the continuation of negotiations aimed at the revival of the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Raisi: Any Mistake by US, Allies to Be Met with Iran’s Harsh Response

July 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed that his country cannot condone insecurity and crisis in the region, warning that any mistake by the enemies will be met with a harsh response from the Islamic Republic that will make them rue their acts.

Raisi made the remarks in a Thursday visit to the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, referring to the hostile and destabilizing activities of the United States and its allies in the region.

“In the gathering of the resistant people of Kermanshah, I say that any mistake by the Americans and their allies in the region and the world will be met with a harsh and regrettable response,” he said.

He further stated: “Today, Islamic Iran is stronger than ever”, adding that the United States on the contrary is weaker than ever. 

The Iranian president also said, “The great nation of Iran does not accept any kind of insecurity and crisis in the region, and the Muslim nations of the region hate the humiliating relations of their governments with America, which has led to the looting of their country’s wealth.”

His remarks came a day after US President Joe Biden opened his first visit to the region since taking office by telling Israeli leaders of his determination to confront Iran’s nuclear energy program, saying he’d be willing to use force as a “last resort”.

President Raisi touched on Iran’s military power and authority, calling it a security factor in the region and stressing that the Islamic Republic will not accept any insecurity or crisis in the region.

“The Zionist regime should not have a covetous eye on the Middle East and West Asia, and it can never have normal relations in the region,” he said.

In parallel, Raisi added that the Islamic Republic does not see the interference of the US and its allies in the region as anything other than creating a crisis, “because these countries are constantly transiting insecurity and terrorism into the region”.

Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development

February 04, 2022

Source

At the invitation of President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin visited China on 4 February 2022. The Heads of State held talks in Beijing and took part in the opening ceremony of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games.

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, hereinafter referred to as the sides, state as follows.

Today, the world is going through momentous changes, and humanity is entering a new era of rapid development and profound transformation. It sees the development of such processes and phenomena as multipolarity, economic globalization, the advent of information society, cultural diversity, transformation of the global governance architecture and world order; there is increasing interrelation and interdependence between the States; a trend has emerged towards redistribution of power in the world; and the international community is showing a growing demand for the leadership aiming at peaceful and gradual development. At the same time, as the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection continues, the international and regional security situation is complicating and the number of global challenges and threats is growing from day to day. Some actors representing but the minority on the international scale continue to advocate unilateral approaches to addressing international issues and resort to force; they interfere in the internal affairs of other states, infringing their legitimate rights and interests, and incite contradictions, differences and confrontation, thus hampering the development and progress of mankind, against the opposition from the international community.

The sides call on all States to pursue well-being for all and, with these ends, to build dialogue and mutual trust, strengthen mutual understanding, champion such universal human values as peace, development, equality, justice, democracy and freedom, respect the rights of peoples to independently determine the development paths of their countries and the sovereignty and the security and development interests of States, to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order, seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central and coordinating role, promote more democratic international relations, and ensure peace, stability and sustainable development across the world.

I

The sides share the understanding that democracy is a universal human value, rather than a privilege of a limited number of States, and that its promotion and protection is a common responsibility of the entire world community.

The sides believe that democracy is a means of citizens’ participation in the government of their country with the view to improving the well-being of population and implementing the principle of popular government. Democracy is exercised in all spheres of public life as part of a nation-wide process and reflects the interests of all the people, its will, guarantees its rights, meets its needs and protects its interests. There is no one-size-fits-all template to guide countries in establishing democracy. A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one.

The sides note that Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on thousand-years of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens. Russia and China guarantee their people the right to take part through various means and in various forms in the administration of the State and public life in accordance with the law. The people of both countries are certain of the way they have chosen and respect the democratic systems and traditions of other States.

The sides note that democratic principles are implemented at the global level, as well as in administration of State. Certain States’ attempts to impose their own ”democratic standards“ on other countries, to monopolize the right to assess the level of compliance with democratic criteria, to draw dividing lines based on the grounds of ideology, including by establishing exclusive blocs and alliances of convenience, prove to be nothing but flouting of democracy and go against the spirit and true values of democracy. Such attempts at hegemony pose serious threats to global and regional peace and stability and undermine the stability of the world order.

The sides believe that the advocacy of democracy and human rights must not be used to put pressure on other countries. They oppose the abuse of democratic values and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights, and any attempts to incite divisions and confrontation in the world. The sides call on the international community to respect cultural and civilizational diversity and the rights of peoples of different countries to self-determination. They stand ready to work together with all the interested partners to promote genuine democracy.

The sides note that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set noble goals in the area of universal human rights, set forth fundamental principles, which all the States must comply with and observe in deeds. At the same time, as every nation has its own unique national features, history, culture, social system and level of social and economic development, universal nature of human rights should be seen through the prism of the real situation in every particular country, and human rights should be protected in accordance with the specific situation in each country and the needs of its population. Promotion and protection of human rights is a shared responsibility of the international community. The states should equally prioritize all categories of human rights and promote them in a systemic manner. The international human rights cooperation should be carried out as a dialogue between the equals involving all countries. All States must have equal access to the right to development. Interaction and cooperation on human rights matters should be based on the principle of equality of all countries and mutual respect for the sake of strengthening the international human rights architecture.

II

The sides believe that peace, development and cooperation lie at the core of the modern international system. Development is a key driver in ensuring the prosperity of the nations. The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus infection poses a serious challenge to the fulfilment of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is vital to enhance partnership relations for the sake of global development and make sure that the new stage of global development is defined by balance, harmony and inclusiveness.

The sides are seeking to advance their work to link the development plans for the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative with a view to intensifying practical cooperation between the EAEU and China in various areas and promoting greater interconnectedness between the Asia Pacific and Eurasian regions. The sides reaffirm their focus on building the Greater Eurasian Partnership in parallel and in coordination with the Belt and Road construction to foster the development of regional associations as well as bilateral and multilateral integration processes for the benefit of the peoples on the Eurasian continent.

The sides agreed to continue consistently intensifying practical cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic.

The sides will strengthen cooperation within multilateral mechanisms, including the United Nations, and encourage the international community to prioritize development issues in the global macro-policy coordination. They call on the developed countries to implement in good faith their formal commitments on development assistance, provide more resources to developing countries, address the uneven development of States, work to offset such imbalances within States, and advance global and international development cooperation. The Russian side confirms its readiness to continue working on the China-proposed Global Development Initiative, including participation in the activities of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative under the UN auspices. In order to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the sides call on the international community to take practical steps in key areas of cooperation such as poverty reduction, food security, vaccines and epidemics control, financing for development, climate change, sustainable development, including green development, industrialization, digital economy, and infrastructure connectivity.

The sides call on the international community to create open, equal, fair and non-discriminatory conditions for scientific and technological development, to step up practical implementation of scientific and technological advances in order to identify new drivers of economic growth.

The sides call upon all countries to strengthen cooperation in sustainable transport, actively build contacts and share knowledge in the construction of transport facilities, including smart transport and sustainable transport, development and use of Arctic routes, as well as to develop other areas to support global post-epidemic recovery.

The sides are taking serious action and making an important contribution to the fight against climate change. Jointly celebrating the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they reaffirm their commitment to this Convention as well as to the goals, principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The sides work together to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, remain committed to fulfilling the obligations they have undertaken and expect that developed countries will actually ensure the annual provision of $100 billion of climate finance to developing states. The sides oppose setting up new barriers in international trade under the pretext of fighting climate change.

The sides strongly support the development of international cooperation and exchanges in the field of biological diversity, actively participating in the relevant global governance process, and intend to jointly promote the harmonious development of humankind and nature as well as green transformation to ensure sustainable global development.

The Heads of State positively assess the effective interaction between Russia and China in the bilateral and multilateral formats focusing on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, protection of life and health of the population of the two countries and the peoples of the world. They will further increase cooperation in the development and manufacture of vaccines against the new coronavirus infection, as well as medical drugs for its treatment, and enhance collaboration in public health and modern medicine. The sides plan to strengthen coordination on epidemiological measures to ensure strong protection of health, safety and order in contacts between citizens of the two countries. The sides have commended the work of the competent authorities and regions of the two countries on implementing quarantine measures in the border areas and ensuring the stable operation of the border crossing points, and intend to consider establishing a joint mechanism for epidemic control and prevention in the border areas to jointly plan anti-epidemic measures to be taken at the border checkpoints, share information, build infrastructure and improve the efficiency of customs clearance of goods.

The sides emphasize that ascertaining the origin of the new coronavirus infection is a matter of science. Research on this topic must be based on global knowledge, and that requires cooperation among scientists from all over the world. The sides oppose politicization of this issue. The Russian side welcomes the work carried out jointly by China and WHO to identify the source of the new coronavirus infection and supports the China – WHO joint report on the matter. The sides call on the global community to jointly promote a serious scientific approach to the study of the coronavirus origin.

The Russian side supports a successful hosting by the Chinese side of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2022.

The sides highly appreciate the level of bilateral cooperation in sports and the Olympic movement and express their readiness to contribute to its further progressive development.

III

The sides are gravely concerned about serious international security challenges and believe that the fates of all nations are interconnected. No State can or should ensure its own security separately from the security of the rest of the world and at the expense of the security of other States. The international community should actively engage in global governance to ensure universal, comprehensive, indivisible and lasting security.

The sides reaffirm their strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests, state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose interference by external forces in their internal affairs.

The Russian side reaffirms its support for the One-China principle, confirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan.

Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions, intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose colour revolutions, and will increase cooperation in the aforementioned areas.

The sides condemn terrorism in all its manifestations, promote the idea of creating a single global anti-terrorism front, with the United Nations playing a central role, advocate stronger political coordination and constructive engagement in multilateral counterterrorism efforts. The sides oppose politicization of the issues of combating terrorism and their use as instruments of policy of double standards, condemn the practice of interference in the internal affairs of other States for geopolitical purposes through the use of terrorist and extremist groups as well as under the guise of combating international terrorism and extremism.

The sides believe that certain States, military and political alliances and coalitions seek to obtain, directly or indirectly, unilateral military advantages to the detriment of the security of others, including by employing unfair competition practices, intensify geopolitical rivalry, fuel antagonism and confrontation, and seriously undermine the international security order and global strategic stability. The sides oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States. The sides stand against the formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region and remain highly vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region. Russia and China have made consistent efforts to build an equitable, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) that is not directed against third countries and that promotes peace, stability and prosperity.

The sides welcome the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapons States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races and believe that all nuclear-weapons States should abandon the cold war mentality and zero-sum games, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, withdraw nuclear weapons deployed abroad, eliminate the unrestricted development of global anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) system, and take effective steps to reduce the risks of nuclear wars and any armed conflicts between countries with military nuclear capabilities.

The sides reaffirm that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the cornerstone of the international disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation system, an important part of the post-war international security system, and plays an indispensable role in world peace and development. The international community should promote the balanced implementation of the three pillars of the Treaty and work together to protect the credibility, effectiveness and the universal nature of the instrument.

The sides are seriously concerned about the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS), which provides for deeper cooperation between its members in areas involving strategic stability, in particular their decision to initiate cooperation in the field of nuclear-powered submarines. Russia and China believe that such actions are contrary to the objectives of security and sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region, increase the danger of an arms race in the region, and pose serious risks of nuclear proliferation. The sides strongly condemn such moves and call on AUKUS participants to fulfil their nuclear and missile non-proliferation commitments in good faith and to work together to safeguard peace, stability, and development in the region.

Japan’s plans to release nuclear contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean and the potential environmental impact of such actions are of deep concern to the sides. The sides emphasize that the disposal of nuclear contaminated water should be handled with responsibility and carried out in a proper manner based on arrangements between the Japanese side and neighbouring States, other interested parties, and relevant international agencies while ensuring transparency, scientific reasoning, and in accordance with international law.

The sides believe that the U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, the acceleration of research and the development of intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles and the desire to deploy them in the Asia-Pacific and European regions, as well as their transfer to the allies, entail an increase in tension and distrust, increase risks to international and regional security, lead to the weakening of international non-proliferation and arms control system, undermining global strategic stability. The sided call on the United States to respond positively to the Russian initiative and abandon its plans to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The sides will continue to maintain contacts and strengthen coordination on this issue.

The Chinese side is sympathetic to and supports the proposals put forward by the Russian Federation to create long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe.

The sides note that the denunciation by the United States of a number of important international arms control agreements has an extremely negative impact on international and regional security and stability. The sides express concern over the advancement of U.S. plans to develop global missile defence and deploy its elements in various regions of the world, combined with capacity building of high-precision non-nuclear weapons for disarming strikes and other strategic objectives. The sides stress the importance of the peaceful uses of outer space, strongly support the central role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in promoting international cooperation, maintaining and developing international space law and regulation in the field of space activities. Russia and China will continue to increase cooperation on such matters of mutual interest as the long-term sustainability of space activities and the development and use of space resources. The sides oppose attempts by some States to turn outer space into an arena of armed confrontation and reiterate their intention to make all necessary efforts to prevent the weaponization of space and an arms race in outer space. They will counteract activities aimed at achieving military superiority in space and using it for combat operations. The sides affirm the need for the early launch of negotiations to conclude a legally binding multilateral instrument based on the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space and the use or threat of force against space objects that would provide fundamental and reliable guarantees against an arms race and the weaponization of outer space.

Russia and China emphasize that appropriate transparency and confidence-building measures, including an international initiative/political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in space, can also contribute to the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space, but such measures should complement and not substitute the effective legally binding regime governing space activities.

The sides reaffirm their belief that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) is an essential pillar of international peace and security. Russia and China underscore their determination to preserve the credibility and effectiveness of the Convention.

The sides affirm the need to fully respect and further strengthen the BWC, including by institutionalizing it, strengthening its mechanisms, and adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention with an effective verification mechanism, as well as through regular consultation and cooperation in addressing any issues related to the implementation of the Convention.

The sides emphasize that domestic and foreign bioweapons activities by the United States and its allies raise serious concerns and questions for the international community regarding their compliance with the BWC. The sides share the view that such activities pose a serious threat to the national security of the Russian Federation and China and are detrimental to the security of the respective regions. The sides call on the U.S. and its allies to act in an open, transparent, and responsible manner by properly reporting on their military biological activities conducted overseas and on their national territory, and by supporting the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding BWC Protocol with an effective verification mechanism.

The sides, reaffirming their commitment to the goal of a world free of chemical weapons, call upon all parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to work together to uphold its credibility and effectiveness. Russia and China are deeply concerned about the politicization of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and call on all of its members to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and protect the tradition of consensual decision-making. Russia and China insist that the United States, as the sole State Party to the Convention that has not yet completed the process of eliminating chemical weapons, accelerate the elimination of its stockpiles of chemical weapons. The sides emphasize the importance of balancing the non-proliferation obligations of states with the interests of legitimate international cooperation in the use of advanced technology and related materials and equipment for peaceful purposes. The sides note the resolution entitled ”Promoting international Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security“ adopted at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on the initiative of China and co‑sponsored by Russia, and look forward to its consistent implementation in accordance with the goals set forth therein.

The sides attach great importance to the issues of governance in the field of artificial intelligence. The sides are ready to strengthen dialogue and contacts on artificial intelligence.

The sides reiterate their readiness to deepen cooperation in the field of international information security and to contribute to building an open, secure, sustainable and accessible ICT environment. The sides emphasize that the principles of the non-use of force, respect for national sovereignty and fundamental human rights and freedoms, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, as enshrined in the UN Charter, are applicable to the information space. Russia and China reaffirm the key role of the UN in responding to threats to international information security and express their support for the Organization in developing new norms of conduct of states in this area.

The sides welcome the implementation of the global negotiation process on international information security within a single mechanism and support in this context the work of the UN Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) 2021–2025 (OEWG) and express their willingness to speak with one voice within it. The sides consider it necessary to consolidate the efforts of the international community to develop new norms of responsible behaviour of States, including legal ones, as well as a universal international legal instrument regulating the activities of States in the field of ICT. The sides believe that the Global Initiative on Data Security, proposed by the Chinese side and supported, in principle, by the Russian side, provides a basis for the Working Group to discuss and elaborate responses to data security threats and other threats to international information security.

The sides reiterate their support of United Nations General Assembly resolutions 74/247 and 75/282, support the work of the relevant Ad Hoc Committee of Governmental Experts, facilitate the negotiations within the United Nations for the elaboration of an international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. The sides encourage constructive participation of all sides in the negotiations in order to agree as soon as possible on a credible, universal, and comprehensive convention and provide it to the United Nations General Assembly at its 78th session in strict compliance with resolution 75/282. For these purposes, Russia and China have presented a joint draft convention as a basis for negotiations.

The sides support the internationalization of Internet governance, advocate equal rights to its governance, believe that any attempts to limit their sovereign right to regulate national segments of the Internet and ensure their security are unacceptable, are interested in greater participation of the International Telecommunication Union in addressing these issues.

The sides intend to deepen bilateral cooperation in international information security on the basis of the relevant 2015 intergovernmental agreement. To this end, the sides have agreed to adopt in the near future a plan for cooperation between Russia and China in this area.

IV

The sides underline that Russia and China, as world powers and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, intend to firmly adhere to moral principles and accept their responsibility, strongly advocate the international system with the central coordinating role of the United Nations in international affairs, defend the world order based on international law, including the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, advance multipolarity and promote the democratization of international relations, together create an even more prospering, stable, and just world, jointly build international relations of a new type.

The Russian side notes the significance of the concept of constructing a ”community of common destiny for mankind“ proposed by the Chinese side to ensure greater solidarity of the international community and consolidation of efforts in responding to common challenges. The Chinese side notes the significance of the efforts taken by the Russian side to establish a just multipolar system of international relations.

The sides intend to strongly uphold the outcomes of the Second World War and the existing post-war world order, defend the authority of the United Nations and justice in international relations, resist attempts to deny, distort, and falsify the history of the Second World War.

In order to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy of the world war, the sides will strongly condemn actions aimed at denying the responsibility for atrocities of Nazi aggressors, militarist invaders, and their accomplices, besmirch and tarnish the honour of the victorious countries.

The sides call for the establishment of a new kind of relationships between world powers on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. They reaffirm that the new inter-State relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ”forbidden“ areas of cooperation, strengthening of bilateral strategic cooperation is neither aimed against third countries nor affected by the changing international environment and circumstantial changes in third countries.

The sides reiterate the need for consolidation, not division of the international community, the need for cooperation, not confrontation. The sides oppose the return of international relations to the state of confrontation between major powers, when the weak fall prey to the strong. The sides intend to resist attempts to substitute universally recognized formats and mechanisms that are consistent with international law for rules elaborated in private by certain nations or blocs of nations, and are against addressing international problems indirectly and without consensus, oppose power politics, bullying, unilateral sanctions, and extraterritorial application of jurisdiction, as well as the abuse of export control policies, and support trade facilitation in line with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen foreign policy coordination, pursue true multilateralism, strengthen cooperation on multilateral platforms, defend common interests, support the international and regional balance of power, and improve global governance.

The sides support and defend the multilateral trade system based on the central role of the World Trade Organization (WTO), take an active part in the WTO reform, opposing unilateral approaches and protectionism. The sides are ready to strengthen dialogue between partners and coordinate positions on trade and economic issues of common concern, contribute to ensuring the sustainable and stable operation of global and regional value chains, promote a more open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory system of international trade and economic rules.

The sides support the G20 format as an important forum for discussing international economic cooperation issues and anti-crisis response measures, jointly promote the invigorated spirit of solidarity and cooperation within the G20, support the leading role of the association in such areas as the international fight against epidemics, world economic recovery, inclusive sustainable development, improving the global economic governance system in a fair and rational manner to collectively address global challenges.

The sides support the deepened strategic partnership within BRICS, promote the expanded cooperation in three main areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and humanitarian exchanges. In particular, Russia and China intend to encourage interaction in the fields of public health, digital economy, science, innovation and technology, including artificial intelligence technologies, as well as the increased coordination between BRICS countries on international platforms. The sides strive to further strengthen the BRICS Plus/Outreach format as an effective mechanism of dialogue with regional integration associations and organizations of developing countries and States with emerging markets.

The Russian side will fully support the Chinese side chairing the association in 2022, and assist in the fruitful holding of the XIV BRICS summit.

Russia and China aim to comprehensively strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and further enhance its role in shaping a polycentric world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, joint, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security.

They consider it important to consistently implement the agreements on improved mechanisms to counter challenges and threats to the security of SCO member states and, in the context of addressing this task, advocate expanded functionality of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

The sides will contribute to imparting a new quality and dynamics to the economic interaction between the SCO member States in the fields of trade, manufacturing, transport, energy, finance, investment, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, innovation and other areas of mutual interest, including through the use of advanced, resource-saving, energy efficient and ”green“ technologies.

The sides note the fruitful interaction within the SCO under the 2009 Agreement between the Governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member States on cooperation in the field of international information security, as well as within the specialized Group of Experts. In this context, they welcome the adoption of the SCO Joint Action Plan on Ensuring International Information Security for 2022–2023 by the Council of Heads of State of SCO Member States on September 17, 2021 in Dushanbe.

Russia and China proceed from the ever-increasing importance of cultural and humanitarian cooperation for the progressive development of the SCO. In order to strengthen mutual understanding between the people of the SCO member States, they will continue to effectively foster interaction in such areas as cultural ties, education, science and technology, healthcare, environmental protection, tourism, people-to-people contacts, sports.

Russia and China will continue to work to strengthen the role of APEC as the leading platform for multilateral dialogue on economic issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The sides intend to step up coordinated action to successfully implement the ”Putrajaya guidelines for the development of APEC until 2040“ with a focus on creating a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment in the region. Particular emphasis will be placed on the fight against the novel coronavirus infection pandemic and economic recovery, digitalization of a wide range of different spheres of life, economic growth in remote territories and the establishment of interaction between APEC and other regional multilateral associations with a similar agenda.

The sides intend to develop cooperation within the ”Russia-India-China“ format, as well as to strengthen interaction on such venues as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum on Security, Meeting of Defense Ministers of the ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners. Russia and China support ASEAN’s central role in developing cooperation in East Asia, continue to increase coordination on deepened cooperation with ASEAN, and jointly promote cooperation in the areas of public health, sustainable development, combating terrorism and countering transnational crime. The sides intend to continue to work in the interest of a strengthened role of ASEAN as a key element of the regional architecture.

American Military Illegals Continue to Train Terrorists How to Bomb Syria

 

MIRI WOOD 

American military illegals continue to practice bombing war ‘games’ with its al Qaeda faction Maghaweir Thawra — and brag about them — in the Deir Ezzor and al Tanf desert areas of the Syrian Arab Republic, which is not in the United States, nor is it a US territory or satrap. The cost of each bombing practice by the war criminal American troops and the offshoot al Qaeda faction has not yet been worked through by this author. We do, however, note, that the continuing expenses are footed by the US taxpayer, besieged by inflation reaching Weimar levels, taxpayers teetering on homelessness, and suffering food insecurity, increased drug and alcohol addiction, and massive violent crimes in all US urban centers.

Biden imperial US again helping to destroy Syrian water supply.
This map clearly shows that Syria is not part of the US. The distance between the two countries is 6,677 mi / 10,745 km.

Any country that militarily invades another country engages in war crimes, per the Geneva Conventions to which the US is signatory.

A recent contract involving the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) presented the American taxpayer with a bill over almost one-half billion dollars, paid to Lockheed Martin facilities. Since 9/11, Pentagon spending has surpassed fourteen trillion USD, The Military Industrial Complex continues to rake in the murderous profits, and continues to propagandize for that nasty thing described as American exceptionalism.

US strikes in Syria may be lawful if Syria consents to the use of force in their territory.  If Syria does not consent, the strikes would violate international law, unless the US demonstrates that the strikes were taken in self-defense.  — Sarah Knuckey, international lawyer and Professor at Columbia Law School

It matters not that US Americans go hungry. It matters not that there is no peace. What matters is that the various offshoots of the Dr Strangelove Pentagon invade, occupy, steal, and brag about their inherent right to genocide and mass looting of Syrian grains and oil — irrespective of which party’s unindicted war criminal POTUS sits in the White House.

Compare this glimpse of Philly, to the bragging tweets of Inherent War Criminal Resolve, below.

A glimpse of hunger, homelessness, and addiction in Philly, while American military spends billions training terrorists in Syria.

A glimpse of hunger, homelessness, and addiction in a previously healthy neighborhood of Philly, while American military spends billions training terrorists in Syria.

Though DAESH was created by the US — as was al Qaeda, freely admitted by H. Clinton — Syria did not invite the criminal American military into its homeland, yet here it is, flaunting its arrogant imperialist crimes of invasion, occupation, and arming terrorists.

Though there is not one single, international definition of terrorism, both the US and the UN have similar definitions, that obviously the definition of all countries around the world:

Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as ‘the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives’ (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). — fbi.gov

What is really appalling is that a non-politician/non-diplomat — this author — must give a rudimentary lesson to both: UNSCR 1566 (2004) considers “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government…to do or abstain from doing any act” as within the description of terrorism.

What US American, faced with the horrors of the fifteen days to flatten the COVID curve, now going into its third year, faces with homelessness, food insecurity, and increased violent criminal activities, would consider a foreign military arming terrorists, like these savage in the Levantine Republic, in Philly, or NYC, or Chicago?

American military has armed and continues to train these killers, in Syria.
Moderate terrorists with their moderate lethal weapons, courtesy of the US taxpayers & the American military illegals in Syria.
Moderate terrorists with their moderate lethal weapons, courtesy of the US taxpayers & the American military illegals in Syria.
American military illegals with ISIS/DAESH Maghawir al Thawra affiliate terror gang, in Syria.

In May 2017, the FSA/al Qaeda offshoot Maghaweer al Thawra uploaded a video thanking the Trump administration for the millions of dollars worth of weapons these death squads planned to use to attack the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor and in al Tanf areas of the SAR. These degenerate psychopaths were later responsible for the martyrdom of General Issam Zahreddine, scant months later.

As the American taxpayer is under siege for almost three years and is busy idiotically fighting over the non-existent difference between war criminal Trump and war criminal Biden, they will likely continue to be oblivious to the increasing war crimes of the American military illegals in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Nonetheless, this US journalist will continue to report on the crimes against humanity perpetrated by her American military illegals in the Levantine Republic.

– Miri Wood

Donate

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Lebedev: Those involved in violent unrest were foreign-backed

January 9 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Sergei Lebedev, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said that those involved in the violent unrest in Kazakhstan had prepared for the riots in advance and had foreign backing.

Sergei Lebedev, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

The perpetrators of the riots in Kazakhstan had planned the rallies ahead of time and had foreign backing, according to Sergey Lebedev, chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Executive Committee.

Protests against a hike in fuel prices turned violent in Kazakhstan. 

Simultaneously, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which agreed to send a peacekeeping mission to Kazakhstan.

“It is obvious today that the destructive elements, the bandits were preparing for mass rallies in advance to destabilize the country and had foreign support,” Lebedev said, according to the committee’s website.

Furthermore, the official stressed that Kazakh authorities made “timely and reasonable” decisions on stabilizing the situation.

“Those measures were supported not only by the CSTO but by other members of the Commonwealth,” Lebedev added.

The CIS believes that the situation in Almaty, Kazakhstan, will return to normal in the next weeks, allowing CIS events to be held there, according to Lebedev.

It is worth mentioning that Kazakhstan is chairing the Commonwealth of the Independent States this year, which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Here’s what you need to know

Kazakhstan on Friday imposed a countrywide “critical red” of the terrorism threat level, local news outlets reported, meaning the government sees that the terrorism threat is severe in the country.

The severity of the threat means the government is fully mobilizing all its forces and special forces, who, in turn, will be able to search civilians and vehicles at will, in addition to restricting and directing their movement and accessing information transmitted via various telecommunication channels.

‘Foreign-trained terrorists’

As the intensity and violence of demonstrations escalated, President Tokayev appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in quelling protests across the country that he said were led by “terrorist gangs.”

“Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat,” Tokayev said on state television early Thursday. 

The president accused the attackers of receiving training abroad and being foreign agents.

Sitrep Kazakhstan: President Tokayev addressed the nation

January 07, 2022

Source: Telegram ColonelCassad Channel (Boris Rozhin)

Tokayev addressed the nation and called what is happening now in the country an anti-terrorist operation.

Kazakhstan is undergoing an anti-terrorist operation

An anti-terrorist operation is underway in our country. The police, National Guard and army are all carrying out an extensive and coordinated work to establish law and order in accordance with the Constitution.

Yesterday, the situation in the cities of Almaty, Aktobe and the Almaty region stabilized. The introduction of the state of emergency regime is yielding results. Constitutional legality is being restored throughout the country.

But terrorists still damage state and private property and use weapons against citizens.

I have given orders to law enforcement agencies and the army to shoot to kill without warning.

There have been calls from abroad for the sides to negotiate for peaceful solutions. What nonsense! How can you negotiate with criminals and murderers?

We had to deal with armed and trained bandits, both local and foreign. It is with bandits and terrorists. So they have to be eliminated. And this will be done in the near future.

The forces of law and order are morally and technically prepared to carry out this task.

As you know, based on the main provisions of the CSTO charter documents, Kazakhstan has asked the heads of participating states to introduce a joint peacekeeping contingent to assist in the establishment of constitutional order.

This contingent arrived in our country for a short period of time to provide cover and support functions.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister of Armenia, which chairs the CSTO, and to the Presidents of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

A special word of thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He responded very quickly and, most importantly, in a comradely and warm manner to my appeal.

I also thank the President of the People’s Republic of China, the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkey, and the leaders of the United Nations and other international organizations for their words of support.

The tragic events in our country shine a new light on democracy and human rights.

Democracy is not permissiveness and, moreover, not incitement, including in the blogosphere, to unlawful actions.

In my speech on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Independence, I said that the law and order are the main guarantee of the well-being of our country.

And not only in Kazakhstan, but in all civilized countries.

This does not mean an attack on civil liberties and human rights. On the contrary, as shown by the tragedy of Almaty and other cities in Kazakhstan, it is the lack of respect for the law, permissiveness, and anarchy that lead to violations of human rights.

In Almaty, not only administrative buildings, but also the personal property of civilians suffered at the hands of terrorist bandits. Not to mention the health and lives of hundreds of civilians and military personnel.

I express my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

Let me remind you that at my suggestion, the Law on Peaceful Assemblies of Citizens was passed in May 2020.

This law is, in fact, a major step forward in the promotion of democracy in our country, because it provides for the not permissive, but notificatory nature of rallies and assemblies. Moreover, in central districts of all cities of the country.

But some so-called “human rights activists” and “activists” put themselves above the law and think that they have the right to gather wherever they want and say whatever they want.

Because of the irresponsible actions of these do-gooder activists, police officers are distracted from their basic law enforcement activities. They are often subjected to violence and abuse.

Because of these “activists,” the Internet is “bogged down,” with the result that the interests of millions of citizens and domestic businesses suffer. In other words, enormous damage is done to domestic economic, social, and political stability.

The so-called “free” mass media and “overseas” figures, who are far from the indigenous interests of our multinational people, play an abetting and, in fact, inciting role in the violations of law and order.

It would be no exaggeration to say that all these irresponsible demagogues have become accomplices in unleashing the tragedy in Kazakhstan. And we will respond strictly to all acts of legal vandalism.

There is no doubt that we will overcome this black hole in our history quickly enough. The main thing is to prevent such events from recurring in the future.

I have set up a special inter-agency group to search for and apprehend bandits and terrorists.

I promise our citizens that all of these individuals will be held criminally accountable to the highest standards.

I ask all the people of Kazakhstan to be careful and vigilant. Report any suspicious activities of suspicious persons to law enforcement agencies and hotlines.

There will be a “debriefing” in connection with the actions of law enforcement agencies and the army and their inter-agency coordination.

It also turned out that there is a shortage of special forces, special means and equipment. We will address these issues as a matter of urgency.

It is critical to understand why the state “slept through” the clandestine preparation of terrorist attacks by sleeper cells of militants. Twenty thousand bandits attacked Almaty alone.

Their actions showed the presence of a clear plan of attack on military, administrative and social objects practically in all oblasts, coordinated actions, high combat readiness and brutal cruelty.

In addition to the militants, there were specialists trained in ideological sabotage, adept at using disinformation or “fakes” and capable of manipulating people’s attitudes.

It seems that a single command center was in charge of their training and guidance. The KNB and the Prosecutor General’s Office have begun to deal with this.

Now for the good.

As the situation has stabilized, I have decided to switch on Internet communications in some regions of the country for certain time intervals. This decision, I am sure, will have a positive impact on the livelihood of our citizens.

But I warn you that free access to the Internet does not mean free publication of fabrications, slander, insults and inflammatory appeals.

If such materials appear, we will take measures to detect and punish their authors.

The counter-terrorist operation continues. The fighters have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or prepare for them. The fight against them must be seen through to the end. Whoever does not surrender will be eliminated.

There is a lot of work ahead to learn the lessons of the tragedy we have lived through. Including from the socio-economic point of view.

The Government will have to take specific decisions, about which I will speak at the Majilis on 11 January.

Right now I would like to tell you, my compatriots, that I am proud of you.

I would like to thank those citizens of Kazakhstan who have remained calm these days and worked to ensure stability and public order.

Despite provocations and destructive calls, you have remained faithful to the law and to your country.

I thank the students of large cities, members of labor collectives, industrial and agricultural workers for their civic consciousness.

I thank the residents of the regions who ensured a peaceful protest.

All demands, expressed in a peaceful form, were heard. As a result of the dialogue, a compromise was reached and solutions to acute socio-economic problems were developed.

Therefore, in regions where the situation remains stable, we will gradually lift the state of emergency.

I am absolutely certain that our sacred motherland, Kazakhstan, will be a strong state on the world map, our economy will develop dynamically, and the social status of our citizens will improve. To achieve these goals, I will propose a plan for reforms and concrete measures to implement them.

I wish strong health and well-being to all!

Who Is the Terrorist?

Jan 4 2022

By Al-Ahed News

Sayyed Nasrallah to Saudi King: Hezbollah Resistance Is Not Terrorist, You Are So!

Jan 3 2022

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed that the US is the source of tyranny and aggression in the region.

Talking on the second martyrdom anniversary of former head of IRGC’s Quds Force General Qassem Suleimani and deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized on the difference between the martyrs and the “criminal” US.

His eminence pointed to US crimes in the region starting from Afghanistan, to Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the US has created ISIL in a bid to stay in the region.

He noted that Saudi Arabia has backed the Takfiri group, through spreading its Wahhabi ideology.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah hit back at the Saudi King who described Hezbollah as terrorist. He stressed that the terrorist is the one who sent thousands of Saudi Takfiris to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that Hezbollah is a Resistance movement and not a terrorist one, accusing the regime in Riyadh of being terrorist.

Ties between Hezbollah, FPM

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by offering condolences over the martyrdom anniversary of Sayyeda Fatima Zahraa a.s., as well as the demise of Iranian envoy to Yemen Hassan Irloo.

His eminence also congratulated Christians and Muslims on the Christmas and the New Year.

Before getting into the topic of the occasion, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed Hezbollah’s keenness to preserve ties with the party’s local allies, responding to allegations circulated by some media outlets that the relation between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) has worsened over latest developments in Lebanon.

“We stress on the importance of dialogue between Lebanese people. We are keen on our allies and friends and open to developing ties,” Sayyed Nasrallah addressed attendees of the ceremony held in Beirut’s southern suburb, Dahiyeh.

The Killer-Martyr Formula

Talking about the occasion, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the repercussions of assassinating Gen. Suleimani and Al-Muhandis are still standing, stressing that marking their martyrdom anniversary shows some gratitude to their souls.

“These two martyrs have given much to their countries, region, religions, but some want to deny their good. Opposition to raising their posters on the road to Beirut Airport is a form of this ingratitude.”

Throughout the last two years, some major battles took place. Such battles proved that the Axis of Resistance is abiding by the path of these two great leaders, Sayyed Nasrallah said, citing the latest Israeli war on Gaza (Sword of Al-Quds), as well as what he called “Battle of Steadfastness in Yemen.”

Hezbollah S.G. then talked about the killer-martyr formula, as he deplored putting Iran and the US on the same level.

“There is a real problem in our region. This problem is represented by disagreements on designating the ally and the enemy of this region’s peoples.”

“Our countries must take a firm stance towards the killer and the martyr. Iraq must take a clear position. The US is the one who occupied Iraq, oppressed its people and committed crimes even before the emergence of Gen. Suleimani.”

“The US created ISIL in order to redeploy its forces in Iraq. It bears responsibility for the crimes committed by ISIL. The US is the killer and the unprecedented hypocrite who committed crimes in Iraq, while Suleimani is the martyr who stood by the Iraqi people. Iran was the first sides who stood by the Iraqi people against ISIL which was created by the US.”

“Is it fair to equate between the criminal US and Iran which stood beside Iraq? It’s catastrophic to do so.”

US Source of Tyranny, Oppression

Sayyed Nasralah then stressed that the US is the source of tyranny and oppression in the region.

“The US is fully responsible for all Israelis crimes in Palestine and Lebanon. The US is behind all raids, massacres committed by the Zionist entity in Lebanon. How can we look to the US as a friend?!”

“As for the war on Yemen, it is an American war carried out by the US,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, as he elaborated on the US policy in the region, which is based on suing discord between its countries.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah cited the Gulf siege on Qatar, noting that Gulf Arab countries were like puppets in the hand of the US.

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah also affirmed the US role in the war on Syria, pointing to what he called continued aggression on the Arab country through the economic blockade, especially the so-called Caesar Act.

“In every place where the US was causing destruction, martyr Suleimani was present. He achieved victories, changed the equations and finally he sacrificed his soul on this path.”

Hezbollah S.G. stressed here that the perpetrators who committed the assassination crimes of Suleimani and Al-Muhandis will be punished.

“This is a promise by free people, not only by Iranians.”

Sayyed Nasrallah then affirmed that allowing US forces to stay in Iraq “means a new assassination of martyrs Suleimani and Al-Muhandis,” stressing that the only fate awaiting US forces in the region is the pullout.

“The blood of martyrs Suleimani and Al-Muhandis delivers a message to all free people of this region. This message says: Know your enemy, the US is the head of aggression and the source of tyranny and oppression, don’t surrender.”

“Terrorist” Saudi

Sayyed Nasrallah talked about the Saudi regime’s role in backing ISIL, citing acknowledgements by Saudi officials in this regard.

“Saudi Arabia backed ISIL. It sent suicide bombers and explosive-laden cars to Iraq.”

“Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman said that the US had called on Riyadh to spread the Wahhabi ideology. Saudi Arabia sent its suicide bombers to kill Iraqi men and children, while Iran sent its fighters to defend Iraqi people.”

Sayyed Nasrallah then hit back at those who accuse Hezbollah of “harming” Lebanon’s diplomatic ties.

“Lebanon’s ties with whom? With the US which is a clear enemy? As for Saudi, we did not attack it, but rather, it was a partner in the universal war in this region.”

“Who backed ISIL in Syria? The vast majority of Lebanese people know that Lebanon’s existence was in risk because of ISIL which was created by the US and backed by Saudi.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah commented on remarks made by Saudi King Salman, who described Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization.”

“The terrorist is the one who sent thousands of Takfiri Saudis to Syria and Iraq. On the other hand, Hezbollah proudly defended the region against those conspirators.”

“The terrorist is the one who takes thousands of Lebanese nationals in Gulf states hostages and threatens to expel them on daily basis.”

“The resignation of a Lebanese minister won’t change the Saudi stance towards Lebanon since its problem is with the sides who foiled its scheme,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, referring to pressures exerted on former Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi to resign over remarks he made on the Saudi war on Yemen.

“Hezbollah is a Resistance movement. It is not a terrorist, but you are so!”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Related Videos

Sayyed Nasrallah escalates against Riyadh
Evening Bulletin | The martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.. The march of resistance continues

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Vladimir Putin held talks with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

December 06, 2021

The expanded format meeting between the two delegations was followed by a face-to-face conversation over a working lunch, lasting 3 and a half hours.

Following the summit, a Joint Statement Russia – India: Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity was adopted.

(Ed: Joint Statement below)

In addition, the two countries signed a package of documents before the Russian President’s meeting with the Prime Minister of India. They include an intergovernmental agreement on technology protection due to cooperation in space research and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and on building and operating launch vehicles and ground-based space infrastructure; an intergovernmental agreement on the Military-Technical Cooperation Programme for 2021–2031; as well as a protocol amending the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in manufacturing Kalashnikov series small arms of February 18, 2019.

The Central Bank of Russia and the Reserve Bank of India signed a cooperation agreement to fight cyber-attacks. Also, relevant agencies signed a number of agreements in the sphere of education and memoranda of cooperation on intellectual property and on geological exploration and prospecting.

The documents signed included a roadmap for cooperation in science, technology and innovation; a programme of cultural exchanges for 2021–2024; a protocol on the organisation of culture festivals between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India in 2022–2023; as well as documents amending the intergovernmental agreement on merchant shipping of December 23, 1994, and concerning Russian oil supplies in 2022.

* * *

Beginning of Russian-Indian talks

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi (retranslated): Your Excellency, my dear friend, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,

I would like to welcome you to the annual bilateral summit in New Delhi. I would also like to welcome all members of the Russian Federation delegation.

I know that this is only your second visit abroad for almost two years. This shows your personal commitment to our relations. You are visiting India despite all the pandemic difficulties and this shows your love of India.

Despite the pandemic-related complications, the development of bilateral India-Russia relations has not slowed. We continue strengthening our specially privileged strategic partnership.

We have maintained close cooperation in countering COVID-19, be it during testing vaccine production, providing humanitarian aid or helping people return home in a difficult time.

Your Excellency, 2021 is an important year for bilateral relations for various reasons: this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between India and the Soviet Union and two decades of strategic partnership. This is why I am so pleased to meet you in this special year because you have stood behind our strategic partnership over the past 20 years.

Many fundamental changes have taken place in the world in the past few decades. Various geopolitical formations have come into being, but one thing remained immune to change – the Russia-India friendship. Our countries not only cooperate with each other but also show special care for each other’s sensitive issues. This is indeed a unique, trust-based model of interstate friendship.

Your Excellency,

2021 is important for our strategic partnership as well. The first meeting of foreign ministers and defence ministers in the “2+2” format took place today and thus launched one more mechanism to strengthen practical cooperation.

We have maintained regular contact on Afghanistan and on a number of other issues as well. The interregional side of our partnership, which goes back to the Eastern Economic Forum and our summit in Vladivostok, has become a specific part of cooperation between the Russian Far East and various Indian states.

In the economy, we have adopted a long-term vision to reinforce our relationship. Our goal is to increase mutual trade to US$30 billion by 2025 and to increase mutual investment to US$50 billion. To do so, we must issue the proper assignments to our respective business communities.

The various agreements that were concluded today will help us expand cooperation as well. Our defence cooperation is being strengthened through joint development and production efforts under the Made in India programme. Cooperation in space and civilian nuclear energy is expanding as well.

I would like to congratulate Russia on obtaining observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement and dialogue partner status in the Indian Ocean Rim Association. We were delighted to support Russia’s presence in these associations.

India and Russia have similar positions on many regional and global issues. We will have the opportunity to exchange views on these matters during today’s meeting.

Your Excellency,

Once again, welcome to India. I would also like to welcome all members of the Russian delegation. Despite your busy schedule, you made the time to visit us, and we appreciate this. I am sure that our discussions today will be very productive for our relations.

Welcome again.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Prime Minister, my friend.

It is an honour and a privilege for me to visit friendly India once again.

We regularly hold summits at the highest level, in fact, they take place every year, with India and Russia taking turns in hosting them. Unfortunately, we had to skip last year due to the pandemic. Still, it is our turn to come to India, and I thank you for your invitation.

Russia views India as a major power, whose people have been very friendly to us. Our relations proceed from a very positive foundation. They are developing and forward-looking.

In 2020, trade between our countries decreased by more than 17 percent, but in the first nine months of 2021 it grew by over 38 percent. There is no doubt that we have every opportunity to reach the trade volumes you have mentioned.

This also applies to investment, which currently stands at US$38 billion and is more or less equally distributed between the two countries, with Russia having a slightly larger share. That said, we have been working together in very important and promising areas, including energy, high technology, and space. I am certain that the programmes you have mentioned will be carried out, including the one to train an Indian cosmonaut.

We have been promoting military-technical cooperation like with no other partner of ours. Together, we develop and manufacture high-technology military products, including in India.

There is another essential item on our agenda, which is of interest for both India and Russia. I am referring to taking care of the environment. Our minds are set on this topic, the green agenda, as well as on the economy and ways of developing it. Of course, we are realistic in our efforts, seeking to fulfil the needs of our economies and improve the standard of living for our citizens on an ongoing basis.

We remain proactively involved on the international stage. Just as you have said, our positions coincide on many issues. Of course, terrorism and efforts to fight it are a matter of grave concern, as are combatting drug trafficking and organised crime.

In this context, the developments in Afghanistan are of course a matter of serious concern for us. The foreign and defence ministers, who are present today, held their first meeting in such format, demonstrating our commitment to developing our relations in international and military affairs.

We hold joint exercises both in India and Russia. We are grateful for the attention you have given to this aspect of our cooperation and intend to keep moving in the same direction.

Once again, thank you very much for your invitation.

<…>


Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity. India-Russia Joint Statement following the visit of the President of the Russian Federation

1. At the invitation of Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin paid working visit to New Delhi on 6 December 2021 for the 21st India–Russia Annual Summit.

2. The completion of 5 decades of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation and 2 decades of Declaration on Strategic Partnership is symbolic of the long standing and time-tested India-Russia relations characterized by mutual trust, respect for each other’s core national interests and similarity of positions on various international and regional issues.

3. The Sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. They underscored that as major powers with common responsibilities, this important relationship continues to be an anchor of global peace and stability.

4. The Sides positively assessed the multi-faceted India-Russia relations that span various areas of cooperation including political and strategic, economy, energy, military and security, science and technology, culture and humanitarian cooperation. They noted that while the traditional areas of cooperation are being further strengthened, new drivers of growth have led to diversification and expansion of bilateral cooperation.

5. The Leaders highly appreciated the sustained momentum in bilateral ties despite the negative impacts of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. They acknowledged that the Annual Summit could not be held in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. The Sides noted with satisfaction the continued intensification of contacts at all levels including 6 telephonic conversations between the two leaders since the last Summit; visits of Foreign Minister, Raksha Mantri, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel from Indian side; visit of Russian Foreign Minister and Secretary of Security Council to India; holding of Foreign Office Consultations, India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue, consultations on UN issues, Arctic, policy planning etc.

6. The Leaders welcomed the holding of back-to-back meetings of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation and the first 2+2 Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and Russia in New Delhi on 6 December 2021. They underscored the importance of regular annual 2+2 meetings for exchanging views on global and regional political-security developments.

7. The Leaders noted the ongoing interaction between the Parliaments of two countries and underlined the importance of regular meetings of Inter-Parliamentary Commission as a valuable component of India- Russia relations.

8. The Leaders reiterated the importance of the security dialogue at the level of NSA and NSCS on bilateral and regional issues and welcomed regular interactions between them. This has served to enhance strategic understanding and coordination between the two countries.

Cooperation in Covid pandemic

9. The Sides exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic situation and highly appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the fight against Covid-19, especially with respect to “Sputnik-V” vaccine.

10. The Leaders expressed gratitude to each other’s countries for timely assistance during the pandemic. India’s assistance in supplying critical medicines, including paracetamol, hydroxychloroquine, and certain antibiotics during the first phase in Russia and Russia’s assistance in providing ventilators, oxygen concentrators and other critical equipment during India’s second phase, was a humanitarian gesture well-received by both sides.

11. The Sides expressed confidence that early mutual recognition of COVID vaccination certificates will further facilitate movement of persons between the two countries and agreed to fast track the formalities in this regard.

12.The Sides expressed appreciation for the efforts of relevant agencies involved in evacuation efforts as well as transport of life saving equipment and medicines. They noted that the Air-bubble arrangement has served the interim travel needs of citizens of both countries.Both sides agreed to consider resumption of direct passenger and cargo flights to their pre-pandemic capacity.

Economy

13. The Sides appreciated the resumption of the positive trajectory of bilateral trade, with trade registering an increase of about 38% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 despite the pandemic-related restrictions. They positively assessed the overall increase of bilateral trade in 2019–20 compared to the previous year.

14. The Sides noted that the bilateral trade does not reflect the potential of strength and depth of India-Russia strategic partnership. The leaders stressed on the need for greater efforts to achieve the trade target of USD 30 billion by 2025. In this regard, they placed strong emphasis on new drivers of growth forlong-term cooperation.

15. The Sides underscored the need for commencement of negotiations on Trade Agreement between India and The Eurasian Economic Union.

16. The leaders noted the relevance of continued engagement under the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) for bilateral economic cooperation in various priority areas. They acknowledged the holding of 12Working Group and Sub-group meetings under the IRIGC-TEC and instructed the concerned officials to expeditiously conclude meetings of pending Working Groups. The sides also welcomed the setting up of the new Working Groups and Sub Groups on Transport, Urban Development and Railways and looked forward to the early holding of their inaugural meetings.

17. The Sides welcomed the holding of the 3rd edition of the India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) on April 15, 2021 in virtual format. They noted the productive discussions under this format in the areas of transport, agriculture, digital transformation, tourism, industry and banking and small and medium enterprises. The Sides considered the need to look at the way forward for the collaboration under this mechanism.

18. The Sides appreciated the outcomes of the visit of Minister of Steel of India to Moscow to attend the Russian Energy Week in October, 2021 and welcomed the progress made in a short span in reviving collaboration in coking coal and steel sectors. A mutually beneficial MoU for reliable long-term supplies of coal to India for steel production was signed. Discussions were held on production of specialty steel under Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in India, and utilization of technologies from Russian state steel institutes for steel production in India by private and public sector companies. The Indian side welcomed the interest of Russian side in learning from India’s experience of gainful utilization of coal residues. The Sides also welcomed the meeting of the 1st Working Group on Coking Coal in virtual format in October, 2020.

19. The Leaders welcomed the signing of Agreement of Intent between Indian PSUs and Russian company PhosAgro for supply of fertilizers in the period of 2021/2022 calendar years. They instructed their officials to continue discussions for agreement on long term supply and pricing arrangements.

20. Trade in pharmaceuticals continues to be one of the main items of India’s exports to Russia. Both sides noted with satisfaction the continued strength of this commodity as well as Indian companies’ participation in Russia’s localization programme under Pharma 2020 and Pharma 2030 schemes. They recognized the growing collaboration in medical devices as a new promising area of economic engagement in the context of the pandemic.

21. The Sides appreciated the rapid recovery of collaboration in diamond sector between the two countries, following the initial downturn witnessed during the pandemic.

22. The Sides welcomed the progress on discussions on elimination of trade barriers in respect of critical commodities under the aegis of the Sub-Group on Elimination of the Trade Barriers of IRIGC-TEC. Both sides agreed to consider fast-tracking elimination of barriers by way of closing critical gaps in phytosanitary and veterinary requirements of both countries in agricultural and agro-processed products.

23. The Sides recognised the need to further streamline and fast-track the process of Customs clearances of cargoes. In this regard, the Sides agreed to replace the discussions on the ‘Green Corridor Project’ with an Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) and a MoU on Exchange of pre-arrival Customs data. The Sides, also, agreed to commence discussions on this Agreement and MoU at the earliest.

24. The Indian side encouraged participation of Russian companies in the 13 key sectors of Production Linked Incentive scheme of Government of India under the ‘Atmanirbhar’ and ‘Make in India’ programme. The Indian side also invited the Russian side to continue consideration of setting up manufacturing facilities in Greenfield industrial cities under Industrial Corridor Programme of Government of India.

25. The Sides recognized that the pandemic slowed down progress on certain investment decisions by companies on both sides. However, both sides noted with satisfaction that several investment ideas continue to progress, particularly those in inland waterways, railways, shipbuilding and repair, steel and coking coal, medical devices, petrochemicals, ports, banking and re-insurance services, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro processing, healthcare, IT and oil & gas.

26. The Sides urged the corresponding Ministries to finalize negotiations of the Bilateral Investment Treaty in a spirit of mutual understanding in order to protect mutual investments.They welcomed the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property between Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce, India and Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Russian Federation.

27. The Sides reiterated their commitment to strengthen inter-bank and insurance cooperation. Commercial Indo Bank, Moscow, the only Indian Bank operating in Russia, has upgraded its rating significantly over the last year. Indian side expressed hope that this will allow the Bank to enter into retail segment after obtaining necessary approvals. Similarly, GIC Perestrakhovanie LLC, a 100% subsidiary of General Insurance Corporation of India, commenced its operations in September 2020 and is now offering reinsurance support to all major general insurers in the Russian Federation.

28. The Sides agreed to continue joint work on promoting mutual settlement of payments in national currencies, which will help reduce cost and time as well as risks involved in payments.

29. The Sides also expressed interest in continuing dialogue on accepting RuPay and MIR Cards within national payment infrustructures, as well as on interaction of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and The Faster Payments System of the Bank of Russia (FPS). The Russian side invited Indian credit institutions to connect to the Financial messaging system of the Bank of Russia to facilitate faultless interbank transactions.

30. The Indian side invited Russian side’s participation in civilian shipbuilding and inland waterways as promising new areas of collaboration. The two leaders welcomed the preparation of bilateral document in the area of civilian shipbuilding, which will facilitate enhancement of interaction and specialist training, investments in ship building and repair, scientific research, development of intelligent transport and navigation systems, international transport corridors.They welcomed the signing of the Agreement of Intent between Mazagaon Dock Ltd. and Zvezda Shipyard for commercial shipping signed in September this year.

Cooperation in the Russian Far-East

31. President Putin welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to an Act Far-East Policy under which India could be a reliable partner in the development of the Russian Far-East. He supported Prime Minister Modi’s concept of Sangam as a development tool for the region. The Russian side warmly welcomed the successful visit of Prime Minister Modi to Vladivostok to attend the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in 2019 and his virtual participation in the 6th EEF this year.

32. The Sides noted the greater intensity of Inter-regional dialogue on economic cooperation between the States of India and the regions of Russia including the virtual meeting between the Chief Minister of Gujarat and Governor of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in September, 2021. They appreciated holding of several B2B, G2G and B2G meetings recently between Indian companies and Russian regions. They welcomed the signing of 9 twinning agreements between the cities/states of India and the regions of Russia so far for mutual cooperation in diverse areas.

33. The Sides welcomed interest of Indian companies in cooperating in the Russian Far East. Energy, transport and logistics, maritime connectivity, diamond processing, forestry, pharmaceuticals & healthcare, tourism and humanitarian fields have been identified as areas of further cooperation in the Russian Far-East.

34. The Indian side reiterated its commitment to enhanced trade and investment in the Russian Far-East. The Sides agreed to continue discussion on operationalization of the US$ 1 billion Line of Credit announced by Prime Minister Modi in 2019 for projects for development of the Russian Far East.

Energy

35. The Leaders reaffirmed that bilateral energy cooperation is a key pillar of the bilateral ties and an energy bridge between the two countries. Both sides reiterated their joint efforts under the Roadmap for Cooperation in Hydrocarbons for 2019–24 to further deepen bilateral cooperation in the energy sector and welcomed the opening of Bharat Energy Center in Moscow, representing five Indian oil and gas public sector companies to enhance engagement with Russian stakeholders in energy sector.

36. The Sides noted with satisfaction, the fruitful, wide-ranging collaboration between the oil and gas companies of the two countries, including between JSC Rosneft Oil Company and Oil and Gas Public Sector Undertakings of India in implementing the Vankorneft, Sakhalin-1 and Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha projects in Russia, and Nayara Energy Limited’s oil refinery in India. They also welcomed prospective two way investment initiatives of both countries, which are currently under discussion.

37. The sides reaffirmed their commitment for increasing sourcing of Russian crude oil on long term contracts through preferential pricing, strengthening LNG imports to India, and the possible utilization of the Northern Sea Route for energy supplies. The two sides further agreed for the expansion of cooperation in gas sector and welcomed the creation of a Gas Task Force to identify mutually beneficial areas including the development of investment in gas infrastructure and distribution projects, use of natural gas in transport and emerging fuels including hydrogen.

38. Both sides, appreciating the strength of the Indian petrochemical market, agreed to expand collaboration through Russian participation by way of investment, technological and other ways of collaboration in Indian petrochemical sector. The sides welcomed the interest of Nayara Energy in production of products like polypropylene in India.

39. Both sides also agreed to consider prospects for expanding cooperation in hydro and thermal power, energy efficiency and the sector of renewable energy. They also noted the need for cooperation in hydrogen economy, low-emission development, including exchange of best practices. The Indian side emphasized the need for responsible and reasonable pricing of global energy supplies determined by market forces. Both sides noted the importantce of dialogue between consumers and producers for stabilizing energy prices.

Transport and Connectivity

40. The Indian side welcomes the growing participation of Russian companies in modernization of the railway sector in India. This includes Russian side’s interest in implementing projects using Russian technology, equipment and capital in India, particularly in signalling and telematic systems, high-speed rail projects, electrification of railways while abiding by India’s Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat programmes.

41. The Indian side appreciated Russia’s participation in electronic toll collection technology based on satellite navigation technologies on Indian highways, implemented by the joint Russian-Indian company Bharat Telematic Ssystems Pvt Ltd.

42. The Sides emphasized on greater and effective usage of the International North-South Transport Corridor for cargo transport at lesser cost and time to enhance connectivity in Eurasian Space. In this context, they welcomed the signing of agreement between Russian Railways (RZD) and Concor last year to jointly develop multi-modal logistics services along INSTC route. The Russian side expressed support for India’s proposal to include Chabahar port within the framework of INSTC. They stressed that connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

43. The Indian side informed that the feasibility study of the Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor is in advance stage, and the study so far done indicates an array of opportunities for increased traffic upon the successful implementation of its recommendations. The Sides expressed optimism that the implementation of the recommendations of the study will provide a fillip to the bilateral trade.

Civil Nuclear Energy and Space

44. The Sides noted the significant progress achieved in the construction of the remaining nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam. Both Sides noted the importance of continued further discussion on the second site in India; the Indian side will strive to finalize formal allotment of the second site in accordance with earlier signed agreements. They welcomed continuation of technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design, joint manufacturing of equipment and localization of components.

45. Both Sides noted successful cooperation in the setting up of the Rooppur NPP in Bangladesh and expressed their readiness to explore similar cooperation in third countries as well.

46. The Sides welcomed the enhanced cooperation between the State Space Corporation ”Roscosmos” and the Indian Space Research Organization, including in the human spaceflight programs and satellite navigation and agreed to study the prospects of the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the development of launch vehiclesand use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including planetary exploration.

47. The Sides welcomed the active work carried out within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the State Space Corporation ”Roscosmos” and the Indian Space Research Organization on joint activities in human spaceflight program and noted with satisfaction the training of 4 Indian astronaut candidates from the ”Yu.A.Gagarin Research&Test Cosmonaut Training Center“ FSBO.

48. To facilitate further cooperation in Space, the Sides welcomed the signing of Agreement between the Government of The Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on technology protection due to cooperation in field of research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and building and operation of launch vehicles and ground-based space infrastructure.

49. Both Sides intend to strengthen cooperation within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), including the issues of the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

Military and Military-Technical Cooperation

50. Russian side appreciated the participation of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with a Tri-Service contingent of the Indian armed forces in the Victory Day Parade at Red Square in Moscow to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory of the Soviet People in the great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.

51. Military and military-technical cooperation has traditionally been the pillar of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. Responding to India’s quest for self-sufficiency, the partnership is reorienting presently to joint research and development, co-development and joint production of advanced defence technology and systems.

52. The Sides expressed satisfaction with regular military contacts and joint exercises of the Armed Forces of the two countries which reached unprecedented heights this year with three exercises being held within a span of 60 days besides simultaneous participation of large Indian contingents in the International Army Games. The Russian side deeply appreciated participation of INS Tabar in the 325th Russian Navy Day celebrations. The Sides agreed to continue and expand regular defence dialogue, mutual training and exercises, subject matter expert exchanges and other activities under the aegis of India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation.

53. Both sides noted with satisfaction the successful implementation of the 2011–2020 Long-Term Program for Military and Technical Cooperation and welcomed the signing of a new long-term plan for the period 2021–2031.

54. The Sides reiterated their commitment to upgrade the defence cooperation, including facilitating joint development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, enhancing the after-sales service system, progress towards mutual recognition of quality control and regular joint exercises of the Armed Forces of the two countries. The two leaders agreed that for peace, stability and mutual economic development, there is a need for the two countries to work closely together in the advanced and emerging fields of defence technology and for the Armed Forces of the two countries to work together in niche domains of military capabilities.

55. Both Sides agreed to take forward ongoing engagements to encourage joint manufacturing in India of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for maintenance of Russian origin Arms and defence equipment under Make-in-India program through transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures for meeting the needs of the Indian Armed Forces as well as subsequent export to mutually friendly third countries.

56. The Sides recognized the requirement of an institutional arrangement for reciprocal provision of logistic support and services for the Armed Forces.

Science and Technology

57. Emphasizing the importance of joint research in science, technology and innovation, the two Sides welcome the signing of Roadmap for Science, Technology & Innovation Cooperation and , expressed satisfaction with respect to launching joint calls in priority areas as states in the Roadmap.

58. The Sides expressed satisfaction on launching of India-Russia Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Program by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Russian Foundation for Assistance to Small Industrial Enterprises (FASIE), which provides opportunities to Start-ups and SMES of the two countries to address societal challenges through innovative technologies.

59. The Sides also agreed to facilitate collaboration between government and private sector organizations to find ways of joint development of software products, platforms and services as well as in the area of electronics manufacturing. The Sides confirmed their interest in further developing cooperation in the sphere of digital technologies, including those related to information protection, security of critical infrastructure and law enforcement.

60. Thesides noted the promotion of youth exchanges by bringing together co-innovation programs at School level with the Support of Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog and Talent & Success Fund (SIRIUS Centre, Sochi), Russia. These programs engaged students on both sides to generate hands-on technological solutions for societal problems such as Distance Literacy in remote areas; Rural Health & Well-being and Digital asset monitoring etc.

61. The Indian side congratulated the Russian side for its ongoing successful chairmanship of the Arctic Council from 2021–23 and expressed its readiness to play an active role as an Observer in the Arctic Council. Both sides recalled the bilateral consultations on the Arctic held last year. The Indian side also expressed its interest in collaborating with Russia on the Northern Sea Route.

Education, Culture and Tourism

62. Recognising the traditionally strong cooperation between India and Russia in the sphere of education, the Sides appreciated efforts taken by both countries to ensure well being of students during the Covid-19 pandemic.They agreed to continue their efforts in promoting educational linkages between universities and educational institutions. The Sides also agreed for organizing exchange programs for their diplomats at the respective training institutes under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

63. The Sides appreciated the successful implementation of bilateral Cultural Exchange Program, which plays a crucial role in enhancing people to people contact and noted the signing of the India Russia Cultural Exchange Programme during the summit for continuance of the bilateral cultural cooperation. It was agreed to continue the mutually beneficial practice of reciprocally holding cultural and film festivals. Need for geographical expansion of cultural exchanges and greater involvement of the youth and folk art groups was highlighted. Both Sides agreed to continue their joint efforts in promoting Russian language in India and Hindi in Russia comprehensively, including by developing contacts between relevant educational institutions. They welcomed the signing of MoU between National Sports University, Imphal, India and the Russian International Olympic University Sochi, Russia.

64. The two sides appreciated the dynamism in tourist exchanges between Russia and India.To further deepen the cooperation in tourism, the sides expressed intent to discuss ways of cooperation both at government and private sector level with the aim to enhance tourist exchanges between the two countries.

65. Both Sides welcomed progressive simplification of visa formalities, including introduction of eVisa by both countries.India has opened group tourist visa from October 15, 2021 and normal tourist visa from November 15, 2021, which would further strengthen people-to-people contacts. They agreed to continue the work on further simplification of the visa regime in future.

Cooperation in UN and Multilateral Fora

66. Both Sides noted the high level of political dialogue and cooperation on issues at the UN and agreed to deepen it further. Both Sides stressed the importance of reinvigorating multilateralism, with the central coordinating role played by the United Nations in world affairs. The Sides underlined the primacy of respect for international law and emphasized their commitment to the purposes and the principles stated in the UN Charter including the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States.

67. Russia welcomed India’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council with an overwhelming majority for a two-year term. Russian side appreciated India’s UNSC priorities which include commitment to strenghthen and reform the multilateral system, rule of law, fair and equitable international system and are anchored in the Indian ethos of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, i.e. the world being one family. Both sides highlighted that India’s election to the UNSC has provided additional opportunities to coordinate efforts on most pressing issues at the UN based on mutual understanding and a shared view and approach to the global world order.

68. Both Sides called for comprehensivereform of the UNSC to reflect contemporary global realities and to make it more representative, effective and efficient in dealing with issues of international peace and security. President Putin congratulated India on its successful Presidency of the UN Security Council in the month of August and reiterated Russia’s support for India’s permanent membership of a reformed and expanded UN Security Council. Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked President Putin for his participation in the UNSC high-level debate on Maritime Security chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 9, 2021 as part of India’s Presidency of the UNSC.

69. Both Sides reiterated their commitment to enhanced cooperation and close coordination in BRICS. President Putin congratulated India on its successful BRICS Chairmanship in 2021, including hosting of the XIII BRICS Summit on 9 September 2021 and adopting the New Delhi Declaration. The Sides alsowelcomed deliverables of BRICS cooperation in 2021, in particular the signing of the Agreement on BRICS Cooperation on Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, finalization of the Agreement on BRICS Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, adoption of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan, Action Plan 2021–2024 for Agricultural Cooperation, Innovation Cooperation Action Plan 2021–2024 and establishment of the BRICS Alliance for Green Tourism. Both Sides reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025.

70. The Leaders recognised the role of the New Development Bank (NDB) as vital to addressing development challenges, including health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged the NDB to explore the possibility of financing more social infrastructure projects, including those that use digital technologies. They commended the NDB’s substantive progress in membership expansion despite challenges emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. They reiterated that the process of expansion should be gradual and balanced in terms of geographic representation.

71. India and Russia stressed the achievements of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the last two decades of its operation and noted the great potential for further interaction among the SCO Member States. Both Sides will continue to strengthen the SCO as one of the key pillars of the emerging, more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on international law, above all the UN Charter.

72. The Sides intend to focus particularly on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border organized crime, and information security threats, in particular by improving the functionality of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

73. The Sides support increased role of SCO in international affairs, comprehensive development of the Organization’s contacts with the UN and its specialized agencies, and other multilateral organizations and associations. In this context, they support the establishment of official ties between the SCO and Eurasian Economic Union.

74. Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation within the RIC framework to promote common approaches to pressing issues on the global and regional agenda. The Russian side expressed appreciation for India’s chairmanship of RIC. Both Sides welcomed the results of the RIC Foreign Ministers meeting on 26 November 2021.

75. The sides highlighted their cooperation within the G20 format and agreed to intensify the same on issues of global and mutual interest, keeping in view India’s Presidency of the G20 in 2023.

76. The Both Sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and urged the international community to intensify cooperation against terrorism including safe havens, terror financing, arms and drugs trafficking, radicalization and malicious use of ICTs to spread extremist, terrorist and other illegal content.

77. Both Sides underscored the importance of implementing the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism and extremism as well as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, while taking into account national experiences and state specificities. Both sides reaffirmed their shared fight against international terrorism, concerted action against all terrorist groups, including those proscribed by the UN, condemned cross-border movement of terrorists and called for the perpetrators of terror attacks to be brought to justice, without any political or religious considerations. They denounced any use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial, or military support to terrorist groups to launch or plan terror attacks. Both sides reaffirmed the need to support and strengthen the FATF and the UN Office of Counter Terrorism in their shared fight against terrorism. They reaffirmed their mutual commitment to strengthening the current international drug control regime based on the three relevant United Nations conventions.

78. The Sides agreed that safeguarding of global commons including our oceans, outer space and information space should be based on the principles of transparency, accessibility and upholding international law.

79. The Sides appreciated close cooperation in the field of security in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) through inter-agency cooperation under bilateral mechanisms and at multilateral platforms. They highlighted the leading role of the United Nations in the decision-making process on security in the use of ICTs. The Sides also recognized the need for further work on rules, norms and principles of responsible behavior of State aimed at preventing conflicts and promoting peaceful use of ICTs. The Sides reaffirmed the importance of international cooperation against criminal use of ICTs and in this regard they welcome the establishment of an open- ended Ad hoc intergovernmental committee of experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes as stipulated in the UN GA resolutions 74/247 and 75/282.

80. Both sides expressed concern over the possibility of an arms race in outer space and outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. They reaffirmed commitment to takeefforts for the prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization. They stressed the paramount importance of strict compliance with existing international legal agreements providing for the peaceful uses of outer space and promoting international peace and stability, promotion of international cooperation and mutual understanding. The Sides supported negotiation of a multilateral legally binding instrument for prevention of an arms race in outer space. In this regard they noted the relevance of draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against space objects, submitted to the Conference of Disarmament for future negotiations. The sides reaffirmed that the Conference on Disarmament, is the only forum for holding multilateral negotiations on an international agreement (or agreements) on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects.

81. The sides reaffirmed support to full and effective adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) by all States Parties. The Sides noted that the BTWC functions including in what concerns the UNSC should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. The Sides expressed the support tostrengthening of BTWC including by adopting a protocol to the Convention providing for, inter alia, an effective compliance verification mechanism.

82. Both sides reaffirmed support to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), andtheir determination to upholdefforts and initiatives aimed at preserving the integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). They called upon the States Parties to the CWC to engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPWC.

83. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, both sides emphasized the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament.

84. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening global efforts for non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russia expressed its strong support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The sides urged all members of the international community to increase the level of mutual trust in order to promote global peace and security.

85. The sides discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan, especially the security situation and its implications in the region, the current political situation, issues related to terrorism, radicalisation and drug trafficking etc. They outlined the priorities which include ensuring formation of a truly inclusive and representative government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, providing immediate humanitarian assistance and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities.

86. The leaders reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasizing the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs. They also discussed the current humanitarian situation and decided to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

87. The leaders emphasised that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist groups including ISIS, Al Qaeda, LeT, etc. They reaffirmed their firm commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including its financing, the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and countering radicalization, to ensure that Afghanistan would never become a safe haven for global terrorism. Both sides recalled the importance of the relevant UN Resolutions on Afghanistan, as well as the recent outcome documents of Moscow format consultations and other international and regional mechanisms. The leaders emphasized the central role of the United Nations in Afghanistan.

88. The leaders welcomed close coordination between India and Russia on Afghanistan including through the creation of a permanent consultative mechanism on the issue between the Security Councils of both countries. They highly appreciated the finalisation of the Roadmap of interaction between India and Russia on Afghanistan, which symbolized convergence of views and interests of the two sides.

89. The Russian side welcomed Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan of National Security Advisors/Secretaries of Security Council on 10 November 2021 in New Delhi and welcomed the Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan that emerged from that meeting.

90. The sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. The sides also reaffirmed their commitment that there is no alternative to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN- facilitated political process in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and the necessity to mobilize comprehensive humanitarian assistance to all the Syrians in need without politization and preconditions as required by UNSCR 2585(2021).

91.The sides reiterated the importance of the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231 and expressed their support to the relevant efforts to ensure the earliest reinvigoration of the JCPOA.

92. Both sides urged all the concerned parties to work towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to promote establishment of lasting peace and stability and stressed on the need to continue dialogue to achieve this goal.

93. The sides agreed to explore mutually acceptable and beneficial areas of cooperation in third countries especially in the Central Asia, South East Asia and Africa.

94. The Sides reiterated the need to preserve and strengthen the role of the World Trade Organization for upholding a transparent, non-discriminatory, and inclusive multilateral trading system with the fundamental principles at its core. They agreed that the post-pandemic world requires diversified global value chains that are based on trust, resilience and reliability.

95. Both sides emphasized the importance of deepening regional economic cooperation to ensure sustainable socio-economic development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the expansion of cooperation within the framework of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in such key areas as transport, energy and trade.

96. The Sides reaffirmed that the emerging regional security architecture should be free, open, transparent and inclusive, based on universally recognized principles of international law and aimed at maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region. They agreed to strengthen joint efforts to build an architecture of equal and indivisible regional security. The Sides agreed to intensify consultations on complementarities between integration and development initiatives in greater Eurasian space and in the regions of Indian and Pacific oceans. They underscored their recognition of the ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture of security and cooperation and reiterated the importance of closer cooperation and consultations in various regional fora and initiatives such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) to jointly contribute to regional peace, security and stability.

97. The Indian side looked forward to Russia’s joining of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

98. The Sides noted with satisfaction the coinciding and similar approaches to their foreign policy priorities and reaffirmed their commitment for further strengthening of the India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, both in the context of the current bilateral relations and in addressing regional and international issues. They expressed their mutual intention to strengthen and expand their bilateral relations for the benefit of the peoples of India and Russia.

99. President Vladimir Putin thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the gracious hospitality extended to him and his delegation in New Delhi and invited him to visit Russia next year for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit.

New Delhi

December 6, 2021

Lavrov gives press conference after OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm

December 02, 2021

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a press conference after the 28th OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm on Thursday, December 2. The annual OSCE Ministerial Council, chaired by Sweden, takes place on December 2-3. The ministers are expected to discuss security issues in the OSCE area and review the organisation’s activities.

Please forward the video.

China, Russia and India: Foreign Ministers Joint Communique

November 27, 2021

Joint Communique of the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China

November 26, 2021

1. The 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China was held in the digital video-conference format on 26 November 2021. The meeting took place in the backdrop of negative impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic, on-going economic recovery as well as continuing threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, trans-national organized crime, natural and man-made disasters, food security and climate change.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral cooperation and also discussed various regional and international issues of importance. The Ministers recalled their last meeting in Moscow in September 2020 as well as the RIC Leaders’ Informal Summit in Osaka (Japan) in June 2019 and noted the need for regular high level meetings to foster closer cooperation among the RIC countries.

3. Expressing their solidarity with those who were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers underlined the importance of a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges including pandemics, with equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines and critical health supplies. They reiterated the need for continued cooperation in this fight inter-alia through sharing of vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities, promotion of supply chains for medical products. In this context, they noted the ongoing discussions in the WTO on COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.

4. Emphasizing the need for collective cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers noted the measures being taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), governments, non-profit organisations, academia, business and industry in combating the pandemic. In this context, the Ministers called for strengthening the policy responses of WHO in the fight against Covid-19 and other global health challenges. They also called for making Covid-19 vaccination a global public good.

5. The Ministers agreed that cooperation among the RIC countries will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development. The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening of an open, transparent, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multi-polar international system based on respect for international law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and central coordinating role of the United Nations in the international system.

6. The Ministers reiterated that a multi-polar and rebalanced world based on sovereign equality of nations and respect for international law and reflecting contemporary realities requires strengthening and reforming of the multilateral system. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The Ministers acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, and other multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), with a view to enhancing its capacity to effectively address the diverse challenges of our time and to adapt them to 21st century realities. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. Foreign Ministers of China and Russia reiterated the importance they attached to the status of India in international affairs and supported its aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations.Foreign Ministers of Russia and China congratulated India for its successful Presidency of the UNSC in August 2021.

7. Underlining the significance they attach to the intra-BRICS cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 13th BRICS Summit held under India’s chairmanship on 9 September 2021. They agreed to work actively to implement the decisions of the successive BRICS Summits, deepen BRICS strategic partnership, strengthen cooperation in its three pillars namely political and security cooperation; economic and finance; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Russia and India extend full support to China for its BRICS Chairship in 2022 and hosting the XIV BRICS Summit.

8. In the year of the 20th Anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the Ministers underlined that the SCO as an influential and responsible member of the modern system of international relations plays a constructive role in securing peace and sustainable development, advancing regional cooperation and consolidating ties of good-neighbourliness and mutual trust. In this context, they emphasized the importance of further strengthening the Organization’s multifaceted potential with a view to promote multilateral political, security, economic and people-to-people exchanges cooperation. The Ministers intend to pay special attention to ensuring stability in the SCO space, including to step up efforts in jointly countering terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and trans-border organized crime under the framework of SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. They appreciated the Ministerial meeting in the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan format held on 14th July 2021 in Dushanbe.

9. The Ministers supported the G-20’s leading role in global economic governance and international economic cooperation. They expressed their readiness to enhance communication and cooperation including through G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other means, through consultations and mutual support in areas of respective interest.

10. The Ministers stand for maintaining and strengthening of ASEAN Centrality and the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture, including through fostering ties between ASEAN and other regional organizations such as the SCO, IORA, BIMSTEC. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the need for closer cooperation and consultations in various regional fora and organizations, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), to jointly contribute to regional peace, security and stability.

11. The Ministers consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.

12. The Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Ministers reaffirmed that terrorism must be comprehensively countered to achieve a world free of terrorism. They called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, they called for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The Ministers stressed that those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting, financing terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the FATF standards, international treaties, including on the basis of the principle “extradite or prosecute” and relevant international and bilateral obligations and in compliance with applicable domestic legislation.

13. The Ministers emphasized the importance of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments which form the edifice of the drug control system. They reiterated their firm resolve to address the world drug problem, on a basis of common and shared responsibility. The Ministers expressed their determination to counter the spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond, which poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organizations.

14. The Ministers reiterated the need for a holistic approach to development and security of ICTs, including technical progress, business development, safeguarding the security of States and public interests, and respecting the right to privacy of individuals. The Ministers noted that technology should be used responsibly in a human-centric manner. They underscored the leading role of the United Nations in promoting a dialogue to forge common understandings on the security of and in the use of ICTs and development of universally agreed norms, rules and principles for responsible behaviour of States in the area of ICTs and recognized the importance of strengthening its international cooperation. The Ministers recalled that the development of ICT capabilities for military purposes and the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors including terrorists and criminal groups is a disturbing trend. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to principles of preventing conflicts stemming from the use of ICTs, as well as ensuring use of these technologies for peaceful purposes. In this context, they welcomed the work of recently concluded UN-mandated groups namely Open Ended Working Group on the developments in the fields of Information and Telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) and the Sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security and their consensual final reports. The Ministers supported the OEWG on the security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025.

15. The Ministers, while emphasizing the important role of the ICTs for growth and development, acknowledged the potential misuse of ICTs for criminal activities and threats. The Ministers expressed concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a UN-led framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. Noting that new challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation, the Ministers appreciated the launch of the UN Open-Ended Ad-Hoc Intergovernmental Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the United Nations, pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/247.

16. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, they emphasized the importance of constant efforts to reform the international financial architecture. They expressed concern that enhancing the voice and participation of EMDCs in the Bretton Woods institutions remains far from realization.

17. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for a transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. In this context, they reiterated their support for the necessary reform which would preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO while taking into account the interests of all members, especially developing countries and Least Developing Countries (LDCs). They emphasized the primary importance of ensuring the restoration and preservation of the normal functioning of a two-stage WTO Dispute Settlement system, including the expeditious appointment of all Appellate Body members. The post-pandemic world requires diversified global value chains that are based on resilience and reliability.

18. The Ministers agreed that the imposition of unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as “long-arm jurisdiction” were inconsistent with the principles of international law, have reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third States and international economic and trade relations. They called for a further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.

19. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions- economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner – and reiterated that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible and must be achieved ‘leaving no one behind’. The Ministers called upon the international community to foster a more equitable and balanced global development partnership to address the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to accelerate the implementation of 2030 Agenda while giving special attention to the difficulties and needs of the developing countries. The Ministers urged developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for official development assistance (ODA/GNI) to developing countries and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources, in line with national policy objectives of the recipients.

20. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to Climate action by implementation of Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of Equity, Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, the criticality of adequate finance and technology flows, judicious use of resources and the need for sustainable lifestyles. They recognized that peaking of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will take longer for developing countries, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. They stressed the importance of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a balanced way. They welcomed the outcomes of the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26) and the 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15).

21. The Ministers underlined the imperative of dialogue to strengthen international peace and security through political and diplomatic means. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, they noted the relevance of the draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. They emphasized that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral negotiating forum on this subject, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement, or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects. They expressed concern over the possibility of outer space turning into an arena of military confrontation. They stressed that practical transparency and confidence building measures, such as the No First Placement initiative may also contribute towards the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for enhancing international cooperation in outer space in accordance with international law, based on the Outer Space Treaty. They recognized, in that regard, the leading role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). They agreed to stand together for enhancing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and safety of space operations through deliberations under UNCOPUOS.

22. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a key pillar of the global disarmament and security architecture. They highlighted the need for BTWC States Parties to comply with BTWC, and actively consult one another on addressing issues through cooperation in relation to the implementation of the Convention and strengthening it, including by negotiating a legally binding Protocol for the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. The BTWC functions should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. They also reaffirmed support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and called upon the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to uphold the Convention and the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPCW.

23. The Ministers showed deep concern about the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including the use of chemicals and biological agents for terrorist purposes. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, they emphasized the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament. They urged all States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.

24. The Ministers noted rising concerns regarding dramatic change of the situation in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their support for basic principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and called for formation of a truly inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country. The Ministers advocated a peaceful, secure, united, sovereign, stable and prosperous inclusive Afghanistan that exists in harmony with its neighbors. They called on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan. Expressing concern over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers called for immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan. The Ministers also emphasized on the central role of UN in Afghanistan.

25. They stressed the necessity of urgent elimination of UNSC proscribed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. The Ministers acknowledged the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for lasting peace. They reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

26. The Ministers reiterated the importance of full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231 and expressed their support to the relevant efforts to ensure the earliest reinvigoration of the JCPOA which is a landmark achievement for multilateral diplomacy and the nuclear non-proliferation.

27. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar. They expressed support to the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) aimed at implementation of its Five-Point Consensus in cooperation with Myanmar. They called on all sides to refrain from violence.

28. The Ministers underlined the importance of lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. They expressed their support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula.

29. The Ministers welcomed the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire beginning 21 May 2021 and stressed the importance of the restoration of general stabilization. They recognized the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the hostilities from escalating. They mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, called for the full respect of international humanitarian law and urged the international community’s immediate attention to providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza. They supported in this regard the Secretary General’s call for the international community to work with the United Nations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift and sustainable reconstruction and recovery as well as for appropriate use of such aid. The Ministers reiterated their support for a two-State solution guided by the international legal framework previously in place, resulting in creating an independent and viable Palestinian State and based on the vision of a region where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.

30. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They expressed their conviction that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They also reaffirmed their support to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in full compliance with UNSC Resolution 2254. They welcomed in this context the importance of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, launched with the decisive participation of the countries-guarantors of the Astana Process and other states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means, and expressed their support to the efforts of Mr. Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria, to ensure the sustainable and effective work of the Committee. They reiterated their conviction that in order to reach general agreement, members of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines. They emphasized the fundamental importance of allowing unhindered humanitarian aid to all Syrians in accordance with the UN humanitarian principles and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria that would contribute to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin thus paving the way to achieving long-term stability and security in Syria and the region in general.

31. The Ministers expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict in Yemen which affects the security and stability not only of Yemen, but also of the entire region, and has caused what is being called by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis currently in the world. They called for a complete cessation of hostilities and the establishment of an inclusive, Yemeni-led negotiation process mediated by the UN. They also stressed the importance of providing urgent humanitarian access and assistance to all Yemenis.

32. The Ministers welcomed the formation of the new transitional Presidency Council and Government of National Unity in Libya as a positive development and hoped that it would promote reconciliation among all political parties and Libyan society, work towards restoration of peace and stability and conduct elections on 24 December 2021 to hand over power to the new government as per the wishes of the Libyan people. They also noted the important role of UN in this regard.

33. The Ministers noted that some of the planned activities under the RIC format could not take place in the physical format due to the global Covid-19 pandemic situation. They welcomed the outcomes of the 18th RIC Trilateral Academic Conference organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi (ICWA) in the video-conference format on 22-23 April 2021. In this context, they also commended the contribution of the Institute of Chinese Studies (New Delhi), Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and China Institute of International Studies (Beijing) in establishing the RIC Academic Conference as the premier annual analytical forum for deepening RIC cooperation in diverse fields.

34. The Ministers expressed their support to China to host Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

35. Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation thanked the External Affairs Minister of India for successful organization of the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting. External Affairs Minister of India passed on the chairmanship in the RIC format to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China. The date and venue of the next RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting will be agreed upon through the diplomatic channels.

Saudi & Lebanese guests clash over diplomatic crisis

NOVEMBER 12, 2021

Saudi & Lebanese guests clash over diplomatic crisis

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/video-saudi-lebanese-guests-clash-over-diplomatic-crisis/

Link to subtitled video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ga1OAOuoBQ

Description:

In a recent talk show program on RT Arabic, Saudi Major General Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani and Lebanese journalist Khalil Nasrallah engaged in tense, back-and-forth exchanges over the roots of the current diplomatic crisis between their two countries.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)

Date: November 5, 2021

Please help MEO keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true
A recent note by MEO on why they produce so few video translations & how you can help change that: 
http://middleeastobserver.net/on-why-we-produce-so-few-video-translations-how-you-can-change-that/

Transcript:

Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani, Saudi Major General:

Great Mr Kamal, the issue has gone beyond Kordahi, Kordahi’s resignation (from his position as Minister of Information) is not required – it won’t be enough (to fix Saudi-Lebanese ties), nor is it (manner) required (to resolve current issues), not even – clearly (saying) – not even the President (Michel Aoun), (Gebran) Bassil (Head of the FPM), or anyone (else’s apology would do), the issue (now) for Saudi Arabia (isn’t related to Kordahi anymore), (Saudi Arabia) very clearly says: ‘we wish (to deal with) Lebanon as a state, we do not wish (to deal with) a militia(-led) Lebanon’, meaning that Hezbollah is the one running Lebanon, hijacking (power) in Lebanon, and making peace and war decisions in Lebanon; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not accept this.

Moreover, (speaking to) brother Khalil and others (as well), why are they upset? Saudi Arabia has done nothing more than withdraw its ambassador (to Lebanon) and told the (Lebanese ambassador to the kingdom) to leave, we do not want to import drugs from Lebanon, what’s wrong with that? What harm (does it cause)? If this issue concerns them a lot, why this nervousness and arrogance? Why (would they) speak in such a way and why (do they act) in such a pathetic and desperate way? Let me assure you something, Hezbollah is hated by Lebanese in Lebanon, the people of Lebanon – (Hezbollah) ignores – (and I’m saying this) to you (too Mr) Khalil, (Hezbollah) ignores millions (of Lebanese people) and says ‘we are Lebanon’, ignoring the people of Lebanon. All the Lebanese people, or most of them, want to get rid of Hezbollah. Look Mr –

Host:

– this means –

al-Qahtani:

– (Allow me) for a few (more) seconds, look at (the situation in) Lebanon –

Host:

Mr Ghanem, you wish to say to Lebanon: ‘form a government that excludes Hezbollah, we wish to see a Lebanese government in which (there is no representation) of Hezbollah’, through these words you’re telling the Lebanese people: ‘you must exclude Hezbollah from the government and the political scene’, although it (Hezbollah) gained many votes –

Al-Qahtani:

(I’m not speaking about) exclusion, (I didn’t mean) the exclusion (of Hezbollah), Mr Kamal, (it’s not a matter of) exclusion, we demand Lebanese sovereignty. Is it (not) reasonable for Hezbollah to be a political component among the Lebanese, (a component) that forms, leads, and takes part in the governance of Lebanon? Should (Sayyed) Hassan Nasrallah do this? Brother, a few days ago, the man (Sayyed Nasrallah) came out (on TV) and said ‘we have a 100,000 fighters, I will crush Lebanon and (everyone) in Lebanon…’, so how would you deal with it? How would you hope for (good and stable) relations with a militant leading a state, hijacking its power? This is out of the question!

In the end – just a few seconds – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to my analysis, I’m not an official, (it) has passed all the boundaries, the choice is now in the hands of the Lebanese, they have an opportunity, they have the elections, they have the international community; France will not do them any good, nor will the US, the IMF is the one telling them ‘I will not lend you a single dollar before the election (takes place)’. (Yet,) what will the elections do? Will it put Hassan Nasrallah (in power) again? Let the Lebanese do whatever they want to, (let them) put Hassan Nasrallah –

Host:

– Good –

Al-Qahtani:

– as a leader affiliated to Iran, and (after all,) this is their (own) affair.

Host:

What do you have to say about that Mr Khalil Nasrallah? He says if Hezbollah was elected (by the Lebanese), let the (ballot) box and citizens elect him again, and (then) let Hezbollah and the ones supporting it in Iran do them (any) good.

Khalil Nasrallah, Lebanese Journalist:

Firstly, I wish to take the whole time I need, because the game of time is somehow leaning in favour of the (other) guest.

Al-Qahtani:

– do not interrupt me next time –

Nasrallah:

– in favour of Abdallah from Saudi Arabia –

Al-Qahtani:

– or else I’ll interrupt you, please! –

Nasrallah:

– The first point, –

Host:

– Yes please –

Nasrallah:

– He hasn’t lived in Lebanon, he doesn’t know (how things are in) Lebanon, he doesn’t know (the reality of) Lebanon at all, he hasn’t read anything about Lebanon, he doesn’t know about the electoral equations, he knows nothing about these numbers. He speaks what he hears on some (TV) channels, or maybe according to what is dictated (to him) by (certain sides) in a certain place.

Secondly, regarding the issue of the Arabic language, I’ve learned the Arabic language very well in Sanaa, so until now, it seems that he hasn’t heard the words of his eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah –

Al-Qahtani:

– where did you learn it? –

Nasrallah:

– (Nasrallah) the hero of the Arabs, he didn’t listen to him when he said –

Al-Qahtani:

– where did you and the Sayyed learn (Arabic)? –

Host:

– Mr Ghanem –

Nasrallah:

– Those 100,000 fighters are –

Al-Qahtani:

– Did you learn (Arabic) in Qom or Tehran? –

Host:

– (Just) a moment –

Nasrallah:

– (while another party) has a 15,000 fightesr in Lebanon and wants to ignite a civil war (in Lebanon), and is supported by the Saudi embassy, (and this man) is Samir Geagea (Head of the Lebanese Forces party). Sayyed Nasrallah said that day, (and he said it using) formal and eloquent Arabic, he clearly said: (I’ve mentioned the number of) these (fighters) to prevent a civil war in Lebanon, and we prepared them to defend Lebanon (against external aggression and threats); those (fighters) fought in Syria and are fighting against Israel. So, if this issue made Riyadh upset, it’s Riyadh’s problem to deal with –

Al-Qahtani:

– They fight in Syria against Israel? –

Nasrallah:

The third point, in everything Abdallah from Saudi Arabia has said – we (in fact) destroyed your (i.e., Saudi Arabia’s) scheme in Syria, we struck your scheme, we struck your (military) forces and the ‘Jaysh al-Islam’ –

Al-Qahtani:

– You fight Israel from Syria! –

Nasrallah:

– funded by Mohammed bin Nayef which was operated by Bandar bin Sultan in the beginning –

Al-Qahtani:

– Why don’t you fight Israel from Lebanon! –

Nasrallah:

– we know you (Saudis) very well. Thirdly, regarding the issue of –

Al-Qahtani:

– We too know you well –

Nasrallah:

– exporting of –

Al-Qahtani:

– we know you well, (we know) all of you militants –

Nasrallah:

– and accusing us of (exporting) Captagon (drugs), I wish that Saudi Arabia (understands) that Hezbollah does not export such substances. The second issue – and the most important point in this regard – is that they (Saudis) export suicide bombers to many Arab states. (The other) issue regarding the discourse of –

Al-Qahtani:

– How many (suicide bombers) have we exported to you in Lebanon? –

Nasrallah:

– Abdallah from Saudi Arabia, and the discourse of Saudis –

Al-Qahtani:

– how many Saudi (suicide bombers) have come to you, to Lebanon? –

Nasrallah:

– is that you have to do x, y, and z… what do you have to do with (Lebanon)? Whether Hezbollah is part of the (Lebanese) government or not? What do you have to do (with Lebanon’s internal affairs)? Mind your own problems, and mind your Yemen-related issues –

Al-Qahtani:

– and you, stay (concerned with the internal affairs of) Lebanon –

Nasrallah:

– Look (for solutions; what) should you do with the Yemen (issue) –

Al-Qahtani:

– Enjoy (having) Hezbollah (in Lebanon)! –

Nasrallah:

– the country which you have attacked in the first place. Above all –

Al-Qahtani:

– what do you have to do with Yemen?

Nasrallah:

More importantly, if you wish to see the extent of Saudi arrogance, the Saudi foreign minister said in his statement, very clearly – and clearly you’re free to jump in and talk over me, because they didn’t mute your microphone – if you go back to the Saudi foreign minister’s statement, (you’ll see) that he’s making impossible demands.

These impossible demands are the very same ones the Americans used to make, all US statements by the ambassador (to Lebanon), or David Hale used to speak of removing Hezbollah’s influence over the government, even though Hezbollah is not in control of the government…still they used to say that.

Host:

They also told you to form a technocratic government, and asked for everyone not to interfere, including Hezbollah…

Nasrallah:

When…when – the nature of the government is none of their business, neither the Americans’ nor anyone else’s, and the government turned out to be just as the Lebanese wanted it to be. This is very clear.

Host:

But that’s the French proposal. The proposal was to form a technocratic government…

The floor is yours Mr. Nasrallah…can you hear me?

Nasrallah:

Oh…no I didn’t hear you well…

Host:

What I said was that the French proposal was to form a technocratic government, a non-party government, and to keep all parties away from the government…and they later on said that it can be a technocratic government whose ministers are appointed by the different parties.

Nasrallah:

No, no, no…allow me to clarify. The French proposal, at first, was to form a national unity government that (espoused) a new political contract in Lebanon, which the Americans rejected. So, they proposed (a less effective solution of) forming a mission-driven government. “Mission-driven government” is somewhat an ambiguous term, and was part of what the Americans wanted, because at the time American pressure on Lebanon was at its highest. This led us to the formation of this government, not because a certain foreign power wanted this government to be formed, but because a certain party in Lebanon, Hezbollah, did not accept that the Lebanese people be humiliated, and brought in the fuel shipments, thereby forcing the Americans to accept the formation of a government in Lebanon, or at least to allow it to happen. By doing so, they overturned some previous objections, including (those of) the Saudis.

Not to stray too far off track, as for the Saudis, their main crisis is Yemen, that’s where their problem is. When they spoke with the Iranians, they made a few awkward suggestions…

Al-Qahtani:

Stick to Lebanon…(you have enough problems as it is)

Nasrallah:

…and the Iranians replied and told them that they should talk these things over with Hezbollah. This really irritated them (the Saudis). We understand how they deal with things, this mentality.

In Lebanon also, let me tell Abdallah something important, they (the Saudis) had some political forces whom they (encouraged) towards a civil war in 2017, and detained Lebanon’s Prime Minister (Saad Hariri), who also has Saudi citizenship.

Regardless of whether I agree with (Hariri) or not, the (Saudi) move was foiled.

Now, before the Tayouneh (massacre), and they (the Saudis) know full-well who they’re funding, the Lebanese Forces party, which is working for Saudi Arabia, has also failed in this task. They opened fire on civilians, and Hezbollah made a wise decision (to prevent any armed reaction).

Saudi options in Lebanon are now beginning to run out, and so they went toward this option (the diplomatic crisis over Kordahi)…and by the way, this business of cutting diplomatic relations has run counter to US wishes. The Americans did not agreed to the resignation of the Mikati government, they did not agree on a more severe embargo, and now the Saudis have begun to discover – and they will arrive to this conclusion in the near future – that they made a decision…just us the UN Secretary General says that the war on Yemen is foolish, this decision of theirs is also foolish. This is a decision that will have no favorable returns for them.

This show that they’ve put on, that the Bahraini government has followed in their stead, as well as the Hadi government in Riyadh, and the Abu Dhabi government…

Al-Qahtani:

What do we stand to lose?

Nasrallah:

…and so, in this next period, they’ll come to the realisation that they’ve made a wrong decision, and this decision will backfire. Let them go to Yemen, where they should talk to the government in Sana’a, peer to peer. This gamble of theirs will lose, and it has begun to lose, just as they’ve lost in other instances, they will also lose now.

Deconstructing Islamophobia (alas, a necessary repost)

November 09, 2021

Deconstructing Islamophobia (alas, a necessary repost)

Foreword: almost exactly two years ago I wrote a column entitled “Deconstructing Islamophobia“.  Yesterday, I posted an article about immigration which, alas, generated a few truly idiotic comments about “The Muslims they… bla bla bla” which I initially planned to reply to, but which I simply deleted in utter disgust.  Here I need to clarify, I was not disgusted by anybody’s dislike (or even hatred) for Islam or Muslims, not at all, I was disgusted by the utter stupidity of the “arguments” invoked.  So I decided that before writing my next column about issues of immigration, I would repost my “Deconstructing Islamophobia” as a reply to all those who believe that ignorant hatred is a form of piety.  On a more personal note, I am particularly ashamed when I see some (not all, thank God!) of my fellow Orthodox Christians parrot exactly the lines which the National-Zionists want to inject into our collective minds.  These are the type of folks which can’t even understand the truisms I listed yesterday, including these two truly basic ones:

  • Being FROM a Christian/Muslim country and actually BEING Christian/Muslim are two totally different propositions and the former does not in any way imply the latter.
  • To be considered as an adherent of religion X requires, at the minimum,  a) being aware of its main teachings and b) living your daily life in according to at least the main precepts of this religion.

So, especially for (some of) my fellow Orthodox Christians, I will add this: how would you like it if some Muslim, Buddhist or Judaic blamed the Orthodox Church for the Papacy’s Inquisition or Crusades, or blamed Orthodoxy for the actions of Cromwell in Ireland?  And if you began protesting the ludicrous nature of such accusations, your accuser would reply “the Christians they… bla bla bla“!  You would be pretty disgusted, wouldn’t you?  So you want the non-Orthodox to understand how different our faith is from the Papacy or Cromwell’s Puritanism and their innumerable crimes, yet you steadfastly refuse to even admit that the Muslim world is at least as diverse as the Christian one, and has been so during its entire history!

But hey – Who needs education and knowledge when hatred and bigotry are seen as acceptable, even pious, substitutes, right?!

Well, I want to you know that I am personally ashamed of this bigotry masquerading a piety and while in the current prevailing political doxa most people will side with you, I shall never, no matter what labels (crypto-Muslim being the kindest I saw) you place upon me.  And please remember that: I reject your theses not because I defend Islam or Muslim, but because you are ignorant bigots.

With that out of the way, I invite the rest of my readers to (re-)discover my two year old analysis.

Andrei

***

Introduction: a short survey of the cuckoo’s nest

My initial idea was to begin with a definition of “Islamophobia” but after looking around for various definitions, I decided to use my own, very primitive definition. I will define Islamophobia as the belief that Islam (the religion) and/or Muslims (the adherents to this religion) represent some kind of more or less coherent whole which is a threat to the West. These are two distinct arguments rolled up into one: the first part claims that Islam (the religion) represents some kind of threat to the West while the second part claims that the people who embrace Islam (Muslims) also represent some kind of threat to the West. Furthermore, this argument makes two crucial assumptions:

  1. there is such thing out there as a (conceptually sufficient) unitary Islam
  2. there are such people with (conceptually sufficient) common characteristics due to their adherence to Islam

Next, let’s summarize the “evidence” typically presented in support of this thesis:

  1. The god of Islam is not the same god as the God of Christianity
  2. The Muslim world was created by the sword
  3. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was an evil person
  4. Islam is incompatible with western democracy and represents a threat to what are referred to as “values” in the modern day West
  5. Muslims have treated Christians horribly in many different historical instances
  6. Muslims often turn to terrorism and commit atrocities
  7. Islam is socially regressive and seeks to impose medieval values on a modern world

There are more such as these, but these, I believe, are the main ones.

What is crucial here is to point out that this evidence relies both on theological arguments (#1 #4 #7), and historical arguments (#2 #3 #5 #6).

Finally, there is a most interesting phenomenon which, for the time being, we shall note, but only discuss later: the legacy corporate Ziomedia on one hand denounces Islamophobia as a form of “racism” but yet, at the same time, the very same circles which denounce Islamophobia are also the ones which oppose all manifestations of real traditional Islam. This strongly suggests that the study of this apparent paradox can, if carefully analyzed, yield some most interesting results, but more about that later.

Of course, all of the above is sort of a “bird’s eye” view of Islamophobia in the West. Once we go down to the average Joe Sixpack level, all of the above is fused into one “forceful” slogan as this one:

This kind of crude fearmongering is targeted at the folks who don’t realize that the USA is not “America” and who, therefore, probably don’t have the foggiest notion of what Sharia law is or how it is adjudicated by Islamic courts.

[I have lived in the USA for a total of 22 years and have observed something very interesting: there is a unique mix of ignorance and fear which, in the USA, is perceived as “patriotic”. A good example of this kind of “patriotism through ignorance” is in the famous song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” by Alan Jackson which includes the following words: “I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God“. Truth be told, the same song also asked in reference to 9/11 “Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue?“. Why exactly the massacre of 9/11 should elicit patriotic pride is explained as follows “And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?“. Thus when the “United American Committee” declares that Sharia law is a threat to “America” the folks raised in this culture of fear and patriotism immediately “get it”. David Rovics hilariously described this mindset in his song “Evening News” where he says: “Evil men are plotting, to blow up Washington, DC, ’cause they don’t like freedom and democracy, they’re fans of the Dark Ages, they are all around, they’re marching from the desert sands, and coming to your town“. I have had the fortune of visiting all the continents of our planet (except Oceania) and I can vouch that this blend of fear+patriotic fervor is something uniquely, well, not “American” but “USAnian”.]

Having quickly surveyed the Islamophobic mental scenery, we can now turn to a logical analysis of the so-called arguments of the Islamophobes.

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions: a unitary Islam

Let’s take the arguments one by one beginning with the argument of a unitary Islam.

Most of us are at least vaguely aware that there are different Islamic movements/schools/traditions in different countries. We have heard of Shias and Sunni, some have also heard about Alawites or Sufism. Some will even go so far as remembering that Muslim countries can be at war with each other, and that some Muslims (the Takfiris) only dream about killing as many other Muslims (who, obviously, don’t share the exact same beliefs) and that, in fact, movements like al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc have murdered other Muslims in huge numbers. So the empirical evidence strongly suggest that this notion of a Muslim or Islamic unity is factually simply wrong.

Furthermore, we need to ask the obvious question: what *is* Islam?

Now, contrary to the hallucinations of some especially dull individuals, I am not a Muslim. So what follows is my own, possibly mistaken, understanding of what “core Islam” is. It is the acceptance of the following formula “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God” or “lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh muḥammadun rasūlu llā“. Note that “Allah” is not a name, it is the word “God” and “rasul” can be translated as “prophet”. There are also the so-called Five Pillars of Islam:

  • The Shahada or profession of faith “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God
  • The Salat or a specific set of daily prayers
  • The Zakat or alms giving
  • The Sawm or fasting
  • The Hadjj or pilgrimage to Mecca

That’s it! A person who fully embraces these five pillars is considered a Muslim. Or at least, so it would appear. The reality is, of course, much more complex. For the time being, I will just note that in this “core Islam” there is absolutely nothing, nothing at all, which could serve as evidence for any of the Islamophobic theories. Yes, yes, I know, I can already hear the Islamophobes’ objections: you are ignoring all the bad stuff in the Quran, you are ignoring all the bad stuff about spreading Islam by the sword, you are ignoring all the bad things Muhammad did in his life, you are ignoring the many local traditions and all the normative examples of the tradition (Sunnah and it’s Hadiths). Yeah, except you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say:

  1. Islam is inherently evil/dangerous AND
  2. use local/idiosyncratic beliefs and actions to prove your point!

If Islam by itself is dangerous, then it has to be dangerous everywhere it shows up, irrespective of the region, people, time in history or anything else.

If we say that sometimes Islam is dangerous and sometimes it is not, then what we need to look into is not the core elements of the Islamic faith, but instead we need to identify those circumstances in which Islam was not a threat to anybody and those circumstances when Islam was a threat to others.

Furthermore, if your argument is really based on the thesis that Islam is evil always and everywhere, then to prove it wrong all I need to do is find one, just ONE, example where Muslims and non-Muslims have lived in peace together for some period of time.

[Sidebar: while I was working on my Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies I had the fortune of having the possibility to take a couple of courses outside my field of specialization and I decided to take the most “exotic” course I could find in SAIS‘ curriculum and I chose a course on Sharia law. This was an excellent decision which I never regretted. Not only was the course fascinating, I had the chance of writing a term paper on the topic “The comparative status of Orthodox Christians in history under Muslim and Latin rule“. My first, and extremely predictable, finding was that treatment of Orthodox Christians by Muslim rulers ranged from absolutely horrible and even genocidal to very peaceful and kind. Considering the long time period considered (14 centuries) and the immense geographical realm covered (our entire planet from Morocco to Indonesia and from Russia to South Africa), this is hardly surprising. The core beliefs of Islam might be simple, but humans are immensely complicated beings who always end up either adding a local tradition or, at least, defending one specific interpretation of Islam. My second finding was much more shocking: on average the status of Orthodox Christians under the Papacy was much worse than under Muslim rule. Again, I am not comparing the status of Orthodox Serbs under Ottoman rule with the status of Orthodox Christians in modern Italy. These are extreme examples. But I do claim that there is sort of a conceptual linear regression which strongly suggests to us that there is a predictive (linear) model which can be used to make predictions and that the most obvious lesson of history is that the absolute worst thing which can happen to Orthodox Christians is to fall under their so-called “Christian brothers” of the West. A few exceptions here and there do not significantly affect this model. I encourage everybody to take the time to really study the different types of Muslim rulers in history, if only to appreciate how much diversity you will find].

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions: the “Muslim god” vs the “Christian God”

This is just about the silliest anti-Muslim argument I have ever heard and it come from folks inhabiting the far left side of a Bell Curve. It goes something like this:

We, Christians, have our true God as God, whereas the Muslims have Allah, which is not the God of the Christians. Thus, we worship different gods.

Of course, the existence of various gods or one, single, God does not depend on who believes in Him or who worships Him. If we can agree on the notion that God is He Who created all of Creation, and if we agree that both Christians (all denominations) and Muslims (all schools) believe that they are worshiping that God then, since there is only one real/existing God, we do worship the same God simply because there are not “other” gods.

I wonder what those who say that “Muslims worship another god” think when they read the following words of Saint Paul to the Athenian pagans: “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). What Saint Paul told them is that they ignorantly worship a god whom, in spite of that ignorant worship, Saint Paul declared to them. I submit that “ignorant worship” is not an insult, but a diagnosis of heterodoxy, and that such an “ignorant worship” can nonetheless be sincere.

The issue is not WHOM we worship, but HOW we worship (in terms of both praxis and doxa).

And yes, here the differences between Christians and Muslims are huge indeed.

In my 2013 article “Russia and Islam, part eight: working together, a basic “how-to”” I discussed the immense importance of these differences and how we ought to deal with them. I wrote:

The highest most sacred dogmatic formulation of Christianity is the so-called “Credo” or “Symbol of Faith” (full text here; more info here). Literally every letter down to the smallest ‘i of this text is, from the Christian point of view, the most sacred and perfect dogmatic formulation, backed by the full authority of the two Ecumenical Councils which proclaimed it and all the subsequent Councils which upheld it. In simple terms – the Symbol of Faith is absolutely non-negotiable, non-re-definable, non-re-interpretable, you cannot take anything away from it, and you cannot add anything to it. You can either accept it as is, in toto, or reject it.

The fact is that Muslims would have many problems with this text, but one part in particular is absolutely unacceptable to any Muslim:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made

This part clearly and unambiguously affirms that Jesus-Christ was not only the Son of God but actually God Himself. This is expressed by the English formulation “of one essence with the Father” (ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί in Greek with the key term homousios meaning “consubstantial”). This is *THE* core belief of Christianity: that Jesus was the the anthropos, the God-Man or God incarnate. This belief is categorically unacceptable to Islam which says that Christ was a prophet and by essence a ‘normal’ human being.

For Islam, the very definition of what it is to be a Muslim is found in the so-called “Shahada” or testimony/witness. This is the famous statement by which a Muslim attests and proclaims that “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”. One can often also hear this phrased as “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is His prophet”.

Now without even going into the issue of whether Christians can agree or not that “Allah” is the appropriate name for God (some do, some don’t – this is really irrelevant here), it’s the second part which is crucial here: Christianity does not recognize Muhammad as a prophet at all. In fact, technically speaking, Christianity would most likely classify Muhammad as a heretic (if only because of his rejection of the “Symbol of Faith”). Saint John of Damascus even called him a ‘false prophet’. Simply put: there is no way a Christian can accept the “Shahada” without giving up his Christianity just as there is no way for a Muslim to accept the “Symbol of Faith” without giving up his Islam.

So why bother?

Would it not make much more sense to accept that there are fundamental and irreconcilable differences between Christianity and Islam and simply give up all that useless quest for points of theological agreement? Who cares if we agree on the secondary if we categorically disagree on the primary? I am all in favor of Christians studying Islam and for Muslims studying Christianity (in fact, I urge them both to do so!), and I think that it is important that the faithful of these religions talk to each other and explain their points of view as long as this is not presented as some kind of quest for a common theological stanceDifferences should be studied and explained, not obfuscated, minimized or overlooked.

Bottom line is this: it is PRECISELY because Islam and Christianity are completely incompatible theologically (and even mutually exclusive!) that there is no natural enmity between these two religions unless, of course, some Christian or Muslim decides that he has to use force to promote this religion. And let’s be honest, taken as a whole Christianity’s record on forced conversions and assorted atrocities is at least as bad as Islam’s, or even worse. Of course, if we remove the Papacy from the overall Christian record, things looks better. If then we also remove the kind of imperialism Reformed countries engaged in, it looks even better. But even Orthodox rulers have, on occasion, resorted to forceful conversions and mass murder of others.

And here, just as in Islam, we notice that Christians also did not always spread their faith by love and compassion, especially once Christian rulers came to power in powerful empires or nations.

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions: Islam was spread by the sword

In reality the “Islam spread by the sword” is a total canard, at least when we hear it from folks who defend “democracy” but who stubbornly refuse to concede that 1) most democracies came to power by means of violent revolutions and that 2) just a look at a newspaper today (at least a non-western newspaper) will tell you that democracy is STILL spread by the sword. As for the USA as country, it was built on by far the biggest bloodbath in history. If anything, Sharia law and Islam could teach a great deal to the country which:

  1. spends more on aggression than the rest of the world combined
  2. has the highest percentage of people incarcerated (and most of these for non-violent crimes)
  3. whose entire economy is based on the military-industrial complex
  4. and who is engaged in more simultaneous wars of choice than any other country in history

So “Sharia Law Threatens America” is a lie. And this is the truth:

Was Islam really spread by the sword?

Maybe. But anybody making that claim better make darn sure that his/her religion, country or ideology has a much better record. If not, then this is pure hypocrisy!

Finally, I will also note that Christ said “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). In contrast, the Prophet of Islam established the first Islamic state in Medina. So when we compare Muhammad’s actions to Christ, a better comparison should be with the various Christian rulers (including Byzantine ones) and we will soon find out that the Christian Roman Empire also used the sword on many occasions.

Next:

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions: the Prophet of Islam was a bad man

You must have all sorts of stories about how the Prophet Muhammad did things we would disapprove of. I won’t list them here simply because the list of grievances is a little different in each case. I actually researched some of these accusations (about marrying young girls, or sentencing people to death for example) and in each case, there is a very solid Muslim defense of these incidents which is almost always ignored and which provides a crucial context to, at least, the better understanding of the incident discussed.

Since I am not a historian or a biographer of the Prophet Muhammad I don’t have any personal opinion on these accusations other than stating the obvious: I am not a Muslim and I don’t have to decide whether Muhammad was a sinful man or a infallible person (that is a purely theological argument). I will simply say that this ad hominem is only relevant to the degree that some Muslims would consider each action of their prophet as normative and not historical. Furthermore, even if they would consider each action of their prophet as normative, we need to recall here that we are dealing with a prophet, not a God-Man, and that therefore the comparison ought not to be made with Christ, whom Christians believe to be 100% sinless, but with a Christian prophet, say Moses, whom no real Christian will ever declare sinless or infallible. As for the Quran, let’s not compare it to just the New Testament but to all the books of the Bible taken together, including those who were eventually re-interpreted by the new religion of (some) Jews after the fall of Jerusalem: rabbinical/Phariseic Talmudism which found plenty of passages in its (deliberately falsified) “Masoretic” text of the Old Testament “Tanakh” (please see here if you don’t know what falsification I am referring to).

Finally, NO religious text worth anything is self-explanatory or “explains itself” by means of comparing passages. This is also why all major religions have a large corpus of texts which explain, interpret, expand upon and otherwise give the (deceptively simple looking) text its real, profound, meaning. Furthermore, most major religions also have a rich oral tradition which also sheds light on written religious documents. Whatever may be the case, simply declaring that “Islam is a threat” because we don’t approve of the actions of the founder of Islam is simply silly. The next accusation is much more material:

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions:Islam is incompatible with democracy

That is by far the most interesting argument and one which many Muslims would agree with! Of course, it all depends on what you mean by “democracy”. Let me immediately concede that if by “democracy” you mean this:

Then, indeed, Islam is incompatible with modern western democracy. But so is (real) Christianity!

So the so-called “West” has to decide what its core values are. If Conchita Wurst is an embodiment of “democracy” then Islam and Christianity are both equally incompatible with it. Orthodox Christianity, for sure, has not caved in to the homo-lobby in the same way most western Christian denominations have.

But if by “democracy” we don’t mean “gay pride” parades but rather true pluralism, true people-power, and the real sovereignty of the people, then what I call “core Islam” is not threat to democracy at all. None. However, there is also no doubt about two truisms:

  1. Some Muslim states are profoundly reactionary and freedom crushing
  2. Traditional Islam is incompatible with many modern “western values”

Still, it is also very easy to counter these truism with the following replies

  1. Some Muslim states are pluralistic, progressive and defend the oppressed (Muslim or not)
  2. Traditional Christianity is incompatible with modern “western values”

Again, Iran is, in my opinion, the perfect illustration of a pluralistic (truly diverse!), progressive and freedom defending Muslim state. I simply don’t have the time and place to go into a detailed discussion of the polity of Iran (I might have to do that in a future article), and for the time being I will point you to the hyper-pro-Zionist Wikipedia article (which nobody will suspect of being pro-Muslim or pro-Iranian) about the “Politics of Iran” which will show you two things: Iran is an “Islamic Republic” meaning that it is a republic, yes, but one which has Islam as its supreme law. There is absolutely nothing inherently less democratic about a Islamic republic which has a religion as its supreme law than a atheistic/secular republic which has a constitution as its supreme law. In fact, some countries don’t even have a constitution (the UK and Israel come to mind). As for the Iranian polity, it has a very interesting system of checks and balances which a lot of countries would do well to emulate (Russia for starters).

As for modern “western values”, they are completely incompatible with Christianity (the real, original, unadulterated thing) even if they are very compatible with modern western (pseudo-) Christian denominations.

So, now the question becomes: is there something profoundly incompatible between the real, traditional, Islam and the real, traditional, Christianity? I am not talking about purely theological differences here, but social and political consequences which flow from theological differences. Two immediately come to my mind (but there are more, of course):

  • The death penalty, especially for apostasy
  • Specific customs (dress code, ban on alcohol, separation of genders in various settings, etc.)

The first one, this is really a non-issue because while traditional, Patristic, Christianity has a general, shall we say, “inclination” against the death penalty, this has not always been the case in all Orthodox countries. So while we can say that by and large Orthodox Christians are typically not supporters of the death penalty, this is not a theological imperative or any kind of dogma. In fact, modern Russia has implemented a moratorium on the death penalty (to join the Council of Europe – hardly a moral or ethical reason) but most of the Russian population favor its re-introduction. Note that Muslims in Russia are apparently living their lives in freedom and overall happiness and when they voice grievances (often legitimate ones), they don’t have “reintroduce the death penalty” as a top priority demand.

The simple truth is that each country has to decide for itself whether it was the use the death penalty or not. Once a majority of voters have made that decision, members of each religion will have to accept that decision as a fact of law which can be criticized, but not one which can be overturned by any minority.

As for religious tribunals, they can be easily converted by the local legislature into a “mediation firm” which can settle conflicts, but only if both sides agree to recognize it’s authority. So if two Muslims want their dispute to be settled by an Islamic Court, the latter can simply act as a mediator as long as its decision does not violate any local or national laws. Hardly something non-Muslims (who could always refuse to recognize the Islamic Court) need to consider a “threat” to their rights or lifestyles.

An “Islamic Matrioshka”?!

As for the social customs, here it is really a no-brainer: apply Islamic rules to those who chose to be Muslims and let the other people live their lives as they chose to. You know, “live and let live”. Besides, in terms of dress code and gender differentiation, traditional Islam and traditional Christianity are very close.

Check out this typical Russian doll, and look at what she is wearing: this was the traditional Russian dress for women for centuries and this is still what Orthodox women (at least those who still follow ancient Christian customs) wear in Church.

Furthermore, if you go into a Latin parish in southern Europe or Latin America, you will often find women covering their heads, not only in church, but also during the day. The simple truth is that these clothes are not only modest and beautiful, they are also very comfortable and practical.

The thing which Islamophobes always miss is that they take examples of laws and rules passed by some Muslim states and assume that this is how all Muslim states will always act. But this is simply false. Let’s take the example of Hezbollah (that name means “party of God”, by the way) in Lebanon which has clearly stated on many occasions that it has no intention of transforming Lebanon into a Shia-only state. Not only did Hezbollah say that many times, but they acted on it and they always have had a policy of collaboration with truly patriotic Christians (of any denomination). Even in today’s resistance (moqawama) there are Christians who are not members of Hezbollah as a party (and why would they when this is clearly and officially a Muslim party and not a Christian one?!), but they are part of the military resistance.

[Sidebar: by the way, the first female suicide bomber in Lebanon was not a Muslim. She was a 18 year old from an Orthodox family who joined Syrian Social Nationalist Party and blew herself up in her car on an Israeli checkpoint (inside Lebanon, thus a legitimate target under international law!), killing two Israeli invaders and injuring another twelve. Her name was Sana’a Mehaidli]

A Hezbollah fighter respectfully picks up an image of the Mother of God from the ruins of a church destroyed by US-backed Takfiris

Recent events in Syria were also very telling: when the AngloZionist Empire unleashed its aggression against Syria and the “good terrorists” of al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/ISIS/etc. embarked in a wholesale program of massacres and atrocities, everybody ran for their lives, including all the non-Takfiri Muslims. Then, when the plans of the Axis of Kindness (USA, KSA, Israel) were foiled by the combined actions of Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, something interesting happened: the Latin Christians left, whereas the Orthodox Christians stayed (source). Keep in mind that Syria is *not* an Islamic state, yet the prospects of a Muslim majority was frightening enough for the Latins to flee even though the Orthodox felt comfortable staying. What do these Orthodox Christians know?

Could it be that elite traditionalist Shia soldiers represent no threat to Orthodox Christians?

Deconstructing the phobia’s assumptions: Islam generates terrorism

In fact, there is some truth to that too. But I would re-phrase it as: the AngloZionists in their hatred for anything Russian, including Soviet Russian, identified a rather small and previously obscure branch of Islam in Saudi Arabia which they decided to unleash against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. From the first day, these Takfiris were federated by the USA and financed by the House of Saud. The latter, in its fear of being overthrown by the Takfiris, decided to appease them by internationally supporting their terrorism (that is all Takfiris have to offer, their leaders are not respected scholars, to put it mildly). Since that time, the Takfiris have been the “boots on the ground” used by the West against all its enemies: Serbia, Russia first, but then also secular (Syria) or anti-Takfiri Muslim states (Iran).

So it is not “Islam” which generates terrorism: it is western (AngloZionist) imperialism.

The US and Israel are, by a wide margin, the biggest sponsors of terrorism (just as the West was always by far the biggest source of imperialism in history) and while they want to blame “Islam” for most terrorist attacks, the truth is that behind every such “Muslim” attack we find a western “deep state” agents acting, from the GIA in Algeria, to al-Qaeda in Iraq to al-Nusra in Syria to, most crucially, 9/11 in New York. These were all events created and executed by semi-literate Takfiri patsies who were run by agents of the western deep states.

As far as I know, all modern terrorist groups are, in reality, “operated by remote control” by state actors who alone can provide the training, know-how, finances, logistical support, etc needed by the terrorists.

And here is an interesting fact: the two countries which have done the most to crush Takfiri terrorism are Russia and Iran. But the collective West is still categorically refusing to work with these countries to crush the terrorism these western states claim to be fighting.

So, do you really believe that the West is fighting terrorism?

If yes, I got a few bridges to sell all over the planet.

Conclusion: cui bono? the so-called “liberals”

There are many more demonstratively false assumptions which are made by the AngloZionist propaganda machine. I have only listed a few. Now we can look to the apparent paradox in which we see the western “liberals” both denouncing Islamophobia and, at the same time, repeating all the worst cliches about Islam. In this category, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are the most egregious examples of this hypocrisy because while pretending to be friends of Muslims, they got more Muslims killed than anybody else. For western liberals, Islam is a perfect pretext to, on one hand, cater to minorities (ethnic or religious) while pretending to be extremely tolerant of others. Western liberals use Islam in the West, as a way to force the locals to give up their traditions and values. You could say that western liberals “love” Islam just like they “love” LGBTQIAPK+ “pride” parades: simply and only as a tool to crush the (still resisting) majority of the people in the West who have not been terminally brainwashed by the AngloZionist legacy corporate propaganda machine.

Conclusion: cui bono? the so-called “conservatives”

Western conservatism is dead. It died killed by two main causes: the abject failure of National-Socialism (which was an Anglo plan to defeat the USSR) and by its total lack of steadfastness of the western conservatives who abandoned pretty much any and all principles they were supposed to stand for. Before the 1990s, the conservative movements of the West were close to fizzling out into nothingness, but then the Neocons (for their own, separate, reasons) began pushing the “Islamic threat” canard and most conservatives jumped on it in the hope of using it to regain some relevance. Some of these conservatives even jumped on the “Christian revival in Russia” theory (which is not quite a canard, but which is also nothing like what the Alt-Righters imagine it to be) to try to revive their own, long dead, version of “Christianity”. These are desperate attempts to find a source of power and relevance outside a conservative movement which is basically dead. Sadly, what took the place of the real conservative movement in the West is the abomination known as “National Zionism” (which I discussed here) and whose ideological cornerstone is a rabid, hysterical, Islamophobia.

Conclusion: cui bono? the US deep state

That one is easy and obvious: the US deep state needs the “Islamic threat” canard for two reasons: to unleash against its enemies and to terrify the people of the USA so that they accept the wholesale destruction of previously sacred civil rights. This is so obvious that there is nothing to add here. I will only add that I am convinced that the US deep state is also supporting both the Alt-Right phenomenon and the various “stings” against so-called “domestic terrorists” (only only Muslims, by the way). What the Neocons and their deep-state need above all is chaos and crises which they used to shape the US political landscape.

Finally, the real conclusion: rate the source! always rate the source…

Whom did we identify as the prime sources of Islamophobia? The liberals who want to seize power on behalf of a coalition of minorities, conservatives who have long ditched truly conservative values and deep state agents who want to terrify US Americans and kill the enemies of the AngloZionist Empire.

I submit to you that these folks are most definitely not your friends. In fact, they are your real enemy and, unlike various terrorists abroad who are thousands of miles away from the USA, these real enemies are not only here, they are already in power and rule over you! And they are using Islam just like a matador uses a red cape: to distract you from the real threat: National Zionism. This is true in the US as it is true in the EU.

Chechens in Novorussia

Most westerners are now conditioned to react with fear and horror when they hear “Allahu Akbar”. This is very predictable since most of what is shown in the western media is Takfiris screaming “Allahu Akbar” before cutting the throats of their victims (or rejoicing at the suffering/death of “infidels”).

Yet in the Donbass, the local Orthodox Christians knew that wherever that slogan (which simply means “God is greater” or “God is the greatest”) was heard the Ukronazis are on the run. And now we see Russia sending mostly Muslim units to Syria to protect not only Muslims, but everybody who needs protection.

Having a sizable Muslim minority in Russia, far from being any kind of threat, as turned to be a huge advantage for Russia in her competition against the AngloZionist Empire.

There are, by the way, also Chechens fighting on the other side in this conflict: the very same Takfiris who were crushed and expelled from Chechnia by the joint efforts of the Chechen people and the Russian armed forces. So, again, we have Muslims on both sides, the Takfiris now happily united with the Nazis and the traditionalist Muslims of Kadyrov protecting the people of Novorussia.

That is one, amongst many more, nuances which the Islamophobic propaganda always carefully chooses to ignore.

Should you?

The Saker

Iran’s Shamkhani: US Acted Deceptively Towards Issue of Peace in Afghanistan

Nov 10, 2021

Iran’s Shamkhani: US Acted Deceptively Towards Issue of Peace in Afghanistan

By Staff, Agencies

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said the US has acted deceptively towards the issue of peace in Afghanistan, stressing that it has no plan for peace in the country.

Addressing the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan on Wednesday, Shamkhani spoke about the previous summits hosted by Tehran.

A number of issues related to Afghanistan such as tackling the threat of terrorism, and helping to develop the country were discussed in the summits, he said, adding that all participants agreed that peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan are in the common interest of the regional countries.

Peace is the general will of all people in Afghanistan, Shamkhani also noted, adding, “But the United States acted deceptively towards the issue of peace in Afghanistan.”

Twenty years ago, the United States occupied Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting against terrorism and establishing peace in this country, he said.

However, what Americans brought to Afghanistan was the growing terrorism, drug trafficking, migration, poverty, and massacre of a large number of innocent people in Afghanistan.

Eventually, the United States was forced to flee the country with a tragic defeat, he added.

Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran, regional countries, and Afghan parties are trying to move toward programs that are in the benefit of all oppressed people in Afghanistan

The United Nations also should focus on consulting and assisting Afghanistan in this field, Shamkhani stressed.

According to the Iranian official, the attempt of some countries to transfer takfiri terrorist groups into Afghanistan, poverty, and the humanitarian crisis, as well as the immigration crisis, are three major problems that today Afghanistan is facing.

In the end, Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council stressed that everyone must make a concerted effort to establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan, to help solve the problems of the Afghan people, and to address the humanitarian crisis in this country.

In this regard, Iran is ready to provide all its facilities such as communication routes and port facilities, including Chabahar Port, to solve this problem.

Forming an inclusive national government with the participation of all ethnic groups is the way to save Afghanistan, he said, underscoring that Iran will also spare no effort for the benefit of the Afghan government and people.

Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

August 05, 2021

Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4834791

1.      The goal of the 76-th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) is to reaffirm the central and coordinating role of the Organization in international affairs. Owing to its representativeness and universality, the UN is rightfully viewed as a unique platform for an equitable dialogue aimed at reaching compromise solutions with due regard to different opinions. Attempts to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the UN are, in our view, extremely dangerous, as they can lead to the dismantlement of the multipolar system of international relations.

2.      We have consistently advocated the strengthening of the genuine multilateral framework of international relations and world economy based on the norms of international law, including the UN Charter, with an emphasis on the unconditional respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. We deem unacceptable the attempts of Western States to replace the universally recognized international legal principles with the so-called “rules-based world order” elaborated behind the scenes.

3.      We support the coordinated efforts of the international community to curb the spread of the new coronavirus infection as well as to mitigate its consequences in the political, health care, social and economic sectors. In this regard, we consider it unacceptable to politicize the issue of COVID-19 dissemination. We also stress the importance of showing unity and solidarity among all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system in the face of a common challenge. Russia stands for a gradual return to the face-to-face format of events at the UN as the epidemiological situation in the world improves.

4.      Preventing conflicts and addressing their consequences is our first priority. However, effective international assistance in this sphere, including from the UN, is only possible with the consent of the States concerned and in line with the UN Charter. This applies equally to good offices, preventive diplomacy and mediation, which should be conducted impartially and with respect for the sovereignty of States. It is crucial that there should be no universal “conflict indicators”: each situation calls for a delicate and unbiased approach as well as a thorough search for a tailored solution that would take into account the roots and history of the conflict.

5.        We believe that the goal of the UN Security Council reform is to increase the representation of developing States from Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Council without prejudice to its effectiveness and operational efficiency. Efforts to identify the best reform model, which would enjoy consensus or at least the support of the overwhelming majority of Member States, should continue in the current format of Intergovernmental Negotiations. The prerogatives of the UNSC permanent members shall not be subject to revision. The veto power is a unique tool that encourages the necessary compromises and allows the Council to reach well-considered and balanced decisions.

6.        We support realistic initiatives to revitalize the work of the UN General Assembly within the relevant Ad Hoc Working Group. We attach particular importance to fine-tuning the UNGA working methods, streamlining its overloaded agenda and strengthening multilingualism. Any innovation should be reasonable and correspond to the current needs. Any redistribution of the powers of other statutory bodies, especially the Security Council, in favour of the General Assembly is unacceptable.

7.      We support increased cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in line with the UN Charter, first and foremost, its Chapter VIII. The activities of regional associations, according to the UN Charter, should be in conformity with their objectives and principles. It is essential to further enhance partnership between the UN and such organizations as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the BRICS and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The biennial resolutions on cooperation between the UN and the CIS, the CSTO and the SCO, uunanimously adopted at the previous 75th UNGA Session, prove the relevance of this task.

8.      The distortion of history and revision of the outcomes of World War II are unacceptable. We attach particular importance to the annual UNGA draft resolution on Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and Other Practices that Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This document has traditionally enjoyed the support of the majority of UN Member States. We call on the delegations that abstained or voted against this initiative last year to reconsider their position.

9.      The destructive policies of certain extra-regional players in the Middle East and North Africa are clearly part of a global strategy to destroy the UN‑centric architecture established after World War II and replace it with a completely illegitimate “rules-based world order”.

We support the international legal parameters for resolving conflicts in this region agreed upon at the UN and implemented solely through political and diplomatic means. Our proposal to create a regional security architecture in the Persian Gulf and, in the longer term, throughout the whole Middle East remains on the table.

10.      One of the top priorities in the Middle East is the Syrian settlement. Achieving lasting and long-term stabilisation and security in the country is only possible through the full restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its national territory. The continuation of the fight against international terrorist groups recognized as such by the UN Security Council remains critical.

On the political track, we support the promotion of a Syrian-led settlement process implemented by the Syrian people themselves with the UN assistance, as provided for in UNSC resolution 2254. We have consistently supported the relevant work of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Geir Pedersen, but also stressed that his efforts should not go beyond the mandate defined by the Security Council.

There is growing concern about the significant deterioration of the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Syrian Arab Republic against the backdrop of tougher unilateral sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on responsible members of the international community to refrain from politicising purely humanitarian issues and render assistance to all Syrians in coordination with Damascus, provide for sanctions exemptions for reconstruction projects and facilitate the return of refugees and IDPs.

11.       We are convinced that one of the foundations for establishing peace and security in the Middle East is the revival of the Middle East settlement process with the resolution of the Palestinian problem at its core.

We attach key importance to preventing an escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israelis and to providing extensive humanitarian assistance to those affected and in need in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the same time, we advocate for the restart of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all issues concerning the final status on the universally recognized international legal basis, including a two-State solution. We call on the parties to show restraint, to refrain from unilateral steps and provocative actions (forced evictions, expropriation of houses and land, settlement construction, arbitrary arrests and any forms of violence) as well as to respect the special status and integrity of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem.

We consider it imperative to step up efforts within the framework of the Middle East Quartet, including its interaction with regional actors. We support the arrangement of a Quartet meeting at the ministerial level.

12.    We believe that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Libya. We highlight the need to take into account the views of all Libyan sides, including while planning for international assistance aimed at putting an end to the conflict. We engage with all parties and call for an early cessation of hostilities and the restoration of sustainable and integrated state institutions, including security agencies.

We support the observance of the ceasefire and a political and diplomatic settlement in Libya. All influential political forces should be heard and involved in the political life of the country. We welcome the formation of the Government of National Unity aimed at making arrangements for the national elections scheduled for December 2021. We encourage Libyan actors to seek compromise and to establish strong and effective unified authorities. We support the activities of Special Envoy Ján Kubiš.

13.    We advocate for the cessation of hostilities in Yemen, which exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in the country. We urge the States involved to engage in the dialogue with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement which would be accepted by all stakeholders in Yemen.

14.    We support the Iraqi leadership’s efforts to stabilize security situation and implement long-term social and economic reforms. We emphasize the significance of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. It is important that they contribute to bridging the divide between various ethnic and religious groups and political forces. We welcome the dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil. We believe that Iraq should not be subject to external interference and become an arena for regional rivalries.

15.    We consistently pursue the policy aimed at facilitating the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan. We provide assistance in building a country free from terrorism and drug-related crime. We are seriously concerned about the continuing influence of ISIS in the north and north east of the country as well as the threat of the spillover of terrorist activities into Central Asia and the use of a deteriorating domestic political environment to undermine the peace process. Together with our partners within the “Troika Plus” and with the participation of both Afghan negotiating teams we are working to advance national reconciliation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We attach particular importance to regional co-operation, primarily through the SCO and the CSTO. We note the continuing relevance of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan. We support the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

16.    There is no alternative to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, enshrined in UNSC resolution 2202, as a framework for the internal settlement in Ukraine. Effective international assistance, including through the UN, should be aimed at implementing this decision and supporting the current settlement format, which includes the Contact Group in Minsk and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

Sustainable political and diplomatic settlement of the internal crisis in Ukraine can only be achieved through a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass, while taking into account the legitimate demands of all the regions of Ukraine and its linguistic, ethnic and sectarian groups at the constitutional level. We will continue to actively assist in addressing the acute humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, which has persisted for many years and was brought about by the actions of the authorities in Kiev.

We insist on a full, thorough and independent international investigation of the MH17 plane crash over the Ukrainian territory based on irrefutable facts and in line with UNSC resolution 2166. Neither the technical investigation into the causes of the Malaysian Boeing crash conducted by the Dutch Safety Board nor the criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team meet these criteria.

We expect that all cases of violence against civilians and journalists that have occurred since the beginning of the internal crisis in Ukraine will be investigated fairly and impartially, and that all those responsible will be brought to justice.

17.       The territorial status of Crimea was definitively determined by the Crimean population itself during a referendum in March 2014. Any discussions on the situation in this Russian region that do not involve its residents bear no relation to reality. This issue as well as the situation around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, which lies within the scope of the Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relations, cannot be part of the UN-led discussion on the developments in Ukraine.

We condemn the efforts of the Ukrainian delegation to introduce the Crimean issue in the UNGA through a politicized resolution on the “militarization” of the peninsula as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.           The resolution is built on groundless, unacceptable accusations against Russia and is intended to put the blame for all of Ukraine’s internal problems on the mythical “Russian aggression”. The document contains Kiev’s twisted interpretation of the provocation it carried out on 25 November 2018, when three Ukrainian vessels attempted to enter the Kerch Strait without first notifying the Russian side. The allegations on the alleged militarization of Crimea and parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov contained in the aforementioned resolution also contradict the truth.

In case this odious draft resolution is again introduced in the UNGA, we call on all States to vote firmly against its adoption.

18.    The implementation of the trilateral statements of 9 November 2020 and 11 January 2021 is a priority for normalizing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area. We consider it useful to involve UN agencies and in particular the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in humanitarian activities in the Russian peacekeeping operation area. The parameters for their possible work should be agreed upon in direct coordination with Baku and Yerevan.

19.    The problem of the Korean Peninsula should be resolved by political and diplomatic means. Building up sanctions pressure is counterproductive. The creation of a new security architecture in North-East Asia that would take into account the legitimate interests of all States in the region, including the DPRK itself, is key to achieving the settlement of this issue. Various Russian-Chinese initiatives, including the relevant “Roadmap’, the “Action Plan” and a UNSC political resolution are all important tools in this regard.

20.    The early restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settling the situation with the Iranian nuclear program is a priority task. We call on the US to return as soon as possible to full compliance with UNSC resolution 2231 and to implement the JCPOA, including through lifting the unilateral anti-Iranian sanctions imposed after the withdrawal of Washington from the “nuclear deal”.

21.    The solution to the Cyprus issue should be elaborated by the Cypriot communities themselves without any external pressure. Russia is guided by relevant UNSC resolutions which call for the formation of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single international legal personality, sovereignty and citizenship. The existing security guarantee system has become obsolete, is no longer able to alleviate the concerns of the parties involved and should be replaced with the guarantees from the UN Security Council.

22.    Russia fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the principle of equality of the three state-constituting peoples and the two entities with broad constitutional powers in full compliance with the 1995 Dayton Accords. In this context, we strongly disagree with the so-called appointment of a new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council. Without the UNSC approval this decision has no executive force. Moreover, the abolition of the Office of the High Representative is long overdue.

23.    The settlement of the Kosovo issue should be based on international law, first and foremost on UNSC resolution 1244. Belgrade and Pristina should come to an agreement themselves, while the task of the international community is to help the parties find mutually acceptable solutions without external pressure. The EU, as a mediator in the dialogue in accordance with UNGA resolution 64/298 of 9 September 2010, should seek to ensure that the parties implement the agreed decisions, primarily, the establishment of the Community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo (the CSMK; the agreement reached in 2013 has still not been implemented). We support the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

24.    Internal disputes in Venezuela can only be resolved by the Venezuelans themselves, through a broad and direct dialogue and with full respect for the country’s Constitution. Effective international cooperation is possible only if it is aimed at supporting such a dialogue.

The illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed against Venezuela undermine the efforts of the Venezuelan authorities to effectively combat the pandemic, as well as impede the normalization of the humanitarian situation in the country and the improvement of the migration situation in the region. Humanitarian assistance should be provided without politicisation and in accordance with the UN guiding principles enshrined in UNGA resolution 46/182.

We will continue to oppose any attempts to question the mandates of Venezuela’s official delegations at various international organizations.

25.    We learned with deep sorrow the news of the assassination of the President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse. We have been closely following the investigation into this crime. We are seriously concerned about information regarding the involvement of foreign nationals, including from the US and Colombia, in this brutal murder. This indicates that once again external forces are trying to exploit the purely internal conflict to promote their destructive interests.

We are convinced that the only way to normalize the situation in the country is to reach broad internal political consensus in strict conformity with the universally recognized norms and principles of international law. It is important that all decisions should be taken through peaceful political means by the Haitians themselves, with international support but without destructive external interference in order to elaborate solutions acceptable to the opposing parties.

26.    The Final Peace Agreement is the international legal basis for the settlement in Colombia. This document made it possible for the UNSC and the UN Secretary-General to support the peace process. Unilateral attempts to alter the substance of its provisions are unacceptable. Comprehensive sustainable settlement in Colombia is impossible without involving the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the peace process.

27.    We call on all parties to the conflict in Myanmar to put an end to violence and launch a constructive dialogue in order to move towards national reconciliation. International community should avoid politicising the issue, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and abandon sanctions threats. We emphasize the ASEAN special role in the peace process. The current situation in Myanmar does not pose any threat to international peace and security, thus the only issue on the UNSC agenda in this context should be the situation in the Rakhine State.

28.    We support the aspiration of India and Pakistan to normalize relations in the context of the situation in the Kashmir region. We hope that a new escalation along the line of control will be prevented. Only direct negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad can form the basis for a long-term settlement of this sensitive issue.

29.    We believe that conflict settlement in Africa should be based on a leading role of the countries of the African continent and supported by the international community. We call for the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and the African Union as well as the continent’s sub-regional organizations. As a permanent member of the UNSC, we will continue to facilitate a political resolution of the crises in the CAR, the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Sahara-Sahel region as a whole.

We are firmly committed to actively supporting the efforts of the CAR authorities to improve governance and provide security on the basis of the 2019 peace agreement. At the same time, we will keep engaging constructively with all responsible stakeholders that support stabilisation in the country.

In cooperation with like-minded partners, it is important to assist Sudan in implementing the tasks of the transition period. We insist that the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) should always take into account the views of the authorities in Khartoum.

We stand for in an early normalization of the situation in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Restoring stability in Ethiopia is certain to have a positive effect on the entire Horn of Africa. We consider the decision of the Federal Government of Ethiopia to establish a ceasefire in the region a step in the right direction. We call on all those involved to support this initiative of the authorities in order to stop the bloodshed and improve the humanitarian and social and economic situation.

30.    The UNGA Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) will remain relevant until a definitive solution to the issue of all 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories is reached. We will continue to actively participate in the work of this body.

31.    UN peacekeeping should fully comply with the basic principles of the UN work in this area (consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except for self-defence and defence of the mandate) as well as with the UN Charter. The primary task is to promote political settlement of conflicts and national reconciliation. The adaptation of UN peacekeeping operations to contemporary realities should be implemented in strict accordance with the decisions agreed upon in the intergovernmental format. This includes, inter alia, the issues of “peacekeeping intelligence” and the use of new technologies, which should serve the sole purpose of ensuring peacekeepers’ safety and protection of civilians. Vesting peacekeeping operations with additional powers, including with respect to the use of force, is only possible upon a UNSC decision that takes into account the specific situation in each country.

The UNGA Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) should be responsible for defining the further development of UN peacekeeping activities.         Peacebuilding and peacekeeping are inextricably linked and based on the principle of national ownership in prioritising post-conflict reconstruction and development. International support should only be provided upon request of the host government and be aimed at enhancing the States’ own capacity.

32.    The UNSC sanctions, as one of the strongest instruments of ‘targeted action’ to tackle threats to international peace and security, should not be abused. As a measure of last resort in the area of conflict resolution, they cannot be applied without first taking into account the full range of their possible humanitarian, social and economic and human rights consequences. It is unacceptable to use them as a means of unfair competition and pressure on “undesirable regimes”. The functions of the existing institution of the Ombudsperson should be expanded to protect the interests of all the entities on the Security Council sanctions list. It is unacceptable to supplement Security Council sanctions with unilateral restrictions, especially those of an extraterritorial nature.

33.    We believe that all Member States should join efforts in the fight against terrorism, with the UN playing a central coordinating role. We firmly reject any double standards or hidden agendas in this area. We are convinced that the issue of terrorism should be addressed through the implementation of the relevant universal conventions and protocols, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions.

Support for the counter-terrorism bodies of the United Nations system, first and foremost the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), remains a priority. We advocate for the expansion of the UNOCT financing from the UN regular budget. We also intend to increase our voluntary contributions to the Office and call on other Member States to do the same. We believe that law enforcement and prevention-oriented initiatives should remain at the core of the UNOCT programme and project activities.

We consider it critical to make greater use of the tools of the specialized subsidiary UNSC bodies, primarily its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the sanctions committees on ISIL, Al-Qaida and the Taliban Movement. We are committed to a constructive dialogue with regard to the review of the mandate of the CTC Executive Directorate.

We call for ensuring full compliance with UNSC resolutions against the financing of terrorism, as well as with the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

We intend to step up efforts to cut off weapons, financial and material support for terrorists, to stop the spread of terrorist propaganda, including through the use of modern information and communication technologies, and to eliminate links between terrorist groups and drug trafficking and other organized crime groups. It is necessary to strengthen cooperation between countries in countering foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and bringing them to justice more quickly.

We oppose the dilution of the international legal framework by non-consensual concepts, such as “countering violent extremism“, which allow for the interference in the internal affairs of States and the reorientation of international cooperation on counter-terrorism towards secondary gender and human rights issues. We believe it necessary to enhance efforts to combat various manifestations of extremism, including right-wing radicalism, while countering attempts to use this issue for political purposes and as an excuse to increase anti-Russian sanctions pressure.

34.    We strongly oppose the revision and weakening of the current international drug control system, including by legalising all recreational (non-medical) drug use, as well as imposing questionable drug treatment practices as a “universal standard” and promoting drug use as a socially acceptable norm.

We advocate the strengthening of the policy-making role of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in the area of drug control. We intend to further continue to actively oppose efforts aimed at creating and institutionalising mechanisms that duplicate the CND work, and at imposing an alternative strategy for addressing the world drug problem bypassing the CND. We emphasize the need for States to strictly comply with the international anti-drug conventions. In view of the re-election to the CND for the period of 2022-2025, the Russian Federation will continue to promote a consistent line on the Commission’s platform as well as in negotiating the resolutions and decisions of the 76th UNGA Session.

We are concerned about the drastic deterioration of the drug situation in Afghanistan and its possible projection into increased smuggling of opiates into Russia and Central Asian countries. In the context of the withdrawal of NATO troops from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, international and regional anti-drug efforts, such as the Paris Pact, the SCO, the CIS, and the CARICC, are of particular importance. We believe that consistent, effective anti-drug efforts by the Afghan leadership based on the principle of common and shared responsibility of States, are essential for achieving security in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

35.    We support the key role of the United Nations in consolidating international efforts to combat transnational organised crime. We note the importance of an impartial Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. We advocate strengthening the legal framework of international cooperation, including the development of new international legal instruments in a number of areas, including cybercrime, asset recovery, extradition and mutual legal assistance.

36.    We facilitate the development of the international anti-corruption cooperation, with the UN playing the central and coordinating role, based on the unique universal agreement, the UN Convention against Corruption (CAC). We support the effective functioning of the Mechanism for the Review of the Convention Implementation. We welcome the results of the first UNGA Special Session against Corruption which took place in June 2021. We consider it important that the political declaration of the UNGA Special Session confirmed the existence of gaps in international law governing the return from abroad of assets obtained as a result of corruption offences. We emphasise the need to develop an international legal instrument on asset recovery under the auspices of the UN to complement the UN Convention against Corruption.

37.    We support the key role of the UN in consolidating joint efforts to ensure international information security (IIS). They should result in the elaboration and adoption under the UN auspices of universal and comprehensive rules of responsible behaviour of States in information space aimed at preventing conflicts therein and promoting the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for peaceful purposes.

We welcome the adoption of the consensus reports of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the UN Group of Governmental Experts on IIS. We note the unique spirit of the constructive dialogue at these platforms.

During the 76th UNGA Session, we intend to introduce in its First Committee an updated draft resolution on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” welcoming the successful conclusion of the work of both groups as well as the launch of a new Russia-initiated OEWG on Security in the Use of ICTs and ICTs themselves 2021-2025 (in accordance with UNGA resolution 75/240).

We assume that the new Group will ensure the continuity and consistency of an inclusive and truly democratic negotiation process on IIS under the UN auspices within a single mechanism. We call on all States to take an active part in the work of the OEWG 2021-2025 and contribute to building a fair and equitable IIS system.

In line with the relevant UNGA resolutions adopted at the initiative of the Russian Federation, we advocate for an early drafting, under the auspices of the UN, of an international convention countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes. The consensus modalities set out while preparing for the negotiation process in the relevant UNGA Ad Hoc Committee enable us to count on constructive and comprehensive participation of the entire international community in developing a universal and effective instrument to counter digital crime.

We call on our partners to support our First Committee draft resolution as well as to unequivocally endorse full implementation of the mandates of the new OEWG and the Ad Hoc Committee.

38. We have consistently advocated strengthening the existing treaty regimes and developing, through consensus, new arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDNP) regimes. The UN and its multilateral disarmament mechanism should play a central role in this process. We are committed to ensuring the coherence and improving the performance of its three key elements – the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the UN Disarmament Commission – while unconditionally respecting the mandates of these forums.

We deem it necessary to counter any attempts to revise the existing disarmament architecture by means of unilateral coercive measures that bypass the UN Security Council.

The main focus of multilateral efforts and fundamentally new approaches to address the whole range of problems in the field of the ACDNP may be considered at a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council which Russia has proposed to hold.

39. We strictly comply with our obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and advocate for its early entry into force. We call on the eight states on which the launch of the Treaty depends to sign and/or ratify it without delay. We believe that the key destructive factor here is the position of the United States which is the only state to have officially refused to ratify the Treaty. We expect Washington to reconsider its approach to the CTBT.

40. We support the noble cause of shaping a world free of nuclear weapons. We make a substantial practical contribution to achieving this goal. However, we are convinced there is a need for a balanced approach that takes into account all factors affecting strategic stability, including disruptive US steps aimed at undermining the existing ACDNP architecture. We do not support radical initiatives on introducing an early nuclear weapons ban (namely, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW).

41. We consider the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to be the most important international legal instrument for ensuring international security and one of the pillars of the modern world order. Our common task is to prevent the final collapse of the system of international disarmament and arms control agreements that has been developed over decades and the regimes based upon them.

In this regard, we attach primary importance to the viability of the NPT. We call on all States Parties to make every effort at the 10th Review Conference postponed until 2022 because of the new coronavirus pandemic to strengthen the Treaty and to help achieve its goals rather than cause more controversy around it. The ultimate goal is to draft a document that would reaffirm the viability of the Treaty and the willingness of the States Parties to strictly abide by their commitments.

We fully support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an international organisation that possesses the necessary authority and competence to monitor the observance of the non-proliferation obligations under the NPT through the application of Agency safeguards, which, in its turn, is an important condition for the States to exercise their right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

We believe that further development of the IAEA safeguards system serves to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, provided that it keeps intact the basic principles of verification – impartiality, technical feasibility, and transparency.

We are concerned about the recent tendency to politicise the IAEA safeguards system. As a result, claims are being made against States based on the ‘very likely/highly likely’ approach while deployment of nuclear weapons belonging to some countries in the territory of other formally non-nuclear States is being ignored.

The IAEA should not be turned into a nuclear disarmament verification tool, as this is neither a statutory purpose nor a function of the Agency. We believe that the participation of the IAEA Secretariat staff in the January 2022 Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Vienna is inappropriate.

42. We regard the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction held in New York on 18-22 November 2019 as a landmark event both in terms of ensuring stability and sustainability in the region and in the context of global efforts towards WMD non-proliferation. We intend to further support the idea of such conferences. We believe that efforts to elaborate a legally binding agreement on creating a WMD-free zone in the Middle East serve the interests of all states in the region.

We hope that the second Conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone due to be held in New York in November 2020 but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic will take place this year, which would allow to kick start a somewhat stagnant process.

43. We are confident that there is still potential for political and diplomatic settlement of the situation arising from the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) based on Russia’s initiative to ensure predictability and restraint in the missile sphere.

We intend to maintain a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of land-based intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles in regions where no similar US-made weapons would appear. Despite the absence of a constructive response to this initiative on the part of NATO, we still consider a moratorium to be a promising idea that would make it possible to avoid new ‘missile crises’. We propose that the US and their NATO allies take on a similar commitment.

We reaffirm our commitment to the strict compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (the New START) and welcome its extension for five years without any preconditions – something that the Russian Federation has long and consistently called for. The extension of this Treaty set the stage for resuming a comprehensive dialogue with the United States on future arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability. At the Russian-US summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021 it was agreed to launch such a dialogue in the near future, as reflected in the Joint Statement by the Presidents at the meeting.

We believe that the goal of this engagement is to develop a new ‘security formula’ that takes into account all major factors of strategic stability, covers offensive and defensive nuclear and non-nuclear weapons capable of meeting strategic challenges, as well as the emergence of new technologies and new weapons.

44. We highly commend efforts of the UN Security Council and its ad-hoc 1540 Committee on the WMD non-proliferation. We are determined to engage in a substantive and constructive dialogue in the framework of the comprehensive review of the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540. We expect that the procedure will result in the confirmation of the 1540 Committee’s current mandate.

45. Russia has initiated the development of important multilateral agreements in the ACDNP area, such as the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treaty (PAROS) and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. We believe that a constructive dialogue on these issues will provide an opportunity to engage in substantive work (including negotiations) at the UN platform.

The imperative of preserving space for peaceful purposes and taking cooperative practical measures to this end is shared by the vast majority of States. We consider the globalisation of the no-first placement of weapons in outer space initiative to be an important but only interim step on the way towards the conclusion of an international treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space on the basis of a relevant Chinese-Russian draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects.

At the 76th session of the General Assembly, we will traditionally submit to the First Committee draft resolutions on no first placement of weapons in outer space, transparency and confidence-building measures in space activities and further practical measures to prevent an arms race in outer space.

46. We consider it necessary to continue strengthening the central and coordinating role of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). We are against the practice of addressing issues that fall within the competence of the Committee at other non-specialised international fora. We are concerned about the trend towards the consolidation of unilateral approaches in the policies of certain States aimed at establishing of a regime for the research, development and use of space resources, which carries serious risks for international cooperation, including with respect to outer space.

We continue to actively engage in the work of COPUOS to improve the security regime for space operations. We have succeeded in establishing the Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. The Group’s mandate is to implement the existing and develop new guidelines on long-term sustainability of outer space activities, which is of particular importance against the background of the rapidly changing environment in which space activities take place.

We are against moving the issues traditionally on the COPUOS agenda to parallel platforms, including the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, as part of the concept of the so-called ‘responsible behaviours in outer space’. Neglecting the Committee’s key role with regard to space debris and space traffic management may negatively affect the adoption of balanced consensus decisions in these areas.

We are in favour of the successful completion of efforts to develop the Space-2030 agenda and its implementation plan, with a view to presenting this document at the current session of the General Assembly.

47. We are in favour of strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, as well as the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

In order to ensure the effective operation of this UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism, at the 76th session of the General Assembly we will submit a relevant draft resolution to the First Committee.

We come out against attempts by Western states to politicise the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in violation of the norms set in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We regard as illegitimate their actions aimed at vesting the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW with the function of ‘identifying those responsible’ for the use of chemical weapons (attribution), including the creation of an illegitimate Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). We strongly disagree with its biased conclusions. We also have a whole range of complaints about the work of other OPCW inspection missions in the Syrian Arab Republic which violate the methods of investigation set out in the CWC. We urge the OPCW leadership to take action as soon as possible to rectify this deplorable situation.

We support impartial and highly professional investigations into chemical provocations by anti-government forces in Syria and all manifestations of ‘chemical terrorism’ in the Middle East in strict accordance with the high standards of the CWC.

48. We note the negative impact on international security of yet another destructive step by the United States – the decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies (OST) under the pretext of alleged violations of the Treaty by Russia. Alongside the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a consequence of which the Treaty ceased to have effect, this step is fully in line with Washington’s policy of destroying the whole range of arms control agreements and causes real damage to the European security system. The United States have upset the balance of rights and obligations of the States Parties to the OST, that is why Russia was forced to take measures to protect its national security interests and begin the procedure of withdrawal from the Treaty (to be completed by 18 December this year).

49. We continue to underline the unique role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as a universal instrument creating a comprehensive legal regime for international cooperation of States in the World Ocean. We highly appreciate the work of such conventional mechanisms as the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Seabed Authority. We believe it is vital that they work strictly within their mandates under the Convention avoiding any broad interpretation of the competence granted to them or politicising their decisions.

50. The Russian Federation supports the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the main judicial body of the United Nations and is ready to assist the creation of conditions enabling its effective and unbiased functioning.

We closely follow the situation around the implementation of the provisions of the UNGA resolution of May 22, 2019 concerning the Chagos Archipelago, adopted in accordance with the relevant advisory opinion of the ICJ. We view the above-mentioned General Assembly decision in the context of the completion of the decolonisation processes.

Elections to the ICJ are planned for the autumn of 2023 at the Security Council and the 78th session of the UNGA. The Russian group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decided to nominate sitting judge K.Gevorgyan for re-election to the ICJ for the period 2024-2033. We are counting on the support of our candidate by the Member States of the Organisation in the forthcoming elections.

51. The Russian Federation facilitates the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) which contributes significantly to the codification and progressive development of international law. We believe that the UN should further build on its most valuable outputs.

In the autumn of 2021, during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, elections to the ILC are scheduled to take place. The Russian Federation nominated the current member of the Commission, Director of the Legal Department of the MFA of Russia E.Zagaynov, for re-election to the Commission for the period 2023–2027. We hope that the UN Member States will support our candidate in the upcoming elections.

52. The credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is steadily declining. It is becoming more politically biased and one-sided. We note the low quality of its work and the lack of any tangible contribution to conflict settlement.

53. We underline that the mandate of the Residual Mechanism is strictly limited, and it is necessary to complete its activity as soon as possible. We have to acknowledge yet again that the Mechanism inherited the worst practices from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which is demonstrated by its consistent anti-Serbian attitudes. We monitor respect for the rights of persons accused and convicted by the Residual Mechanism. We do not consider it expedient at this point to establish new judicial bodies of this kind.

54. We continue to assume the legal nullity of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 established by the UN General Assembly acting beyond its authority. We object to the funding of the Mechanism from the UN regular budget and to the Mechanism gaining access to the archives of the OPCW-UN Joint Mechanism.

55. We continue to regard the issue of “the rule of law” with an emphasis on its international dimension, i.e. the primacy of international law, particularly the UN Charter. We continue to oppose attempts to use it to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States under the pretext of strengthening the “rule of law” at the national level.

Given the confrontational incorporation of the permanent item “responsibility to protect” (R2P) in the UNGA agenda, we underline the loss of the consensual nature of this concept. We will continue to block attempts to legitimise it.

56. It is States that bear the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights, while the UN executive structures are to play a supporting role. We believe that equal cooperation between States based on the rule of international law, respect for sovereignty and equality of States should be the main principle in the work of the United Nations to promote and protect human rights. It is inadmissible to duplicate the work of the main bodies of the United Nations through unjustified integration of the human rights agenda into all areas of the UN activities. We are against strengthening the link between the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN Security Council. We oppose attempts to reform the HRC in order to turn it into a quasi-judicial monitoring mechanism.

We consider it unacceptable to include politicised country-specific resolutions and topics outside the scope of their mandate in the agenda of United Nations human rights mechanisms. We condemn the use of human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of States and undermining the principles of international law. It is in this light that we regard the resolution on the situation of human rights in Crimea, which, since 2016, has been regularly submitted to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly by the Ukrainian delegation. This document has nothing to do with the actual situation in this region of the Russian Federation. We will vote against this resolution during the 76th session of the UNGA, and we call on our partners to do the same.

The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should become more transparent and accountable to the UN Member States in order to avoid politically motivated approaches to assessing human rights situations in different countries.

We will continue to promote intercivilisational, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and due respect for the diversity of cultures, civilisations, traditions and historical developments in the promotion and protection of human rights.

57. We strongly condemn all forms and manifestations of discrimination. The ban on discrimination enshrined in international human rights instruments is universal and applies to all persons without exception. We see no value added in defining new vulnerable groups (such as members of the LGBT community, human rights activists, bloggers) that allegedly require a special legal protection regime or new categories of rights. Such steps by a number of countries only lead to de-universalization of legal protection regimes and increased politicisation and confrontation within the UN human rights mechanisms.

58. Active practical work in the area of social development aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting social integration, ensuring full employment and decent work for all will facilitate effective implementation of the decisions adopted at the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th special session of the UN General Assembly.

We consider the UN Commission for Social Development to be the main UN coordinating body that develops framework for harmonised actions on general issues of social protection, ensuring equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, problems of ageing population, improving the situation of young people and strengthening the role of the traditional family. We resolutely oppose any initiatives that undermine its role, as well as the calls for its dissolution.

59. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) remains the main intergovernmental platform for discussion of a broad range of issues relating to improvement of the status of women and achieving gender equality in particular. We believe it is important to avoid politicization of these issues or their automatic inclusion into the UN documents focusing on other topics. Special attention in documents on improving the status of women should be devoted to social and economic rights, as well as social protection and support for women and their families.

We believe that gender equality issues should be taken into account in the work of the UN system in a balanced manner, without absolute prioritisation or selective use.

We commend the work of UN Women which should render assistance only within the framework of its mandate, upon request and with the consent of the States concerned. We will continue to interact actively with it within the framework of the Executive Board.

60. We reaffirm the need for strengthening international cooperation in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the outcome document of the 27th special session of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “A World Fit for Children”. We consider unacceptable attempts by a number of countries to deprive parents and legal guardians of their role in the upbringing of children and the development of their potential, including by granting young children autonomy in their decision-making. Programmes to support the family in its traditional sense, to ensure access to education and healthcare are important for the successful upbringing of children.

We devote close attention to the problem of children in armed conflict. We support the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and develop cooperation with her, including as part of the programme for repatriation of Russian children from Syria and Iraq.

61. We support discussion at the United Nations General Assembly of the problems of interreligious and intercultural interaction and the development of intercivilisational dialogue, especially within the framework of the Alliance of Civilisations (AoC). We regard the establishment of a culture of peace as an essential prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and global cooperation for the sake of peace and development.

We are actively preparing for holding the World Conference on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue (St Petersburg, May 2022).

62. We are ready for the cooperation on the UN agenda issues with all interested relevant non-governmental organizations. Their involvement in the work of the United Nations should take place within the framework of the established practice, which requires the obligatory consent of Member States. We encourage the adequate representation of the Russian non-governmental corps in the activities of the relevant segments, bodies and structures of the United Nations.

63. To overcome the consequences of migration crises affecting individual countries and regions of the world, global efforts are required under the central coordinating role of the United Nations.

We commend the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on ensuring more effective international protection for refugees and other categories of persons under its responsibility. We consider the work of the UNHCR particularly important in situations of major humanitarian crises.

Russia makes a significant contribution to international efforts to improve the situation of refugees, including by accepting forcibly displaced persons from Ukraine and also through programmes for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. Each year our country voluntarily contributes some $2 million to the UNHCR budget.

We reaffirm our commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which should form the basis of comprehensive long-term cooperation aimed at creating legal channels for migration and countering irregular flows.

Russia took an active part in the first meeting of the Global Refugee Forum. We expect that this platform will help to attract the attention of the international community to the problems of refugees and to consolidate efforts to implement the GCR.

We welcome the strengthening of the UN migration pillar under the coordinating role of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). We support a comprehensive approach of the UNHCR and IOM to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 among persons of concern. We are convinced that one of the effective measures to combat the pandemic should be large-scale vaccination of the population, including forcibly displaced persons.

We note the effectiveness of the UNHCR’s work with Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). We look forward to the world community pursuing a non-politicized approach in dealing with this issue and providing greater assistance in rebuilding infrastructure and ensuring conditions for their early return.

We appreciate and contribute, including financially, to the UNHCR’s efforts to address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the internal Ukrainian crisis. We support the UNHCR programmes aimed at eliminating statelessness, in particular in European countries.

We are interested in the UNHCR facilitating the return of IDPs and refugees to Nagorny Karabakh and the surrounding areas.

64. We consider the Georgian UNGA resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be counter-productive and to entail the risk of aggravating the situation “on the ground” and further stalling the Geneva discussions, which remain the only negotiation platform enabling direct dialogue between the representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia. We also note that at a time when the Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives are deprived of the opportunity to convey their position to the General Assembly because of the systematic refusal of the United States authorities to grant them entry visas, discussions in New York on the topic of “refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia” without their direct participation are meaningless.

65. We consistently advocate for the strengthening of UNESCO‘s international standing. We believe that the adaptation of UNESCO’s working methods to the emerging challenges, including in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic, should be in line with the intergovernmental nature of the Organisation and be based on unconditional compliance with the provisions of the UNESCO Constitution, rules of procedure and directives of the decision-making bodies.

We oppose to the artificial integration of human rights issues in UNESCO’s activities in order to avoid duplication of functions of other UN specialised agencies. We aim to increase the effectiveness of the Organisation by depoliticising it and removing from its agenda issues of territorial integrity and sovereignty that do not belong to it.

Russia contributes significantly to UNESCO activities. In 2022, Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, will host one of the largest and most significant UNESCO events – the 45th Anniversary Session of the World Heritage Committee, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

66. We view cooperation in sports and the promotion of sport ideals worldwide as effective ways to foster respect and mutual understanding among nations.

We believe that politicisation of sports and discrimination of athletes, including Paralympians, in the form of collective punishment are unacceptable. We advocate the development of a universal system of international sports cooperation based on the principles of independence and autonomy of sports.

67.    In the context of international cooperation to address social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we support intensified efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) as a holistic and balanced strategy to guide the work of the UN in the social, economic, environmental and related fields. We underline the integrated, non-politicised and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with poverty eradication being the key objective.

We support stronger coordination between the UNGA and ECOSOC, including through the dialogue platform of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is designed to serve as a forum that brings together all stakeholders, including members of the business community (not only NGOs), to review the progress made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. Russia’s first Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the SDGs presented in 2020 has been a significant contribution to these efforts.

We promote a balanced approach in the energy sector with a focus on ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources in line with SDG 7. We recognise the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while believing that it should be fulfilled not only through the transition to renewable energy sources but also through the introduction of advanced low-carbon technologies in the use of all types of energy sources, including fossil fuels. In this context, we advocate increased use of natural gas as the most environmentally acceptable fossil fuel, as well as the recognition of nuclear power and hydropower as clean energy sources due to the absence of a carbon footprint. In this spirit, we intend to ensure Russia’s participation in the High-Level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021.

68.    We will continue to uphold the basic parameters for international humanitarian assistance outlined in UNGA resolution 46/182 and other decisions of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. We will oppose revision of fundamental principles, in particular the respect for the sovereignty of an affected state and the need to obtain its consent for assistance. We will continue to urge UN humanitarian agencies to act as “honest brokers” and base their work on carefully verified data about the humanitarian situation “on the ground”.

We are concerned about the worsening of humanitarian crises triggered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As humanitarian needs grow considerably, we believe it crucial to avoid politicising humanitarian assistance.

69.    We condemn individual countries’ practice of imposing unilateral coercive measures contrary to the United Nations Charter and international law. We therefore support the idea of joining efforts of sanctioned countries in line with the Russian President’s initiative to create sanctions-free “green corridors” to provide countries with access to medicines and essential goods.

70.    We call for accelerated implementation of the Addis-Ababa Action Agenda decisions on financing for development in order to mobilise and make effective use of resources to achieve the SDGs.

We support the principle of prioritising the interests of international development assistance recipients. We offer assistance to interested countries based on a de-politicised approach, promoting domestic innovation and expertise.

We recognise the importance of reaching international consensus on global taxation, in particular in the fight against tax evasion. We support the increased intergovernmental cooperation in curbing illicit financial flows and repatriation of income generated from illegal activities.

71.    We oppose attempts by individual countries to reduce socio-economic development solely to the achievement of environmental protection goals, namely climate change. We see such a one-sided position as an indication of unfair competition and trade protectionism, which are inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) principles of a universal, open, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

72.    We welcome the further strengthening of the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to achieve sustainable development of the United Nations.

We support the consolidation of UNEP’s role as the key universal intergovernmental platform establishing the integrated global environmental agenda.

We advocate greater efficiency and stronger financial discipline within UN-Habitat as part of the Programme’s structural reform implemented in accordance with resolution 73/239 of the General Assembly.

We stress the need for strict adherence to the principle of equitable geographical representation in the staffing of UNEP and UN-Habitat and the inadmissibility of politicisation of these programmes’ mandates.

73.    We stand for the continued leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in coordinating international efforts to eliminate hunger, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. We will encourage these Rome-based organisations to engage in a closer inter-agency cooperation within the UN system in addressing these issues.

In practical terms, we are actively involved in preparations for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. We expect it to deliver a comprehensive analysis of optimal agri-food chain models to help eradicate hunger and improve food security, including the provision of healthy food for the population. We believe that commonly agreed and universally supported sectoral approaches and proposals should be reflected in the Summit outcome documents in a balanced way. We hope that the upcoming event will set the course for the transformation of global food systems, particularly in the context of overcoming the consequences of the new coronavirus pandemic, and give further impetus to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

We pay careful attention to preventing the risk of a food crisis, namely in view of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide humanitarian food aid to countries most in need, first of all to those of the former Soviet Union, as well as in Africa and Latin America.

74.    We attach great importance to the work carried out by the UNGA to support the multilateral efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its impact. We advocate a universal, equitable, fair and unhindered access to medical technologies as well as safe, high-quality, effective and affordable vaccines and medicines for the new coronavirus infection.

We consider increasing global preparedness and response capacity for health emergencies to be a priority task. We are ready for a constructive dialogue with all partners in the framework of the relevant formats. Yet we believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) should continue to be the main forum for discussing global health issues.

We consistently support WHO as the focal point for the international human health cooperation. We call for enhancing the efficiency of its work through increased transparency and accountability to Member States.

75.    We will further strengthen the multi-stakeholder partnership for disaster risk reduction under the Sendai Framework 2015–2030. Amid the ongoing pandemic, we believe that special attention should be paid to building States’ capacity to respond to emergencies, including in health care.

76.    We seek to keep down the growth of the UN regular programme budget for 2022, as well as estimates for peacekeeping operations and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. We propose targeted and justified reductions in requested resources. Any requests for additional funding should first undergo careful internal scrutiny. At the same time, the Secretariat should step up its efforts to improve the efficiency of its working methods in order to minimise the associated costs of achieving UN’s objectives. We insist on stronger accountability, strict budgetary discipline and improved transparency in the Secretariat’s work.

77.    Ensuring parity among the six official UN languages in conference services and information and communication activities remains one of the priorities in our interaction with the Organisation’s Secretariat. The principle of multilingualism should be given primary consideration when implementing all media projects and information campaigns as well as allocating financial and human resources to the language services of the UN Secretariat.

Gen. Soleimani led Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq-Hezbollah coalition against terrorism: Venezuelan ambassad

Source

January 4, 2021 – 17:50

TEHRAN – The Venezuelan ambassador to Tehran describes the coalition created by Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq, which also includes the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, as one of the most capable alliances in the war against terrorists groups in Syria and Iraq. 

Carlos Antonio Alcala Cordones says this coalition was led by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport on January 3, 2020. 

“One of the most important coalitions, led by Martyr Qassem Soleimani, was the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq (RSII) coalition, which was later renamed as 4+1 due to the joining of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group. The military coalition was formed to deal with the conflicts in Syria and Iraq,” Ambassador Antonio Alcala Cordones tells the Tehran Times as Iran is marking the martyrdom anniversary of General Soleimani. 

The ambassador also says the United States and its allies have launched a “hybrid war” against Iran which includes both economic sanctions and acts of terrorism.

 “We should mention the hybrid war waged by the United States and its allies through economic sanctions and terrorist attacks against Iran,” the top Venezuelan diplomat to Iran notes.

In the newest act of state terrorism against the Islamic Republic, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian nuclear expert, was assassinated in a road outside Tehran on November 27. Iran has said Israel is directly responsible for the terrorist act. 

Analysts believe the assassination was a joint project by Israel and the United States. Professor Hossein Askari, who teaches international business at George Washington University, says he is “almost sure” that the assassination of Fakhrizadeh was a joint project carried out by the Israeli prime minister the U.S. president. 

Following is the text of interview with the Venezuelan ambassador: 

Q: Given the specific geopolitical situation in West Asia and the crises that have intensified in the region in recent years, how do you assess Iran’s role in the fight against terrorism in the region?

A: The regional situation regarding the fight against terrorism and the participation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in it is undoubtedly a very complex issue, and in the analysis that we can do, it is important to consider the geopolitical, religious and ideological issues.

In my view, there are various elements that the Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly defended in its foreign policy, which influence its strategies with allied countries and countries with which it is in conflict. First, its effort to achieve the economic development and growth of its nation. Second, defending its territorial integrity as enshrined in the country’s constitution and Islamic principles. Third, defending its religious and ideological beliefs reflected in the confrontation with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, whose scenario is one of the constant dangers. And finally, the implementation of a strong internal structure that has allowed it to introduce itself as the main hero and guarantor of regional order. All of these elements, in addition to its constant anti-imperialist approach toward the international system, have led Iran to engage with actors associated with its ideology, such as its relationship with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Shiite groups, and strengthen its influence in the region, through traditional actors such as Syria and Russia.

Support for other strategic actors for which religious tendencies prevail over ideological beliefs, such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are other elements that should be considered in the analysis. It is important to note that Iran has increased its political weight in the region since the Iraq war and is now seen as a direct threat by its enemies, turning this classic hostility through supporting actors in various conflicts in the region into an indirect confrontation.

To this analysis is added the historic struggle for supremacy in a conflict-ridden region whose heroes are precisely Iran and Saudi Arabia. As noted, the Arab Spring changed the regional context by reconfiguring the geopolitical map. The two countries have a clear internal cohesion because their religious populations, mainly Shiites and Sunnis, are also found in other regional countries and have significant military, ideological, cultural and economic capabilities, in a way that both countries have acted in countries with domestic divisions such as Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and Yemen through actors; and in the case of Iran, this has led to a ground gain in the region.

“It (Iran) supports the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors everywhere in the world. This acts as a basis for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s fight against terrorism.”On the other hand, Saudi Arabia also plays an important role, as its foreign policy towards the region is more focused on its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and with a horizontal axis, especially in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC), with the aim of isolating Iran and prevent its growing influence in the region.

Another important element that has reshaped the geopolitical chessboard and should be considered is the revitalization of Iran through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed on July 14, 2015 in Vienna, under which it was agreed that Iran’s nuclear program be limited for a decade in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions. This allowed Iran to maintain its position in the Middle East (West Asia) and seek to secure the role of discourse while expanding its territory in strategic areas. But that fact is changing, as on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA and reinstate U.S. nuclear sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and once again put Iran in a very difficult position.

These points represent two opposing models domestically and internationally: a revolutionary, anti-imperialist model represented by Iran versus a conservative, pro-Western model represented by Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the geo-strategic field of energy is expanding. Therefore, it is a valuable point to control the exploitation of resources, maritime traffic and international oil trade via the Strait of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels cross each day. The Saudi crude oil reserves are located in an eastern province, which has the largest Shiite population. Saudi Arabia has the money to build oil and gas pipelines from the east coast to the west, which will facilitate its outflow from the Red Sea, which is seen as a way to expand its trade to the Mediterranean. Similarly, from the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia supplies oil to Asian countries, its main customers in the region (China and Japan). This is a longer way to go, but it prevents a confrontation with Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, which is a strategic passage in international maritime navigation, because Iran has the longest coastline in the Persian Gulf, and enjoys the opportunity to penetrate these waters in the above-mentioned strait.

It is noteworthy that since the Islamic Republic of Iran’s declaration of existence in 1979, the Iranian government has been accused by the United States of financing terrorists, and providing them with equipment, weapons, training, and shelter, and Iran has been described as a “sponsor of terrorism”. They have described the country as the most important threat to the security of the Middle East (West Asia) and one of the most hostile countries in the international system and they have sought to isolate it.

Recall that the U.S. State Department currently identifies 60 groups as international terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hamas, Al-Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah. And last April, Trump labeled the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organization” and this is the first time the United States has taken action against another country’s military. According to an old saying, “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.”

It should be noted that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, the United States implemented the Patriot Act which was a response by Congress against terrorism and international organized crime. This is an extraterritorial law that includes international powers and is based on international treaties and bilateral agreements, but we all know that the United States systematically fights and acts with the aim of stigmatizing and harassing, under the name of “fighting terrorists” against Islam and to the detriment of various Muslim organizations, which are characterized by anti-terrorism and have connections with the popular, patriotic and social struggles.

But if we ask ourselves why there is violence in the region, we can quote some of the remarks made by Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif, in which he notes that “the increase in violence in the Middle East is rooted in the constant presence of foreign forces, and also in their interference in the internal affairs of regional countries to reshape the structure of the region.” And this is what the interventionist policy of the North American empire constantly states. Likewise, we should mention the hybrid war waged by the United States and its allies through economic sanctions and terrorist attacks against Iran.

The phenomenon of terrorism and its consequences must be discussed and identified on the basis of the reasons that led to its development, or through the intensification and exploitation of religious dogmatism, as in the case of the Islamic State and its intention to incite sectarian tensions with the goal of unifying all the majority Muslim countries under one state and by one caliphate and through jihad, which is still a concern of the international community.

Finally, terrorism has directly or indirectly affected a large portion of humans, because the emergence of terrorism, in addition to increasing drug use and drug trafficking and organized crime networks, intensifies human rights violations, fatal migrations, and also famine.

Q: Iran has been the victim of large and small terrorist acts since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. As a country that has suffered greatly from this ominous phenomenon and has gained valuable experience in the fight against terrorism at the national and regional levels, how do you assess Iran’s efforts to build a consensus among regional countries to fight terrorism?

A: The Islamic Republic of Iran has suffered severe blows since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, including the assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012, and the recent terrorist attack on nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. In addition to an in-depth look at security systems, this incident has created a scenario of confrontation and tension, given that technological advances have changed the ways in which conflicts have escalated and changed the nature of threats.

“It is also important not to politicize campaign against terrorism, and all countries should unite in this battle, regardless of political or diplomatic relations among them.”Today, the use of artificial intelligence intensifies cyber, physical, and biological attacks, making them more selective and at the same time more anonymous, facilitating these attacks by reducing or even eliminating the need for the physical involvement of humans. This scenario is no longer a concern for human beings. Let us recall the terrorist attack in Iraq against the great martyr, Qassem Soleimani, the hero of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, whose absence is irreparable for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It is difficult to reach a consensus on this issue with several countries in the region, but Iran’s efforts to advance strategies that help combat terrorism are significant, such as the success in reducing the global terrorism index in the governments that it works in, especially because Iran is a country that has the power to challenge the interests of the great powers and has an excellent political, scientific, technological and military platform that supports its foreign policy.

It is also important not to politicize campaign against terrorism, and all countries should unite in this battle, regardless of political or diplomatic relations among them.

Q: In recent years, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, coalitions have been formed with the participation of countries outside the region (and even outside Asia). Alliances whose main goal, according to many political and military experts, is the political and economic exploitation of the current crises in West Asia. Some experts even believe that these countries themselves are the cause of such tensions. Do you think such coalitions can help resolve crises or defeat terrorism?

A: Undoubtedly, the formation of coalitions creates a very complex scenario because different elements are interconnected according to the potential of their constituent countries. As I mentioned earlier, we are currently talking about cooperation in the fields of science, technology, and military, in addition to the political and diplomatic relations between each of the countries.

One of the most important coalitions, led by Martyr Qassem Soleimani, was the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq (RSII) coalition, which was later renamed as 4+1 due to the joining of the Lebanese Hezbollah military group. The military coalition was formed to deal with the conflicts in Syria and Iraq in the Middle East and currently supports Lebanon’s Hassan Nasrallah.

The coalition consists of the Russian Armed Forces and the Axis of Resistance (the IRGC, Syrian Armed Forces, Iraqi Armed Forces, and Hezbollah forces). The importance of this coalition is that it was created as a counterweight to the U.S.-led international coalition against ISIL, although the RSII’s military objectives are not limited to destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also dismantling other jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, as well as closing the Iraqi-Syrian borders, which are used as strategic corridors for the entry and exit of militants.

Coalitions should serve to resolve crises, not to promote terrorism, but the situation is not always favorable and has a history of unexpected turns that upset the balance of the intended goal.

Q: Given the need to form a coalition of countries in West Asia to fight terrorism in the region, what role can Iran play in creating such a coalition?

A: In the international context, the unity that countries can create is very important and one of the precise principles of Iran’s foreign policy is the promotion of these alliances, of course through respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and as stated in Chapter 10, Article 154 of the Constitution, it supports the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors everywhere in the world. These elements act as a basis for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s fight against terrorism.

Undoubtedly, Iran has played an important unifying role, and this has earned the respect of the countries of the region for it. Therefore, it is expected that a great unity will be created in the future, whose common interests are the fight against the plague of terrorism in all its forms.

RELATED NEWS

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo from the Twitter page of the Nashville Fire Department, damage is seen on a street after an explosion in Nashville, Tennessee on December 25, 2020.

by Ramin Mazaheri  and crossposted with The Saker

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV’s.)

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The entire world breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out that the alleged Nashville, Tennessee, bomber was not a Muslim – now nobody can get dragooned into supporting yet another war on a Muslim-majority country.

Isn’t it spectacular how after 9/11 the US impressed almost the entire West into never-ending military service? Western piracy in Afghanistan continues today; Iraq was reduced to shambles; France used the ruse to invade Mali, the Central African Republic and to create a roving “anti-terrorist” force across the entire Sahel; Libya is no longer really a nation; Syria stands despite all the money, guns, terrorists and concrete fortifications the West could muster. I am probably missing some others.

It was true that in the years after 9/11 Muslims silently held their breath when they heard about a terrorist attack, but after 20 years and so many bombs, drones and assassinations it’s abundantly clear that Muslims are not the aggressor nor the transgressor: The pointed finger alleging cultural failure was clearly a false accusation.

The question Muslims now often feel confident enough to ask non-Muslims in public is, “What did Islam ever have to do with terrorism, anyway?” The answer is the same as it was on 9/12/01: “Nothing”.

The Nashville bombing occurred on Christmas day – maybe this was an act of “Christian terrorism”?

The sad irony is that many Christians will flinch at such a term because they view “Christianity” and “terrorism” as being total opposites. Do such persons realise that Muslims view joining “Islam” to “terrorism” also creates an oxymoron? Muslims and Christians should permanently unite around this concept: the sadness of feeling totally misunderstood when the word “terrorism” is affixed to either religion. The only barrier to this is the Islamophobic nonsense which pours out of the West’s chattering classes.

Terrorism is always defined as violence which has a political motive. Was the Nashville bombing, allegedly caused by Anthony Warner, terrorism? We don’t know at this point, so it’s wrong to call it terrorism.

Some report that Warner was paranoid about the effects of the new 5G technology – that seems rather more social than political.

There are unproven accusations that Warner was bombing storage facilities used by the voting machine company Dominion, which is being sued for allegations of vote tampering – if proven to be true then it’s possible this was a political act. It’s looking like Joe Biden will prevail in the still-disputed US presidential election, but is Warner the advance scout of a battalion of right-wing, pro-Trump terrorists which the US media warned about so hysterically in 2020? Considering how insistently they promoted anti-Trumpism and the fear of right-wing violence, it’s surprising that US media hasn’t immediately called Warner a “post-Trumpian terrorist”?

Maybe they will get there, but what this unfortunate episode can teach us is that the West rushes to demonise Muslim citizens and the teachings of Islam whenever they think they have an opportunity to do so. If Warner had been a Muslim there would have been an unjournalistic rush to judgment by Western media that Nashville was undoubtedly an act of – ugh – “Islamic terrorism”.

It’s unfortunate that Islam is so easily slandered in the West, but the problem to discuss here is not religious misunderstanding but reactionary political thought: Islam is slandered so easily precisely in order to create false justifications for the West’s endless imperialist wars in the oil-rich, Israel-surrounding Muslim World.

In the Western world talking of “imperialism” is (incredibly, to me) denigrated as anachronistic, eccentric and unrealistic. It’s not even taken seriously – if I was writing about transgender bathrooms I would be taken infinitely more seriously, and that is no exaggeration. And yet, doesn’t using the lens of imperialism explain the very different US media treatment for Anthony Warner as opposed to “Omar” Warner?

After all, who can the US media suggest we invade as a result of Warner’s alleged act? Which culture can be insulted and ordered to change at the point of a spear? How can Americans feel a misguided sense of superiority – which helps deflect from their ever-increasing inequality, poverty and socioeconomic instability – when Warner’s culture is their own?

And thus Warner is getting treated far more sympathetically than any Muslim menace to society, even though Warner is no more human.

I do not begrudge sympathy for Warner: The unpredictable actions of severely mentally ill people often have devastating consequences on people, and this is an unfortunate part of life and must be discussed.

What I do point out is that, for example, in the majority of France’s terror attacks following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad the attacker was also just another mentally-ill person, and not some political mastermind and zealot. I covered these attacks year after year and the perpetrators always fell into one of two categories: the largest was mental illness, while the smaller grouping were political (not religious) terrorists who – without fail – expressly said their attacks were retribution for France’s many imperialist attacks on Muslim countries.

The problem in the world today is not religious – as the West and Israel asserts – but political, as the developing world asserts.

But – as the four-year “daily cultural insanity” of the Trump era proves – the US is incapable of discussing political nuance intelligently and without resorting to hyperbolic slander or wild-eyed absurdities. This explains why if Anthony Warner had been a Muslim the violence would have undoubtedly been declared “terrorism”, immediately – I am referring to endemic American political hysteria of the “other”.  

I am not here to complain – as a professional wordsmith often pedantically does – about the misuse of words and the confusion caused by refusing to abide by established definitions. Instead, I am suggesting that non-Muslims in the West should wake up to just how easily they are intellectually manipulated when it comes to any violence which employs something more brutal than a handgun: Had Warner been a Muslim Americans and Westerners would have shouted at to maintain their awful, destructive and immoral two-decade long war posture towards Muslims and Islam.

When there are acts of political terrorism, the West needs to examine the politics behind it and make sure their politics are just. When there are acts of violence, just because a Muslim was the perpetrator doesn’t make it political. However, in the identity politics-obsessed West, it seems one is always defined solely by his or her tribe and is never just another son or daughter of Adam.

“Anthony” or “Omar” shouldn’t make a difference to you but it certainly does, depending on where you live: manipulative Islamophobia may have sent your children off to die in hopeless wars, gutted your individual political rights and caused you to see anyone with a different political view as your lifelong enemy.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Iranian President’s Chief of Staff to Al-Ahed: Soleimani’s Martyrdom Broke His Killers’ Backbone

Iranian President’s Chief of Staff to Al-Ahed: Soleimani’s Martyrdom Broke His Killers’ Backbone

By Mokhtar Haddad

Tehran – On the occasion of the first martyrdom anniversary of General Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Al-Ahed News spoke with Dr. Mahmoud Vaezi, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s President.

Dr. Vaezi asserted that this martyrdom “broke the backbone and domination of his fake and weak killers.”

“The Trump administration viewed commander Soleimani as a major obstacle to its subversive and escalatory policies in the region, and that is why it assassinated him in this shameful and criminal way.”

In his interview with Al-Ahed, Vaezi pointed out that “the main response to this crime is the full withdrawal of the US from the region. Our basic strategy in the region, which we always made known to neighboring states, is for those countries to ensure security for this region and confront foreign interference. The Hormuz peace plan announced by President Rouhani at the United Nations remains on the table, and we believe that it will be achieved with the help of regional states. We believe that through regional cooperation we can establish peace and stability, and there is no need for foreigners to be present in the region.”

Below is the full transcript of the interview:

On the first martyrdom anniversary of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and his companions, the US claims that it has broken Iran’s backbone. What is your response?

In our Islamic teachings, we believe that the blood of the martyr is a stain on the oppressors. During his lifetime, martyr General Soleimani was the source of great deeds for the country, the Axis of Resistance, and the region. His martyrdom led to rapprochement and solidarity between the peoples of the region against America.

In fact, we believe that his martyrdom broke the backbone and dominance of his fake and weak killers. When a country that claims to be a superpower in the world assassinates our military commander in such a treacherous and cowardice manner during an official diplomatic tour, it means that first, you were not a worthy opponent, and second, you are against his legacy.

The legacy of martyr Soleimani is clearly evident today, not only in the region, but in the whole world, especially since he was the first enemy of the terrorists who turned the world into an insecure place. There were many terrorist incidents carried out by Daesh in the West, including Brussels, London, Manchester, and other European cities. The defeat of Daesh is the best evidence that martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani made the region and the world safer. 

Martyr General Qassem Soleimani poured all his energy into confronting American conspiracies. How did he achieve this success and manage to counter America’s arrogant mood?

The greatest proof of the success of this great martyr in confronting arrogant American plots and thwarting its plans in the region, is his assassination by the Trump administration. It is clear that the Trump administration considered him a major obstacle to its subversive and escalatory policies in the region, which is why they assassinated him in this shameful and criminal way.

Martyr Soleimani sought to eliminate terrorism in the region. This great martyr was able to form a strong regional alliance against criminal terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and he helped the peoples of the region during difficult days in confronting Daesh and other terrorist groups.

Hajj Qassem was not only a man from the battlefield, but he was also a seasoned diplomat who combined courage and wisdom. His courage was rooted in his faith and belief. His wisdom was rooted in the knowledge and experience he had acquired during decades of pursuing the path of God.

His unique role was personified through his fight against terrorism, taking into consideration and with full respect for the national sovereignty of the countries concerned. So, based on an official request from the governments of Iraq and Syria, he helped them confront terrorism. This is why he was very popular in the countries of the region. Lieutenant General Soleimani is the pride of Iran, but we do not consider that he belongs to us alone. His departure was a tragedy for all Muslims. Even outside the Islamic world, he served humanity, regardless of nationality, religion, or ethnicity, by playing a major role in defeating Daesh and creating security and stability.

After Hajj Qassem’s martyrdom, Imam Khamenei declared that the main goal was to get US forces out of West Asia. A year after his martyrdom, what is America’s influence in the region?

This is not only a statement by the great leader of the revolution, but we believe it is a divine promise. As I said, we believe that the blood of the martyr is a stain on the oppressors and a starting point for their demise, as America’s power has declined today in the world and not only in West Asia. There are numerous clues that are being unveiled if we had time to delve into this topic. In our region, the influence and status of America has declined more than ever, and the martyrdom of Soleimani must have played an important role in this process.

How will the response to this crime be completed, especially since there is an emphasis on the need for an American withdrawal from the region?

In terms of the military response, you definitely know that the Islamic Republic of Iran poured missiles down on the American base involved in the assassination of martyr Soleimani. This targeted attack sent a clear message to the Americans that attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran and crossing its red lines will certainly not pass without a response.

However, as mentioned earlier, we view the main response to this crime as paving the way for a complete US withdrawal from the region. Our basic strategy in the region, which we always made known to neighboring states, is for those countries to ensure security for this region and confront foreign interference. The Hormuz peace plan announced by President Rouhani at the United Nations remains on the table, and we believe that it will be achieved with the help of regional states. We believe that through regional cooperation, we can establish peace and stability, and there is no need for foreigners to be present in the region. The presence of foreigners in the region has so far caused nothing but destruction and wars. We have always adopted this strategy, and after the martyrdom of Soleimani, we became more determined to achieve it.

What was martyr Soleimani’s role in confronting terrorism and in supporting and consolidating the axis of resistance?

His role in combating terrorism and supporting the peoples of the region in confronting terrorist groups was very clear. When the terrorists occupied two-thirds of Syrian territory, the siege they imposed was so severe that we witnessed bombings and terrorist operations near Damascus and near Syrian government institutions. The situation in Iraq was very similar to that of Syria, where Daesh occupied most of the country, and the level of insecurity peaked.

The images of the crimes committed by terrorists in these two countries, and of course in other parts of the world, have not yet been erased from the memory of the countries of the region. Whoever wants to realize the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran and martyr Qassem Soleimani in the region, must compare the images during those days when terrorism dominated the region with the situation today. The defeat of Daesh was the peak of the resistance in the region, and this would not have been possible without martyr General Soleimani and his field command.

On the martyrdom anniversary of Hajj Qassem, I would like to mention his comrade, the great martyr and Mujahid Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of the most prominent symbols of the resistance and one of the main leaders in the war against terrorism in Iraq. His name will remain immortal throughout history.

By assassinating Hajj Qassem, did America manage to stop his march or has the axis of resistance become stronger?

Martyr Soleimani’s path was that of resistance, facing arrogance, and jihad for the sake of God. Our religion taught us that this path does not stop at martyrdom. In Islam, we do not believe that martyrdom is a conclusion or an end, for martyrdom makes the path to the truth stronger, more dynamic, and higher. Although Hajj Qassem Soleimani was a hero in fighting terrorism and opposing arrogance, his martyrdom does not mean weakening the axis of resistance. Ironically, thanks to his pure blood, the peoples of the region woke up today, and the axis of resistance has become stronger than ever.

What was Hajj Qassem’s relationship and cooperation with the government of Iran like?

Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif provided a complete overview of this, which was recently published in various media outlets. It should be noted that in matters related to national security, national interests, and strategic issues such as foreign policy and regional policies, there was complete complementarity between all pillars of the Islamic Republic.

Martyr Soleimani’s operational range was one of those cases around which there was and still is a complete rapprochement in our country. In the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we have always considered diplomacy and defensive force as the two main wings of the country, and we have never separated these two wings or allowed either of them to weaken.

Accordingly, commander Soleimani had a very close relationship with the government of the Islamic Republic and the president himself.

Regarding foreign policy issues, regular weekly meetings were held with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This rapprochement and coordination were not based on individuals alone, but it is a ruling strategy in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

General Soleimani’s military acumen in fighting terrorists was ‘unmatched’, says American professor

Source

January 2, 2021 – 19:51

TEHRAN – Nader Entessar, a professor emeritus of political science from the University of South Alabama, praises General Qassem Soleimani’s shrewdness in devising asymmetrical “warfare strategies” against terrorists, calling his abilities “unmatched”.

“His military acumen, ability to devise asymmetrical anti-terrorism warfare strategies, and bringing together unruly groups to work together were unmatched,” Entessar tells the Tehran Times.

“The United States has now ‘weaponized’ the term (terrorism) in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.  That is, practically any person, institution, or country that actively opposes Washington’s global hegemony is labeled as a “terrorist” thus making it difficult to tackle the problem of terrorism in a meaningful way.”The professor also says Iran has been at the “forefront” of the war against Daesh and other terrorist groups to protect its security.

“In general, Iran has been at the forefront of fighting regional terrorist groups such as Daesh (ISIS) and others that carry terrorist acts against Iran’s security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” the American professor notes.   

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: In 1972, a specialized Committee on Terrorism was set up at the United Nations, and member states made great efforts to provide appropriate definitions of international terrorism, but due to intense political differences, the actual definition of international terrorism and comprehensive conventions in practice was impossible. Security Council Resolution 1373 was the most serious attempt to define terrorism after 9/11, which evolved into UN Security Council Resolution 1535. Despite providing a definition of terrorism, countries approach it differently. What is the reason?

A: The definition of the term “terrorism” provided by the UN is a minimalist one designed to satisfy conflicting views on this topic.  Terrorism is first and foremost a political term that does to easily lend itself to a universally accepted legal definition.  One country’s “terrorist” can be viewed as a “freedom fighter” by another country.  Furthermore, the United States has now “weaponized” the term in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.  That is, practically any person, institution, or country that actively opposes Washington’s global hegemony is labeled as a “terrorist” thus making it difficult to tackle the problem of terrorism in a meaningful way.   

Q: How do you assess the role and position of Iran in the fight against terrorism in the region?

A: In general, Iran has been at the forefront of fighting regional terrorist groups such as Daesh (ISIS) and others that carry terrorist acts against Iran’s security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.  However, as attacks against major institutions/infrastructures and the assassination of some prominent Iranian officials in recent years have shown, a lot of work needs to be done to thwart similar foreign-assisted and foreign-funded terrorist acts.  It has now become clear that Iran’s enemies have taken advantage of existing vulnerabilities and holes to carry out their terrorist acts against the country.  I am not sure exactly where the problem lies, but Iran needs to seriously re-evaluate its counterterrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence structures. 

“In general, Iran has been at the forefront of fighting regional terrorist groups such as Daesh (ISIS) and others that carry terrorist acts against Iran’s security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”Q: How do you assess the role and position of General Soleimani in the fight against terrorism, particularly ISIS, in the region?

A: General Soleimani’s focus was primarily on fighting anti-Iran terrorism in the region.  This was clearly evident in General Soleimani’s indispensable role in creating the necessary environment and conditions in containing and fighting Daesh (ISIS). General Soleimani’s role as perhaps the single most important person in fighting anti-Iran terrorist groups should be emphasized.  His military acumen, ability to devise asymmetrical anti-terrorism warfare strategies, and bringing together unruly groups to work together were unmatched.  

Q: Given the conflict of interests of different countries, can we see the same action by countries against terrorism? What mechanism can equalize the performance of countries against terrorism?

A: As I alluded in my answer to the first question, getting countries to see eye-to-eye when it comes to combating terrorism is akin to forcing a square peg in a round hole.  Perhaps in a very broad definitional term, countries can agree on fighting terrorism, but in practical terms, it is a herculean task to expect countries to work together on this issue.  Terrorism has already become weaponized, and countries will continue to rely on this weapon to confront and contain each other in today’s polarized world of international relations.

Capitalism is Double-billing Us: We Pay from Our Wallets only for Our Future to Be Stolen from Us

October 26, 2020

Air pollution in London. (Photo: File)

Here is a word that risks deterring you from reading on much further, even though it may hold the key to understanding why we are in such a terrible political, economic and social mess. That word is “externalities”.

It sounds like a piece of economic jargon. It is a piece of economic jargon. But it is also the foundation stone on which the west’s current economic and ideological system has been built. Focusing on how externalities work and how they have come to dominate every sphere of our lives is to understand how we are destroying our planet – and offer at the same time the waypost to a better future.

In economics, “externalities” are usually defined indifferently as the effects of a commercial or industrial process on a third party that are not costed into that process.

Here is what should be a familiar example. For decades, cigarette manufacturers made enormous profits by concealing scientific evidence that over time their product could prove lethal to customers. The firms profited by externalizing the costs associated with cigarettes – of death and disease – on to those buying their cigarettes and wider society. People gave Philip Morris and British American Tobacco their money as these companies made those smoking Marlboros and Lucky Strikes progressively unhealthier.

The externalized cost was paid – is still paid – by the customers themselves, by grieving families, by local and national health services, and by the taxpayer. Had the firms been required to pick up these various tabs, it would have proved entirely unprofitable to manufacture cigarettes.

Inherently Violent

Externalities are not incidental to the way capitalist economies run. They are integral to them. After all, it is a legal obligation on private companies to maximize profits for their shareholders – in addition, of course, to the personal incentive bosses have to enrich themselves, and each company’s need to avoid making themselves vulnerable to more profitable and predatory competitors in the marketplace.

Companies are therefore motivated to offload as many costs as possible on to others. As we shall see, externalities mean someone other than the company itself pays the true cost behind its profits, either because those others are too weak or ignorant to fight back or because the bill comes due further down the line. And for that reason, externalities – and capitalism – are inherently violent.

All this would be glaringly obvious if we didn’t live inside an ideological system – the ultimate echo chamber enforced by our corporate media – that is complicit either in hiding this violence or in normalizing it. When externalities are particularly onerous or harmful, as they invariably are in one way or another, it becomes necessary for a company to obscure the connection between cause and effect, between its accumulation of profit and the resulting accumulation of damage caused to a community, a distant country or the natural world – or all three.

That is why corporations – those that inflict the biggest and worst externalities – invest a great deal of time and money in aggressively managing public perceptions. They achieve this through a combination of public relations, advertising, media control, political lobbying and the capture of regulatory institutions. Much of the business of business is deception, either making the externalized harm invisible or gaining the public’s resigned acceptance that the harm is inevitable.

In that sense, capitalism produces a business model that is not only rapacious but psychopathic. Those who pursue profit have no choice but to inflict damage on wider society or the planet, and then cloak their deeply anti-social – even suicidal – actions.

Psychopathic Demands

A recent film that alludes to how this form of violence works was last year’s Dark Waters, concerning the long-running legal battle with DuPont over the chemicals it developed to make non-stick coatings for pots and pans. From the outset, DuPont’s research showed that these chemicals were highly dangerous and accumulated in the body. The science overwhelmingly suggested that exposed individuals would be at risk of developing cancerous tumors or producing children with birth defects.

There were huge profits to be made for DuPont from its chemical discovery so long as it could keep the research hidden. So that’s exactly what its executives did. They set aside basic morality and acted in concert with the psychopathic demands of the marketplace.

DuPont produced pans that contaminated its customers’ food. Workers were exposed to a cocktail of lethal poisons in its factories. The company stored the toxic waste products in drums and then secretly disposed of them in landfills where they leached into the local water supply, killing cattle and producing an epidemic of disease among local residents. DuPont created a chemical that is now everywhere in our environment, risking the health of generations to come.

But a film like Dark Waters necessarily turned a case study in how capitalism commits violence by externalizing its costs into something less threatening, less revelatory. We hiss at DuPont’s executives as though they are the ugly sisters in a pantomime rather than ordinary people not unlike our parents, our siblings, our offspring, ourselves.

In truth, there is nothing exceptional about the DuPont story – apart from the company’s failure to keep its secret hidden from the public. And that exposure was anomalous, occurring only belatedly and against great odds.

An important message the film’s feelgood ending fails to deliver is that other corporations have learned from DuPont’s mistake – not the moral “mistake” of externalizing their costs, but the financial mistake of getting caught doing so. Corporate lobbyists have worked since to further capture regulatory authorities and to amend transparency and legal discovery laws to avoid any repetition, to ensure they are not held legally liable, as DuPont was, in the future.

Victims of Our Bombs

Unlike the DuPont case, most externalities are never exposed. Instead, they hide in plain sight. These externalities do not need to be concealed because they are either not perceived as externalities or because they are viewed as so unimportant as to be not worth factoring in.

The military-industrial complex – the one we were warned about more than half a century ago by President Dwight Eisenhower, a former US general – excels in these kinds of externalities. Its power derives from its ability to externalize its costs on to the victims of its bombs and its wars. These are people we know and care little about: they live far from us, they look and sound different to us, they are denied names and life stories like us. They are simply numbers, denoting them either as terrorists or, at best, unfortunate collateral damage.

The externalities of the west’s war industries are opaque to us. The chain of cause and effect is nowadays obscured as “humanitarian intervention”. And even when war’s externalities come knocking at our borders as refugees flee from the bloodshed, or from the nihilistic cults sucked into the power vacuums we leave behind, or from the wreckage of infrastructure our weapons cause, or from the environmental degradation and pollution we unleash, or from the economies ruined by our plunder of local resources, we still don’t recognize these externalities for what they are. Our politicians and media transform the victims of our wars and our resource grabs into, at best, economic migrants and, at worst, barbarians at the gate.

Snapshots of Catastrophe

If we are entirely ignorant of the externalities inflicted by capitalism on victims beyond our shores, we are gradually and very late in the day waking up to some of capitalism’s externalities much closer to home. Parts of the corporate media are finally admitting that which can no longer be plausibly denied, which is evident to our own senses.

For decades politicians and the corporate media managed to veil two things: that capitalism is an entirely unsustainable, profit-driven, endless consumption model; and that the environment is being gradually damaged in ways harmful to life. Each was obscured, as was the fact that the two are causally connected. The economic model is the primary cause of environmental damage.

People, especially the young, are slowly awakening from this enforced state of ignorance. The corporate media, even its most liberal elements, is not leading this process; it is responding to that awakening.

Last week the Guardian newspaper prominently ran two stories about externalities, even if it failed to frame them as such. One was about micro-plastics leaching from feeding bottles into babies, and the other about the toll air pollution is taking on the populations of major European cities.

The latter story, based on new research, specifically assessed the cost of air pollution in European cities – in terms of “premature death, hospital treatment, lost working days and other health costs” – at £150 billion a year. Most of this was caused by pollution from vehicles, the profitable product of the car industry. The researchers admitted that their figure was an under-estimate of air pollution’s true cost.

But, of course, even that underestimate was arrived at solely on the basis of metrics prioritized by capitalist ideology: the cost to the economy of death and disease, not the incalculable cost in lost and damaged human lives, and even less the damage to other species and the natural world. Another report last week alluded to one of those many additional costs, showing a steep rise in depression and anxiety caused by air pollution.

The other story, on baby bottles, is part of a much bigger story of how the plastics industry – whose products are derivatives of the fossil fuel industry – has long been filling our oceans and soil with plastics, both of the visible and invisible kind. Last week’s report revealed that the sterilization process in which bottles are heated in boiling water resulted in babies swallowing millions of micro-plastics each day. The study found that plastic food containers were shedding much higher loads of micro-plastics than expected.

These stories are snapshots of a much wider environmental catastrophe unfolding across the planet caused by profit-driven industrialized society. As well as heating up the climate, corporations are chopping down the forests that don’t burn down first, ridding the planet of its lungs; they are destroying natural habitats and soil quality, and they are rapidly killing off insect populations.

These industries’ externalities are, for the time being, impacting most severely on the natural world. But they will soon have more visible and dramatic effects that will be felt by our children and grandchildren. Neither of these constituencies currently has a say in how our capitalist “democracies” are being run.

Perception Managers

Capitalism isn’t only harming us, it’s double-billing us: taking first from our wallets and then depriving us of a future. We have now entered an era of deep cognitive dissonance.

Unlike a few years ago, many of us now understand that our futures are at grave risk from changes in our environment – the effect. But the task of today’s perception managers, like those of yesteryear, is to obscure the main cause – our economic system, capitalism.

The increasingly desperate effort to dissociate capitalism from the imminent environmental crisis – to break any perception of a causal link – was highlighted early this year. It emerged that counter-terrorism police in the UK had included Extinction Rebellion, the west’s main environmental protest group, on a list of extremist organizations. Under related “Prevent” regulations, teachers and government officials are already required by law to report anyone who they suspect of being “radicalized”.

In a guide explaining the purpose of the list, officials and teachers were told to identify anyone who speaks in “strong or emotive terms about environmental issues like climate change, ecology, species extinction, fracking, airport expansion or pollution”.

Why was Extinction Rebellion, a non-violent, civil disobedience group, included alongside neo-Nazis and Islamic jihadists? A whole page is dedicated to the threat posed by Extinction Rebellion. The guide explains that the organization’s activism is rooted in an “anti-establishment philosophy that seeks system change”. That is, environmental activism risks making apparent – especially to the young – the causal connection between the economic system and damage to the environment.

Once the story broke, the police hastily rowed back, claiming that Extinction Rebellion’s inclusion was a mistake. But more recently establishment efforts to decouple capitalism from its catastrophic externalities have grown more explicit.

Last month England’s department of education ordered schools not to use any materials in the curriculum that question the legitimacy of capitalism. Opposition to capitalism was described as an “extreme political stance” – opposition, let us remember, to an economic system whose relentless pursuit of growth and profit treats the destruction of the natural world as an uncosted externality.

Paradoxically, education officials equated the promotion of alternatives to capitalism as a threat to free speech, as well as an endorsement of illegal activity, and – inevitably – as evidence of antisemitism.

Suicidal Trajectory

These desperate and draconian measures to shore up an increasingly discredited system are not about to end. They will get much worse.

The establishment is not preparing to give up on capitalism – the ideology that enriched and empowered it – without a fight. The political and media class proved that with their relentless and unprecedented attacks on Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn over several years. And Corbyn was offering only a reformist, democratic socialist agenda.

The establishment has also demonstrated its determination to cling on to the status quo in its relentless and unprecedented attacks on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is locked away, seemingly indefinitely, for revealing the externalities – the victims – of the west’s war industries and the psychopathic behavior of those in power.

Efforts to end the suicidal trajectory of our current “free market” system will doubtless soon be equated with terrorism, as the Prevent strategy has already intimated. We should be ready.

There can be no escape from the death wish of capitalism without recognizing that death wish, and then demanding and working for wholesale change. Externalities may sound like innocuous jargon, but they and the economic system that requires them are killing us, our children and the planet.

The nightmare can end, but only if we wake up.

– Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). Visit his website www.jonathan-cook.net. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

%d bloggers like this: