Re: UN official: Israel’s occupation is ‘corrosive of human rights and democratic values’

Israel is working hard to silence “human rights defenders” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, limiting their work and slowly outlawing them, a senior UN official revealed in a report yesterday.

The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, said: “The 50-year occupation has been profoundly corrosive of human rights and democratic values.”

During this time, Israel has perpetuated

an alien rule over almost five million people, against their fervent wishes, [which] inevitably requires the repression of rights, the erosion of the rule of law, the abrogation of international commitments, the imposition of deeply discriminatory practices, the hollowing out of well-accepted standards of military behaviour, the subjugation of the humanity of the Other, the denial of trends that are plainly evident, the embrace of illiberal politics and – the focus of this report – the scorning of those civil society organisations that raise the uncomfortable truths about the disfigured state of human rights under occupation.

 

Lynk accused Tel Aviv of humiliating the Palestinians and intensifying the crackdown on human rights activists. He presented his report to the UN Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council during its latest session on Israel. Israeli and US diplomats boycotted the session.

“Human  rights  organisations  and  individuals  have  engaged  in highly effective local, regional and international advocacy and litigation and acted as witnesses and ambassadors of conscience in reminding the world that the occupation is  becoming  ever  more  immutable,” Lynk’s report added.

As a result of their effectiveness, human rights defenders have been subject to a range of physical attacks, incarceration and threats to their lives and safety.

 

Read: Out of the UNHRC, US will not be able to ‘shield’ Israel

The report also criticised the Palestinian authorities for their violations, including unlawful killings and detentions. It comes after the resignation of the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Rima Khalaf, after her report accusing Israel of being an apartheid state was rejected by the international body under pressure from Israel and the US.

The US boycotted the debate on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in Geneva on Monday, claiming that the UN Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. The move came after the US administration announced in March that it would review its relationship with the Geneva-based council, in light of its strong focus on Israel, Washington’s ally.

The HRC regularly addresses many areas of tension, including Syria and North Korea. However, Israel is the only state regularly placed on a separate agenda item with numerous human rights reports.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner claimed in a statement from Washington that the discussion of the Monday session is an additional reminder of the long-standing bias of this body against Israel. “The continued existence of this item on the agenda is among the greatest threats to the council’s credibility,” he added.

This item was amended on 24.03.17. The previous entry quoted Lynk as saying that Israel was the “most malignant in the world”, this was incorrect and we apologise for the error.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170322-israeli-occupation-most-malignant-in-the-world-says-un-rapporteur/#comment-3224310776

Lost Mr. Rogers’ episodes target wasteful military spending and austerity

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Source Article from https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/lost-mr-rogers-episodes-target-wasteful-military-spending-and-austerity/

Breakthrough in JCC bomb threat case said to come after Trump sent FBI to Israel

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Revelations – Lafarge-Holcim’s jihad, by Thierry Meyssan

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On 2 March 2017, the company Lafarge-Holcim admitted that its Syrian subsidiary, in violation of UNO resolutions, had «paid sums of money to third parties, including certain third parties who are under sanction, in order to facilitate arrangements with a number of armed groups with a view to maintaining the company’s activity and ensuring safe passage for its employees and supplies to and from the factory» [1].

The cement company has already been the object of two enquiries. The first was initiated by the associations Sherpa and ECCHR, on 15 November 2016, while the second was launched by the French Minister of the Economy. Both were reacting to the alleged revelations in Le Monde, according to which Lafarge paid money to Daesh, in violation of UNO resolutions.

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It’s important to note that the articles published on 2 March in Intelligence Online (a confidential site belonging to Le Monde) and in Le Monde itself on 22 June 2016, were written by a journalist who is not affiliated with these news outlets – Dorothée Myriam Kellou. This young woman studied at Georgtown University. Her statements were confirmed in a book by Jacob Waerness, Risikosjef i Syra, in which the ex-employee decribes the frightening security situation of Lafarge personnel in Syria. The author pursued his collaboration with the cement company after the publication of his book.

The pseudo-revelations of Le Monde were organised in coordination with Lafarge-Holcim in order to focus the attention of the public and the judges on a single point of detail – namely, should they have accepted being held to ransom by Daesh.

The truth is worse than that.

The preparation of the war against Syria

In June 2008, NATO organised the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group [2] in Chantilly (United States) during which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama presented themselves to the participants.

Among the 120 people present were Bassma Kodmani (future spokeswoman for the Syrian National Coalition) and Volker Perthes (future assistant of Jeffrey Feltman at the UNO, for Syria). During a debate on the permanence of US foreign policy, they spoke up to commend the importance of the Muslim Brotherhood and the role they could play in the «democratisation» of the Arab world.

Jean-Pierre Jouyet (future Secretary General for the Elysée), Manuel Valls (future Prime Minister of France) and Bertrand Collomb (head of Lafarge) were present alongside Henry R. Kravis (future financial coordinator of Daech).

Lafarge in Syria

Lafarge is the world’s leading cement company. NATO entrusted it with the construction of the jihadists’ bunkers in Syria and the reconstruction of the Sunni part of Iraq. In exchange, Lafarge allowed the Alliance to manage its installations in these two countries, notably the factory in Jalabiyeh (at the Turkish border, north of Aleppo). For two years, the multinational supplied the materials and equipment for the construction of the gigantic underground fortifications which enabled the jihadists to defy the Syrian Arab Army.

Lafarge is currently directed by US citizen Eric Olsen, who has integrated into his company the factories of the Sawiris brothers and Firas Tlass. The latter is the son of General Moustapha Tlass, President Hafez el-Assad’s ex-Minister for Defence. He is the brother of General Manas Tlass, whom France had once considered making the next Syrian President. He is also the brother of Nahed Tlass-Ojjeh, the widow of Saudi arms dealer Akram Ojjeh – she works with the journalist Franz-Olivier Giesbert.

The links between Lafarge and the French Special Forces are facilitated by the friendship between Bertrand Collomb (who became the honorary President of the multinational) and General Benoît Puga (Chief of Staff for Presidents Sarkozy and Hollande).

The lies of Le Monde

First of all, the online news outlet of the anti-Syrian mercenaires, Zaman Al-Wasl, published e-mails showing that Lafarge was paying money to Daesh. Then Le Monde published its articles and took the documents from Zaman Al-Wasl off its Internet site (although you can find them here on our Internet site).

According to Le Monde, the multinational was buying oil to keep its factory running. However, this is untrue – the factory in question runs almost exclusively on coal, which was still being delivered from Turkey. Without realising the enormity of its confession, the daily admitted that Lafarge produced 2,6 million metric tonnes of cement per year, destined for the «rebel zones».

Yet throughout this terrible war, civilians could not obtain permission to build in these zones.

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Daesh soldiers at the Lafarge-Holcim factory in Jalabiyeh (Syria)

The construction of the jihadists’ bunkers

2,6 million metric tonnes for two years adds up to at least six million metric tonnes produced for the «rebels». I’m putting the word «rebel» in quotes, because these combatants are not Syrians – they come from all over the Muslim world, including Europe.

This amount of concrete is comparable to that used by the German Reich, in 1916-17, to build the Siegfried Line. Since July 2012, NATO – including France – have organised a war of position in conformity with the strategy described by Abou Moussab «The Syrian» in his 2004 book, Management of Savagery.

We can imagine the number of military engineers from the NATO Engineering Corps – including the French – who were necessary to build these colossal structures.

Lafarge, the Clintons and the CIA

During the 1980’s, Lafarge was defended in its Alabama pollution trial by a famous lawyer, a certain Hillary Rodham-Clinton. She managed to reduce the fine imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencydown to only 1,8 million dollars.

During the mandate of George Bush Sr, Lafarge helped out the CIA by illegally transporting to Iraq the weapons which would be used later on during the rebellion, when Iraq was planned to invade Kuwaït, and the international Coalition was planned to come to liberate it.

During the same period, Hillary Rodham-Clinton became an administrator for the multinational, a post she left when her husband was elected to the White House. President Bill Clinton then reduced to 600,000 dollars the fine that his wife had been unable to avoid for Lafarge. Good relations continued between them, since the cement company donated 100,000 dollars to the Clinton Fondation in 2015, and its new CEO, Eric Olsen, never hesitates to have his photo taken with Hillary Clinton.

The Russian military intervention

Entrenched in their bunkers, the jihadists were not afraid of the Syrian Arab Army, and had no difficulty in holding their positions. For two years, the country was cut in two, since the government chose to save the population and thus to abandon the area.

When Russia stepped in, answering the request by the Syrian government, its mission was to destroy the jihadists’ bunkers with penetrating «bunker-buster» bombs. The operation was intended to last three months, from September 2015 until the Orthodox Christmas (6 January 2016). However, the extent of Lafarge-Holcim’s constructions proved to be so massive that the Russian Army needed six months to finish the job.

Conclusion

When the transnational company Lafarge-Holcim finished its mission in service of the Military Engineering Corps of NATO, it closed its factory and lent it to the Alliance. So the factory in Jalabiyeh was transformed into a headquarters for the Special Forces of the United States, France, Norway and the United Kingdom, who were occupying the North of Syria illegally.

Contrary to the smoke-screen raised by Le Monde, this is not at all the sad story of a construction company which was forced to negotiate with jihadists in order to save its personnel. Lafarge-Holcim’s responsibility is its central role in a vast military operation aimed at the destruction of Syria – a secret war which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article195754.html

Japanese scientists reject lifting of ban on military research at universities

The SCJ, which was created in 1949 as an independent body representing academia, warned Japanese universities and research institutions against participating in military-related research, the Japan Times reported. In a statement adopted by the council’s executive body on Friday, it said taking grants from the defense ministry would compromise scientific independence.

It comes after 10 months of deliberation by a 15-member committee, which was formed in May 2016 to consider whether the long-held opposition to military research should be overturned. The SCJ previously rejected military research in 1950, and again in 1967.

The policy statement carries no legal force, but the council’s opinion carries great weigh in Japanese scientific circles and the government.

The council was called to revise its policy, after Japan’s Defense Ministry boosted its funding of research into dual-use technologies, which can have both civilian and military applications. The funding almost doubled for 2017 to $96 million, compared to the previous year, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

The decision to reject military research came earlier in March. At the meeting on Friday, the council’s board debated on whether to adopt the statement directly or submit it to the SCJ General Assembly, which is to convene next month. The executives chose the former.

Japanese academia remains reluctant to deal with military technologies for historical reasons. Imperial Japan rounded up scientists to participate in the war effort during World War II.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/382346-japan-scientists-military-research/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

‘Like a war zone’: Drone footage reveals scale of devastation after Wirral explosion (VIDEOS)

Drone footage from a Wirral-based cameraman, who goes by the name Pixels In The Sky, reveals large scale devastation around Boundary Road and Circular Drive, New Ferry after the explosion on Saturday night.

Footage from the scene shows the collapsed remains of the Complete Works dance studios with debris strewn across a residential block.

READ MORE: ‘People under rubble’: Over 30 injured in huge ‘gas explosion’ in NW England (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) 

Significant damage was also inflicted on surrounding buildings, as the blast sent missiles of brick and wood flying towards the facades of nearby properties. 

According to Wirral Council, at least 30 people were injured in the blast, which destroyed “several buildings” at around 9pm on Saturday. 

A number of road closures in the area also remain in place as authorities from the local council and emergency services continue to pick through the debris. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, local resident Martin Lennon described the scenes as something from a “war zone.”

“It sort of happened in slow motion. The curtains just lifted up and then the windows and the doors came in… [There was] debris everywhere. Basically we had to evacuate the house and it was just like a warzone outside,” Lennon said. 

In the wake of the explosion, Labour MP Alison McGovern thanked the emergency services as well as Life Church, which gave shelter to a number of evacuees.

“The consequences of this event are devastating,” McGovern added in a statement.

READ MORE: House destroyed by explosion in Manchester

“The buildings affected are central to the shopping area in New Ferry. I will be working with Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, and local ward councillors to understand how the community can move forward from this terrible blast,” the MP said. 

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/uk/382344-wirral-gas-explosion-drone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Dozens detained as opposition activists hold protests in several Russian cities (PHOTOS)

For the Moscow demonstration, around 8,000 people took to the streets, according to police. As the rally continued, police used loudspeakers to call on the protesters to disperse.

Protesters came despite failing to receive permission from the mayor’s office to hold a rally at the site of their choosing. The authorities suggested two alternative locations for the event, but the organizers rejected them.

Navalny was detained shortly after showing up for the event in the center of the Russian capital. He was charged with violating an administrative code regulating public gatherings and is facing a fine, community service, or administrative detention, TASS reports, citing police.

A man with a gun was among those detained at the rally. The moment was captured on film by RT’s Ruptly video news agency.

READ MORE: Kremlin warns Navalny supporters against unsanctioned rall

RT’s Ilya Petrenko is at the scene of the protests, and he says the event in the capital is “essentially just a march along Tverskaya Street.”

Moscow police warned on Saturday that participating in the unsanctioned rally could pose a risk to personal safety and advised people against doing so.

Law enforcement say that somebody sprayed “irritant gas” in the capital’s Pushkin Square, but rejected reports that it was part of a police action. 

Protests, some sanctioned and others in violation of a municipal ban, also took place in other Russian cities on Sunday, including Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok.

In St. Petersburg, an unsanctioned opposition rally was held just next to another unconnected gathering of demonstrators who rallied for traditional values.

Police estimated the number of participants in the opposition event at around 3,000 in St. Petersburg, and said that three individuals were facing administrative action for minor violations.

The rally in Novosibirsk, which was sanctioned by the local authorities after a court ordered them to overturn a ban, attracted around 1,500 people, according to the mayor’s office. At another sanctioned event in Tomsk, around 400 protesters showed up, according to local law enforcement.

In Vladivostok, 25 activists have been detained by police for trying to violate a ban on public gatherings.

Police released those detained shortly afterwards. The usual procedure for such cases of detention (which is not an actual ‘arrest’) is to identify the individuals for potential administrative action and then release them.

In Irkutsk, around 300 people protested without any incidents, as was the case in Belgorod, in which an estimated 150 people took part. In Krasnodar, an organizer of the unsanctioned rally was detained after one of the protesters threw a smoke stick at a group of people standing nearby, but otherwise no violations were reported.

In Saratov, several opposition rallies in different parts of the city gathered around 400 people in all. In Kazan, an unsanctioned rally was conducted with police choosing not to intervene, but warning protesters of potential consequences.

Navalny called on his supporters to protest on Sunday, weeks after releasing a report on the alleged corruption of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He accused the head of the Russian government of personal enrichment through embezzlement.

READ MORE: Medvedev’s spokesperson dismisses Navalny investigation report as elections propaganda

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/382342-opposition-protest-russia-police/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

‘Motive still unknown’: Grenade explosion kills 4, injures 15 in the Philippines

The incident happened on the island of Jolo, capital of the Sulu province, when a grenade was thrown near a bakery on Saturday evening.

Four people perished and scores more were wounded in the explosion, which, according to daily newspaper the Philstar, is suspected of being part of an escape attempt by a fleeing robber.

However, the Northbound Philippines News Online report that the blast may be in retaliation to a shooting in which a child injured on Friday.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve got a friend who has plenty of weapons’: Philippines’ strongman Duterte to RT (EXCLUSIVE)

A man has reportedly been arrested over the explosion and police have not yet commented on potential reasons for the attack.

“A suspect was arrested and [is] now in the custody of Jolo Municipal Police Station. Motive is still unknown,” said Col Cirilito Sobejana, commander of a Sulu military task force.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/382341-grenade-philippines-sulu-explosion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Uber suspends self-driving car tests after autonomous vehicle crash in Arizona (VIDEO, PHOTO)

The Volvo SUV was making a left turn at an intersection in Arizona, where Uber has been trialing autonomous vehicles, on Friday when another car “failed to yield” and struck it, according to police.

There was a person behind the wheel [of the self-driving car]. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision,” said officer Josie Montenegro.

READ MORE: Uber accused of stealing its driverless car technology from competitor in federal lawsuit

A picture of the badly damaged vehicle was posted online and verified by an Uber spokeswoman who confirmed the incident to Bloomberg. There were two operators sitting in the front of the Uber vehicle at the time of the collision, but no passengers, and no injuries were reported.

Uber said they are investigating the incident and have pulled their self-driving vehicles off the road in all three states where they are testing the technology – Arizona, Pennsylvania, and California – as a precaution.

READ MORE: ‘My beliefs not shared at Uber’: President of ride-sharing firm gives reasons for shock exit

The accident rounds out a tumultuous week for the company. On Monday, former Uber President Jeff Jones cited irreparable differences as the reason behind his shock decision to leave the role after only six months.

The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business,” Jones said in a statement released on Monday.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/usa/382340-uber-self-driving-car-crash/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Lavrov gives landmark speech: New centers of economic power will end US ‘global domination’

Mr Kuralenko,

Comrade officers, colleagues, friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/346360-Lavrov-gives-landmark-speech-New-centers-of-economic-power-will-end-US-global-domination