Sergey Lavrov at the G20 ministerial meeting: “When we join forces, the world can change for the better and move forward”

9:43 23.02.2024 •

Photo: Russian MFA press service

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the G20 ministerial meeting on the G20’s role in addressing ongoing international tensions, Rio de Janeiro, February 21, 2024:

“Dear colleagues,

We are grateful to our Brazilian friends for the opportunity to discuss geopolitical issues. In this we see the desire of the presidency to stimulate the search for the common denominator, diplomatic solutions that will allow to create favourable peaceful conditions for mutually beneficial economic development.

When we join forces, the world can change for the better and move forward. The 20th century has become an important milestone in freeing humanity from the shackles of colonialism. We seem to have put an end to economic gangsterism and the exploitation of other people's labour and wealth. The transition to the era of détente during the Cold War allowed the United States and the USSR to lay a strong foundation for containing military risks and building reliable strategic security architecture, especially in Europe. It is regrettable that those achievements have been almost completely destroyed today.

The objective process of the emergence of a multipolar world order driven by self-reliant nations and regions has met with serious resistance. The basic principles of international communication are being undermined at the instigation of the West. Universal legal norms and the principles of the UN Charter, including the sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs and self-determination of peoples, are being violated. Diplomacy as a means of peaceful settlement of disputes is being sacrificed to violent struggle, “hybrid wars”, total confrontation, and the desire to inflict a strategic defeat on the rival. Double standards, hypocrisy and direct lies are brought into play. Remember how fiercely the West received the interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to Tucker Carlson, laying out the truth that the Western elites hide from their voters.

Instead of a UN-centred architecture, narrow bloc alliances, closed clubs, behind-the-scenes “best practices”, allegedly “reliable scientific data”, and pseudo-democratic ‘values’ are being promoted. The world is artificially divided into friends and foes, the “garden” and the “jungle”. It is unclear on what basis countries are suddenly declared “democracies” or “dictatorships”. This is what the infamous “rules” the West imposes instead of the international law, appear in reality. No one has ever seen them, but at the time the ex American President Barack Obama said that they will be drawn up “without Russia and China”, that is, only by the insiders, on the basis of adherence to the so-called “values”. The basis of such policy is neo-colonialism, the desire to achieve dominance in political, economic and humanitarian spheres under the cover of “beautiful” slogans.

The collective West will use any method to promote its own goals. The promises not to bring NATO closer to Russia have been forgotten. The course for its global expansion has been set. We know how NATO’s ventures end. Let us recall the wars in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, crises provoked in other regions. The bloc’s track record of wrongs includes thousands of victims, destruction of states and economies. This list includes pseudo-judicial reprisals, coups d'état and coloured revolutions. Journalists, artists and athletes, not to mention politicians and businessmen, have been hit by a wave of repressions. Criminal methods are being devised to seize public assets and private property. The bid is placed on extraterritorial sanctions, economic discrimination, unfair competition, “green” barriers, restrictions on the flow of technologies and investments.

Donor pledges are an ephemeral and essentially false lure. The promised target of 0.7 per cent of GDP for developed countries remains only ‘on paper’, just like investments, announced by the West for sustainable development and climate, which have been sacrificed to the multi-billion dollar sponsorship flows to militarise Ukraine and inflate NATO members’ military budgets. Energy and food supply chains are being disrupted, leading to hunger, poverty and inequality, which the Brazilian presidency has rightly drawn attention to. There have been attempts to implant “microchips” for external control in national governments. The result is obvious: agricultural land in Ukraine has been appropriated by American companies, and Ukrainians have been turned into expendables sent by the Zelensky regime to die in exchange for Western loans. At the same time, the scale of tragedy in Gaza is deliberately diminished, meanwhile in less than five months more civilians, including children and women, have been killed there than on both sides in Donbas in the 10 years since the anti constitutional coup d'état in Kiev.

It is unlikely that we will find solutions to the accumulated global security challenges and threats here in the G20. But our forum of the world's leading economies could make clear its opposition to the use of “economy as a weapon” and “war as an investment” and to demonstrate our desire for open and equitable trade and economic cooperation. It is important for us to reaffirm that global banks and funds should not finance militaristic goals and aggressive regimes, but rather countries in need in the interests of sustainable development. This way G20 could contribute, within its area of responsibility, to the creation of material conditions to search for the ways to settle conflicts through inclusive diplomacy, respecting the central role of the UN Security Council, and not through closed formats and formulas, based on ultimatums.

At last year’s Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, we agreed that the strengthening of global institutions should be achieved by raising the voice of the developing countries of the world’s majority. The African Union has joined us. I believe that we should not stop there and equally engage the leading integrational structures of other regions of the Global South in our work.

The G20 could also add its voice to the demands for a fair UNSC reform. We reiterate our support for the candidacy of Brazil and India at the same time ensuring the interests of the African countries.”


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