Friday, May 23, 2014

West’s Expansion to the East Ruins Historic Chance at Unification – Lavrov
Sergei Lavrov is the foreign minister of the Russian
May 23, 2014 06:19

The Ukrainian crisis is a natural result of the West’s expansion of its influence eastwards at the expense of Russian interests, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. This stance ruins a historic chance for a unified continent.

The turbulence in Ukraine is reminiscent of the violence and bloodshed that Europe experienced in the 20th century, Lavrov told a security conference in Moscow.

“The European continent, which brought two global military catastrophes in the last century, is not demonstrating an example to the world of peaceful development and broad cooperation,” he said, adding that the situation wasn’t accidental, but rather “a natural result of the developments over the past quarter of a century.”

“Our Western partners rejected a truly historic chance to build a greater Europe in favor of border lines and the habitual logic of expanding the geopolitical space under their control to the East,” Lavrov stressed. “This is de facto a continuation of a policy of containing Russia in a softer wrapping.”

The West ignored Russia’s calls for cooperation and would not pursuit a challenge of bringing together different integration projects in Eurasia. Instead it was forcing nations historically close to Russia to choose between the East and the West.

“With Ukraine’s fragile political situation, this pressure was enough to trigger a massive crisis of statehood,” Lavrov pointed out.

But Ukraine is just one example of the destructive results that Western foreign policies bring, Lavrov said.

“The operations to change regimes in sovereign states and the foreign-orchestrated ‘color revolutions’ of different brands produce obvious damage to the international stability. The attempts to impose one’s own designs for internal reforms on other peoples, which don’t take into account national characteristics, to ‘export democracy’, impact destructively international relations and multiplies the number of flashpoints on the world map,” he continued.

“Schemes based on advocating one’s exceptionalism, the use of double standards, pursuit of unilateral geopolitical outcomes in crisis situation, are widely used not only in Europe, but also in other regions,” the minister said. “This undermines crisis mediation efforts.”

The problems in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries can only be solved through collective effort, and Russia stands for joining forces in tackling issues. A collective effort resulted in resent advances on the Iranian nuclear program and launched the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal, Lavrov said. Meanwhile unilateral attempts to resolve the Arab-Palestinian conflict proved to be deficient.

“When crisis management on all directions requires collective effort, one can hardly understand the reasoning of those, who take decisions on limiting cooperation with Russia over responding to common challenges and threats,” he said. “It’s doubtful that this would rise the efficiency of combating terrorism, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, responding to natural and man-made disasters or erecting barriers to extremism.”

Lavrov stressed that a polycentric system of global security, in which parties respect each other’s interests, cultural differences and the right to self-determination is needed to build a just, safe and democratic world.

The foreign minister was speaking at an international security conference in Moscow, which brought together some 30 officials, military officers and experts from more than 40 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran and Belarus. The Russian capital is hosting the event for the third time.

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