December 29, 2001
RUSSIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER SUMS UP YEAR IN EXCLUSIVE RIA NOVOSTI INTERVIEW
MOSCOW, December 28. /RIA Novosti correspondent/ - We are offering an exclusive interview in which Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, summed up for RIA Novosti the receding year 2001.
"We have every reason to regard 2001 as the year when Russia fully rejoined leading figures on the international scene for a direct impact on global developments. We owe this achievement to action proceeding from our respect for universally recognised democratic values, while consistently promoting our national interests--and this is of principled importance.
"That approach was exemplified the most graphically by Russian stances as international terrorism attacked the USA, September 11, 2001. As was globally recognised, Russia's clear and unambiguous position enabled the world to form a broad-based anti-terror coalition for concerted action in Afghanistan.
"As the result, the world is witnessing developments unprecedented in international relations ever since World War II. Those developments proceed from the human race realising with ever more clarity that no one can meet singlehanded the new threats and challenges of the globalisation era.
"Russia played one of the leading parts in the emergence of that stance, taken by the international community. Russia adheres to that stance not only in word but in deed. Putting it in simpler words, we have given up a notorious Cold War motto--'The more they lose the more we gain.' We have eradicated that principle from our political vocabulary and foreign political activities alike.
"Much remains to be done before the new vision firmly establishes in international relations to determine them. Russia was clinging to its active policies on many approaches to provide beneficial conditions for domestic reforms it is carrying on, for social and economic progress, and more reliable national security.
"The year 2001 saw Russian progress in all directions. Our progress was quicker in some fields and slower in others, but it was certain everywhere.
"A jubilee summit on the 10th establishment anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States brought together all CIS countries' leaders for a first time within recent years. That complete attendance spoke for itself.
"A great amount of work remains to be done for integration as it is gaining pace.
"Russia's contacts are on the upgrade not only with particular European countries but with Euro-Atlantic structures such as the European Union and NATO. They regard Russia as an equal and reliable partner, and it is really coming up as just such a partner--a fact of vital importance.
"Our Asian policies are no less dynamic. Contacts with China and India reached the highest level of the recent decades, and acquired a long-term orientation to place them on a firm footing of treaties. An active dialogue is on with Japan and the two Koreas, with Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. This approach is essentially important for Siberia and the Russian Far East as they are integrating into the vast Asian-Pacific area. We are also seeking opportunities for expanding cooperation with countries of Latin America and Africa.
"The USA deserves special mention. As we know, there were problems in Russian-American contacts within the new US Administration's initial months. The two countries saw evident attempts to instigate their confrontation. Moscow, however, clearly determined its stance on partnership with Washington, and is clinging to that stance. Russia is eager and practically ready for steady, predictable and constructive contacts with the United States in all fields. President George W. Bush highly appreciates Russian goodwill, as the four latest bilateral summits proved with their achievements. Russian-US relations did not come to a crisis even when the US Administration determined to quit the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, though Russia sees its decision as erroneous. Russia is determined to remain in dialogue with the USA on disarmament and arms limitation, and will work for legal formalisation of tentative future understandings.
"As for international conflicts, which tell so badly on current global developments, something new came to Russian politics in that respect, as well. Russia no longer emphasises its contribution to settling particular critical situations. It now concentrates on consolidating international efforts for lasting conflict settlement. That point mainly concerns Afghanistan, which I have already mentioned, the Middle East, the Balkans, and certain other areas.
"We were paying special attention to consistent promotion of Russian entrepreneurial interests in other countries--and it has brought practical fruit. Russian business is reappearing in markets of other countries to regain what it has lost.
"There is another essential goal, to protect the rights and interests of Russian nationals abroad and of the Russian diaspora. A recent Moscow congress of ethnic Russians highlighted an improvement in that field. Such efforts are merely taking start, and will remain among our top priorities. Wherever he may find himself, every Russian must be sure that his country will stand by him if need be.
"To promote and buttress this year's success will be the main target of Russia's foreign policies in the year 2002."
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