The Sixth Moscow Conference on International Security, organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense, was held on April 26-7, 2017. This year’s panels addressed Twenty-First century global security challenges (the shaping of a polycentric international system, international terrorism), European security (NATO-Russia relations, OSCE capability in confidence building), modern objectives of counterterrorism and counter-radicalism in the Middle East (radical groups, political dialogue in Syria as a stage of post-conflict settlement, threats of terrorism merging with WMD), U.S. BMD in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific, Security in Central Asia and the terrorist threat coming from Afghanistan, and military alliances in the Asian-Pacific region.[1] What was notable about the conference was the harsh anti-American and anti-Western tone. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned US “aggression” in Syria and NATO’s unilateral actions, Nikolai Patrushev, the Russian Security Council Secretary accused the West of “fact manipulation and information falsification” and Russian spy-chief Sergey Naryshkin claimed that the West was stoking an ideological confrontation of Cold War intensity.

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov’s Speech:

Lavrov: ‘The Recent Missile Strike By The U.S…. In Syria Was… An Act Of Aggression Against A Sovereign State’

Lavrov at International Security Conference
Lavrov at the Moscow Conference on International Security (Source: Mid.ru)

“…The global situation has neither become more stable nor predictable. On the contrary, we see tension growing both globally and regionally, the continued erosion of international law and attempts to use force to promote unilateral interests, strengthen one’s security at the expense of others’ security and contain the objective development of a polycentric world order at any cost. These actions are damaging our common objective, which is joining our efforts to deal with real rather than imaginary threats.

“The upcoming panel discussions at the conference will focus on the struggle against international terrorism, which has grown to an unprecedented scale. For the first time in human history, terrorists want to create their own state, a caliphate with its own territory, population and man-hating ideology. Much is being said at various levels about the need to redouble efforts against this global evil. The Joint Communiqué of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting says that ‘international cooperation remains of paramount importance in the fight against terrorism.’ It further says, I quote: ‘Countering terrorism and violent extremism and bringing perpetrators to justice remain top priorities for the international community.’

“These fine words have been said before, but they have not been turned into reality. However, joint actions and the creation of a broad counterterrorism front, which President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed at the UN in September 2015, are still being hindered by political ambitions and double standards.

“Russia continues working to rally the international community in the fight against terrorism. We have submitted a draft resolution on combating the terrorist ideology to the UN Security Council. We have urged for the introduction of a comprehensive trade and economic embargo on ISIS-controlled territories in keeping with Article 41 of the UN Charter, with sanctions to be imposed on embargo violators.

“Adopting the rules of responsible behavior for states, when utilizing information and communication technology (ICT), is another important objective. These rules should make it impossible to use ICT for military purposes or interference in internal affairs. The rules must also prevent international terrorists from using ICT. Within the UN, Russia pushes for devising a universal criminal law convention on countering cybercrime.

“We will never succeed in our fight against terrorism unless multiple conflicts are resolved, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. The ceasefire in Syria that was facilitated by Russia, Turkey and Iran in late 2016 and the launch of the Astana process contribute to the intra-Syrian inclusive dialogue.

“On the contrary, the recent missile strike by the U.S. against the Shayrat airbase in Syria was a blatant violation of international law and an act of aggression against a sovereign state, which only aggravated the existing problems, making the prospect of building a broad counterterrorist front even more distant and illusive. “This begs a comparison with what happened in 2003 in Iraq with the devastating effect on the country and the emergence of ISIS as a direct consequence. I think that there is no need to explain to this audience once more that a dangerous turn of events, including outside the region, could result in ill-advised steps of this kind.

Provocations like the one that took place in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 call for a professional investigation under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and following a geographically balanced approach. This should be an open and transparent investigation. We are witnessing attempts to block this process, which only confirms our doubts in the good faith of those trying to exploit the April 4 incident in order to shift the agenda, abandon UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and advance with the long-standing idea of regime change in Syria.

Lavrov: ‘[In] The Euro-Atlantic Region, One Cannot But Feel Alarmed Over Its Considerable Residual Conflict Potential, Which Is Largely Fuelled By NATO’s Unilateral Actions’

“Of course, the surge in terrorist activity should not overshadow other dangerous challenges the world is facing today. The deteriorating situation around the Korean Peninsula is a matter of grave concern as Pyongyang continues its nuclear missile programs, while the U.S. and its regional allies have disproportionately stepped up their military activity under the pretext of the ‘North Korean threat.’ The accelerated deployment of U.S. THAAD complexes in the south of the peninsula as part of the U.S. global missile defense shield has an especially destabilizing effect.

“Russia is fully aligned with the consolidated position of the international community regarding Pyongyang’s policy, and reaffirms its commitment to all UN Security Council resolutions. However, it is obvious that the recent emergence of the prospect of using force is fraught with catastrophic consequences for the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia in general.

“Russia is interested in ensuring security and stability across the Asia-Pacific Region. Having all countries in the region follow the generally accepted rules of behavior is an essential prerequisite for success, including respecting international law, peaceful settlement of disputes, and non-use of force or threat of force. Russia has proposed to its partners and proactively promotes at East Asia summits concrete measures to build a security and cooperation architecture on a non-bloc and inclusive basis. We see that these efforts are highly relevant. China, India and many ASEAN countries share our approaches. By the way, the fruitful dialogue within the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] clearly demonstrates that international contacts can be effective, when based on the principles of equality, taking into account each other’s interests and respecting the right of states to choose their own development model.

“If we look at another part of the world, the Euro-Atlantic region, one cannot but feel alarmed over its considerable residual conflict potential, which is largely fuelled by NATO’s unilateral actions… The unilateral deployment of the U.S. global missile defense system’s European segment is an extremely serious obstacle to strengthening strategic stability. This system is aimed at changing the balance of forces in the area of offensive arms. The deployment of an anti-missile umbrella can bolster the illusions of invulnerability and impunity and tempt one to make unilateral moves while addressing global and regional issues, including lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. The development of non-nuclear strategic weapons and efforts to prevent the conclusion of an agreement on the non-deployment of weapons in space have a negative impact on international security. The unwillingness or inability of the United States and some other countries to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) gives rise to more and more questions.

We are convinced that it is vital to establish a zone of equal and indivisible security from Vancouver to Vladivostok, as formalized by the decisions of OSCE summits and those of the Russia-NATO Council. More and more Europeans are advocating resumed dialogue in the interests of effectively addressing numerous issues for the purpose of establishing a European security architecture that would involve the Russian Federation.

“The resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis by completely and consistently implementing the Minsk Package of Measures should help restore mutual trust. Unfortunately, the ‘war hawks’ are gaining the upper hand in Kiev. Armed provocations continue along the demarcation line, as proved by reports of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. A blockade imposed against Donbass continues to have a negative impact on this region and the whole of Ukraine. We expect our partners, including our Normandy format partners, to more insistently and openly compel the Kiev authorities to honor their obligations assumed in Minsk….”

(Mid.ru, April 26, 2017)

Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Sergey Naryshkin ‘s Speech:

Naryshkin: Early This Year, There Was Hope That ‘A Realistic Vector In Global Affairs Would Triumph’

Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergey Naryshkin said: “The current phase of the ideological confrontation is tense and nearing the intensity of emotions during the Cold War, and is sometimes worse…The fight for the ‘hearts and minds’ will intensify and encompass new spheres. It will be accompanied by spreading fake news and introducing innovative technologies for influencing grassroots action.”

He then added that, early this year, there was the hope that “a realistic vector in global affairs would triumph.” Naryshkin said: “Many believed that common sense would prevail and nations would take steps to settle regional conflicts together based on mutual respect and trust, and search for a response to such challenges mankind faces like international terrorism.” He then added: “So far, these expectations have not been fulfilled. We have to say that our partners in the West have failed to overcome inertia and continue attempts of holding dialogue from the position of strength and without respecting international law. This tactic is futile in relations with Russia. Any attempts by the West to exert pressure on this country are absolutely unacceptable. We will cooperate only on an equal basis, taking into account all interests each side has. Only this approach can ensure a regional balance of forces.”

Talking about terrorism, Naryshkin said that “the long-standing existence of a quasi-state of ISIS is impossible without support from abroad.” He then added: “The West’s thoughtless attempts to reshape such special countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria using its own patterns have only resulted in a wave of chaos and violence. They upset the equilibrium in the region and the lifestyle of millions of citizens who are far from big politics.”

(Tass.com, April 27, 2017)

Sergey Naryshkin (Source: Russkymir.ru)

Secretary Of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev’s Speech:

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev claimed that “fact manipulation and information falsification have become a hallmark of those who dare to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries.” He added: “The same forces seek to preserve their unilateral advantage as far as controlling the global information infrastructure goes. Besides, they have been opposing attempts to create a global information security system under the United Nations auspices that would take into consideration the national interests of all countries.”

Commenting about NATO, Patrushev said: “NATO is seeking to ensure cyber security for only a narrow circle of the alliance’s member states. Meanwhile, Russia stands for equal security for all the states.”

(Tass.com, April 26, 2017)

Nikolai Patrushev
Nikolai Patrushev (Source: Rt.com)