Sincere congratulation to ASFAN and its member States on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Association.
Our congratulations are also addressed to the new members of the Association, Laos and Myanmar, on the occasion of their accession thereto.
For history 3o years is a short term. But in our impetuous time it witnessed many major events which have radically changed the world. This transformation has essentially put an end to the Cold War and Confrontation of the two systems, thus opening up unbelievable prospects for mankind in cooperation and ennobling of international relations. We must all take this chance to the fullest extent possible.
The bipolar world configuration is slowly but steadily moving to a multipolar one. This is a prerequisite of equal international relations where the voice of all countries and their associations will be equally audible.
ASEAN is one of the global poles of this kind whose authority and influence continue to increase.
Twelve months that followed the Jakarta conference were full of important evens. With all their ambiguities, interstate relation were still marked positive trend.
One such example is the outcome of the Denver Summit of the Eight. One of the significant decision was the Declaration on the preparedness of the Eight to cooperate with all countries interested in global partnership for peace, security and sustainable development. We can say that ha become a full member of the club Russia is now ready, as never before, for close and my advantageous cooperation with ASEAN countries. In this respect many areas are promising: strengthening nuclear safety; environmental protection; natural disaster forecasting e.g. earth and tsunami, and eliminating their consequences; combating dangerous infections; and many others. Cooperation in the field of trade and economy, and of investment movement is tropical as ever.
In Denver it was recognized that Russia was completing its historical transformation into a democratic market economy. I this would help our country join APEC.
The world community is and will, unfortunately, continue to be concerned for quite a while on a priority basis with conflict settlement. We believe that this process stands to gain from ASEAN nations joining it with their sizable international weight.
However ASEAN nations’ involvement in settlement processes is not to be limited by the “conflict zone” within South East Asia, particularly when it concerns Cambodia, a country of the region. Considering that this country’s current differences am its domestic affair we, nonetheless, urge all political sides to refrain from solutions from strength, to prevent the recurrence of hostilities an hence, Cambodia’s slippage into a new civil war. I am sure that we shall give important significant to the issue at our present meeting.
The Middle East continues to be a matter of concern for all mankind. The current slow-down in the Arab-Israeli settlement must be energetically overcome collective efforts. We should do our best to avert a longer pause.
Russia as a co-sponsor of the Madrid peace process makes its contribution to the process. It is common knowledge that the deadlock in the settlement is provoked, above all, by the construction of new Israeli settlement the occupied territory, primarily in Eastern Jerusalem. We continue to persuade Israelis to give up their unilateral actions, particularly those affecting religious feelings of the Muslims.
For reasons well understandable ASEAN cannot help being concerned about developments in Europe affecting to a great degree stability in the rest of the world. The Russia- NATO relationship is one of factors shaping the architecture of European security well into the Third millennium. Our attitude to plans of NATO enlargement has been and continues to be extremely negative, as any military alliance is, in our view, an anachronism. We fear that focus on “bloc expansion” with the Cold War over would once again create dividing lines. Naturally, Russia can view the advance of NATO’s military machinery to its territory as a threat to its security. Under the circumstances Russia agreed to sign the Founding Act governing relations NATO. Elaborating this important document we were convinced of the need to prevent the return to confrontation. In the process solutions to some complicated defense issues were also found. NATO enlargement and decisions adopted in Madrid create, unfortunately, new problems without solving the existing ones.
Addressing the most dangerous conflict situations it is impossible to bypass the subject of former Yugoslavia. The efforts of international community in this area of the continent materialize peace-making in truly extreme conditions.
Russia advocates consistent implementation of the Peace accord on Bosnia and Herzegovina, We regard any delays in its realization as extremely dangerous for the peace process. New confrontation is inadmissible. Like in the past, success will, to a large extent, depend on interaction among international implementation institutes, harmony of their actions, and prevention of bias.
Overcoming conflict situations on territory of the former Soviet Union is a separate important of Russia’s foreign policy. It cannot be said that we have achieved decisive results in the political settlement of conflicts. However, with the help of Russia, above all, a cease-fire was accomplished in all CIS conflicting zones. At the same time, political progress became evident making it possible to eliminate crisis situations. It applies to Tajikistan and Trans-Dniester, possibilities have become evident for a settlement of the Georgia-Abhazia stand-off and the conflict around Nagomy Karabakh.
High on the agenda of modem diplomacy should also be the task of detach nascent conflicts as well as creating effective mechanisms reliably working against destructive trends in international relations. ASEAN and its dialogue partners are quite capable of tackling this task.
Drug trafficking and related economic crimes are more than topical for our meeting. The “If not us then who, if not now then when?” could become the motto of our discussion. Our approach is pragmatic: we need to cooperate vigorously in joint actions against these evils which in varying degrees and forms are present in all of our countries. Our proposal in the framework of “the second trade” is to convene an international meeting to identify the scope of the problem in our countries, elaborate the basic principles of interstate cooperation in combating drugs and establish, as a first practical cooperative step, a data bank on the issue that would be open to all interested agencies in our countries. The expert meeting could also address the possible harmonization (or creation) of national anti-drug legislation for our efforts to be fully combined and coordinated.
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