1. The recent monetary and financial crisis in South-East Asia has spread beyond the region and is increasingly affecting global economic relations.
We are interested in developing effective international cooperation with a view to overcoming the consequences of the crisis. In our opinion, a set of economic measures is needed to neutralize its effects and to prevent similar situations in the future.
We are prepared to cooperate on these issues. In particular, we could cooperate in creating a mechanism to monitor the economic situation in the Asia-Pacific region (APR).
2. We attach great importance to Russia’s involvement in the activities of the APEC, which affirms Russia’s status as a full-fledged member of the Pacific community.
We are preparing for practical accession to the APEC and for the forthcoming summit in Kuala Lumpur. A Government Commission on the APEC composed of representatives of Russian ministries and agencies, as well as regions is being formed to coordinate the APEC-related activities.
We are concluding the process of approving Russia’s Individual Plan of Actions to liberalize trade and investments within the APEC. We intend to submit the Plan on the eve of the APEC summit.
3. We follow with interest the efforts to establish an ASEAN Free- Trade Area (AFTA). We view AFTA as an important component of the regional economic integration underway in the APR. We welcome the decisions or the Second Informal Summit of ASEAN aimed at implementing AFTA as scheduled.
4. Admission to the WTO is a priority task for Russia in the context of its integration into the world economic space. We assume that the terms and conditions of Russia’s membership in the WTO will be as close to the standard ones as possible. We believe that the requirements which will be applicable to Russia should not exceed those applicable to any other participants
We count on the understanding and recognition by all our WTO partners of Russia’s special economic circumstances resulting from the large-scale reforms carried out in the country. This means that, if necessary, Russia should be allowed certain lead time to fully adapt to the WTO rules.
5. We support the development of interregional cooperation within the framework of the Asia-Europe dialogue mechanism (ASEM).
We support the goals and objectives pursued by the ASEM participants and are ready to practically participate in the development of long-term Euro-Asian cooperation principles and projects.
From the very beginning, we have shown interest in joining the ASEM. We are convinced that Russia’s participation in the ASEM would be consistent with the goals of all-round cooperation between Europe and Asia. We hope that the participants in this meeting will support Russia’s application when considering in the future the issue of admission of new members to the ASEM.
6. We believe that special attention should be given to the global electronic trade. The use of such trade will result in the emergence of new methods of conducting foreign economic operations and new services. We assume that at this stage it is necessary to thoroughly work out the guidelines and rules for the development and functioning of the electronic trade, and to evaluate its effects at the national and global levels.
7. We welcome the results of the G8 Summit in Birmingham. Russia took an active part in the discussions of all agenda items. It was our initiative to discuss in Birmingham issues related to the world energy sector.
We think that it is time to speed up work to implement the provision of the Denver Communique on the strengthening of cooperation in the field of environmental monitoring in the Northern Pacific.
8. Due to the concerted efforts of the international participants in the Bosnia settlement, some progress has been made recently in the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
One of the priorities in this area is to work out by the end of 1998 a new platform for securing the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is necessary to determine the exact proportion of further international presence in Bosnia and, what is most important, to develop a mechanism for gradual transfer of functions and responsibilities with regard to solving internal problems to Bosnian authorities.
We view the presence of the international peace-keeping forces in Bosnia as an important factor in maintaining peace in the region. Russia will participate in the next military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of course subject to continued special status of our contingent (double chain of command).
9. We are deeply concerned about the tensions in Kosovo. We are actively contributing to the efforts to overcome the crisis while stressing the need for a balanced pressure on both sides.
In our view, the issue of the status of Kosovo could be solved through granting the province a broad autonomy. We oppose any solution which would lead to the secession of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia, as well as any outside intervention with the use of force.
At this stage, the main task is to resume, without preconditions the interrupted negotiating process between Belgrade and the leaders of – Kosovo Albanians.
10. We are concerned over the protracted crisis in the Middle East peace process.
The position of Russia on the issue is well known. We stand for the mobilization of international efforts in support of carrying forward the Middle East settlement in all its aspects.
In order to put the peace process back on track and advance it, we should ensure that it evolves both “vertically” and “horizontally”. This means continuity of the agreements signed and the arrangements made with the concurrent progress along all negotiating tracks.
11. We are greatly concerned over the threat posed by illegal activities of organized transnational criminal groups. We believe that the international community should immediately take resolute coordinated measures to counter them.
We stand for concentration of efforts in priority areas of crime control, such as strengthening of criminal justice systems, combating corruption and countering transnational organized crime in all its manifestations.
12. Russia is a principled opponent of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are actively working, both bilaterally and within the framework of international organizations and fora, for the consolidation of States efforts in this field.
Multilaterally, our objective is to make antiterrorist dialogue as practical as possible.
We welcome the completion of the UN draft Convention on bomb terrorism.
Russia introduced in the United Nations a draft Convention on combating acts of nuclear terrorism.
13. We participate in the international efforts in the field of environment protection.
We are confident that environment should be viewed as a key element of both national and international security.
We are taking an active part in the implementation of agreements reached at international fora, including the UN Conference on Environment and Development.
We are convinced that major environmental problems could be solved only through joint efforts of all members of the international community, including within the framework of Agenda 21.
14. We attach great importance to the cooperation in the field of natural disaster management and relief efforts.
We propose to develop mutually beneficial bilateral and multilateral contacts with a view to making use of Russia’s space technology to forecast, evaluate, monitor and mitigate disaster consequences and to map earthquake-prone zones, as well as areas of volcanic activities.
It appears that space monitoring of natural disasters could become a promising area for cooperation between ASEAN and ESCAP.
We welcome the initiative to establish in Japan an Asian Center for Natural Disaster Control as decided at the meeting of the APR countries’ representatives held in Tokyo in 1997.