January 13, 2006
AFRICA WILL BE AMONG OUR PRIORITIES
At the beginning of the New Year we usually look back and see how we have spent the past year and think of the future. In this regard I would like to share with our readers some considerations and appraisals.
The contemporary international situation in 2005 continued to bear a complex character. With the disappearance of the negative stability of the Cold War era, numerous regional conflicts, both old and new, have become exacerbated. Globalization with its inherent contradictions and disproportions has posed a number of new problems the tackling of which the world community turned out
to be essentially not to be ready. It is also very important that the character of the new challenges is such that there is no longer any direct relationship between the size, military and economic strength of states and their ability to make a contribution
to common efforts to resist those threats.
In Russia we note with satisfaction that the international community understands that together we can create a durable barrier against these challenges. We, like most states, including Botswana, believe that a future world pattern must rest on collective mechanisms of solving world problems. A major component
of such mechanisms should be, undoubtedly, the United Nations which possesses unique legitimacy and experience in activity on the global and regional level.
It is important to ensure that it is ready to respond to crises more effectively, and that clearer criteria are established for the use of coercive measures, including force,
by a decision of the Security Council.
A symbol of positive changes in the attitude of the international community was the jubilee Summit 2005, held last September in New York. Of crucial importance is that despite the variety of approaches, all countries confirmed the necessity of consolidating the coordinating role of the UN and its Security Council
as a unique universal mechanism to maintain peace and stability. The Summit adopted far-reaching decisions to streamline UN activities of peacekeeping and peace building, human rights, international economic cooperation, reform of the structure
of the United Nations and its management system, etc.
Agreement has not yet been reached on the reformation of the UN Security Council. Regrettably many still associate this question with the organization's reform proper which is by no means the case. This is only one of the themes being examined in the context of its transformation. The reform of the organization should not become hostage to the differences over the enlargement of the Security Council. The reform is not an aim in itself; it must result in a more effective, not a weakened UN. Russia has declared its support for a number of candidates for permanent member seats providing that the broadest possible consent on the Council enlargement
is reached. Africa should be properly represented in the Council by all means.
In 2005 Russian foreign policy paid closest attention to forging international counteraction against terrorism. Russia made a decisive contribution to drafting the new Security Council antiterrorist resolution, criminalizing incitement to terrorism
by which we understand among other things the provision of a media platform for terrorists and their accomplices. An important contribution to developing the legal basis of anti-terror was the opening for signature of the International Convention
of the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
We note with satisfaction that Botswana government basically shares our views regarding this problem and are ready to cooperate with Botswana in global struggle against the evil. Russia highly appreciates the sympathy and solidarity of almost
16 thousand Batswana who signed under the Beslan Appeal to parliaments and peoples of the world to unite their efforts in fighting international terrorism.
In 2006, Russia is to chair the Group of Eight. Of course, we shall closely cooperate with our friends and partners in Europe, Asia-Pacific Region, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The aim of our diplomatic efforts is to achieve good international relations. It is our strong belief that attention should continue to be paid to the African continent. We intend to include African problems in the overall context of the priority issues of our presidency such as energy security and education, the fight against infectious diseases. Closeness or coincidence of positions of Russia and Botswana on major international issues create favourable conditions for fruitful cooperation of both states in the interest of consolidation of international peace and stability.