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Lavrov's G-20 Press Statement Plus Q&A
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Going from Bangladesh to New Delhi for the G-20 was a short hop. Lavrov’s expectations for the Summit were clearly exceeded as he reveals in his Presser. Also, his assessment of the 37-page Declaration issued was also very positive which is in English. I’ll foreshadow what you’ll read by providing this bit about Ukraine, which was a breakthrough:
“It is significant that the "Ukrainian paragraph" is included and is the subject of consensus, but it is not about Ukraine. Yes, it mentions the Ukrainian crisis, but only in the context of the need to resolve all existing conflicts in the world in accordance with all the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, in their entirety and interconnection. This is important because the West, as soon as it comes to Ukraine, cannot enter into intellectual discussions, but only demands an end to "Russian aggression" and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” [my Emphasis]
Perhaps the G-20 can still be wrested away from the West through the will of those RoW members who are clearly standing up in resistance. Now, Lavrov’s words:
You have already read the Declaration, so I will not make a long opening remarks.
The G20 Summit is an absolute success. First of all, the Indian presidency, but also all of us. The G20 is undergoing internal reform. This was manifested in the significant activation of the members of the Group of Twenty from the Global South, which, with the leading role of India, clearly and persistently sought to take into account their interests in the agreements discussed by the G20. As a result, they were included in the Declaration.
All their pathos regarding the immediate issues of the terms of reference of the G20 is that the Global South wants to strengthen its role in the mechanisms of global governance so that it adequately reflects its real weight in world affairs, including in the economic sphere, where BRICS has already surpassed the countries of the Group of Seven in terms of gross national product.
The Declaration formulates the tasks of the reform of the IMF, where for a long time, if the quotas and votes are honestly divided, the Americans will not have an artificially preserved, blocking "ticket". The summit will give a serious and positive impetus to efforts to reform the IMF and the WTO (this is also directly recorded), which are artificially restrained by the Americans and their allies.
In the same series, there is an emphasis on the need for the West to fulfill its obligations and long-term promises, which are also not being realized, including on technology transfer. The goal is that developing countries will no longer tolerate being presented with a false choice: either fight poverty or invest in the fight against climate change. This is a false alternative. The challenges of economic and social development come to the fore. In this regard, the Declaration also enshrines the need to fulfill long-standing promises of technology transfer to the countries of the Global South, not just to export raw materials from them, but then to receive added value and corresponding profits. It is also said that the West has long signed up to the fact that it will annually allocate one hundred billion dollars to prepare economies to counteract the negative effects of climate change. None of this was done.
The Declaration recalls all that needs to be done in accordance with long-standing promises in order to ensure a balance of interests in the world economy. The path is not short. Nevertheless, the current summit has become to a certain extent a turning point in terms of a clear focus on such tasks.
I would also like to note the active role of the Indian Presidency, which for the first time truly consolidated the G20 members from the Global South. Our BRICS partners have been particularly active. In addition to India, Brazil and the Republic of South Africa. Largely due to such a consolidated position of the Global South in defense of its legitimate interests, it was possible to prevent the success of the West's attempt to Ukrainize the entire agenda again to the detriment of discussing the urgent tasks of developing countries.
It is significant that the "Ukrainian paragraph" is included and is the subject of consensus, but it is not about Ukraine. Yes, it mentions the Ukrainian crisis, but only in the context of the need to resolve all existing conflicts in the world in accordance with all the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, in their entirety and interconnection. This is important because the West, as soon as it comes to Ukraine, cannot enter into intellectual discussions, but only demands an end to "Russian aggression" and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Territorial integrity in the UN Charter is written along and, by the way, chronologically after the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. We explained to our colleagues (we talked about this a lot on the sidelines) that when a coup d'état took place in Kiev in February 2014, and the putschists who came to power first of all proclaimed the task of abolishing the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, this served as a "trigger". Residents of Crimea and Donbass were outraged, saying that they were not going to live in such a country. With such an attitude towards its citizens, the Kyiv regime undermined its own territorial integrity. The UN General Assembly's declaration on the principles of international law states that it is necessary to respect the territorial integrity of those states whose governments respect the principle of self-determination of peoples and represent the entire population living in the respective territories. The fact that the authors and executors of the coup in Kiev in February 2014 can in no way claim to represent the interests of Crimeans and residents of eastern Ukraine, in my opinion, there is nothing to prove. So the Kiev regime destroyed the territorial integrity of its country independently and in full compliance with the UN Charter and international law, the principle of self-determination of peoples came into force. Once again, we have clearly explained this. A correct understanding of what is happening in the circle of developing members of the "twenty" is obvious. I am sure that some of our Western colleagues are well aware of this, but they are betting on the "strategic defeat" of the Russian Federation.
The paragraph turned out to be generally about geopolitical realities. In addition to the need to resolve all conflicts in the world on the basis of all the principles of the UN Charter in their interconnection and in their entirety, it contains important agreements on how to move forward in the field of food security. Our position is fully reflected. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated this: it is necessary (if everyone is interested) to resume the Black Sea initiative in its entirety in both components of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' package – Russian fertilizers, grain and Ukrainian grain.
In this regard, I will note another paragraph in the geopolitical section, where the West was forced to agree to a serious shift in its position, calling for an end to attacks and the destruction of critical energy infrastructure related to agriculture. It is not directly mentioned, but everyone understands that this includes the terrorist attacks on the Nord Streams, the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, the strikes on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, and the constant drone launches at the ZNPP. I believe that this is a balanced and, most importantly, reflecting the realities of the paragraph that we supported.
In general, the Declaration contains more than eighty-odd paragraphs. I am sure that you have either already familiarized yourself with it, or will soon do so.
The success of the summit created additional opportunities to continue working towards equity in the global economy and in financial circles. After this summit, it is necessary for Western countries to think again about how they are able and how correct it is from the point of view of their own interests to continue their line of domination. The West will not be able to remain a hegemon, given that objectively new centers of world development, economic growth and financial power have long appeared and are rapidly gaining strength. With that comes political influence. I believe that the Declaration found a healthy solution to the need to achieve an honest and fair balance of interests. The goal is not close, but movement in this direction has begun.
For our part, we will continue to strengthen these positive trends, including during Brazil's G2024 Presidency in 2025 and the Republic of South Africa in <>.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, closing today's last meeting, said that he would convene another G2023 summit online via videoconferencing by the end of <> (most likely at the end of November). There will be an opportunity to see once again how the agreements approved today are beginning to be implemented and more effectively pass the baton to our Brazilian colleagues.
Question: There was a slight dissonance in the reaction in the West. Some leaders, such as British Prime Minister Rex Sunak and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz, said that there were harsh language against Russia in the declaration and that this was a success. At the same time, the Western media call it a failure in the Ukrainian direction. How can you comment on this?
Sergey Lavrov: There is no need to comment here. You read the text yourself. I think that if the Western leaders you mentioned consider everyone to be such naïve people and explain to everyone that this text is a condemnation of Russia, then our country is never mentioned there. The Declaration mentions the things that I have just mentioned, which reflect the persistent work of Indians and other like-minded people who did not allow the activities of the structure created to solve the problems of the world economy and finance to be turned into a kind of "politicized circle".
What the media write. I read different assessments. From the Financial Times that this is a failure of the West. On the other hand, Reuters wrote that the West agreed on this piece of the joint declaration and handed it over as an ultimatum to the Russian Federation. That's funny. Adults spread rumors that cannot be taken seriously.
We once again thanked our Indian friends. They honorably kept their watch and made a significant contribution to laying the foundation for further work on the democratization of international economic and financial relations.
Question (retranslated from English): I would like to correct you. It didn't say it was an ultimatum. It was stated that this was handed over to the Russian side.
Was there any progress on the "grain deal" during the G20 summit? Did you meet with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan or other world leaders to resolve the issue of supplies?
Sergey Lavrov: I have just spoken about this. The paragraph in the Declaration speaks for itself. No one could object to it. Both President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Russia Vladimir Putin have repeatedly expressed their readiness that it is quite possible to resume the Black Sea initiative, but only in both parts of it. Not only the export of Ukrainian grain, but also the removal of any obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers, wheat and other cereals.
There is a lot of talk about the fact that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote a letter addressed to me. Contrary to diplomatic ethics, this information and the text of the letter itself were "leaked" to the media. But after reading the contents of this letter, one gets the impression that again, unfortunately, they are trying to use the Secretary-General to promote unilateral approaches. The whole point of his appeal is that, they say, we must urgently resume the Ukrainian "grain deal", and for this they will do something within a month to connect someone to SWIFT, within two or three months they will try to somehow agree with the Lloyd's insurance company, etc. No one promised, including Mr Guterres, that Rosselkhozbank would be returned to SWIFT. They are trying to persuade us to agree to a completely unrealistic scheme for the branch of Rosselkhozbank in Luxembourg to fulfill this function. This branch does not have a banking license. It has exhausted its capabilities and will be closed.
As for Lloyd's, Mr Guterres told me back in Jakarta that he had agreed to host some UN consultations on the platform. We also don't have an answer to the question of what functions. We appreciate the efforts made by the UN Secretary-General. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has spoken about this more than once. I expressed my gratitude to Antonio Guterres for what he is doing. But all these efforts are doomed in a situation where the West only promises. This prompted Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Frank Haq to say at a news conference the other day that the Secretariat, in all its efforts, in no way violates the sanctions regime illegally imposed against the Russian Federation. That is, the UN Secretariat is already implementing American, European and other sanctions. This is indicative. I hope that this is a reservation, because everything that Mr Guterres is trying to do or has sought to do has been to lift sanctions on our exports of fertilisers and food.
Europe and the United States only promise to take "steps". For example, they said (this is also part of the proposals that were handed over to us) that their frozen assets would be returned to Russian fertilizer companies. But at the same time, these companies will still not be allowed to conduct banking operations. Whatever the sentence that everyone is talking about, no matter what, there are such "halftones" everywhere. Let's not forget that the official representative of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry bluntly stated that Kiev is categorically opposed to reducing sanctions pressure on Russia in any form, including in the interests of exporting our fertilizers and food. Judge for yourself who takes what positions here: who is telling the truth and who is not. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has clearly and repeatedly said that at the moment when all the actions necessary to remove any obstacles to our export of fertilizer and grain are completed, we will return to the collective implementation of the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea initiative on the same day.
Question: In an article published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the goal of New Delhi's G20 Presidency as "overcoming differences, breaking down barriers, and sowing the seeds of cooperation that nourishes peace." Do you think these lofty goals were achieved under the Indian presidency? Can we expect that the next G20 Summit under the Brazilian Presidency will be easier and more constructive in preparing the final documents than the current one?
Sergey Lavrov: I believe that what Prime Minister Modi has proclaimed is in line with the real state of affairs. This marks the beginning of an important trend in the transition from the approval of some "papers" (which are then not fulfilled) to the fact that it will still be necessary to fulfill obligations.
Developing countries at this summit were much more consolidated, persistent in promoting their just demands. At the same time, no one advocates that these demands be implemented to the detriment of the West. We are in favor of preserving the G80. It is indeed a representative structure that includes countries that account for <>% of the world economy. Everyone is interested in working together. Only to do it honestly, to seek a balance of interests, and not to promote them to the detriment of the interests of others. The motto of the Indian Presidency, "One Land, One Family, One Future", underscores precisely this unifying spirit. But the main thing at the end of this summit, given the rather serious changes in the approaches of the developing world, is for the West to draw the right conclusions from what we approved here and from what it saw in the actions of developing countries.
Question: President of Russia Vladimir Putin did not participate in the G20 summit. Can we expect him to visit India this year?
During the two days of the summit, you had the opportunity to talk with your Western colleagues. Did you use this opportunity to talk to the American or other Western delegation?
Sergey Lavrov: I was not looking for such an opportunity. I was doing my job. Whoever wanted to talk to me did it. Those who put themselves above diplomatic subtleties made the wrong choice.
As for contacts at the highest level between Russia and India. Of course, they will continue. I assure you that when President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi agree on another contact, this will not be announced in response to a journalist's question (with all due respect to your publication).
Question: We know that it took many hours to agree on the Declaration. As Deputy Head of the Presidential Expert Directorate Sergey Lukash, Sherpa in the G200, said, more than <> hours. We didn't see it happen. You've seen it. Tell me, please, what did it all look like behind closed doors? How hard was it, maybe there were threats, pressure?
Sergey Lavrov: I have not seen this happen. 99% of what happened was before the summit. When we arrived here, there were some "touches", in the coordination of which I participated. But indirectly. No one saw the process. The "guys" who were doing this – the G100 Sherpa Sergey Lukash and the sous Sherpa, our Ambassador-at-Large Mikhail Berdyev, who worked with her – were taken <> km away and, as far as I understand, locked up. Closed and elected as Pope. There's just that the smoke hasn't gone out. There was a positive denouement.
I would like to sincerely thank all the Sherpas, Sous-Sherpas and G20 experts for their honest work. By the way, they communicate well with each other (I am answering a question from our Indian colleague). When it is "pretty" - it is necessary.
Question: I would like to return to the issues on the bilateral agenda. There has been a lot of concern about the payment mechanism between Russia and India. Has there been any progress in discussing its functioning and is it true that, until it is resolved, the next delivery of S-400 complexes will not be carried out? In this regard, will India have to look for other suppliers of advanced defense technologies? The United States has such, for example.
Sergey Lavrov: I don't know where you get this information. On the sidelines of this summit, there was no time for bilateral meetings. But in Jakarta, when we were at the ASEAN East Asia Summit, we spoke with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and discussed bilateral issues. Yes, there is such a problem. In the current situation, many billions of rupees have accumulated, which have not yet been used. Our Indian friends assured us that they would offer promising areas where they can be invested. All our other agreements, including those on military-technical cooperation, remain in full force.
Question: There is no doubt that the signing of the declaration is a diplomatic success for Russia. Will it open a new high-quality negotiation track to resolve other controversial issues, such as the "grain deal" and especially the new START treaty?
Sergey Lavrov: You were very harsh.
I feel that this summit was a turning point. Developing countries will seek justice much more assertively and unitedly. But I can't talk about the specific possibilities of implementing this or that paragraph, which contains some kind of call to action. The West has repeatedly disrespected its promises and commitments. On the "grain deal" everything is very clear - everything should be at the same time. If someone has such a desire and this someone honestly subscribed to this formula, then we need to work.
As for the START treaty. I don't see any connection. The START Treaty is a Russian-American treaty, which was concluded in completely diametrically different conditions in the international arena in relations between Moscow and Washington than those that have developed now due to the West's declaration of war on Russia through Ukraine in order to inflict a "strategic defeat" on Russia. Under these conditions, there can be no talk of any negotiations on the implementation of the current treaty or new negotiations on strategic stability. Although until the expiration of START-3, as we announced, we will adhere to its parameters, first of all, figures on the maximum number of relevant weapons.
Returning to the question of who is ready to do what. The section that states that all conflicts in the international arena should be resolved peacefully in accordance with all the principles of the UN Charter and that no conflict should be forgotten is, by and large, a strong signal. It reflects the rejection of the West's long-term attempts to Ukrainize any discussions and formats to the detriment of the problems of the developing world that have not been solved for decades.
African countries have raised this issue. General Assembly resolutions on decolonization have not yet been implemented. France does not want to completely liberate the territory of the Comoros. Britain is still not leaving the Chagos archipelago. Although there are not one, but several decisions of the General Assembly on all these issues. This principle, that there is no conflict that everyone will deal with, because the West "pushes" these ideas, and other disagreements should not attract special attention, this approach is already changing. Now the West will have no arguments (although they may come up with something) to "sweep under the carpet" all proposals on the Palestinian issue, on the Syrian problem and in many other areas where it plays a negative role in delaying the achievement of relevant results.
Question: The Western media are speculating on the absence of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping at this year's summit, which gives Western states, primarily the European Union, a unique chance to get closer to African countries and demonstrate their determination to "reset" relations with the African continent, despite their colonial past. You said that they failed in this. Did they take this chance? Have there been any attempts on the part of European countries to "reach out" to African leaders?
Sergey Lavrov: If they want to improve their relations with African countries, they need to get rid of colonial habits. Neither Vladimir Putin nor Xi Jinping, when they participate in various events, interfere with the West's communication with African countries. What is the connection that the delegations are headed not by the President of Russia, not by the President of the People's Republic of China, but by other representatives of Moscow and Beijing?
Please, African countries are always ready to communicate. Another thing is that if all this communication consists of a pat on the shoulder and such a dismissive attitude towards their urgent needs, then probably nothing will come of it. They will communicate politely, but they will demand not verbal promises, but results in practice. Especially in what I said about technology transfer.
At the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in late July and at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, we heard this very clearly. African countries do not want to continue to supply raw materials to Western states, where they are processed, value is added and then all this is resold with a large profit, nothing from which gets to the countries of origin of raw materials. That's why Africans tell us not to constantly offer them something for sale. They want technology. They are able to provide for themselves, and even export finished products.
Africa is the richest continent. We do not prevent anyone from communicating with anyone in any way. The West is "running" around the world and demanding that no one meet us. He can't do it, but they still continue to rush, run and demand. In communication with our partners, we state our position and leave it to their discretion how they will relate to our actions. The West is not just doing the same, it is demanding to do as it said. Who will like it? Therefore, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have nothing to do with it. The West needs to "turn on itself," as our fabulist I.A. Krylov wrote.
Question: Yerevan has announced joint military exercises with the United States. They will be held on the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Let me ask: how does Russia feel about this step of Armenia, given the fact that there are reports in the media that the country may withdraw from the CSTO? Are the upcoming exercises of serious concern to Russia, because they will take place near the Russian borders?
Sergey Lavrov: The Kremlin has already commented on this situation. Of course, we do not see anything good in the fact that an aggressive NATO country is trying to penetrate the Transcaucasus. I don't think this is good for anyone, including Armenia itself.
Wherever the Americans appear (they have hundreds of bases around the world), nowhere does it lead to good. At best, they sit there quietly. But very often they try to "pick up" everything, including political processes.
We regret the actions of the Armenian leadership. We have said this. You mentioned the CSTO. Of course, such an agreement, which was announced - the Armenian-American exercises - looks all the more strange since Armenia has been refusing to participate in the Organization's exercises for two years now. This is explained by the fact that, if the CSTO as a union entity with the participation of Armenia would condemn Azerbaijan, then Armenia would begin to "work" there. When we ask: why do they communicate with the Americans and Europeans, who do not condemn Azerbaijan, we are told that they are not their allies, therefore, they say, we should condemn. Rather strange, rustic logic. But I very much hope that all the allied obligations that exist between us, we appreciate them, will have an effect and prevail in Armenia's foreign policy.
As for the fact that they "threaten" to withdraw from the CSTO. There are many politicians in Armenia who allow you to make quite arrogant statements in relation to Russia. We see it. It didn't start yesterday. But we also remember that when Mr. Nikol Pashinyan was still a politician "out of power" and "raised" the Armenian people, he then proclaimed withdrawal from the CSTO and the EAEU as one of his slogans. Many attributed it simply to the election campaign, the struggle for votes. Subsequently, Mr. Nikol Pashinyan did not express any such thoughts, including during the CSTO summit in Yerevan in 2022, where at the ministerial level we agreed on the mandate of the CSTO mission on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Everything was endorsed. But in the morning, our Armenian colleagues decided to "postpone" this topic.
Before accusing us of anything, we need to evaluate our own actions. There is a figure, in my opinion, the head of the parliament allowed himself to speak out in the sense that Karabakh was "given" to Azerbaijan by Russia. It is difficult to imagine a more incorrect and dishonest statement. He referred to the fact that Karabakh was "given" by Russia to Azerbaijan when President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan signed the first trilateral agreement on November 10, 2020. This is absolutely not true. It does not say anything at all about the status of Karabakh. At that time, all three leaders proceeded from the fact that additional negotiations were still to be held on this issue. But later in Prague, where both the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia were invited, they both signed a statement stating that they recognize the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991. The President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia signed a document according to which the then Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region is part of Azerbaijan. Accuse us of being supposedly back on November 10, 2020. There is no need to "give" Karabakh. For this, you must be responsible to your own people.
Question: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and representatives of EU member states speak on behalf of the European Union. Some kind of "hundred-headed serpent". From the BRICS - no one. The African Union has only now been adopted. Why is that?
Sergey Lavrov: Not a hundred-headed. If we evaluate the current summit, it is two-headed.
We've been thinking about this for a long time. When the topic of full membership of the African Union arose at the last summit, we actively supported this idea. It was approved by consensus. Since this summit, the Chairman of the African Union, President of the Comoros A. Assoumani has fully participated in the work of the G20.
Your question reflects the presence of a trend. The idea is already being expressed that not only the African Union, but also such regional structures as the Arab League and CELAC should be included in the G20. I think that at some stage the EAEU will also be considered as one of the regional and structural participants. It will be necessary to transfer the European Union to this group. To be honest, all this does not look proportionate: the leading EU countries, the leadership of the European Council and the European Commission. There are questions. Life will tell you.
Question (retranslated from English): You have already said that your employees have been actively working in the negotiations. As far as I understand, you had political events, contacts with the Prime Minister of India, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as with South Africa, China ...
Sergey Lavrov: We are always in contact with my Indian colleague Stephen Jaishankar. We talked to him in Jakarta.
All the main work was done by Sherpas and experts. When there were certain issues that required attention at the political level, they called up, met, if they were at the same event. This was also the case this year in preparation for the summit. This is the normal practice of the two friendly countries.
Question: How did the G20 countries manage to reach consensus on the final declaration?
Sergey Lavrov: The Indian presidency played a decisive role. Other countries in the Global South that have decided to seriously strive for the G20 to work on an equal footing and promote agreements that will be based on an honest balance of interests within the framework of the Bretton Woods agreements, within the framework of the World Trade Organization, and at any venues where the problems of the world economy are discussed. This is the main thing that ensured the success of the summit.
I would like to note that Western countries (I hope this reflects the trend) have agreed to the wording that will orient the G20 towards the future. This is an "advance" on their part. Having agreed, it will be necessary to perform. The West ignored too many agreements reached.
Question: The Delhi Declaration says a lot about the impact of the Ukrainian conflict on supply chains and food security, but there is no word "sanctions". Has there been any discussion of the responsibility of countries that impose sanctions and what ultimately affects countries, mostly poor? Has the issue of mechanisms been discussed, how this impact can be minimized?
Sergey Lavrov: Should we create a tribunal?
The Declaration says that the Ukrainian crisis has only added to the negative. And he did it primarily in the form of sanctions. And the wording in the Declaration clearly does not allow those who impose illegal sanctions to evade responsibility.
Other sections of the Declaration say what is at the heart of the current "troubles" of the world economy. There it can be clearly read. Due to the fact that this is a diplomatic document, in many respects it is still a compromise, not very harsh wording. But you can read that the West piled up the problems of the world economy, clumsily tried many years ago to "push" its climate policy to the very first places on the world agenda, which turned out to be a failure.
The West does not fulfill promises, including the allocation of $ 100 billion annually for developing countries as part of the "green transition". It's all there. This is not "who knows, he will understand." Naturally, consensus documents contain a compromise. In this case, it is important that the West officially compromised on terms that are more beneficial to developing countries than in previous years.
Question (retranslated from English): You said that this is a turning point, and we have reached a high point. Do you think the ceasefire will be a step towards peace between Russia and Ukraine?
Sergey Lavrov: I said that the summit was a turning point in the sense that it demonstrated the unprecedented unity and cohesion of the Global South in asserting its rights in the global economy, as well as its unwillingness to constantly reduce all discussions to the crisis in Ukraine. Everyone is tired of this. Everyone understands that this war, started by the West with the hands and bodies of Ukraine against the Russian Federation, must be stopped.
But this is far from what developing countries are consolidating and demanding reforms. Of course, everyone wants to live in peace. If you were interested in this issue, you cannot help but know that a year and a half ago we agreed to sign and even initialed an agreement with Ukraine to resolve the conflict. Then the Anglo-Saxons ordered Vladimir Zelensky not to sign, because they believed that more could be "pulled out" of us. We hoped that the Ukrainian offensive would exhaust us. Friends, if you are interested in this, read it, there are a lot of facts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said publicly that we are not against negotiations, but they must be conducted on a serious basis – recognition of the realities on the ground and the reasons that have been accumulating for decades due to NATO's aggressive policy. The Alliance imagines itself to be the main global organization in the whole world, created direct threats to Russia's security on our borders and headed for the support of the Kiev regime, which proclaimed the goal of exterminating everything Russian: language, education, media and history, i.e. people who mastered those lands, built cities, ports, roads. Now Ukrainian officials openly threaten to physically exterminate them. The ambassadors of Ukraine in interviews, openly looking into the frame, call for the killing of Russians, say that this is the main task of the current Ukrainian regime - to kill as many Russians as possible, supposedly so that their children have less work left on this front.
No one remembers this, as well as the fact that in 2022 Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting negotiations with Russia. Can someone remind you of this?
My colleagues from different countries ask in confidential conversations what Russia can do? I remind them of everything. He gave an example that Ukraine is categorically against the "grain deal" being resumed in the form in which it was agreed. No, only some of them need to be exported, and they will not even consider our requirements and conditions. Although the conditions were not invented by us, but this is a part put on paper within the framework of a single package of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Attempts to blame everything on us again in what is happening in Ukraine, in the global economy, were significantly undermined at the Delhi summit. This is also its importance.
Question: De-dollarisation has become one of the main trends in the multipolar world. What role can India play in this global process? Is Russia considering the Indian RuPay system as an alternative to SWIFT?
Did you have bilateral contacts on the sidelines of the summit, for example, with the Americans?
Sergey Lavrov: The process of de-dollarisation has begun, including in Russian-Indian relations. With India, the problem is that our exporters have a huge amount of rupees in their local bank accounts. The relevant agencies agree on how to find opportunities for mutually beneficial investment and use.
As for settlements, I do not think that the Indian rupee will replace SWIFT.
We work within the framework of BRICS. At the last summit in Johannesburg, it was decided to instruct central banks and ministries of finance to consider the possibility of expanding the use of national currencies in mutual settlements and to prepare recommendations for the creation of alternative payment platforms. This is not a single currency, but a step towards not depending on settlement structures that are entirely controlled by the dollar, euro and other "unfriendly" currencies.
With China, more than 70% of payments are made in yuan and rubles. With India, this practice is also gaining momentum. There is no doubt that this is a healthy trend. Almost all normal countries, seeing what the Americans are doing with SWIFT and dollar transactions, are actively thinking about practical steps on how to rely on more reliable, negotiable structures. Such will be created. Work has begun with BRICS. Brazilian President L. da Silva proposed to launch similar processes within the framework of CELAC. The process has begun.
I did not communicate with the Americans. We understand what they want in relation to Russia: to eliminate a competitor, to inflict a "strategic defeat". If they had new thoughts, they would find a way to convey. If they don't transmit, then there are no thoughts.
Question: Why do you think all countries agreed to change the wording of the paragraph of the Delhi Declaration on Ukraine? This is different from how it was in Indonesia in 2022.
Sergey Lavrov: Agreed. Maybe because the conscience has woken up? To be honest, we didn't expect it.
We were ready to defend an honest text (it turned out to be just that). This paragraph cannot be isolated from the rest of the work on the Declaration, the main content of which this year was the awakening of the Global South and its consolidation. These countries want the G20 to do what it was created for, including solving the development problem in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Global South no longer wants to listen to lectures that supposedly everything is because of Russia, it is necessary to force it to fulfill the "formula of V.A. Zelensky" (which is completely unrealistic, utopian), and then everything will work out in the world economy. This is not "simple", but even disrespectful not only to developing countries, to which they are trying to introduce it into their minds, but in relation to those who are engaged in such things. Adults, responsible people cannot say such things, knowing full well that this is just another manifestation of colonial methods of subjugating everything and everything.
This time it didn't work out. I think that this trend can no longer be stopped.
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