Saturday

31st Oct 2020

Sarkozy supports Russian security pact idea

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday (8 October) expressed readiness to discuss Russian plans for a "European Security Treaty," which would provide security guarantees for European and Atlantic states as well as a new framework of rules to govern relations.

Mr Sarkozy - who is also the EU's current president-in-office - met Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in Evian, France, for an international conference organised by the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

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  • Mr Sarkozy (l) is ready to discuss the Russian idea (Photo: kremlin.ru)

"I heard president Medvedev present his ideas for a new security pact which would run from Vancouver to Vladivostok. We are ready to discuss it," Mr Sarkozy was reported as saying by Reuters.

The French leader proposed a summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe countries to be held at the end of 2009 to "discuss [the Russian] proposals and those of the European Union for new concepts of a pan-European defence," according to German news agency DPA.

Mr Medvedev also called for a "special forum" to be convened, at which "the leaders of all European states and the leaders of key organisations in the Euro-Atlantic area could take part."

Prior to the meeting with the French president, the Russian president outlined in a speech his ideas for a pact that would include Russia, the EU and NATO countries and would contribute to crating "a unified and reliable system of comprehensive security."

Main ideas of the pact

A "Euro-Atlantic space" that would give powers to all members instead of favouring a US-led unipolar world would be the best option, Mr Medvedev argued.

The European Security Treaty would be based on "conscientious fulfilment of international commitments; respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states [and] respect for all other principles that flow from the UN charter," he said.

It would contain "a clear affirmation of the inadmissibility of the use of force - or the threat of force - in international relations," as well as "guarantees of equal security."

The pact should also state that "no single state or international organisation may have the exclusive right to maintain peace and stability in the region. This applies fully to Russia too."

Finally, it would contain "basic parameters for arms control and reasonable sufficiency in military construction," and boost co-operation in areas such as terrorism and drug trafficking.

No to Sovietology

Russia had earlier this year already raised the idea of a European Security Treaty as a tool to overarch the EU and NATO, to which it does not belong. But its invasion of Georgia in August had up to now overshadowed debate on future institution-building.

On Wednesday, Mr Medvedev also reiterated Russia's opposition to the enlargement of the North Atlantic alliance, in particular to the east, stressing that his country was not interested in confrontations and calling on the US to stop accusing Moscow of conducting a Soviet-driven foreign policy.

"[Sovietology] belongs to the past … Sovietology, like paranoia, is a very dangerous disease, and it is a pity that part of the US administration still suffers from it," he said. "One should study the new Russia rather than reviving the ghosts of the Soviet Union."

Midnight deadline

To back his statement, Mr Medvedev said Russia would withdraw its "peacekeeping contingent" from security zones around Georgia's breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia "by midnight tonight" - ahead of a 10 October deadline stipulated in earlier peace accords.

The move would "pave the way for the resumption of negotiations on an ambitious framework agreement, both in terms of the scope and intensity of cooperation," Mr Sarkozy said, AFP reports, referring to stalled talks on an EU-Russia partnership pact.

Lithuania has threatened to block the talks unless Russia leaves South Ossetia and Abkhazia proper as well, the ELTA news agency said, citing a "senior diplomat."

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