4th Dec 2023

Russia renews push for pan-European security pact

  • Moscow wants a bigger role in international diplomacy (Photo: Wikipedia)

Russia has reiterated its call for a pan-European summit aimed at creating a "reliable collective security system" in Europe, arguing that existing structures "did not pass the strength test" during the conflict in South Caucasus last August.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly ministerial meeting on Saturday (27 September), Russian foreign minister Sergej Lavrov claimed such a new system was needed to guarantee "equal security for all states."

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"The solidarity of the international community fostered on the wave of struggle against terrorism turned out to be somehow privatised," he said in a reference to the post-9/11 "war on terror" and the United States, AP reports.

The minister added that it was "impossible or even disastrous to try to resolve the existing problems with the blindfolds of the unipolar world."

It is not the first time that Moscow raised the idea of providing a pan-European security shield.

In June, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for a legally-binding "European Security Treaty" that should handle arms control, drug trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and irregular immigration.

Such agreement would embrace "the whole Euro-Atlantic space from Vancouver to Vladivostok," including Russia, the EU, all of Europe's non-EU states, the US and Canada, Mr Medvedev said at the time.

According to minister Lavrov's own words, the pact should be "a kind of Helsinki 2" - referring to an accord signed in the Finnish capital by 35 nations in 1975 to improve relations between the Communist bloc and the West.

At the time, it was seen as an important step towards reducing Cold War tensions as well as a diplomatic boost for the Soviet Union due to the documents' clauses on the inviolability of national borders and respect for territorial integrity.

"It is a process involving all participants who would reaffirm their commitment to fundamental principles of international law such as the non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs and inadmissibility of strengthening one's own security by infringing upon the security of others," Mr Lavrov said about the security pact idea, AFP reports.

Russia has been complaining about US missile shield plans in Poland and the Czech Republic as well as about NATO expansion to the East.

The recent conflict in South Caucasus is seen as another signal that Moscow wants to play a major role on the world stage and is prepared to take unilateral action if the West does not take note.

In a sign of thawing relations with post-Georgia war Russia, the so-called Middle East "quartet" - counting Russia, the EU, the US and the UN - on Saturday agreed to hold an international conference on the region in Moscow next Spring, Russian newswire Ria Novosti reports.

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