Saturday 21 September 2019

Maxim Peshkov: We must abandon mutual distrust to secure global stability

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Maxim Peshkov

Last Monday evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Kremlin on the causes of the crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai, Egypt, on October 31, 2015.

After a meticulous and prompt investigation by the Federal Security Service, it is clear that Russia, like Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey - and, most recently, France - has become another victim of the heinous terrorist attacks by the so-called Islamic State (Isil).

Other countries have also been targeted by Isil and its associates.

As President Putin emphasised, the perpetrators will be inevitably be found and punished - severely so.

In this regard, Russia has repeatedly indicated its deep conviction as to the necessity to unite international efforts.

As the President of France, Francois Hollande, has rightly named it, this is a war waged against these countries by common foes represented by the barbaric movements of Isil, Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qa'ida and some others.

It is a difficult task, though, since some of our partners have been acting on their own, stubbornly and, as it now appears, in vain. However, we in Russia remain optimistic.

We believe, and many share this view, that the civil war in Syria should be immediately stopped.

We believe that political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition is possible and that in the current circumstances, this represents the only precondition for a definitive extermination of the terrorist threat.

We do acknowledge that there is a divergence of views between the key players in the Middle East on how to tackle the crisis in Syria.

However, despite existing differences, Russia manages to coordinate flights of its military jets over Syria with the US, and our naval ships have recently established links with the French navy operating in the eastern Mediterranean.

Moreover, on occasions, the local opposition provides the intelligence data for our airstrikes on terrorists in Syria.

We urge our partners to follow this good example.

The time has come to leave mutual distrust in the past for the sake of our people's security and global stability.

Another important factor is the mass influx of refugees into the EU member states.

Hundreds of thousands people are running from the horrors of war. Several EU countries have experienced tangible economic difficulties in trying to accommodate such large numbers of asylum seekers.

We in Russia know what these difficulties mean, and share the EU's profound concern about the unpredictable consequences of this greatest movement of refugees since World War II.

Regarding this issue, our joint actions against Isil and other terrorist groups will create the necessary safety conditions for the people of the Middle East and thereby save them from perilous journeys in search of a refuge somewhere far away.

And as I have said before, there are clear, encouraging signs that make me feel optimistic.

We welcome the recent Statement of the International Syria Support Group.

The meeting in Vienna on November 14 shed light on the necessary next steps to stop this civil conflict.

It also acknowledged the close links between a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique.

Russia believes that the time has come to define the list of terrorist organisations operating in Syria as well as members of the Syrian opposition who are committed to maintenance of this country as a sovereign state. What we have at hand now is incomplete and out of date.

We have also prepared a draft UN Security Council resolution on the creation of an international anti-terrorist coalition.

Among other things, this document should provide a legal basis for our common struggle against terrorist threats in Syria and elsewhere.

Hopefully, this draft resolution will be adopted.

Recent attacks against civilians in different parts of the world have shown that further inaction would be inexcusable and even culpable. Haven't these bloody lessons taught us all that we must unite and act in genuine solidarity?

The future will show if they have.

His Excellency Maxim Peshkov is the Ambassador of Russia to Ireland

Irish Independent

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