Botswana: Russia Strengthens International Relations


Gaborone — Over the past several years, the international community has witnessed the return of Russia as an important global actor.

Russia has strengthen her foreign policy with the aim to create a stable and sustainable system of international relations based on the generally accepted norms of international law and principles of equal rights and mutual respect.

It is on that repute that Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) met with the Russian Ambassador to Botswana, Dr Victor Sibilev for an in-depth interview on principles of Russia foreign policy, fight on international terror and G20 summit resolutions.

BOPA: How would you describe Russia's foreign policy priorities?

Ambassador Sibilev: The foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation include a close cooperation with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Russia views as a key objective; strengthening and expanding integration within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in order to foster steady development, comprehensive technological modernization and cooperation, enhance the competitiveness of the EAEU member states and improve living standards of their populations. Among other foreign policy priorities, Russia has been expanding the ties with its partners within the G20, BRICS, including China, Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

BOPA: International terror threats pose a danger to world peace; what role does Russia play in fighting international terrorism and organised crimes?

Ambassador Sibilev: First of all, Russia has focused on fighting against international terrorism, settling the current humanitarian problems, establishing a truly universal antiterrorist coalition under the auspices of the UN, combating drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime. In 2020, Russia has also been chairing BRICS. The BRICS countries have common positions on a broad range of issues on the UN agenda, such as peacekeeping and combating the terrorist threat and transnational crime and will invariably support each other's initiatives and try to vote in solidarity on major resolutions. Russia considers working out international standards in terrorism prevention and countering the spread of terrorist ideology, including via the internet as well as being an urgent for the BRICS countries' interaction at the UN. The primary responsibility for preventing conflicts and addressing their consequences should be based on a leading role of its participants with efficient support provided by the international community and close cooperation between the UN regional and sub-regional organisations. We support national efforts of the countries themselves to address the root causes of conflicts, restore state institutions and reform the security sector.

BOPA: What is Russia's stand on the use of nuclear weapons?

Ambassador Sibilev: As a nuclear-weapon state, Russia recognises its responsibility for international security, global and regional stability. We are aware of the impact that the use of nuclear weapons may have. Our country pursues a policy of peace and non-confrontation in international affairs. According to our military doctrine, Russia shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.

There has been an alarming shift in doctrinal military and political policies towards the idea that it is acceptable to employ nuclear weapons as a means of warfare. Russia has unwaveringly supported constructive dialogue with all political forces and social movements advocating the nuclear threat reduction.

BOPA: What is Russia's stand on Belarus elections which its aftermath has sparked demonstrations and other disruptions.

Ambassador Sibilev: This nation is very close to us. We have many hundreds of thousands of direct family ties with Belarus, many cultural similarities, common language, history and the most diversified political and economic cooperation within the Union State of Belarus and the Russian Federation. From this point of view, we care about what is happening in Belarus after the Presidential elections, which according to the records of the independent observers were held in full compliance with law. We believe that it is up to the Belarusian society and people themselves to deal with processes in this country.

Referring to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin who said in the interview with Rossiya TV channel recently that the general situation in Belarus has been improving and he hoped that all the problems would come to an end and be settled peacefully by Belarusians within the Constitution and the law, without interference.

BOPA: As a member of G20 states, what submissions did Russia make during the Osaka summit and what are the summit resolutions?

Ambassador Sibilev: At the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28-29, 2019 Russia highlighted four key points such as continuing efforts to improve the global trade system, including the World Trade Organisation reforms, implementing the agreements under the Paris Accords, countering online terrorism, deliberating on common approaches to digitalisation and the work of artificial intelligence.

However, in 2020 the situation changed. The world has faced a new challenge, well-known for all of us as coronavirus.

That is why the Extraordinary Virtual Leaders' Summit of G20 on March 26, 2020 was devoted to the initiatives on measures to counter COVID-19.

Particularly, the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin urged the G20 states to provide aid to the developing countries, especially on strengthening their health systems.

For this purpose, it is necessary to create a special fund under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), financed primarily by the central banks so that any IMF member would be able to borrow money from this fund in proportion to its share in the world economy at a zero rate for the long term.

Putin as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for "solidarity not exclusion". All trade wars sanctions should be postponed.

Furthermore, now it is of paramount importance to create so-called green corridors, free for the mutual supply of food, medicines and aid in general. Ideally, the G20 countries should impose a joint moratorium on restrictions on essentials, as well as on financial transactions for their procurement.

Source : BOPA

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