His Excellency Mr Yury Viktorovich Fedotov
The Russian Ambassador
On: The G-8 Summit and the Russian Presidency
21 September 2006
“It continues to be a special year as Russia for the first time assumes the presidency of the G8. Although this is a privilege and a great honour, it is also a challenge. People in many parts of the world expect the G8 to deliver in terms of decisions which would make life better and safer for humankind and to solve long-standing problems such as overcoming hunger and disease. We are also expected to combat terrorism, improve world economics and trade and to resolve outstanding financial issues so as to precipitate sustainable development.
The Russian presidency designated three special priorities for the G8 to work on this year. The three priorities are energy security, combating infectious disease, and education.
These themes were approved by our partners in the group as urgent and addressing the pressing needs of international development. These three priorities were adopted in St. Petersburg which means that we now have a kind of a mainstream not only for the work of the G8 on these topics but also for the relevant international institutions. We are looking forward to getting the support from our partners even after the Russian presidency is over. We are pleased that the proposals and ideas put forward by Russians have been supported by our partners and I pay tribute to our British colleagues for their contribution to insure that smooth transition of the presidency as well as for the work that has been done together.
The G8 continues to become more and more open, as can be seen by the fruitful participation in the summit of the leaders of such countries as: Brazil, South Africa, China, India, Mexico, and by the international organizations including the African Union and the CIS. The discussions at the summit took into account important recommendations from Non-Governmental institutions including those of religious leaders since they organized a forum just before the summit. Religious leaders organized another meeting of NGO’s from G8 nations which was called ‘Civil G8 2006’ and their recommendations were taken into account and reflected in some of the documents adopted by the leaders in St. Petersburg.
There are some co-ops which are planned on both directions of religion and NGO’s and there will be another meeting of NGO’s in Russia before the end of this year. So coming back to the three priorities I mentioned, I would like first of all to turn to the subject of energy security.
This discussion contains all of the important principles of the mutual responsibility of producers and consumers for the stable and sustainable development of the world’s energy. It also provides for the security of supply and demand. The group moves closer to develop a common strategy to secure energy sources for the world economy and population, energy saving, energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, in order to increase the reliability of the world energy supply. Being one of the largest producers and exporters of hydrocarbons, Russia can play a major role in achieving this objective. We adopted the St. Petersburg plan of action to enhance global energy security in an attempt to increase transparency, predictability and stability of the global energy markets, improve the investment climate in the energy sector, promote energy efficiency and energy saving, diversify energy mix, insure physical safety of crucial energy infrastructure reduce energy poverty and address climate change and sustainable development.
The G8 has committed traditional effort favouring innovative cross-border education improving the quality of higher education both in the G8 and developing countries. It has also created an inclusive society which would allow more rapid educational integration of immigrants which is quite a topical matter for Russia and also for Britain. The participants agreed that all the Gleneagles commitments must be implemented in full with regard to the elimination of illiteracy and securing general access to primary education by 2015. In the document on infectious disease the G8 agreed to contribute to strengthening the existing WHO network surveillance and prevention of infectious disease including new ones like avian flu. They are also developing measures to pre-empt epidemics in the aftermath of disasters. Additional plans have been committed by G8 countries to fight Polio, TB, and of course HIV/AIDs, pushing further to establishing a global HIV vaccine enterprise.
It was important to insure that the continuation of the G8 work along with the subjects of world economy and finance, combating terrorism and narcotics ,assistance to development, fighting corruption, and intellectual piracy. Statements have been adopted on all these issues. The G8 continues its work from the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction dealing with regional crises including Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Firstly: counter-terrorism. Indeed in matters of counter-terrorism we need to develop additional measures to prevent the financing and supporting of terrorist activities. We should hold responsible and punish all those involved in planning and committing terrorist attacks, inciting the terrorism and recruiting people who have committed terrorist attacks such as were committed in Russia and in the UK and planned recently at Heathrow airport. The group has fully supported the Putin-Bush initiative on preventing acts of nuclear terrorism. This initiative is an action plan to establish practical cooperation between nations to implement the international convention on combating nuclear terrorism, as well as the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 targeting so-called black market proliferation.
As regards non-proliferation of WMD, this remains an outstanding priority for Russia and for the G8 at large. The G8 Members share a common position that nuclear technology must be used only for peaceful purposes. This is precisely why President Putin decided to share his ideas about a new initiative aiming at creating under the IAEA with his colleagues in St. Petersburg. This plan entails multilateral network nuclear centres to provide services in uranium enrichment for countries that are interested in using atomic energy for peaceful purposes while simultaneously limiting access to the technology of enrichment. In this way the targets and principles of non-proliferation could be met quite efficiently. Of course it is a generic proposal. Specific non-proliferation cases like North Korea or Iran started before this initiative had been launched.
This issue is of importance and needs to be solved by diplomatic means and in diplomatic terms. Speaking about uranium, a nuclear issue, is of the utmost importance to keep Iran within the NPT, the non proliferation treaty, and cooperating with the IAEA. At the same time one should not ignore the extremely delicate regional contexts of this problem since any serious deterioration of the situation in and around Iran will inevitably affect security and stability in larger areas of the Middle East and Central Asia. As for Russia, since it is quite close to this area, it is a matter of national security. We hope that by the end of the day Iran will accept the package of EU proposals endorsed by Russia, China and the United States. A recent conference has taken place in New York. I hope that soon it will be able to start a new round of negotiations in order to find a solution to this very delicate and complicated issue. There is a common objective of all members of the group of six nations involved in the solution of the problem and that is to uphold the non-proliferation regime while recognizing the right of Iran to develop nuclear technologies exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Regarding North Korea, G8 Supported the UN Security Council Resolution 1695 which condemns the launch of the DPRK Ballistic missiles in July and urges them to establish commitment to moratorium on missile launching as well as abandoning all types of nuclear weapons programs. We support the six-party talks urging the DPRK to return to them and cooperate in implementing the joint statement of September 2005 in good faith. The G8 Summit in St. Petersburg was a very serious aggravation of the situation in the Middle East, in Lebanon in particular, hence the G8 has paid particular attention to this conflict. The presidency exerted all-out efforts to adopt focused and action oriented documents and statements. We are proud that key elements of the statement then have been endorsed by the UN Security Council in the resolution 1701 as well as on the ground. Some other provisions are still relevant as guiding lines for further efforts to bring this issue to a political solution. Russia strongly believes that there should be a balanced and staged but consistent approach to the settlement in the Middle East as outlined in the “courageous roadmap” in the new reality on the ground coupled with positive Inter-Palestinian dialogue. We hope that a new government of national unity of Palestine may emerge through the role of diplomats whose duty is to use each and every opportunity to move ahead towards a meaningful solution. Russia has legitimate security interests in the stability of Afghanistan and in the sub-region. In drawing from our own experience, we never held back from sharing our analysis and expertise with international presences such as UNAMA and ISAF and they hailed it counter-terrorist operation by the US Coalition. Russia not only shared information but also provided conditions for the transit of troops to Afghanistan and at that time we were actively supporting the Afghan National Army and its stronger corps; the units and commanders of the Northern Alliance. However, since their situation has changed, of course we welcome positive developments and establishment of the real government in Afghanistan but on the other side, the situation on the ground improves very, very slowly, be it as regards the expansion of the state of poverty outwards or curbing illegal drug industries. That is why we have been emphasizing the centre and coordinating U.N. and Afghanistan as a symbol of integrity and trust. As with counter-terrorism it is especially important to redouble efforts to promote reconstruction and reform in provinces as a way of winning hearts and minds.
Regarding the Balkans and Kosovo, in particular, Russia notes the necessity which was stressed in the St. Petersburg statement for all parties to confirm their commitments and on the UN Security Council Resolution 1241 as well as guiding principles and to engage constructively in the final status process aiming at negotiated solution with the view of preserving multi-ethnic Kosovo. In doing this, we may have some differences with our western partners but we insist that Kosovo’s status process should go through a normal negotiation channel without any imposed solution within artificial deadlines. The final status of Kosovo has no option but to meet reasonable interests of both sides. It is up to them to arrive at a solution and show there is no superiority if they want a viable long-lasting solution. Russia is an active member of the group. Its duty is to provide a favourable environment for negotiations to take place guided by the principles agreed upon in the group which are contained in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
We are very much aware that being a full fledged partner in the G8 means that we need to play a more active role and be more actively involved in the assistance to developing countries. Russia has continued G8 work in assistance to development and this issue was the focus of many discussions in St. Petersburg. The G8 exchanged views on a number of issues related to the creation of necessary conditions for our poverty, ensuring sustainable economic and social development. Africa was regarded as a separate and important priority and received worthy representation in St. Petersburg. The current chair of the African Union, the President of the Republic of Congo, Sassou-Nguesso and the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, were invited and took part in discussions related to the G8 coordinated effort to support the continent including the goals of scaling-up official financial assistance to development, relieving their (financial) burden and adopting a long overdue measures on trade etc. An updated statement on Africa has been adopted reviewing the progress of the respective G8 commitments of Gleneagles. The G8 agreed to continue reviewing the implementation of these commitments on a regular basis. Russia has played its part to do what can in terms of writing off an additional $700 million US debt to less developed countries. Previously we have written off nearly $12 billion US of debt to Africa alone. It is clear that it is not enough just to write off debts but measures should be taken to prevent any further debts. There is a need for forward development in particular performing trade, providing better conditions for (second?) nations to export their goods in Russia following the recommendations of G8 that were adopted some years ago such as special matches that allow African countries to import their goods to Russia with no taxes. It is kind of a favourable customs regime that we have established for developing countries. Other areas where we can participate in assisting Africa is training of personnel, training of staff and training of people for the peacekeeping declarations. There is a G8 program which trains approximately 75,000 peacekeepers and so far we have 4,500 persons from Africa who are trained in Russia at the expenses of the federal budget.
This year, Russia co-chairs the ‘education for all’ initiative which is coordinated by UNESCO. This is meant to make a new contribution to the promotion of this of this initiative. Very soon in October, Sherpas of G8 will meet then there will be another important forum in November in Moscow global forum on cooperation between businesses and state in combating terrorism. Some other meetings are also planned, so it is not yet over. We are thinking about transition and following the example of our British colleagues as we look forward to insure very smooth and business-like transition of the presidency over to Germany.
The presidency of the G8 is not the end of the story and no initiative which once was pushed in the G8 has died. They continue to be the purpose of the G8 leaders in one way or another. We hope that the contribution Russia has made as the president of the G8 will continue and will be enriched in the coming presidency and that the group will continue to work as an important international instrument which really can help to make this world better for all.”
Lord Dykes: “Thank you very much indeed Ambassador Fedotov. We are very grateful to you for those explanations of some very complicated areas. I now ask Sir Michael Burton, our former president of the E-AG to open the discussion.”
Sir Michael Burton KCVO, CMG: “It is an intimidating task to talk about a summit meeting in the presence of for example of someone like Lord Armstrong who was the British Sherpa as they’re called, preparing summits for the British Prime Minister I think for seven years. But we’re very grateful to the ambassador for the very comprehensive account he has given us of the G8 meeting this year. We also have seven closely written pages of summary of what went on in the program.
I have the impression that the thing about these summit meetings is that they usually get overtaken by current events. There’s a program with an agenda which has been very carefully worked out by the Sherpas and then events come along and turn the whole thing over and you have what is now called ‘the elephant in the room’, that nobody would like to notice. And I suspect that the elephant in the room at this last summit was not – for the first time – the Middle East situation. And particularly two aspects of it: first of all Iran and this very tricky question of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and secondly the Lebanon war between Israel and Hezbollah.
I would like to ask the ambassador about those two problems. Firstly Iran: the Iranians play their hand diplomatically extremely skilfully as I discovered myself in the past and they manage to put off the day of reckoning and the security council will finally have to make up its mind whether to impose sanctions or not. One of the events that took place along the road was Russia offering, as the Ambassador said it was doing, to undertake uranium enrichment on behalf of other countries so that they would not undertake it themselves. That offer as far as Iran is concerned was I believe rejected. I would like to know whether that is still on the table and whether he sees any future along that path?
And secondly, Lebanon: it is my view that the events of the summer have changed the situation in the Middle East fundamentally not only from the point of view of Israel which has shown that it is no longer militarily invincible in the Middle East but also from the Arab point of view where the rejectionists in particular Hezbollah have come to the fore and who have taken the lead and acquired a great deal of standing among the Arab countries. How does that change the prospects for the road map? Everybody is agreed that great attention should now be played to the road map as a way of resolving the Arab- Israel problem, but can it not be that that has become immeasurably more complicated now that Hezbollah and the rejectionists have achieved the standing that they have as a result of the summer war?”
Ambassador Fedotov: “You are right – two very important issues. On Iran I think that that should be divided into two parts; first of all there is the matter of the specific contract between Russia and Iran to build a nuclear power station in Bushehr and here there is a condition which means that Russia will supply fuel to power this plant and when this fuel is used it will be taken back to Russia so Iran will be not involved in enrichment of uranium for this particular power station. It is a contract which remains and we are proceeding; of course we started some preliminary works and the Iranian side is completely agreed with this but that concerns to only one particular site, one particular power station.
The other problem is that they claim they need the recognition of their rights to enrichment as a matter of national pride. The argument is that, why are we so different from India or from Pakistan that it may be allowed to some countries but not to us? So it will be very hard to discourage Iran to abandon the program of enrichment that is the crux of the matter and what the group of six wants that at least for the duration of the talks that they suspend the enrichment. It is of crucial importance as a matter of trust as a matter of reciprocity because the package which was offered is quite a good package. It includes incidentaly Bushehr, and some other products which could be of interest for Iran. But they need also to do something and that should be an important matter which should be discussed and resolved. I hope it will but it means that it is also vitally important to keep Iran within the IAEA and NPT. There is an option but what is better to impose sanctions to punish Iran, and as a result to have the IAEA out of Iran and to have Iran out of the NPT?
At least for a time, while Iran proceeds with the works of enrichment there is an IAEA presence – and the IAEA presence does not confirm that what they are doing can be used for military purposes. If they are out of Iran there will be no one to monitor the Iranian nuclear program. It is a tricky matter and it is a challenge for diplomats especially that Iranians are tough negotiators and they indeed I agree with you they succeeded to delay the process for a while. But what is important is that in spite the fact that some of the countries of the group of six may have different opinions, the group is still keeping united. That is important, so as to show they speak on behalf of the international community and it is important to continue to send such signals to the Iranian leaders.
As for second part of your question, of course there are some code words in the diplomacies: one of them is the roadmap. I think very few people do remember what the roadmap contains. It means that they have to come back to the situation before the conflict, and indeed before the latest aggravation of the situation. And to have something at least to talk about at least, that is the only thing which is agreed upon by Palestinians and endorsed by some, with some reservations by Israel. So that seems the only grounds for the discussion and then if we start to discuss the road map then other things will come easier.”
His Excellency, The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. James Wright: “Thank you very much. Let me first of all congratulate my friend Yury for a very good presentation in terms of the the outcomes of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. Prior to taking on my current responsibilities here in London – I’m a veteran of all of three weeks here in London – I was for six years as political director for Canada in the G8 process. I was present in St. Petersburg and I can attest to the very hard work by the Russian presidency in the achievements that were met by the Russian president and his very impressive team. The Middle East issue was very much the question that dominated the foreign policy discussions at the G8 Summit. The crisis in Lebanon was a difficult one but I must say that there was leadership from all countries around the G8 table. The statement that leaders issued was a good one. It was a very strong one; it captured very clearly who was responsible for instigating the crisis at that time in the Middle East; it reminded the international community of security council resolutions that had been passed before, and not implemented by the international community; and it put the onus squarely on the security council to get back to work and to put in place a program that would better guarantee the security of all of the countries in the region including of course Israel. And the net outcome of that very strong statement coming out of St. Petersburg was, as Yury mentioned, resolution 1701 which now is the resolution which is in the process of being implemented through the deployment of peacekeepers from European nations from the Lebanon, into the south of Lebanon to go ahead and protect the border there and to ensure that we are not going to have a repeat of what we have seen before. The key to our success here is going to be implementation. All too often you have resolutions being passed and then not being implemented by the international community. So frankly on this one, the proof is in the pudding and one of the key elements here is the whole question of the disarmament of Hezbollah and whether or not the international community can stop Syria and Iran from re-arming Hezbollah. So we’ll see what happens in the weeks or months to come it’s an important beginning, but it’s a beginning and we’ll have to see where we go from here.
On the question of Iran, I agree with the master of ceremonies here as he said that there had been a lot of talk a lot of diplomacy – but the results still seem to escape us. It is frustrating. Iran had talked about their right to enrichment, but what they forget is that with those rights go obligations. As a general rule the international community turns around and says actually you have to meet your obligations before you can enjoy your right. There were eighteen years of concealment on the part of our Iranian friends in terms of their nuclear program; they lost the trust and confidence of the international community. That is why the UN Security Council and the IAEA in Vienna are questioning the Iranians right now. We need to keep our pressure on Iran, the Ambassador is one hundred percent right and their must be unity within the international community, within the G8, within the P-5, in terms of how they approach Iran to make sure that they live up to their obligation. There are important discussions this week taking place in New York and we’ll see how things proceed.”
Ambassador Fedotov: “Simply, I would like to thank James for his presence, for his support he granted to me, especially that he not only he represents one of the G8 countries here but also he took part in this event and he did very well as a reward he has this position as High Commissioner in London.”
Andrejs Ozolins, Latvian National Council in Great Britain: “I have different questions about an area that Russia refers to as the near-abroad. There is no dispute about the fact that after the 1938 Munich agreement between Britain, France, Italy and Germany, that Czechoslovakia was occupied without resistance. In 1939 Nazi Germany and Soviet Union completed a pact dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. And the Baltic states were occupied in June 1940 without resistance because Russia, or the Soviet Union showed that it had mighty forces, and demonstrated their magnitude by simulated attacks in battle formations on the borders of Latvia for example. Latvians were in a terrible position. Our government acceded to the Russian request to let unlimited numbers of troops in. Barbarous elections were held and the newly elected parliament humbly asked the Supreme Soviet to be admitted to the Soviet Union. ‘Acculturated’ to the situation in Czechoslovakia, Russia, and the Russian, the USSR and the Russian Federation has never admitted that the Baltic States were occupied, because the circumstances were similar. My first question is why is the Russian Federation unwilling to recognize that the Baltic States were occupied by the Soviet Union?
The second question is: the Soviet Union detached certain areas of Estonia and Latvia from the areas delegated by the 1920 peace treaty between the states and Soviet Russia, and now the border de facto is delineated but because Estonia and Latvia wish to refer to the 1920 peace treaty. Russia refuses to sign the new de facto border treaties. Why is Russia unwilling to do so?”
A delegate: “On nuclear issues, India and Pakistan both reneged on their agreement not to make, nuclear weapons. Whilst holding no brief for Iran, is it not difficult to put that country into another category – and India and Pakistan have not incurred the same problems as Iran with regard to this policy? On economics, there has been a lot of comment in the recent financial press about disagreement between Russia and the Western oil companies about Sakhalin 2. Now the companies like Shell have the PR companies have put their point across. I would be grateful to hear the Russian side.”
Melanie Prendiville, E-AG member: “I agree with the last intercession. Do you really think that if Iran didn’t have the richest crude oil in the world after Iraq that the United States of America and the rest of us would be talking here about the nuclear enrichment programs? Pakistan and India and everybody else have nuclear electricity, and nobody bothers about stopping them?”
James Lloyd-Davies, E-AG member: “For a long time I happened to worked for the British government so I feel entitled to ask naïve questions. Excellency, Do you feel satisfied, or does Russia feel satisfied, with the cooperation you are getting from the West against Islamic terrorism and what is it that you feel if any act as roadblocks in the way of closer cooperation?”
Janek Lasocki, University College London: “Your Excellency, how can the Russian Federation support the independence of Transdnestria and not of Kosovo?
Lord Dykes: “Thank you, the ambassador will now respond those points and we’ll have further discussion.”
Ambassador Fedotov: “On the Baltic States, they are very close to Russia, that is why. They are near. They are foreign countries. That is why they are abroad. As for the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, I have to remind that you that (how it was exactly called?) the congress of people’s deputies, the famous gathering organized by Gorbachev in 1988 approved a special declaration on this issue, and this declaration was later reconfirmed by Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So the position was expressed, assessments were made – so we’re not going to do it every day but we did do it and we stick to this position, and this position has not changed. I have also to remind you that Baltic States have got their independence from the Soviet Union, not from Russia, in 1991, with no pre-conditions, with no commitments, with no changes, and with no guarantees. I also have to remind you that at that time there had been referendums in the Baltic States and all inhabitants of Latvia/Estonia took part in this referendum. And overwhelmingly they voted for independence, including Russians who live in these countries, and at that time when they voted for the independence of Latvia and Estonia, their votes were considered valid. But it has happened that a few years later they had become ‘not citizens’ and their votes are no longer valid in some places. It is a little bit strange when these countries acceded the European Union in accordance with the standards of the European Union. Nationals from UK, Luxembourg who happen to be in these countries can vote in local elections, but not people who were born, who lived all their lives in these countries….? So there are problems which I think needs to be resolved.
On Sakhalin 2, that is a developing story which should be solved professionally through the negotiations between the relevant companies and institutions. I have to remind those of you who have followed these developments that, firstly, some British NGO’s, and also BBC last year started to express concerns about the ecological aspects of this project of Shell, and at that time in Russia the situation was a little bit quiet. But since then people in Russia also started to be more excited over the ecological implications of this project. I met many times with Shell people here in London and they recognized, they acknowledged the real problems with the pipeline and they have to bypass many rivers and in some cases they have to change the project. So the equipment which was given to the company to build the pipeline was related to the previous project and now since they have to make some very serious changes – changes by the way that would increase the cost of the whole project two-fold: the initial cost of the project was about 10.3 billion and now it is about 20 billion. Russia could not get anything, any income from that, before it starts operation. So we hope that that can be resolved through direct contact between the company and the relevant Russian authorities.
And Iran, India and Pakistan: in some ways I agree with you but we should not forget that we have excellent relations with India and we have good relations with Pakistan but these two countries proclaimed officially that they have to develop military nuclear programs and they actually have nuclear bombs. Iran still sticks with NPT and under the IAEA monitors and we have to preserve that.
We are satisfied with our cooperation with Western nations in counter-terrorism. We have very advanced exchanges of information with the British authorities and services. Direct contacts which never happened during under the Cold War; but that said we are not pleased that some of the people who incite the terrorism, and who promote terrorist activities, have found their refuge in London and that is a kind of irritant in our bilateral relations.
And on Transdnestria, no we are not against the independence of Kosovo. We want that independence be resolved by negotiations between the sides. Transdnestria also claims independence and we think that that is a matter of course which needs to be dealt with in a regular diplomatic way.”
John Forrester-Simpson, E-AG member: “Your Excellency, how badly do you think the murder of Andrei Kozlov affects the drive against corruption and economic crimes? And what progress have the police or secret services made towards apprehending the criminals involved?”
Charles Cavenagh-Mainwaring, E-AG member, Atlantic Council of the UK: “Good Evening Ambassador, thank you very much for coming to see us. I am a member of the Atlantic Council, NATO’s support group. You are now working very closely with Western Intelligence services regarding counter-terrorism. But where does Russia actually stand? Are you in Europe? Are you outside Europe? Are you in Asia? Are you outside Asia? You have a vast land army; I know you are very concerned about Islamist terrorism but you probably have not been invited to deploy your troops. And basically that’s my question.”
Sheika Shenda Khazal-Amery, E-AG member: “If we take global warming seriously, and it is a very serious problem at the moment, we would set into action a system in which we would use minimal oil. In fact we could probably within five or 10 years not need oil at all. This in fact would help relations with the Middle East. I think in fact it would gradually solve all our problems. I would like to have your comments, Ambassador.”
Honourable James B. Longley Jr., Former Congressman: “Mr. Ambassador I commend Russia’s commitment to dealing with the Iranian problem, and I accept your premise that Iran is entitled to self-respect as a nation. But I have to question, my question is, if I’m not mistaken, isn’t a British citizen still under a death sentence for his writings from the Iranian government?”
Honourable James B. Longley Jr.: “No longer? Whether that’s the case or not, there have been a number of comments made about the future of Israel and we can all argue over what is Israel’s proper role in the Middle East but surely any country that essentially is simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and threatening the destruction of another country is a cause for concern? Thank you sir.”
Lord Dykes: “Thank you very much indeed the Ambassador will now respond to those points.”
Ambassador Fedotov: “Thank you very much. On the assassination of Mr. Kozlov, [pause] that is a very shocking event, a real tragedy. And this is also because of the efforts of the Russian government to curb corruption and to put in its house in order, and to avoid money laundering. What was Mr. Kazlov doing? And of course that was a very tragic event! But at least there is one thing over we can give credit; that when such assassinations took place in the nineties – especially at the beginning of the nineties – nobody took much notice of them because they happened almost every day. When this happened last week, the whole nation was shocked there was a special meeting of the government. Special instructions were given to find the organizers and those who committed this crime and today the successor of Mr. Kazlov was appointed and he is committed to continue what Mr. Kazlov was doing. That assassination is a tragedy and we deplore this and we hope that those who did it will be in court and punished.
On anti-terrorism, yes we are in Europe of course, we have common goals, common objectives, we also have to take into account the effect that being a European country. But we still have a 20 million Muslim population. This is an original Muslim population, not immigrants, and that is an important factor of Russian policy as well.
On global warming, although we feel that it is a global warming, we have not forgotten that the oil and the power is not used only for heating, but also for air conditioning…”
Audience (laughter — as the temperature in the room was high)
“….As far as Iran is concerned, well I agree with you that those statements which were made by Iranian leaders on Israel are quite unhelpful and appalling and we do not think that such statements should be made in the civilized world. Of course it creates a kind of atmosphere in the search for the political solution to the nuclear issue – but still it is separate matter while affecting the negotiations on the main topic.”
Lord Dykes: “Thank you very much indeed ambassador, also for your brevity as these are complicated matters and they do need a lot of attention, but time does not permit of further discussion. We’re going to conclude now. Justin Glass wants to make a book presentation. Justin Glass is our distinguished director of the E-AG; we thank him and all of his colleagues for helping him with organizing this dinner-debate. After that there will be a vote of thanks to our speaker from Anthony Westnedge, ESU Governor, the former chairman of Canning House and an active member of the E-AG.”
Justin Glass, Director, European-Atlantic Group: “My Lord Chairman and Your Excellency, I want to say thank you so very much for coming to us. We have been fascinated by what you have said. I think the feelings coming across from you from almost all of this audience as to the goodwill between your country now and ours is palpable. So in giving you this presentation of the book we published, My Flying Circus, which is about a chap who had to do some fairly tough things during the second world war, please remember that the story harks back to the days when Britain and Russia did stand together; we may well feel, having now heard His Excellency, that is again what is happening. We are delighted to present it to you.”
Ambassador Fedotov: “Thank you very much.”
Anthony Westnedge OBE, Governor ESU, Formerly Chairman of Canning House, E-AG Committee: “Your Excellency, my lord chairman, ladies and gentlemen, for me it is a great honour and privilege to thank our honoured guest this evening for his tour de force. It has been quite remarkable. I think a lot of us over the years, the regular attendees of these functions of the E-AG feel that we have created a sort of extraordinary organization. This has been a particularly high quality event. We’ve been very fortunate to have one of the leading politicians, and diplomats, in the international diplomatic corps. I can quite understand why he has gained this reputation in London and his presentation tonight has been absolutely magnificent. He has fielded some difficult questions in a very, very professional way. Obviously his country had a difficult time; it was difficult when Russia assumed the presidency of the G8 against the background of an increasing oil crisis, problems in the Middle East, and there were the problems with Lebanon. That is partly history, and we now continue under the presidency of Russia in the coming months until they hand it over to Germany. But I would like to thank you so very much indeed for everything that you have said this evening.”