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Russia
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Nixon Center
Washington, D.C.
September 19, 2001

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this forum for the opportunity to speak before such a representative audience.
This meeting is taking place in the tragic days when the entire civilized humankind has joined the American people in grieving for the victims of barbaric terrorist acts in New York and Washington.

Russia itself has experienced the horror of terrorist acts and the bitter loss of innocent people. Our country and other CIS states have become virtually the first target for a direct strike by international terrorism since the end of the Cold War. This can be explained. During the first years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the internal security structure weakened, and terrorists and militant extremists did not hesitate to use this. This is why we were, perhaps, the first to understand that this tremendous threat can be countered only through joint efforts. This is why we are not only ready for but insist on the closest interaction with the US and other members of the international community in the fight against international terrorism. As President Vladimir Putin has said, the criminals must not remain unpunished.

The tragic events of the last days undoubtedly represent a new starting point in the development of international relations. It is still difficult to make far-reaching conclusions now, but one thing is clear: we need to take a fresh and realistic look at some fundamental problems of peace and security in the 21st century. The most important thing is that we have been confronted with all their mercilessness not by hypothetical, that can emerge ten to twenty years from now, but real threats to the security of our countries and the lives of our citizens on a scale that none of us has seen before.

After the end of the Cold War, the joint efforts of Russia, the US and other countries eliminated the threat of global nuclear conflict. At the same time, we could not fully overcome the psychological vestiges of the era of confrontation and its main postulate: the worse my neighbor feels, the better do I. We appeared not to be ready to effectively counter new threats and challenges that may explode the strategic situation in the world now. We often happen to be unable to resist militant extremists, separatists and other fanatics. Paradoxical as it may seem, the world community feels, and sometimes finds itself, less secure under the present circumstances than in the era of bipolar confrontation.

I am convinced that the main reason for this is the lack of concerted international mechanisms enabling us to effectively respond to new threats in the era of globalization. And these are, first of all, international terrorism, organized crime, illegal trafficking in drugs and weapons. Experience shows that no country can fight this evil alone. We all need mutual support and solidarity. The international community must respond to the criminal actions of terrorists and drug barons with unity and determination.

Russia calls for creating a Global System for countering new threats and challenges. We hope that this problem will be discussed most seriously at the current session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The discussion should focus, first of all, on how to enhance our capabilities for early detection and prevention of crimes. This will require us to create new and strengthen existing international legal mechanisms in this field. We must make appropriate anti-terrorist conventions fully operational. For example, not so long ago the UN adopted a convention aimed at stopping financial support to terrorists. If it were fully operational, the possibilities of terrorists to organize their crimes would be reduced considerably. At the same time, it is necessary to make sure that terrorists do not feel safe anywhere in the world.

However, I would like to stress that we must counter the lawlessness of terrorists and criminals by law because history teaches us that lawful goals can be effectively protected only by lawful efforts.

This is why it is so important now not to weaken but on the contrary, enhance international law and the existing ample network of multilateral and bilateral treaties and agreements. This is why it is so necessary to enhance the authority and operational possibilities of international institutions, primarily the United Nations Organization.

Globalization processes require all of us to take additional efforts in order to consolidate the international community in solving problems facing mankind. We must do everything we can to prevent a new division of the world not into the West and the East as it was during the Cold War but into the North and the South. Unfortunately, this negative tendency is gaining momentum.

It is of paramount importance in this situation to step up joint or concerted efforts by Russia and the US in building free and democratic, stable and safe international relations that will effectively protect lawful interests of all countries and ensure steady growth of the world economy.

Now that the very foundation of human security in our countries has been threatened, we as never before are convinced of the possibility and need to build a qualitatively new relationship between Russia and the US. This understanding was a starting point in the negotiations between Presidents Vladimir Putin and George Bush in Ljubljana and Genoa. It is extremely important that both Moscow and Washington clearly understand that the era of confrontation is behind us and that our countries should interact with each other, proceeding from totally new realities of the 21st century.

The time has come to take a new decisive step and start building strategic relations between Russia and the US in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.

These strategic relations may become one of the underlying principles for the emerging international coalition called upon to counter modern threats.

These strategic relations should help enhance the multifaceted dialogue and interaction between Moscow and Washington on key international and regional problems. Our ultimate goals coincide on most of these issues even though we often disagree on the methods of attaining them.

Both Russia and the US seek to strengthen international regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Both Russia and the US are interested in peace and calm everywhere, be it the Balkans or the Middle East.

Both Russia and the US closely cooperate in containing the threat emanating from Afghanistan. And this is not the full list of examples.

We can and should do many things jointly in order to strengthen strategic stability in the world. Russian-US consultations on inter-related questions of strategic offensive and defensive weapons are called upon to serve this goal. We proceed from a very simple truth that this interconnection, legally formalized in such agreements as the 1972 ABM Treaty, the START-1 and START-2 treaties, preserves the strategic balance and possibilities for confident and predictable cuts in strategic offensive weapons. I am convinced that we should look for and find a mutually acceptable solutions to such a topical issue as well.

There are quite favorable conditions for enhancing bilateral business cooperation which we consider as an important component of the new strategic framework of our relations. By strengthening the economic basis of our interaction we create prerequisites for progress in other areas.

Despite a number of encouraging signs, the state of affairs in this field cannot be called satisfactory. The strong potential our countries have for the development of economic cooperation is not fully used. At the same time, there are favorable conditions for making a qualitative "breakthrough" in our economic cooperation. These are, first of all, positive trends in the development of the political and economic situation in Russia.

As you know, Russia is going through a period of deep transformations aimed at building civil society, strengthening the market basis of the economy and making state management more effective. The judicial system, including arbitration, will soon undergo serious changes. Tax reform is actively under way and has proved quite successful. We have the lowest level of taxation in Europe. We are taking measures to debureaucratize our economy and reduce the interference of the state where its presence should be minimal. In the middle of last July the State Duma adopted in the second reading the Land Code. Customs and banking legislation is being perfected. On the whole, we are taking active steps to adapt our legislation to international integration processes, particularly to the WTO standards.

The government intends to continue its strict fiscal policy in the country. Annual inflation will drop from 84 percent in 1998 to 14-16 percent this year and to 10-13 percent in 2002. We are going to have budget surplus this year and in the subsequent couple of years. The Central Bank's reserves have more than doubled in the last year, reaching $38 billion. Russia fulfills all of its obligations to foreign creditors.

In the year 2000, the GDP grew by more than 8 percent and by more than 5 percent since the beginning of this year. On the whole, industrial production in Russia increased by one third in the last three years. What is important is that economic growth this year was generated not by bigger export revenue but by greater domestic consumption and internal investment demand.

We are satisfied to say that the steps we are taking have been welcomed abroad, including in the US. The improvement of the investment environment in Russia has been fully appreciated by foreign investors as the influx of new foreign investment in the Russian economy has grown considerably.

The direct dialogue between Russian and American businesses supported by the presidents of our countries in their special statement in Genoa is beginning to take shape. Last July, Russia was visited by US Secretaries of the Treasury and Commerce, Paul O'Neil and Donald Evans. A number of important agreements has been reached and a plan of priority steps has been mapped out to step up our economic ties. We expect Donald Evans to come to Russia again in October of this year but this time as the head of a big business delegation.

We proceed from the premise that the Russian-US business dialogue is transparent and open to the broadest circle of business people and corporate structures. We welcome the emerging tendency of engaging not only big corporations but also small and medium-sized firms in business contacts, and spreading cooperation to new promising industries and spheres, particularly high-tech ones.

I must say that Russia-US economic cooperation is already bearing fruit. We have finished the construction of an oil pipeline of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), the biggest investment project in Russia with the participation of American capital. We consider CPC as a vivid example of mutually advantageous and fruitful partnership between the two countries in the energy sector. We hope that its official opening and the loading of the first tanker will take place in the very near future.

We are also implementing other major projects to develop oil fields in Sakhalin with the participation of Exxon Mobil, Texaco and Marathon.

We are talking not only about American corporate investments in Russia. One of CPC members -- LUKoil -- actively operates on the American market where it has recently acquired a network of gas stations. Another example is TNK that joined the American Chamber of Commerce and its Ecology and Energy Committee this year. There are positive examples of Russian-American cooperation in third countries.

Among other priority areas of bilateral interaction I would like to mention high-tech industries, including space, aircraft building, automobile making, atomic energy, software and others. We are implementing such major projects here as the joint production of a new all-terrain vehicle with the participation of General Motors and AvtoVAZ, the construction of a new plant in Vsevolzhsk, Leningrad region, to make Ford automobiles. The agreement signed by Rosaviakosmos and Boeing last April is also quite promising as it calls for a considerable expansion of cooperation in space exploration and aircraft production.

By taking measures to improve Russia's investment attractiveness, we hope for reciprocal steps on the part of the US. We mean, first of all, that the US should lift discriminatory restrictions on our country. These include eliminating the notorious Jackson-Vanic amendment, recognizing Russia as a market economy, and removing a large number of administrative barriers that impede the development of cooperation in high-tech fields. I think the time has come to solve these questions. This could send another serious signal to the Russian and US business communities to deepen mutually advantageous cooperation.

I am convinced that progress shown by Russian and American partners in business will largely help change the public perception of the very nature of relations between Russia and the US and build a friendly partnership between our peoples consistent with the realities of the 21st century.

Thank you.

END


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© Publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.