Russia Blasts U.S. Domination

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, listens as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, talks at a joint media conference after their meetings in Moscow Tuesday March 18, 2008.
AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool
Russia called Saturday for a revival of the global coalition that brought the world together to fight terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001 but started unraveling after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and what it called the subsequent domination of world affairs by a single power - a veiled reference to the United States.

"The solidarity of the international community fostered on the wave of struggle against terrorism turned out to be somehow `privatized'," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.

He cited the U.S. invasion of Iraq "under the false pretext of fight on terror and nuclear arms proliferation" and questions of excessive use of force against civilians in counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan. And he said the recent crisis over Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia proved again that "it is impossible or even disastrous to try to resolve the existing problems in the blindfolds of the unipolar world."

"Today, it is necessary to analyze the crisis in the Caucuses from the viewpoint of its impact on the region and the international community on the whole," Lavrov said.

"The world has changed again" he said. "It has become crystal clear that the solidarity expressed by all of us after 9/11 should be revived through the concepts cleared of geopolitical expediency and built on the rejection of double standards when we fight against any infringements upon the international law - be it on the part of terrorists, belligerent political extremists or any others."

Lavrov lashed out at Georgia's "aggression" and bombing of South Ossetia's sleeping capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 8 and Russia's intervention "to repel aggression" and fulfill its peacekeeping commitments.

Georgia disputes this, claiming that the Russian side initiated the conflict. The United States and the European Union have backed Georgia, contending that the Russian response was disproportionate.

But Lavrov made clear that Moscow would not brook any challenge to its recognition of the unilateral declarations of independence of the two breakaway provinces.

"This problem is closed now. The future of the peoples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has been reliably secured by the treaties between Moscow (and their governments)," he said. "The situation around the two republics is finally going to be stabilized."

Lavrov called for a new "solidarity" of the international community and a strengthened United Nations, saying only in the post-Cold War world can the world body "fully realize its potential" as a global center "for open and frank debate and coordination of the world policies on a just and equitable basis free from double standards."

"This is an essential requirement, if the world is to regain its equilibrium."

Declaring that Europe's security architecture "did not pass the strength test" in Georgia, Lavrov reiterated Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal in June for a new Treaty on European Security.

It would strengthen peace and stability and participants would reaffirm the non-use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, territorial integrity and noninterference in another country's affairs, he said. Finally, he added, it would promote "an integrated and manageable development across the vast Euro-Atlantic region."

Lavrov said work on the new treaty could be started at a pan-European summit and include governments as well as organizations working in the region. He referred to it as "a kind of `Helsinki-2'," a follow-up to the 1975 Helsinki Treaty between all European nations, together with the U.S. and Canada, which evolved into the present-day Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the largest conflict-prevention and security organization on the continent.