Putin addresses UNGA 2015

see also the Kremlin's translation

Your Excellency, Mr President, Your Excellency Mr Secretary General, distinguished heads of state and government. Ladies and Gentlemen.

UN history

The seventieth anniversary of the United Nations is a good occasion to both take stock of history and talk about our common future. In 1945 the countries that defeated NAZIism joined their efforts to make solid foundations for the post-World War order but, may I remind you, that the key decisions on the principles guiding the cooperation among states as well as on the establishment of the United Nations were made in our country, at Yalta, at the meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders.

The Yalta system was actually born in travail, it was born at the cost of tens of millions of lives and two World Wars that swept through the planet in the twentieth-century. Let us be fair, it helped humanity through turbulent, at times dramatic, events of the last seven decades. It saved the world from large-scale upheavals. The United Nations is unique in its legitimacy, representation, and universality.

It is true that lately the UN has been widely criticized for supposedly not being efficient enough, and for the fact that the decision making on fundamental issues fails, due to insurmountable differences, first of all among the members of the Security Council. However I would like to point out that there have always been differences among the UN throughout all these seventy years of its existence. The veto right has always been exercised by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, the Soviet Union and Russia, later, alike. It is absolutely natural for so diverse and representative an organization. When the UN was established its founders did not in the least think that there would always be unanimity.

The mission of the organization is to seek and reach compromises, and its srength comes from taking different views and opinions into consideration, that decisions debated within the UN are either taken as resolutions or not, as diplomats say, they either pass or they do not pass. Whatever actions any state might take by passing [going around] this procedure are illegitimate, they run counter to the UN charter and defy international law.

UN at present

We all know that, after the end of the cold war - everyone is aware of that - a single center of domination emerged in the world. And then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if [since] they were so strong and exceptional they knew better, and did not have to reckon with the UN, which instead of automatically authoriz[ing] and legitimat[ing] the necessary decisions, often creates obstacles or, in other words, stands in the way. It has now become commonplace to see that, in its original form, it has become obsolete and has completed its historical mission.

Of course the world is changing, and the UN must be consistent with this natural transformation. Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of broad consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to the collapse of the entire architecture of international relations and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.

We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work. A world increasingly characterized by dictates rather than by equality. There would be less of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where truly independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally-controlled territories. What is the state sovereignty, that after all has been mentioned by our colleagues here? It is basically about freedom, and the right to choose freely one's own future for every person, nation, state.

By the way, Dear Colleagues, the same hopes through the question of so-called legitimacy of state authority. One should not play with or manipulate words. Every term in international law and international affairs should be clear, transparent, and have uniformly understood criteria. We are all different and we should respect that. No one has to conform to a single development model that someone has once and for all recognized as the only right one. We should all remember what our past has taught us.

Learning from history

We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union, social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences often led to tragic consequences, and to degradation rather than progress.

Instead, however, [than] learning from others' mistakes everyone just keeps repeating them. And so the export of revolutions, this time so-called 'democratic ones', continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers.

Certainly, political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and the people there wished for changes, naturally. But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in the brazen destruction of national institutions and of the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress we got violence, poverty, and social disaster. And nobody cares a bit about human rights - including the right to life.

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation - do you realize, now, what you have done?

But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. These policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned. It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa, through the emergence of anarchic areas, which immediately began to be filled with extremists and terrorists.

ISIS in the middle east

Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called 'Islamic state'. It's ranks include former Iraqi servicemen, who were thrown out into the streets after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, and now the ranks of radicals have been joined by the so-called 'moderate' Syrian opposition, supported by the Western countries.

First they are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State. Besides, the Islamic State itself did not just come from nowhere. It was also initially forged as a tool against 'undesirable' secular regimes. Having established a foothold in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has begun actively expanding to other regions. It is seeking dominance in the Islamic world, and not only there, its plans go further than that. The situation is more than dangerous.

In these circumstances it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make wild declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and support of terrorists, including the costs of trafficking - an illicit trade - and war and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals, in the hope of, later, 'dealing' with them - or, in other words, liquidating them.

To those who do so I would like to say, Dear Sirs, No doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people. But they are in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are. And you never know who is manipulating whom. Existing data on the arms transfered to these most 'moderate' of the opposition is the best proof of it. We believe that any attemps to play games with terrorists and to arm them are not just short-sighted but far [more] hazardous.

ISIS outside the middle east

This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing nearby regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.

Unfortunately, Dear Colleagues, I have to put it frankly, Russia is not an exception. We cannot allow these criminals, who have already tasted blood, to return back home and to continue their evil doings.

No one wants this to happen - does he?

UN response to ISIS

Russia has always been consistently fighting this terrorism in all its forms. Today we provide military and technical assistance both to Iraq and Syria and to other countries in the region who are fighting terrorist groups. We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government, and its armed forces, while they are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face.

We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and his groups' militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria. We know about all the problems and contradictions in the region, but which were based on the reality.

Dear Collegues. I must note that such an honest and frank approach by Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of growing ambition, as if those who say it have no ambitions at all.

However, it is not about Russia's ambitions, Dear Colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world. What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common interests rather than [by] ambitions.

On the basis of international law we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad, international coalition against terrorism, similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces resolutely resisting those that, just like NAZIs, sow evil and hatred of human kind.

Muslim countries are key

And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition. Even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them but also desecrates one of the grestest world religions by its bloody crimes. The ideologists of [the] militants make a mockery of Islam and pervert its true humanistic values.

I would like to address Muslim spiritual leaders as well. Your authority and your guidance are of great importance right now. It is essential to prevent people recruited by militants from making hasty decisions, and those who have already been deceived, and who through various circumstances found themselves among terrorists, need help in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms, and putting an end to fratricide.

What can be done within the rule of law?

Russia will shortly convene as the current president of the Security Council a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of threats in the Middle East.

First of all we propose to discuss whether it is possible to agree on a resolution coordinationg the actions of all the forces that confront the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.

Once again these coordinations should be based on the principles of the UN Charter.

Stop the violence, start the recovery

We hope that the international community will be able to develop a comprehensive strategy of political stabilization as well as of social and economic recovery of the Middle East.

Then, Dear Friends, there would be no need for new refugee camps. Today the flow of people who were forced to leave their homeland has literally engulfed first neighboring countries and then Europe itself. There are hundreds of thousands of them now and there might be millions before long. In fact it is a new, great, and tragic migration of peoples, and it is a harsh lesson for all of us, including Europe.

I would like to stress : refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support.

However, the only way to solve this problem at a fundamental level is to restore the statehood where it has been destroyed, to strengthen the government[al] institutions where they still exist or are being re-established, to provide comprehensive assistance of military, economic, and material nature to countries in a difficult situation, and certainly to those people who, despite all the ordeals, will not abandon their homes.

Naturally any assistance to sovereign states can and must be offered, rather than imposed, exclusively and solely in accordance with the UN Charter. In other words, everything in this field that is being done or will be done pursuant to the norms of international law must be supported by our organization, everything that contravenes the UN Charter must rejected.

Most desperate cases : Libya, Iraq, and Syria

Above all, I believe it is of the utmost importance to help resore government's institutions in Libya, [to] support the new government of Iraq, and to provide comprehensive assistance to the legitimate government of Syria.

Dear Colleagues, ensuring peace and regional and global stability remains the key objective of the international community with the UN at its helm. We believe this means creating a space of equal and indivisable security which is not for the select few, but for everyone.

Yes, it is a challenge, and a complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no other alternative.

Cooperation, not confrontation

However, the bloc thinking of the times of the cold-war and the desire to explore new geopolitical areas is still present among some of our colleagues.

First they continued their policy of expanding NATO - what for, if the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence after the Soviet Union had collapsed - and, nevertheless, NATO continues expanding, as well its military infrastructure, they hen offered the poor soviet countries a false choice : either to be with the West or with the East.

Sooner or later this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a grave geopolitical crisis, and this is exactly what happened in Ukraine, where the discontent of the population with the current authorities was used and a military coup was orchestrated from outside that triggered a civil war as a result.

Ukraine

We are confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk Agreement of February 12, 2015 can we but an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of the deadlock. The Ukraine's territorial integrity cannot be shed by force of arms. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the rights of the people in the Donbass region and respect for their choice. The means to coordinate with them is provided by the Minsk agreements as well as the key elements of the country's structure.

These steps will guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized state, as an essential link, and build-in a common space of security and economic cooperation both in Europe and in Eurasia.

TPP, TTIP, and the secret economic diktat

Ladies and Gentlemen. I have mentioned this common space of economic cooperation on purpose. Not too long ago, it seemed that in the economic sphere, within its objective mark of law, we would learn to live without dividing lines. We would build on transparent and jointly formulated rules, including the WTO principles stipulating the freedom of trade and investment and open competition ... nevertheless, today unilateral 'sanctions' circumventing the UN seem to have become almost commonplace.

In addition to presumed political objectives these sanctions serve as a means of eliminating competitors.

I would like to point out another sign of growing selfishness. Some countries have chosen to create closed and exclusive economic associations. With their establishment being negotiated behind the scenes, in secret, from those country's own citizens, from the general public, from the business community, and from other countries. Other states whose interests may be affected are not informed of anything either.

It seems that we are about to be faced with an accomplished fact, that the rules of the game have been changed in favor of a narrow group, of the privileged, with the WTO having no say.

This could unbalance the trade system completely, and disintegrate the global economic space. These issues affect the interests of all states and influence the future of the world economy as a whole. That is why we propose discussing them within the UN, WTO, and G-20.

Harmony, not discord

Contrary to the policy of exclusiveness Russia proposes harmonizing regional economic projects. I refer to the so-called 'integration of integrations', based on universal and transparent rules of international trade. As an example, I would like to cite our plans to connect Eurasian Economic Union and China's initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

We still believe that harmonizing the integration processes for the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union is highly promising.

Planetwide realignment with Nature

Ladies and Gentlemen. The issues that affect the futures of all people include the challenge of global climate change. It is in our interest to make the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Paris a success. As part of our national contribution, we plan to reduce by 2030 the greenhouse emmissions to 70-75% of the 1990 level. I suggest, however, we should take a wider view on this issue.

Yes, we might defuse the problem for awhile by setting quotas on harmful emissons or by taking other measures, which are nothing but tactical, but we will not solve it that way. We need a completely new approach.

We have to focus on introducing fundamental and new technologies inspired by nature which will not damage the environment but will be in harmony with it. Also they will allow us to restore the balance between the biosphere and technosphere upset by human activities. It is indeed a challenge of planetary scope, but I am confident that humankind has [the] intellectual potential to address it. We need to join our efforts.

I refer first of all to the states that have a solid research basis, and that have made significant advances in fundamental science. We propose convening a special forum under the UN auspices for a comprehensive consideration of the issues related to the depletion of natural resources, the destruction of habitat, and climate change. Russia would be ready to co-sponsor such a forum.

Voluntary, transparent, cooperation

Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues. It was on the 10th of January 1946 in London that the UN General Assembly gathered for its first session. Chairman of the Preparatory Commission Dr. Zuleta Angel, a Colombian diplomat and the chairman of the preparatory commission opened the session by giving, I believe, then, a concise definition of the principles that the UN should follow in its activities :

free will, defiance of scheming and trickery, and a spirit of cooperation.

Today, his words sound as a guidance for all of us. Russia believes in the huge potential of the United Nations, which should help us avoid a new global confrontation and to engage in strategic cooperation. Together with other countries we will consistently work toward strengthening the central coordinating role of the UN. I am confident, that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, as well as provide conditions for the development of all states and nations.

Thank you.