Talking Points by Sergey V.Lavrov on the occasion of the United Nations Day and the 60th Anniversary of UN Presence in Russia

Moscow, 24 October 2008

Unofficial translation

Dear Mr. Borsotti,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

We gathered here on the occasion of a very significant date– October 24 marks the United Nations Day.

The establishment of the United Nations has reflected the will of all mankind to prevent new destructive wars and resurgence of barbarous ideologies advocating violence, aggression and racial superiority. In 63 years of its history the Organization which had seen sharp debates and acute contradictions has become a unique forum for systemic dialogue of nations on building a safer world.

It is hard to overestimate the UN contribution to resolving urgent and key problems. Primarily, this concerns the issues of strengthening international security, arms control, and disarmament. Under the auspices of the Organization the concept of peacekeeping emerged which has become so relevant in resolving conflict situations in various regions of the world. The mankind has bid farewell to the colonial system, with the direct involvement of the United Nations. The United Nations is the unquestionable leader in the fight against poverty and inequality. It is owing to the United Nations that the international community took a serious look at the problems of the environment and sustainable development.

Only with the end of the Cold War was the world Organization able to fully play its role as the major regulator of international affairs on a global scale - according to the design of its founders. In the context of globalization, the experience and authority, as well as the universally recognized legitimacy of the United Nations allow it to make a truly unique contribution to advancing political, economic and humanitarian cooperation. The global consensus on the inalienability of security, development and human rights has been achieved under the aegis of the United Nations. This reflects an understanding that in today's world problems are becoming increasingly interrelated and transborder in nature. The focus of the United Nations is on civil society that is becoming increasingly vivid and helpful in finding adequate responses to contemporary challenges.

In Russia the UN is considered as an indispensable, universal global forum, a key element of the entire international system based on principles of collective action and rule of law. We have a stake in making the best use of the Organization's potential as a center of open, honest debates and coordination of international policies on an equal and fair basis without double standards. The commitment of all States to the generally accepted rules of international law is especially important for the emerging multipolar world to become well balanced.

The diversity of problems facing human society calls for the strengthening of the Organization in the every possible way. In order to respond adequately to the challenges of our time, the UN should be further rationally reformed, systematically adapted to changing political and economic realities. For its part, Russia is ready to continuously contribute to the search for generally acceptable compromises on key reform tracks, including the UN Security Council.

Today, on the United Nations Day, we also celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Organization's presence in our country. The United Nations Information Centre that opened in Moscow in 1948 carries out important activities helping to raise awareness of the Organization's purposes and tasks and closely cooperates with Russian governmental agencies and broad public.

We commend all the staff of the Centre and other UN agencies working in Russia. About twenty funds and programmes contribute to sustainable economic development of our country addressing such issues as education, health care and environment protection. I would like to make special mention of their assistance in coping with the difficult humanitarian situation in the North Caucasus.

An increasingly strong Russia, in its turn, is becoming a donor country providing through various channels, including the United Nations, an ever greater assistance to international efforts aimed at combating famine and diseases, ensuring a greater access to education and overcoming energy poverty. Mechanisms of contributing to international development we are establishing now are designed to enhance the volume and efficiency of such assistance and, in general, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We are set to continue these noble efforts.

I am convinced that the UN presence in Russia will remain active and relevant and will help unite our efforts in tackling key issues of our time.

Please, accept my congratulations.