05 June / 2018

Statement by H.E. Anatoly Antonov, Permanent observer of the Russian Federation to the OAS

STATEMENT BY H.E. ANATOLY ANTONOV,

PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION TO THE OAS

FORTY-EIGHTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

DIALOGUE WITH THE PERMANENT OBSERVERS

Distinguished Mr. President,

Distinguished Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished heads of delegations of the OAS member states and permanent observers,

          First of all, let me express our profound condolences to the Government and people of Guatemala, to the families and loved ones of the Guatemalans, who lost their lives as a result of the eruption of the Fuego volcano on June 3. We wish a rapid recovery to all injured.

We regard the Organization of American States as an important multilateral venue for dialogue development in the Western hemisphere, as a regional mechanism that promotes Inter-American mutual understanding and cooperation.

We have strategic partnership relations with a whole number of Latin American countries. Russia shares common interests with all states and regional organizations in trade, economy, transport and energy sectors, as well as in combating drugs and organized crime. We are also open to the implementation of joint projects in Latin America with extra-regional partners.

In response to the OAS General Secretariat´s call Russia has provided humanitarian aid to a number of Caribbean countries that had suffered from the tropical storm “Maria”. We are interested in intensifying cooperation with the OAS on electoral observation.

We are glad to see how the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) handles its work - in a practical way and focusing on issues of real interest. We are determined to keep sharing Russian technical experience in countering terrorism. Cooperation with the CICTE gains special importance due to the expansion of terrorist threat from ISIS and other groups.

We also highly value our dialogue with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission. It is being developed on the principles that are enshrined in the fundamental international anti-drug conventions.

Within the framework of our cooperation in the security area we have received more than 300 Latin American participants in educational programs, organized on a regular basis by universities of the Russian Ministry of the Interior. We are pleased to note the growing interest of the OAS states towards Russian anti-drug-trafficking training programs for regional law enforcement agencies conducted at the specialized educational center in Managua and anti-drug-trafficking courses in Lima. Over the past five years our specialists, together with the National Police Academy of Nicaragua and Peruvian anti-drug forces, have trained about 550 policemen in Latin American countries without charges.

I cannot but mention the situation in Venezuela. Presidential elections took place there on May 20th. They were held in a calm and peaceful manner. Venezuelan citizens came to the polling stations and expressed their will according to the current legislation. This will of the people cannot be left without due respect and should be taken into consideration. Calls for not recognizing the election results in reality lead to destabilization within the country and around it. The only path to normalize the situation in Venezuela is through nation-wide dialogue and reconciliation.

The initiatives of imposing collective sanctions against Caracas under a pretext of “undermining democracy” - are a clear sign of reideologization of inter-American relations. Restrictive measures, embargo and sanctions introduced against sovereign states while bypassing the UN Charter are illegal. Attempts to interfere in the domestic affairs of Venezuela and to provoke a new escalation of inter-Venezuelan conflict are destructive.

We positively regard the launching of a nation-wide dialogue process in Nicaragua on May 16th mediated by the Catholic Church. It is aimed at establishing a mechanism of solving current problems - one that excludes foreign interference in order to secure a stable and progressive development of the country. Calls to a use of force and confrontation are unacceptable and can only lead to unjustified human casualties and escalation of tensions. We support the efforts of the Nicaraguan Government to settle the current situation.

Russia aims at expanding our cooperation with the OAS as a unique mechanism for international dialogue, that allows to reach consensus on topical issues regarding migration, transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking. Focusing joint efforts on regional security challenges largely contributes to mitigating them. We are ready to be helpful in this.

Thank you, Mr. President.