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Russia Denounces Sanctions on Syria as “Collective Punishment”

Russia Denounces Sanctions on Syria as “Collective Punishment” 

July 9 (EIRNS)–In a press conference following the Astana format meeting on Syria yesterday, held in Kazakhstan,  Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev denounced what he called the “collective punishment” of the Syrian people through Western sanctions. “We believe the consultations that we have held here in Nur-Sultan give hope that our call on the international community [will make it possible] to move the focus from efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria in military terms to humanitarian issues and activities aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” he pointed out. “And definitely, the deplorable practice of collective punishment for the Syrian people has to end,” Lavrentyev added.

Humanitarian aid needs to be delivered through the country’s legitimate authorities, and in this regard, Russia calls for the establishment of a mechanism to deliver humanitarian aid to all parts of Syria via Damascus, he said.

About 24 hours after Lavrentyev’s remarks, the UN Security Council passed a compromise resolution, today, on extending the UN mandate for cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid supplies from Turkey to Syria’s Idlib province. The new resolution extends the mandate for six months until Jan. 10, 2022, with an automatic extension for another six months until July 10, 2022, subject to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issuing a report on the “transparency” of the aid operation and progress on delivering aid across conflict lines within Syria as Russia wanted. The resolution also welcomes “all efforts and initiatives to broaden the humanitarian activities in Syria, including water, sanitation, health, education, and shelter” as well as early recovery projects.


Leading Russian Think-Tank Posts Link to SI Conference

June 23 (EIRNS)–The Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) has posted a link to the invitation for the Schiller Institute’s conference this weekend on its home page, announcing simply “Schiller Institute Conference `For the Common Good of All People, Not Rules Benefiting the Few!’ View it here. 


Putin Commemorates 80th Anniversary of ‘Great Patriotic War,’ Urges for Collaboration with Europe

June 22, 2021 (EIRNS) — Today is the “Day of Remembrance and Sorrow” in Russia, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the June 22, 1941, with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union beginning the Great Patriotic War. On this occasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has written a feature for the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, titled “Being Open, Despite the Past,” also made available in Russian, English, and other languages. He recalls the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet people in the fight against Nazism, whose memory is seared into their consciousness, and explaining the current security situation in Europe, he demonstrates that the Western-orchestrated geopolitical machinations of the past 75 years have created dangerous strategic tensions and heightened potential for conflict. But, he argues, however important it is important to understand  the past, “we simply cannot afford to carry the burden of past misunderstandings, hard feelings, conflicts and mistakes,” as these will “prevent us from concentrating on the challenges at hand. We are convinced that we all should recognize these mistakes and correct them.” 

        Putin described the hopes that Russia held at the end of the Cold War, that there would be a “common victory for Europe … the logic of building a Greater Europe united by common values and interests.” Instead, he points out, “a different approach has prevailed,” based on NATO’s eastward expansion, leaving nations confronted with the “artificial choice of being either with the collective West or with Russia. In fact, it was an ultimatum.”

      As a result of these events in the post-war period, Putin wrote, “the whole system of European security has now degraded significantly. Tensions are rising and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation offers–all the more important now that we are all facing common challenges, such as the pandemic and its dire social and economic consequences.” The “entire post-war history of Greater Europe, confirms that prosperity and security of our common continent is only possible through the joint efforts of all countries, including Russia.… We are open to honest and constructive interaction. This is confirmed by our idea of a common space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean which would comprise various integration formats.” Watch the event.


Russian Call for Four-Power Strategic Dialogue, U.S.-Russia-India-China

June 21 (EIRNS) — Andrey Shushentsov, Program Director of the Valdai Discussion Club and Director of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO University, argues in a short essay published on the Valdai Club website that a strategic dialogue among the United States, Russia, China and India is necessary to prevent the current state of affairs from devolving into open conflict. However, Shushentsov limits himself to the necessity of preventing the geopolitical confrontations now in play from turning into military conflict without ever mentioning the positive potential of those four powers to create a new world credit system as defined by Lyndon LaRouche in 2009.

“In a chaotic environment, the leading powers seek to secure themselves a privileged position in the international system and limit the opportunities for their key competitors,” Shushentsov writes. He notes in the first part of the essay that these four countries are the most powerful nuclear powers and have four of the world’s six largest economies. He notes further the strategic competition between America and Russia, between America and China–including the U.S. effort to rope India into the “Quad” vs China, and the positive relations between Russia and India. “Unprovoked crises or spontaneous episodes of conflict in relations within the Big Four nuclear powers can disrupt progressive global economic processes,” he writes further. “In this regard, these four powers should be mutually attentive and prudent, channeling their rivalry into a non-military area.”

Therefore, Shushentsov writes, “It is the responsibility of the expert community of the four countries to carefully study the train of thought of their competing partners in order to exclude the sudden development of a conflict. In this regard, it seems reasonable to create a permanent format for consultation among the high-level experts of Russia, the USA, China and India. To ensure that mutual deterrence does not lead to strategic disruptions and war, it is necessary to manage relations, emphasizing an interest in cooperation with respect to common areas, such as climate, the ecology, digital development, space, mining, demography, migration and counteracting natural disasters. The purpose of the high-level consultations is to prevent a shift from strategic containment to impulsive attempts to break the emerging status quo,” 

He concludes. “The formation of a stable dialogue format for the four leading global powers in the 21st Century will make it possible to minimize the likelihood of an impulsive breakdown into open conflict, the potential for which remains a factor in global politics.”


NSA’s Jake Sullivan: Biden and Xi Jinping to Confer Soon

June 18 (EIRNS)–NSA Jake Sullivan was emphatic at his Thursday on-the-record call with reporters that Biden would follow up on his summit with Vladimir Putin, with a discussion with China’s Xi Jinping. The White House transcript stated, “[T]he notion that President Biden will engage in the coming month with President Xi in some way to take stock of where we are in the relationship and to ensure that we have that kind of direct communication that we found valuable with President Putin yesterday, we’re very much committed to that. It’s now just a question of when and how.”

The bulk of his press conference was to report how successful Biden had been on his European trip, basically, that he’s taken leadership of the West with his B3W–Build Back Better World, “a new infrastructure initiative… that will be a high-standards, transparent, climate-friendly alternative to the Belt Road Initiative.” He has NATO sold on “tackling China… for the first time, truly taking the security challenge posed by China seriously… and standing up to, countering and pushing back on China’s non-market economic practices…” With no irony intended, he described how governments supervising a deal between Airbus and Boeing (with agreements on investments and tariffs) so as to curtail China’s large passenger aircraft industry, is an example of the ending of “non-market economic practices.”

Sullivan described how pulling together such a Western alliance means that one can deal with Russia as a “principled engagement” – presumably, making our values clear to the opponent while identifying areas to work together. The question was posed: After Russia, does that mean “you can go on to a bilateral discussion with President XI and how’re you taking that on”?

Sullivan then elaborated: “[W]hat the President said, about there being no substitute for leader-level dialogue as a central part of why he held the summit with Putin yesterday, also applies to China and to President Xi Jinping. He will look for opportunities to engage with President XI going forward. We don’t have any particular plans at the moment, but I would note that both leaders are likely to be at the G20 in Italy in October…[W]e will sit down to work out the right modality for the two presidents to engage.” He referred to two modalities – possibly by phone or by a side-meeting at an international meeting – and then, or “something else.” Sullivan’s briefing remarks are here.

At a follow-up press conference on Thursday with the State Department’s Ned Price, Robert Delaney, the Washington DC reporter for the South China Morning Post, referred to Sullivan’s announcement and brought up the previous roadblocks (the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Wuhan lab and the coronavirus, and such). Price referred back to Sullivan’s explanation and then reaffirmed the “principled engagement” line.


Ryabkov: No Delay; We Will Follow Up Strategic Security Talks

June 18 (EIRNS) — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented very positively on the Biden-Putin Summit in an interview with TASS, posted today.

“It was an active dialogue, rich in terms of contents and specifics, multi-layered. Generally, I note for myself that it was a summit meeting in every sense of this word,” Ryabkov said.

“A new start. A new beginning…Whether there will be an upward movement – the question remains open,” He continued. “But the fact that the desire not to escalate [tensions] further, but to look for ways out of deadlocks prevailed, that is a fact,” he said.

“There were no major breakthroughs, but given the state of relations, there could not have been. Nevertheless, especially in terms of the stability and security in the field of information and communications technology, they have achieved shifts in a constructive direction. As for the regional issues — it was rather an exchange of estimates and well-known views so it passed rather predictably,” the deputy minister explained.

On the proposal made at the summit for strategic stability talks Ryabkov said, “I would say that we have a chain of direct instructions from the leadership in order to avoid pauses in practical interaction with the U.S. This specifically concerns strategic stability and ICT security…,” the senior diplomat said.

“We are launching without delay and without pauses the implementation of the achieved understandings, putting their translation into practice. And we expect very much an American response,” Ryabkov stressed.

According to Ryabkov, Biden did not engage in barnstorming for U.S. allies at the summit, but dealt with bilateral concerns.

“Specifically at this meeting, I would not say that there was talk about such American intercession, similar to the one that took place a few weeks ago, when Washington suddenly became very concerned about including the Czech Republic in our list of unfriendly states. There was not anything similar at this meeting,” he said. “But it is also the fact that [U.S. President Joe] Biden came to Geneva with a whole series of joint documents the Collective West, as they say, adopted recently in different formats behind him, and it was felt. This was expected, and ultimately it is not so important whether this or that position of the United States is being worked out individually, or is shared by a number of other states. After all, it is the substantial part, which is important, and we receive it in the form of signals, some expectations or claims. We focus on the meaning, and not on the number of signatories under this or that signal”.

As for allegations against Russia made by Washington, he said they were totally groundless.

“We have no need to explain the red lines to the U.S. We have long understood what our colleagues in Washington talk about, when they use various languages of this or similar meaning. But we don’t even cross these red lines, because all their accusations that we act like we should not, are totally groundless. And this is one of the fundamental problems in relations with the U.S.,” he said.

“As for our red lines, I think President [Putin] explained it so clearly for everyone that I don’t think any further comment is necessary. And the talk about where we see the special acuteness of problems in regards to the U.S.’s behavior was quite straightforward and honest in Geneva,” the senior diplomat noted.


Matlock: We Withdrew from Basic Agreements with Russia

June 18 (EIRNS)–The National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. published on June 16 a package of interviews with all of the U.S. ambassadors to Russia since the late 1980’s, starting with Jack Matlock. EIR has yet to review the entire package but Russian President Vladimir Putin figures largely in the interviews as he’s been there for the entire period of those ambassadorships. The response of Jack Matlock, who was ambassador to the then-Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, to a question on Putin, is of significance, given the recent British effort to mythologize the history of that period, particularly with respect to German re-unification and NATO expansion.

“I think to be fair to Putin, I would say he started out being-–hoping to be-–an ally of the United States. He was the first to call President Bush after 9/11; he offered full cooperation in our invasion of Afghanistan, including overflights, intelligence, and so on,” Matlock noted. “What did we do in exchange?”

“We withdrew from some of our most basic agreements with Russia,” Matlock went on, answering his own question. “We kept expanding NATO, something that the first President Bush had promised Gorbachev we would not do if he allowed the unification of Germany and Germany to stay in NATO. Step by step we pulled out of even our most basic agreements and then, increasingly, are surrounding Russia, right up to their borders, right up to beyond their borders of the former Soviet Union, with a military alliance which they are not in.”

Matlock was not endorsing the style of internal politics in Russia and expressed his own view that there are things he believes Putin has done that have been damaging to Russia but, he stressed, “the Russian people are entitled to choose their leadership, and though his popularity may not be quite what it used to be, it is still greater in Russia than any of our recent presidents have been in the United States. And I would suggest that, before we condemn him too much, we think about that.”


Putin and Xi Jointly Launch Construction of Four Nuclear Plants in China, Emphasize “Innovation-Based Development”

May 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – The presidents of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both participated in a videoconference hookup yesterday to launch the beginning of construction of four new nuclear plants in China, based on Russian technology. These are two units each at the Tianwan nuclear power plant in the city of Lianyungang, and at the Xudapu nuclear plant in Huludao district in northeastern China.

The two presidents chose to make this a major policy-shaping occasion for their two countries, as well as one globally focused on the role of innovation and scientific and technological cooperation in achieving development. “It is necessary to strive for innovation-based development and to strengthen scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear sphere,” Xi Jinping stated, reiterating that the two countries had agreed “to make a sizable intellectual contribution to the innovation-driven development of the global nuclear sphere.” The Chinese president asserted that “our countries have been providing each other with solid support and have been engaged in close and effective cooperation” in many areas, and that “energy has always been the biggest and most successful branch in our practical cooperation while nuclear energy cooperation has been its strategic priority. We are jointly upgrading our cooperation in this area and have already put into operation a host of major projects.”

Through their joint work, Russia and China will “make a sizable contribution to the global development of nuclear energy,” Xi stated.

Putin responded by effusively greeting “President Xi Jinping, my dear friend,” emphasizing that “Russian and Chinese specialists are working on this flagship joint project which is truly a milestone. They are building powerful, modern Russian-designed nuclear reactors that meet all safety and environmental standards. It is planned that they will start operating as soon as in 2026–2028, which, as President Xi just said, will be a solid contribution to China’s energy security.”

Putin emphasized “Russia’s unique high technology capabilities in industrial production,” adding that “President Xi and I determined the main areas of our genuinely close partnership, the cooperation between Russia and China on nuclear technology, during my state visit to China in 2018… It can be said that Russia-China relations have reached their highest level in history.”

The Russian President then stated: “Returning to the topic of nuclear energy cooperation, I would like to note, with great satisfaction, that all the agreements reached at the highest level are being consistently and unfailingly fulfilled. In addition to the construction of new power units at the Tianwan and Xudapu nuclear power plants, there are many other large Russian-Chinese initiatives that have been and are being implemented. These initiatives include an experimental fast neutron reactor built in China with Russia’s participation… Russia also supplied China with radionuclide heating blocks for the spacecraft that was the first in history to land on the far side of the Moon in 2019. We were extremely happy about your success, dear Chinese friends.”

“I am convinced that Russia and China will have many more ambitious and successful projects together. We are ready to develop our cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants, and innovative partnership in the development and implementation of low-carbon and other technologies.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the project is the biggest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date.


Facing U.S. Sanctions Threat, El Salvador Turns to China and Russia for Support For Its Sovereign Development

May 20, 2021—All over the world, nations are beginning to recognize that an alternative to the dying Old Order of geopolitics, colonialism, and usury is coming into being, with sovereign nations joining together for mutual development. Central America is no exception to this process.

“We are very enthusiastic about strengthening the relationship with Russia, we are facing a world with new challenges and opportunities, and we want to take advantage of those opportunities,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele told Russian Ambassador Alexander Khokholikov yesterday, in receiving the new Ambassador’s credentials. Bukele noted that El Salvador recognizes “the importance of Russia in the world.” Khokholikov responded in the same spirit, assuring him that the Russian government also wishes to increase cooperation. “We are going to work bilaterally and multilaterally,” he said, “because that is how it should be to maximize mutual benefit, both of Russia and El Salvador.”

Today China’s Embassy in El Salvador issued an important communiqué, reiterating that the agreement signed with El Salvador for China to oversee the construction of four development projects requested by the Salvadoran government spells out that China is covering the costs of the projects. President Bukele immediately posted the communiqué to his Twitter, much followed by others in the region, as well as Salvadorans at home and abroad.  

The Biden administration, which has supplied neither vaccines nor economic development aid to the region, is publicly threatening to overthrow the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras if they break with the old order.

This is being done in the name of “fighting corruption” in Central America. The State Department included in its list of corrupt officials in those countries which it released on Tuesday, for example, two top Bukele administration officials: the President’s Chief of Cabinet, Carolina Recinos, and Minister of Security and Justice Rogelio Rivas. The charges are preposterous: Recinos is accused of engaging in “significant acts of corruption during her term in office” (no further details), while Rivas’s alleged “significant acts of corruption” were supposedly that he “awarded his own private construction company several noncompetitive and unadvertised contracts to build police stations and other buildings that fall under his official capacity and inflated the cost of materials.”

American Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres, head of the Central American Caucus in the House of Representatives and a close ally of Vice President Kamala Harris, proclaimed on Tuesday as she released the list: “I will be relentless in demanding accountability from our government – if we know someone is corrupt, I expect our government to use all levers at our disposal, including sanctions, visa restrictions, withholding support to deter future acts of corruption, and dismantling the systems that allow corruption to occur.”


Putin Tells Ambassadors, the Pathway to Peace Lies Through ‘Love for Humanity’

May 19 (EIRNS)—Welcoming new ambassadors from 23 countries yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the unstable international situation, which as he observed, “is even becoming more complicated.” He named the crises facing the world’s nations: the coronavirus pandemic, the deterioration of the system of strategic stability and arms control, terrorism “rearing its ugly head once again,” growing problems in the sphere of international information security, the risks of drug trafficking and organized crime, decades-old regional conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya becoming aggravated, and now the dramatic escalation in the Middle East.

Putin then, in his own way, invoked the principle of agapē without which Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche has recently insisted humanity may not survive as a species, as the way out for all nations. Putin told the Ambassadors:

“The epidemic has proved a real test for such universal human values as solidarity, mutual assistance, and love for humanity….

“I repeat once again: It is possible to ensure peace, stability and sustainable global development only through the efforts of the entire international community. We are calling for well-coordinated work by states, permanent members of the UN Security Council and all concerned countries. As you know, Russia has recently celebrated the anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War that started 80 years ago, on June 22, 1941, when the Nazis treacherously attacked our Motherland….

“We are convinced that everything must be done to prevent the tragedy of World War II from repeating itself, so that its lessons will not be forgotten. All of us must cherish the priceless experience and spirit of allied relations during the struggle against common challenges and threats. We must remember the consequences of policies pandering to nationalism and xenophobia, and we must jointly elaborate a positive and unifying agenda to forge a more equitable and democratic multipolar world order. We must ensure the well-being and prosperity of all human beings.”


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