‘NATO disrespects international law’ – Lavrov

NATO’s actions in Libya violate the principles of its own new strategic concept of respect to international law, stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday.

­“We value the provision of NATO’s strategic concept concerning the respect of international law and prerogatives of the UN Security Council, to which the leaders [of the alliance] have pledged commitment,” the foreign minister said during a meeting with students of Moscow University of International Relations.

“At the same time, NATO’s de-facto steps do not always comply with this principle, and the Libyan experience is one of the recent examples,” Lavrov added.

According to the Russian minister, the problem is worsened by the fact that disputes on NATO’s new role in international relations still continue within the alliance.

“For now, NATO’s report ‘Assured Access to the Global Commons’, as it is called, only deals with hypothetical possibilities of its actions in ocean, open skies, open space and cyber space to assure its interests. But all this is a sphere of interest of the entire global community and, of course, it is necessary to jointly regulate these domains,” Lavrov went on to say.

He also called on world leaders to avoid one-sided approaches “going beyond the legal framework” in dealing with international issues.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Lavrov also touched upon a thorny issue in Russia-NATO relations – the US anti-missile plans in Europe. He warned that Russia would have to take counter-measures in response to the deployment and strengthening of new AMD elements.

“American AMD system in Europe is being created in the framework which Washington set for itself. As the Russian leadership has repeatedly said, it can create a threat for Russian strategic nuclear forces by the end of this decade,” he pointed out. However, the US has not provided any guarantees that the US-NATO missile system is not targeted at Russia.

“Military experts realize perfectly well that unrestrained strengthening of the AMD system by one of the sides will necessitate compensatory actions from the other side to secure its potential of strategic defense,” Sergey Lavrov stressed.

He recalled that President Dmitry Medvedev had put forward an initiative to create a common European defense system back in 2008. That initiave would have been subject to a legally-binding agreement designed to prevent any state in the Euro-Atlantic zone safeguarding its own security at the expense of others.

Although the United States supported the idea in principle, he insisted that the joint European AMD system still does not cancel the necessity for Russia to maintain its own missile defense elements in Eastern Europe.

Foreign Minister Lavrov called the present situation a “test of sincerity and promise of indivisible and equal security on the Euro-Atlantic territory”.


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