14 May 2021

Opening remarks at press encounter with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation

António Guterres

Spasibo Bolshoi.

I would like to thank Foreign Minister Lavrov for his invitation to visit Moscow, and for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation during our stay.

This visit takes place a few days after Victory Day, and I want to take profit of this occasion to express my deep congratulations to the Government and the people of the Russian Federation.

This visit is an opportunity for in-depth discussions with the Russian leadership on how to further strengthen the close partnership between the United Nations and the Russian Federation in all areas of the UN’s work: peace and security; sustainable development including climate action; human rights; and of course the Covid-19 pandemic.

I took the opportunity to thank H.E. Minister Lavrov for the significant contributions of the Russian Federation to the work of the United Nations.

We exchanged views on a number of international and regional peace and security issues, including Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and the dramatic escalation that we are witnessing in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, where de-escalation is an absolute must to protect the lives of civilians that are now dying in totally unacceptable circumstances.  We also discussed other issues of mutual concern.

We discussed my call last year for a global ceasefire, which remains more relevant than ever. I believe in the urgent need to find political solutions to ongoing conflicts that are causing immense suffering, and in the importance of unfettered humanitarian access to reach all people in need.

As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council, the Russian Federation has always been a champion of the work of the Organization and of multilateralism. This is essential in the current complex international environment and in the face of unprecedented global challenges. 

United Nations Member States recognize the necessity of a multilateral system based on cooperation for the greater good. The ongoing pandemic and the existential threat by the climate emergency underscore the importance of global cooperation in even starker terms.

I thank the Russian Federation for its research and development efforts on COVID-19 vaccines, and its generous offer of vaccines for United Nations personnel.

The Russian Federation’s commitment to multilateral efforts on the climate crisis, as set out by President Putin at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate last month, is extremely important.

There is a growing global coalition for carbon neutrality by mid-century. More than 70 per cent of global emissions are already covered by that commitment, and we look to Russia to play its full part in the shift to green, sustainable energy – while recognizing the difficulties created by the present structure of the Russian economy, and its energy mix.

I urge the Russian leadership and government to come on board with more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions before COP26 in November.

The United Nations stands ready to support Russia’s efforts.

Looking forward, the General Assembly Declaration on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations has created an impetus to work on revitalizing the global consensus, based on solidarity within and between societies. The report I will submit to the General Assembly in September is aimed at advancing dialogue among Member States on how to move this forward.

The United Nations needs to continue to adjust to the new realities, while ensuring that our efforts towards a more inclusive and networked multilateralism are anchored in the full and meaningful participation of women and youth, intergenerational justice, and the participation of those who still remain marginalized. Strong relationships with regional organizations and international financial institutions are essential. It will also be important to strengthen our links with civil society and the private sector.

At this time of growing global divisions, respect for international law and a commitment to dialogue are more important than ever to maintain international peace and security, protect the health, welfare and dignity of people around the world, and guide collective action.

Trust is an essential prerequisite for collective action, but it has been eroded by growing divisions. We must urgently rebuild it. I count on the leadership of our most influential Member States, through words and actions.

The United Nations supports greater engagement and cooperation among the permanent members of the Security Council in multilateral fora on issues of common interest. We advocate for a recommitment by all to multilateralism, the primacy of international law and the United Nations Charter.

The international community must come together to address the pressing current challenges, including first and foremost, the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In all these areas, the Russian Federation has an important role to play and the United Nations looks forward to our continued partnership. 

Spasibo bolshoi!