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/ Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a Foreign Ministry ceremony in Moscow on February 10, 2023. / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due to chair UN Security Council meetings on April 24-25 as Russia’s month-long presidency in the international body is about to wrap up. What can we expect from Lavrov’s trip to the US and how is Russia spearheading the idea of multipolarity amid the ongoing geopolitical shift?Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to hold a high-level UN Security Council open debate on “Effective multilateralism through the Defense of the Principles of the UN Charter”, one of the signature events of the Russian presidency, this April 24.Meanwhile, on April 25, Lavrov is due to chair a discussion on the Middle East, which will feature Tor Wennesland, special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. The meeting will focus on the stagnation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict resolution and the escalation of tensions.
Russia’s Effective Multilateralism
The UN Security Council has repeatedly discussed the UN Charter and the multilateral system over the past few years. Most recently such a debate, titled “New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism”, took place on December 14, 2022, during India’s Security Council presidency. Prior to that, China raised the matter on May 7, 2021, by organizing an open debate on “Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centered international system.”
The ideas of multi-polarity and a fairer world order – in contrast to the Western-centered model – were formulated by Moscow and Beijing on February 4, 2022. The joint Russo-Chinese statement emphasized that "the world is going through momentous changes", including a "transformation of the global governance architecture and world order." The document specifically criticized the actions of "some actors representing but the minority on the international scale" for making unilateral decisions to address international issues.
Addressing the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov emphasized that the unipolar model of world development which served the interests of the West – that has for centuries amassed the world’s wealth at the expense of Asia, Africa and Latin America – is rapidly becoming the thing of the past.Later, in October 2022, Lavrov told the Rossiya-1 TV channel broadcaster that the reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) is already overdue given the constant underrepresentation of developing countries. According to Lavrov, a whopping seven representatives of the collective West participate in the 15-member UNSC meetings, while the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America have been chronically underrepresented in the body for decades.AnalysisLavrov’s Latin American Tour: Challenging US Hegemony in America’s ‘Backyard’21 April, 18:10 GMTOver the past two years, Russia has enhanced cooperation with the countries of the Global South amid the unfolding financial and food crisis. Prior to participating in the UNSC’s signature events, Lavrov met with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on April 13, 2023.While holding a presser after the meeting, Lavrov stated that Moscow supports Beijing’s new Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, stands up for the UN Charter, upholds the principle of sovereign equality, advocates effective multilateralism, and is ready to make joint efforts to protect peace and stability in the region, as well as sustainable development.
After that, Lavrov embarked on a high-profile four-day, four-country visit to South and Central America, visiting Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. The Russian foreign minister's diplomatic charm offensive resulted in a number of agreements in various areas of cooperation, but above all served to counterbalance US policy and hegemony, according to international observers.
Latin America is no longer the “backyard” of the United States, as Washington often tries to portray: the countries of the region have maintained closer ties with Russia and China regardless of the growing displeasure of the Monroe Doctrine proponents in the US. Furthermore, Brazil and Argentina have been openly discussing the establishment of a common currency for the region’s Southern Common Market, commonly known by Spanish abbreviation Mercosur. Simultaneously, Brazil, Russia, China and other participants of the BRICS club are considering the introduction of a new currency for the bloc of developing nations and de-dollarization.WorldUN Expresses ‘Concern’ After Pentagon Leaks Show Washington Spied on Guterres, Diplomats18 April, 21:33 GMT
US’ Ugly Game With Visas for Russian Delegation
Neither of Lavrov’s moves came unnoticed by the US, which launched an anti-Russia smear campaign since day one of Moscow’s presidency in the UN Security Council in April. Washington’s NATO allies in Europe as well as their subservient Kiev regime tried to cast doubt on Russia’s sovereign right to chair the international body, but eventually had to reconcile themselves with the organization’s rules.Still, in an apparent bid to poke Moscow, the US resorted to processing delays in issuing visas for Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his associates for taking part in the April 24-25 UNSC events. Only on April 14, the US started to issue visas for the Russian delegation.”Yes, we were given visas, but, as always, this was done with a gross abuse of the position of the host country of the UN Headquarters. They hesitated for a long time, then they issued visas, but not for the entire delegation, some of our employees were not on the list,” Lavrov said on April 19, during a joint presser with the Venezuelan foreign minister.However, Washington froze out Russian journalists who were supposed to cover the work of the nation’s representatives in the UN Security Council. The US did not provide any explanations for the move.Commenting on the US decision not to provide visas to the Russian journalists, Lavrov noted on April 23 that the country that calls itself “the most free one,” got cold feet and ridiculed itself.”I knew that the US is famous for such things, but I was sure that everything would be different this time,” the Russian foreign minister noted, calling Washington’s behavior nothing short of “ugly.” “We will not forget, we will not forgive,” Lavrov added.AfricaDeveloped Countries Morally Obliged to Aid Africa, Russia’s UN Envoy Says31 March, 10:16 GMT
Russia’s Agenda During UNSC Presidency
Russia’s Security Council program for April listed three open discussions. One of them already took place on April 10 being devoted to risks stemming from violations of the agreements regulating the export of weapons and military equipment.The Russian Federation seized the opportunity to raise the issue of the illicit and unregulated export of arms as Western members of the UN stepped up heavy weapons deliveries to Kiev.Izumi Nakamitsu, under-secretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs, pointed out that any transfers of arms and ammunition should include pre-transfer risk assessments and post-shipment controls, which include on-site inspections and end-user verifications.Analysis’Pentagon Leak’ Shows US Dragging Allies Into War With Russia11 April, 15:07 GMTFor his part, Vasily Nebenzya, the UN permanent representative of the Russian Federation, drew attention to the fact that the crisis in Ukraine has become a clear demonstration of Western countries’ insincere and irresponsible behavior in arms control. In particular, he cited the fact that the United States and its allies had pressured third countries to step up arms supplies to Ukraine, in direct violation of fundamental international norms. He also drew attention to the loss of NATO arms in Ukraine.
The alleged Pentagon leak shed light on US attempts to force its allies and partners into ramping up arms supplies to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed earlier this week in an interview with Russian media that the West is well aware that weapons they deliver to Ukraine are being sold on the black market, something mainstream media has tried to hush up.
All in all, Russia’s presidency was mostly devoted to the issues pertaining to the Global South. The UNSC’s April schedule included briefings on the work of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as well as the UN’s mission in Colombia. A series of other briefings in April focused on Yemen, the deteriorating security situation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).MilitarySy Hersh: West Knows Ukraine Weapons End Up on Black MarketYesterday, 10:08 GMT
Who Will Lavrov Meet With on UNSC Sidelines?
Sergey Lavrov invited the heads of foreign affairs departments, the State Department and others to take part in the meetings at which he will chair on April 24-25.It is still unclear whether the Russian foreign minister will meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The two briefly met each other on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in New Delhi as tensions between Moscow and Washington ran high.On Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry made it clear that there are no plans for a meeting between Lavrov and Blinken at the UN headquarters in New York City. “By and large, we do not have an agenda with the Americans for discussion at the ministerial level at the moment,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on April 23.© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikSecretary of State Antony Blinken departs a news conference at a U.S. Africa Leaders Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs a news conference at a U.S. Africa Leaders Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Previously, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Nebenzya did not rule out that the two may meet on the sidelines of the UN Security Council’s events. Furthermore, when asked on April 7 whether he plans to meet with Blinken during his trip to New York, Lavrov remarked that Russia never refuses serious proposals for negotiations. Five days earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik that Blinken made a phone call to Lavrov but provided no further details.
Washington appears to be concerned by both Russia's growing activity in the Global South and accelerated rapprochement between Russia and China, following the Biden administration's provocative moves against the two global players.
It was earlier reported that the Biden administration is seeking to resume dialogue with the Chinese leadership after it canceled Antony Blinken’s visit to the People’s Republic over the “spy” balloon scandal. According to Western press, Beijing is currently giving US top officials the cold shoulder by avoiding high-level engagement.Meanwhile, Nebenzya revealed Lavrov will most likely hold a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on April 24.”We know for certain that the Minister [of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov] will meet with [UN Secretary-General Antonio] Guterres on Monday, armed with a lot of questions and topics for discussion that have piled up,” Nebenzya told a Russian broadcaster last week.