The Major Foreign Policy Events of 2010
(Moscow, December 31, 2010)
1. 2010 saw international relations continue to be transformed, changing from a confrontation and conflict paradigm to that based on cooperation. The central task of Russian foreign policy, as President Dmitry Medvedev repeatedly emphasized, inter alia in his remarks at the Meeting of Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of the Russian Federation and in the annual State-of-the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on November 30, was to achieve concrete, intelligible results and to establish favorable external conditions for the comprehensive internal development of the country and qualitative modernization of its economy. The focus remained on the key issues of strengthening peace and stability, and improving the global and regional security systems in conditions of growing risks in an increasingly less predictable world.
2. As part of the general updating of the Russian basic documents in the realm of national security and foreign policy, on Feb. 5 President Dmitry Medvedev approved a new Russian Military Doctrine, actualized with regard for the provisions of the earlier endorsed National Security Strategy and Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation. The content of the document was brought into conformity with the present-day realities of the transitional stage of world development in the process of the formation of a new, polycentric international system and is fully consistent with the basic principles of Russian foreign policy and with our line on reinforcing the collective and legal elements in world affairs.
3. September’s general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly has confirmed the ever-greater awareness of the inevitability of collective approaches to addressing key global and regional issues, and the UN’s increasing relevance as a unique mechanism for aligning the interests of states and their associations. Of great significance in the work to unite world community efforts aimed at solving key international issues was the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Security Council Summit within the framework of the UNGA session. The Russian delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov actively participated in these events, and in the high-level segment on preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping.
4. Collective efforts to overcome the effects of the global financial and economic crisis retained their priority significance. The Group of Twenty became a unique multilateral mechanism, in fact, an anti-crisis center of global scope capable of bringing the approaches of countries with different economic models to solving key world problems closer together. The G20 summit in Toronto in June took decision to perform a budget consolidation to halve budget deficits by 2013 and stabilize the level of government debt by 2016, along with a 3.13 percent World Bank vote shift in favor of developing countries and emerging economies, this increasing their aggregate share in the Bank’s capital to 47.2 percent.
The Seoul summit in November for the first time adopted a concrete action plan aimed at the successful pursuit of the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, voted to redistribute 6 percent of IMF quotas in favor of fast developing and underrepresented countries, set up a Global Financial Safety Net, endorse the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, agree the new modalities for the effective oversight, and governance of international financial markets and reaffirmed the G20’s relevance as guarantor of stable global economic development. It is important, however, to ensure transparency in the work of the G20, take into account the positions of the countries which are not part of it and foster dialogue with them, primarily on the UN platform.
5. The tendency of bolstering multipolar network diplomacy received further boost. Against the backdrop of the dynamic formation of the G20 mechanism, the Group of Eight continued to actively participate in improving the global governance system. The decisions of the June summit in Muskoka, devised with the vigorous and proactive participation of Russia, laid greater emphasis on the search for collective solutions to key world and regional political problems as well as on the promotion of the social and humanitarian orientation of international development assistance.
BRIC cooperation grew stronger in terms of quality and became increasingly comprehensive in scope, turning into an ever weightier force on the world stage. Pursuant to the decisions of the group’s second summit in Brasilia in April, the BRIC countries strengthened their position in the G20, effectively coordinated actions in the reformation of international financial institutions.
6. As part of efforts to reinforce and improve the global regime for the non-proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, and to impart to nuclear disarmament additional dynamics, we consistently worked towards universalizing and building up the potential of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a pillar of the collective security system. Russia actively participated in the NPT Review Conference (May), resulting in a package of concerted and feasible measures capable of ensuring the further strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime on the basis of the three main components of the Treaty – non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. During the Nuclear Security Summit on April 12-13 in Washington, attended by President Medvedev, a broad consensus was reached on how to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism, and on the need to take at national and international levels drastic measures to reinforce nuclear safety, further boost the role of the IAEA in this field and universalize the relevant international legal mechanisms.
7. The celebrations held in our country and abroad to mark the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory over fascism, including the special formal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (May 6), had significant international resonance. Carrying an important forward-looking political signal with them, they conduced to efforts to counter the speculations and deliberate falsifications around recent history. A United Nations General Assembly resolution on “The sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War,” put forward by Russia and the CSTO countries, was adopted without a vote on March 2. As part of this work, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov paid a visit to Germany, where he together with his counterparts from other countries attended the opening on November 21 in Nuremberg of the museum of the International Military Tribunal, handing over for its display copies of documents from Russian archives.
8. Of great significance for the buildup of the integration processes in the CIS space – a priority foreign policy sector for Russia – was the Russian chairmanship of the Commonwealth in 2010. The formation and launching in July of the EurAsEC Customs Union consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan constituted a breakthrough event. An important stride was also made towards the next integration stage – the heads of the three states meeting in Moscow in December approved a package of international documents forming the legal groundwork for the Single Economic Space of the “troika” with the free movement of goods, services, capital and manpower, which is open for accession by other countries.
The relevance of the CSTO as the key collective security structure in the post-Soviet area stood confirmed. Adopted in December by its Collective Security Council, the changes to the basic documents of the Organization will increase its effectiveness, particularly in crisis situations.
Positive dynamics were imparted to relations with Ukraine following the election of Viktor Yanukovych as the country’s President (February). The new policy of the Ukrainian authorities toward Russia made it possible to form in bilateral relations a businesslike and trustful atmosphere of mutually beneficial cooperation, to reach tangible weighty results and to create good stepping stones to movement forward across the entire range of collaborative efforts in the future.
We continued purposeful efforts to settle the conflicts in the CIS space. The continuation of Russia’s mediation activity in negotiations on Nagorno Karabakh settlement received high marks from the international community. Within its framework, the trilateral meetings of the Presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Dmitry Medvedev, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, took place in Sochi on January 25, in St. Petersburg on June 17 and in Astrakhan on October 27.
As the guarantors of Transnistrian conflict settlement and mediators in the “5+2” negotiation format, we encouraged contacts between Chisinau and Tiraspol, aimed at an expeditious solution to the problem.
9. During the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasia, we consistently advocated the legal formalization of a regime of nonuse of force between Georgia, on the one hand, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia, on the other. We constructively participated in the functioning of the incident prevention and response mechanism (IPRM) in the Abkhazia-Georgia border area, and helped the resumption of the work of the IPRM on the Georgia-South Ossetia border (October). The withdrawal of the Russian border post from Perevi, a village in the disputed area between South Ossetia and Georgia, in October definitively closed the question of Russia’s fulfillment of the Medvedev-Sarkozy accords.
10. During the Third Caspian Summit in Baku on November 18, the Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a framework Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea, establishing the legal basis for the development of practical collaboration among the parties’ competent agencies in fighting the new challenges and threats and ensuring the safety of Caspian marine shipping and navigation. The document enshrines a fundamentally important provision for us that maintaining Caspian security is the prerogative of the Caspian littoral states. It is also important that it does not predetermine the legal status of the Caspian, which forms the subject of separate negotiations. The five states’ presidents ordered that proposals to delimit marine spaces in the Caspian be prepared in early 2011.
11. Russian-American relations developed progressively, along with the strengthening of a direct and open dialogue between Presidents Medvedev and Barack Obama, setting a constructive tone for the entire range of bilateral cooperation. On April 8 the leaders of the two countries signed the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, designed to form the groundwork for the sustainable and predictable development of Russian-American cooperation in the strategic sphere. Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to the US on June 22-24 gave important impetus to the strengthening of the bilateral partnership, inter alia in the field of high technology and innovation, including the participation of American business in carrying out the Skolkovo innovation city project. Under the auspices of the Russian-US Presidential Commission set up in July 2009, a high activity level was maintained in the realization of a number of joint promising projects. The US Congress endorsed the Russian-US Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation, which will enter into force in the near future.
12. Within the framework of an unfolding international discussion around the modernization of the European security architecture, President Medvedev’s initiative to conclude a European Security Treaty (EST), oriented toward shifting to a new, contemporary agenda in Euro-Atlantic politics, was the subject of keen debate with most NATO member states. Despite the different viewpoints, understanding grew that security in the Euro-Atlantic area must be indivisible, and that the system of international relations in this sphere requires renewal. The mood for collective work on this basis was expressed, inter alia, in the joint statement at the end of the trilateral Russian-French-German summit in Deauville on October 19.
An important step forward was the Russian-NATO Council summit in Lisbon on November 20, attended by President Medvedev, which made it possible to outline the guidelines to build a partnership based on the principles of indivisible security, mutual trust, transparency and predictability. For the first time, a Joint Declaration was agreed upon that stated that the sides pose no threat to each other and will jointly work to create a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
The increasingly felt need for dialogue and cooperation in the region was evidenced by the Dec. 1-2 OSCE summit in Astana, which restored the tradition of an open and equal political dialogue of the heads of state and international organizations on the OSCE platform, interrupted after the summit in Istanbul in 1999. The Forum attended by the President of the Russian Federation reaffirmed commitment to the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE obligations, and a desire to move towards a single and indivisible security community from Vancouver to Vladivostok, including in the context of the elaboration of Russia’s EST initiative.
13. Russian diplomacy sought to directly correlate the results of its efforts with practical impact on the innovation track. This pragmatic approach found understanding among the foreign partners, who showed reciprocal interest for deeper cooperation with Russia. The Russia-EU summits held on May 31-June 1 in Rostov on Don and on December 7 in Brussels helped to deepen the strategic partnership of Russia and the European Union. In furtherance of the Partnership for Modernization initiative, promising modernization-partnership alliances were formed with leading EU countries, primarily Germany and France, advancement towards a visa-free regime and towards closer cooperation in crisis management continued, and the negotiation process to conclude a new framework agreement between Russia and the EU became reinvigorated.
14. Noticeable positive changes occurred in relations with Poland, including the intensification of the principal mechanisms of bilateral cooperation, and the achievement of a more constructive dialogue on important foreign policy issues. The tragic air crash near Smolensk, the investigation into the causes of which was conducted in close collaboration with the Polish partners, brought the Russian and Polish peoples closer together. Of positive significance for the peoples of the two countries was the statement adopted in November by the State Duma of the Russian Federal Assembly “On the Katyn Tragedy and Its Victims.” The visit of President Medvedev to Warsaw in early December constituted a landmark event for the development of bilateral relations for the long term.
15. On September 15 the Treaty between Russia and Norway on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean was signed in Murmansk. It not only conduced to improving the general atmosphere of Russian-Norwegian relations, but also exerted positive influence on the situation in the Far North as a whole, constituted an important precedent for other Arctic countries and a serious contribution to the reinforcement of trust and mutual understanding in the region.
Russia continued its line on preserving the Arctic Region as a zone of peace, stability and broad international cooperation in accordance with the 2008 Ilulissat Declaration of the five Arctic coastal states, enshrining their commitment to a negotiated solution to all disputes on the basis of international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
16. Considerable attention was paid to strengthening the innovation component and tapping investment reserves in our relations with countries and associations of the Asia-Pacific Region. On July 2, Khabarovsk hosted a conference on the theme of “The Economic and Social Development of the Far East and the Strengthening of Russia’s Position in the Asia-Pacific Region” chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev, during which the Head of State accentuated the task of the regional integration of Russia into the AP region, a substantial expansion of the Russian economic presence here and more active use of the potential of our participation in regional partnership formats.
Relations with the ASEAN countries entered a fundamentally new stage with the second Russia-ASEAN summit held in Hanoi on October 30, which took decision to draft and embark on the fulfillment of roadmaps for specific areas of interaction with an eye to long-term partnership programs. Russia joined the East Asia Summit (EAS).
The APEC summit in Yokohama in November, attended by the Russian President, consolidated the approaches of member countries to deepening economic integration and endorsed the APEC Growth Strategy which will focus on balanced, sustainable, comprehensive, innovative, and safe growth in the post-crisis period.
17. Russia-China relations achieved an unprecedentedly high level, having developed towards a consistent deepening of partnership and strategic interaction. The year saw six meetings between the heads of state, the 15th regular meeting of the heads of government, the visits of the heads of both houses of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the PRC, and numerous contacts at ministerial and departmental level. The construction of an oil pipeline from Russia to China was completed, constituting the largest project of bilateral economic cooperation. Russia and the PRC effectively collaborated in the international arena, particularly within the framework of various international organizations. The events of the Year of the Chinese Language in Russia were successfully held.
Russian-Indian cooperation grew stronger, reaching the level of a privileged strategic partnership. Crowning the dynamic evolution of the collaboration of the two countries in 2010 is the visit of President Dmitry Medvedev to India on December 21-22. Russian interaction deepened with the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Japan and other states of the region.
18. Russia made its contribution to improving the security and cooperation architecture in the AP region, which is increasing its role in global economy and politics. During President Medvedev’s official visit to the PRC on Sept. 26-28, a joint Russian-Chinese initiative for security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region was put forward.
Thanks to the joint actions of our country and other member states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) continued to establish itself as an important element of the emerging architecture of regional security and collaboration. The Declaration adopted at the end of the SCO summit in Tashkent on June 10-11 reflected common approaches on such problems as overcoming the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis; disarmament and WMD non-proliferation; waging a struggle against international terrorism and the threat of drugs, and on other topical issues.
19. Relations of close mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the Near and Middle East, Africa, and Latin America were strengthened. There was a whole array of meetings and talks at the highest level. We achieved qualitative reinvigoration and real progress in many sectors.
20. Looking for ways to settle regional conflicts through political and diplomatic means remained a key task of the international community.
Regional non-proliferation challenges, including the Iran and DPRK nuclear issues, invariably demanded vigorous efforts on Russia’s part. The vector of our actions in this regard was aimed at solving these problems by political and diplomatic methods. We consistently worked toward that end in the UN Security Council and the IAEA, in cooperation with the six nations on Iran, as well as with the partners in the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem.
On March 19, a Middle East Quartet meeting was held in Moscow at Russia’s initiative, issuing a statement reaffirming the internationally recognized legal basis of Middle East settlement – the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab peace initiative.
21. On Aug. 18-19, the second summit of the Group of Four (Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan) was held in Sochi. It took decision to launch a mechanism of quadripartite consultations at the level of ministers of foreign affairs on regional economic cooperation, as well as of the heads of the antinarcotics structures. The first meeting of the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of the four countries took place on Sept. 22 during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
In the context of purposeful efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, help was given to the International Security Assistance Force in terms of land and air transit to Afghanistan through Russian territory. The Joint Declaration issued by the Lisbon Summit of the Russia-NATO Council in November particularly emphasized the importance of closer cooperation on Afghanistan, including the necessity of tough, drastic measures to end the local drug industry. For the first time, agreement was reached to forge operational collaboration in fighting the Afghan threat of drugs.
22. On Oct. 5-6, Sochi hosted the first meeting of high representatives responsible for security, attended by delegations from 44 states and the UN. Its plenary sessions produced an exchange of views and experience on the problem of the new challenges and threats of the 21st century, along with ideas and suggestions made regarding collective counteraction against the real threats to international peace and security. The event is going to be held on a regular basis.
23. Helpful in comprehending the changes occurring in the world was the activity of the Global Political Forum, whose meeting under the theme of “The Modern State: Standards of Democracy and Criteria of Efficiency” took place on Sept. 9-10 in Yaroslavl. Discussion of key questions of evolution of international relations was also conducted at other authoritative venues, including the Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting held in Moscow in October.
24. Consistent work was carried out to intensify collaboration with the Russian NGO community of foreign policy orientation. Pursuant to the executive orders signed in February by the President of the Russian Federation, the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund was established and work on the formation of the Russian Council on International Affairs is continuing.