Old alliances and the new order: what they talked about at the conference in Munich

Photo: Grigory Sysoev / RIA Novosti

USA and Europe do not intend to abandon the existing alliances, assured Western politicians at the Munich security conference. Sanctions against Russia will remain until the execution of the Minsk agreements, they repeated the familiar thesis

Adherence to old alliances

The Munich security conference is an annual forum bringing together leading diplomats and politicians from around the world, ended on Sunday, February 19. Ahead of the conference, the experts issued a report on problems of global security. The world is in a “geopolitical recession,” warned a team of authors headed by the Chairman of the conference Wolfgang Ischinger. The victory of Donald trump in US elections, a referendum on Brexit the UK, in their opinion, represent a social shift in the West in the direction of populism and isolationism. The West refuses to be the driving force of progress, formed the basis “postzapadnoy” world, which is a significant departure from the existing post-1945 world order. Analysts called the current state of the world “postpreda”.

However, the majority of participants spoke of the strength of old ties and alliances established after the Second world war. So, Vice-President Mike Pence, whose speech in Munich became the first major foreign policy event, assured the audience of the commitment of Washington’s close ties with Europe. “The United States strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to the transatlantic Alliance,” said Pence on February 18. A day earlier, in their loyalty to the Alliance assured the audience in Munich the Minister of defence of the USA James Mattis. Both representatives Washington when it repeated the thesis of the President of trump about the need for allies to increase defense spending that Washington was not the only donor organization. Because the costs of defense to members of the Alliance should be increased, agreed the participants of the European, particularly the German Minister of defense Ursula von der Leyen.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday also talked about the lack of alternatives to NATO. Transatlantic defensive Alliance necessary to the security of Europe, and no less important for the USA, said Merkel. According to her, many of the problems and challenges of the modern world, primarily Islamic terrorism cannot be solved unilaterally: it requires “world of integrated, cooperating countries” (quoted by Deutsche Welle).

That came to an end a 30-year period of the existence of a world order based on the outcome of the cold war, Saturday was agreed only the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov. Attempts to adapt the institutions of the times of confrontation between the USSR and the USA to new realities did not materialize, Lavrov said, illustrating this with the failure of the “democratization” of the Middle East and NATO expansion, which led to “unprecedented for 30 years, the level of tension in Europe.”

The old order, according to Lavrov, should come “postzapadnoy” democratic world order in which “each country in the framework of international law, based on its sovereignty, will seek to balance their interests and the interests of partner countries”. Russia’s relations with the United States, according to the Minister, should be based on pragmatism and mutual respect.

Angela Merkel and Sergey Lavrov at the Munich security conference

Photo: Michaela Rehle / Reuters

Russia is not leaving the stage

Lavrov’s speech of February 18, has completed a sequence of program statements of world leaders. Despite the fact that the theme of the second day of the conference was stated as “transatlantic relations and international order,” each of the speakers a lot of space in his speech was devoted to relations with Moscow.

Angela Merkel stated that the Minsk agreement on Ukraine have not been fully implemented, however, stressed that the alternatives for solving the Ukrainian crisis yet. According to Merkel, the West with Russia many differences, but there are common interests: in particular, the fight against terrorism. From this point of view, she said, requires close cooperation with Moscow NATO.

Vice-President Pens in his speech spoke about the dual approach of Washington’s relations with Moscow. According to him, the US intends to establish a dialogue, combined with the consistently tough response to the violation of agreements. “We will continue to bring Russia to justice, even while we are in search of new points of contact, as you know, President trump believes that they can be found,” said Pence. “Russia should fully implement the Minsk agreements,” said Pence. These words of the Vice-President has disappointed the President of the international Federation Council Committee Konstantin Kosachev. This approach “allows Ukraine, Kiev authorities endlessly to sabotage Minsk agreement”, — said the Senator, who participated in the conference (quoted by “Interfax”).

Traditionally tough against Moscow, said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Speaking Friday at the conference, he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “deeply and sincerely hates” an independent Ukraine, considers it a natural part of Russia. On Saturday, Poroshenko held talks with the Pens and informed him that President Putin ordered to recognize on the territory of Russia the documents issued by the authorities of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk national republics. After talks with the Pens Poroshenko said that he had received “a strong signal that the new administration of the United States Ukraine is among the first priorities.”

The subject of sanctions in the speeches of politicians sounded infrequently. “Sanctions are closely linked to full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Such a stance will stay,” said high representative of the European Union for foreign Affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini. Russian sanctions on European goods will be removed only after the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the Donbass, said Minister Lavrov.

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