MOSCOW, February 17 (Itar-Tass) — Disturbances must not be used for foreign interference in affairs of sovereign states, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in his message to the third conference of the Middle East section of the Valdai International Discussion Club, which opened in Sochi on Friday.
The conference discusses “Transformation in the Arab World and Russia’s Interests”.
“This session of the club takes place at a difficult time both for the Arab region and the world. Major transformation processes are underway in the Middle East and North Africa, which are a long way from being completed,” the foreign minister stressed.
He expressed hope that “changes in the region will ensure better and decent life for the people and the possibility to carry out pressing social-economic and political transformations”. “We are interested in a democratic path of development in the Arab countries, we want to see them stable and prosperous,” the message said.
“However, it is obvious that the region is overburdened with problems involving military-political, energy, inter-civilizational and other spheres, that threaten both the prosperity of its peoples and international stability,” the foreign minister said in his message.
Russia “together with other responsible members of the world community is ready to contribute to their settlement,” he pledged. “Because of geopolitical, historical, cultural-humanitarian and other factors, ties with that region have always been of special importance for us,” the top diplomat noted.
“Russia has been invariably in favor of independence and a free development of the Arab peoples, and traditionally friendly relations with countries of the Middle East and North Africa are based on a lasting foundation of mutual sympathies and trust,” Lavrov stressed.
“This is our common heritage, and I am sure that no rises and falls in political conjuncture can affect it,” he emphasized. The minister expressed confidence that the conference will confirm two major theses, “the truth of which is convincingly proved by recent events as we believe”.
“Firstly, disturbances must not be used for foreign interference in affairs of sovereign states. Only the people themselves have the right to shape their destiny,” he noted. “Secondly, developments underway must not distort our attention from the settlement of the Arab-Israeli and other conflicts, which have been for a long time spoiling the climate in the region,” the top Russian diplomat stressed.