Alexei Meshkov: bigotry interferes with Europe to solve the immigration crisis

Alexei Meshkov: bigotry interferes with Europe to solve the immigration crisis


About the uneasy relations of Russia and the European Union, the migration crisis in Europe, the resumption of the Permanent partnership Council Russia-EU meeting of the Council Russia-NATO said in an interview on the occasion of diplomatic worker Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Alexey Meshkov.

– In one of your interviews you said that the diplomatic worker’s Day – a holiday personal. As you celebrate this day?

– A personal holiday, but this year it won’t be particularly personal. Tomorrow we have a difficult day associated with preparation for the Munich conference. Will, of course, and a formal event. But I will find time in the evening to celebrate the holiday with family. Including because I am a traditional diplomat.

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The choice of a profession diplomat – it was a conscious choice. If my father was a fireman, I would be focused on this direction. Because many children want to be firemen, astronauts, but I lured my father’s work colleagues. So I had no doubts in choosing a profession, I have no regrets. This profession gives you the opportunity to see many interesting things, to be at the centre of world events.

Remembering the first years of my diplomatic service, now completely changed the dynamics of life and the work itself. Everything goes in an entirely different rhythm. If in the past any conversation between foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, head of the Foreign Ministry of another country was preparing for a few days, now the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov several times a day talking to their colleagues. Became more rigid and the rhythm of travel, the contacts became more frequent. But the basic elements of professionalism have not changed. And that spirit of mentoring, which was always inherent in the Russian diplomatic service is an important element of team formation. But in our case it is our entire Russian diplomatic corps, including administrative and technical staff working side by side with us. It’s worth it. And that’s our main calling card.

– What measures should the EU take to resolve the migration crisis? How soon it can be resolved considering the fact that some European countries impose temporary control on its borders? Doesn’t that contradict General provisions of the Schengen zone?

– The problem of migration exists in Europe for a long time. In the late 90-ies, I set before their European counterparts question, let’s start talking how to work on the subject of migration, on what received the answer – we have no such problem, we have automatically assimilated the migrants and to talk about. It is clear today that this theme has, and it is very popular. Besides now the question on the continuation of such dialogue between the migration services of EU and Russia. Moreover, over the years we have accumulated extensive experience. Suffice it to say that over the past year and a half we adopted from Ukraine almost 2 million refugees, which is comparable to the stream that now goes to the EU.

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However, today the problem of refugees in Europe is different from what it was 10 years ago. Then mostly it was about economic refugee. Today is the intertwining of many branches, which makes this problem considerably harder. Do we know and where are the origins of the current immigration crisis – what was done with Libya, which was the main barrier to uncontrolled flow of refugees to Europe from the North African coast. Those who destroyed Iraq are actively supporting the terrorist group “Islamic state” (IG, is prohibited in Russia) and other terrorist organizations in Syria, you know that they are the source of the refugee flow via Turkey towards the EU. So they are loud and screaming, because as we know: “the thief and the cap burns”, he says, all reason, from the fact that in Syria are HQs of the Russian Federation and the Syrian army liberates insurgents from the territories, which, by the way, many refugees have already returned.

To solve the migration problem, we must abandon the hypocrisy, identify the causes, origins. To undertake serious efforts to normalize the situation, as political, military, socio-economic, in those countries where the flow of refugees

To solve the migration problem, we must abandon the hypocrisy, identify the causes, origins. To undertake serious efforts to normalize the situation, as political, military, socio-economic, in those countries where the flow of refugees. If you take these refugees, in strict compliance with the norms of international law must provide them with a decent stay in its territory.

– The consequences of strengthening border control in the EU? As this measure is reflected on the Russian tourists?

In our view, strengthening control on the borders of the EU in the current situation, given the high level of terrorist threat in Europe, is an understandable measure. However, apparently, it should not in any way to limit the possibility of movement of Russian tourists if they have valid Schengen visas.

How is the preparation for the Munich security conference? Do you plan on the sidelines of the conference, the meeting of the Council Russia-NATO?

– The question of the holding of the Council Russia-NATO on the sidelines of the Munich conference. Now being developed, coordinated a meeting of Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. This meeting may take place, given that they last year, also met at the Munich conference and various international platforms.

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But these meetings cannot replace the systematic work that has been undertaken in the framework of the Council and NATO was frozen. We are considering the possibility of convening in the nearest time for the next meeting of the NRC at the level of permanent representatives. But the most important thing – not the mere fact of the meeting and the content. It is necessary to work out an appropriate agenda for this meeting. And if it is agreed, this meeting will be held.

However there are different moods within NATO. I won’t deny that there are forces, the cat is not interested in resuming the dialogue between Moscow and Brussels. Expect critical mass in Alliance with those who do understand the lameness of the current situation will prevail and we will be able to resume pragmatic, mutually beneficial and equal dialogue.

Russia regularly hears from the leadership of NATO statements on the importance and the need to maintain open channels of communications between military representatives of Russia and the Alliance. At what level is actually Russian-NATO dialogue? Whether the planned development and adoption of a Russia-NATO document on the prevention of dangerous incidents in the air and on the sea, which spoke after the incident with the Russian aircraft in Syria, some countries-members of the Alliance? What is known about the Russian side?

Indeed, from the leadership of NATO and its member countries from time to time we hear statements about the need to maintain open channels of communications between military representatives of Russia and the Alliance. However, the paradox of these speeches is that NATO adopted remain in force from April 2014 a unilateral decision to completely suspend programs for practical cooperation with our country, including on the military side. It is obvious that any occasional telephone calls, by definition, cannot replace a systematic dialogue between the military. And channels of communication we have. We are not broke. In particular, in the Russian mission to NATO, albeit in a smaller group because of the actions of NATO members, continue to operate the apparatus of the senior military representative. So the address, who to contact, in the headquarters of the Alliance.

Instead of having to opt out of forced military expansion of the block near Russian borders, to help NATO to deal with the possible negative consequences that are a direct result of their military activity

With regard to political dialogue, he is at the moment, in fact, reduced to periodic meetings of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia with the NATO Secretary General on the sidelines of major international events and contacts of our permanent representative in the headquarters of the Alliance.

Arguments of the representatives of NATO and its member countries about the need to create some mechanism to prevent dangerous incidents in the air and on the sea we heard before the tragic incident with the Russian fighter jet in Syria. However, further conversations held do not come with any concrete ideas and proposals Alliance to share with us.

And here everything is “upside down”. Instead of having to opt out of forced military expansion of the block near Russian borders, to help NATO to deal with the possible negative consequences that are a direct result of their military activity.

The consequences of further NATO expansion?

– Dmore the expansion of the Alliance will inevitably lead to the emergence of new and deepen existing dividing lines in Europe, deepen the fragmentation of the European security space, will further complicate already difficult relations between Russia and NATO. Of course, this will be reflected in the nature of our bilateral cooperation with “recruits”.

Further expansion of the Alliance will inevitably lead to the emergence of new and deepen existing dividing lines in Europe, deepen the fragmentation of the European security space

And this statement is not based on some hypothetical reasoning, and the analysis of the adverse political and military consequences that occurred in connection with another wave expansion of the Alliance.

Here it is sufficient to recall how for years we were convinced that the entry into NATO of the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States will improve their relations with Moscow, get rid of phobias “heavy historical heritage” and will give the Alliance a “belt” of Russia-friendly States. However, we only created the “frontal” syndrome – now these countries demand “special protection”. There is no doubt in the fact that the proclamation of the prospects of Georgia’s accession to NATO at the Alliance’s summit in Bucharest in 2008, inspired by the then Tbilisi leadership the illusion of permissiveness and pushed to the military adventure against South Ossetia.

How overall cooperation between Russia and the EU? Is it possible in the near future to expect that sanctions against Russia will be lifted?

The relations between Russia and the EU are experiencing difficult times. Most of the areas of cooperation frozen. The EU is ready to go only to those contacts that meet the key interests and at the same time do not cause irritation on the part of Americans. Sanctions are imposed causing mutual damage, but the EU turn a blind eye to the negative consequences of anti-Russian sanctions for the European economy in the name of transatlantic solidarity.

We are not working with the EU any negotiations about the conditions or criteria for lifting anti-Russian sanctions

As you know, we are not working with the EU any negotiations about the conditions or criteria for lifting anti-Russian sanctions. Our position on this issue is unchanged: the first of them should abandon those who initiated them. Respectively, and our response will remain in force until the restrictions against Russia will be lifted.

West leads to the lifting of sanctions against Russia by the us implementation of the Minsk agreements. But the obligations on them, as you know, are the parties to the conflict – Kiev and the Donbass. Now the ball is on the side of the Kiev authorities failed to fulfill their part of obligations, particularly in the political sphere. In fact, Kiev, by playing on anti-Russian sentiments in the West that drives the peace process in the Donbas is in a dead end. In other words, the EU is hostage of the irresponsible policy of the Ukrainian authorities, i.e. “the tail controls the dog.”

In this regard, to predict anything about the possible timing of the removal of restrictions – a thankless task.

Will the resumption of the Permanent partnership Council Russia-EU? Are you ready for him?

I note that, despite the difficult situation in the relations Russia-EU, us still manages to maintain possible in the current circumstances, the level of dialogue, above all, on the most topical international issues. Suffice it to mention the successful joint work on the Iranian nuclear issue. The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini meet regularly on the sidelines of various international events. Their last meeting took place on December 3 2015 in the margins of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Belgrade, in total, last year, they met six times. There is a principal agreement to hold a new meeting on the sidelines of the Munich security conference (12-14 February).

Despite the difficult situation in the relations Russia-EU, us still manages to maintain possible in the current circumstances, the level of dialogue, above all, on the most topical international problems

But we believe the short format of these bilateral meetings is insufficient. In a crisis situation you need to talk to each other, not hide from each other. During the long years of cooperation have already been established and, if not always effectively, various arrangements of contacts. We understand that at this stage in Brussels to a full resumption of such negotiation structures are not ready. It is not excluded that this theme will be discussed during the scheduled meeting of Sergey Lavrov and Federica Mogherini in Munich. We don’t mind to listen to our colleagues in the EU, as they see a way out of this impasse.

Talked Julia Nemchenko