Lavrov on 2007: Realize That the Kennebunkport Proposal Was Unprecedented
December 27, 2007 • 12:55PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a year-end interview published in yesterday's {Vremya Novostei}, advised looking back to President Vladimir Putin's early February speech at the Munich Security Conference, for insight into the most important strategic events of 2007. That speech was misrepresented throughout the international media as marking a return to the Cold War, but EIR magazine (Feb. 23, 2007) documented that Putin was not attacking the United States — indeed, it was the first of several occasions this year on which he invoked the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt — but rather the perversion of American policy by traitors to the real identity of the USA, and that he called for cooperation among nations to solve world problems. Says Lavrov, "The main purpose of Munich was to put the matter of mutual understanding into focus," to call for "honest, open dialogue ... without hidden agendas."

In his interview, Lavrov called certain other major events "derivatives of the Munich speech." These included Russia's decision to stop observing the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which others had not ratified: "We were not being listened to. We put the situation into focus, and thereby moved things from a standstill. It is still not solved."

Most dramatic in Lavrov's interview is his discussion of the "unprecedented proposal President Putin made at Kennebunkport" on anti-missile defense. "Putin proposed a qualitatively new approach, implying mutual trust and complete openness regarding intelligence data gathered by each side using its most advanced technologies. The proposal was to unite capabilities that are defining for each side's security. That means 'to overcome vestiges of the past in oneself,' and embark on a level of partnership and cooperation that was absolutely inconceivable before. We have not lost hope, that this approach will be accepted, though the chances of that are declining."

Asked if that meant the USA had failed to "overcome the past," Lavrov emphasized, "I would not say that we, either, have entirely overcome those vestiges. But that is what the President called for.... That was his determination and political will — to overcome the vestiges of the old way of thinking. Few people in the West understood that. But it was really unprecedented."

The other leading developments for Russia's foreign policy this past year, according to Lavrov, have been breakthroughs in cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) — despite the organization's being practically split in two, and attempts by Western countries to aggravate that split. Lavrov said that common interests in economic cooperation, energy and transport infrastructure, were bringing a reversal of centrifugal trends in the CIS. At the same time, he underscored the importance for Russia of cooperation in the part of the CIS zone that is grouped in the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO): Belarus plus the Central Asian nations.

Besides a discussion of Kosovo and negotiations around Iran, Lavrov concluded his interview with a lengthy review of the deterioration of Russia's relations with Britain, blame for which he laid squarely at London's doorstep.