Lavrov: AUKUS undermines ASEAN

Brussels 03.10.2021 New AUKUS alliance between the US, the UK, and Australia as well as the four-sided dialogue on security between the US, Japan, India, and Australia (Quad) are directed at eroding the long-standing universal formats of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region existing under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the 29th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy on October 2, Saturday.

The Russian top diplomat noted, “one of the most fashionable trends today is the so-called Indo-Pacific strategies that are invented by the United States,” in particular, AUKUS and Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between United States, India, Japan and Australia).

“All of this follows the line of eroding the universal formats in the Asia-Pacific Region which existed for the past decades under the auspices of ASEAN,” Lavrov underlined.

The minister named “East Asian summits, the ASEAN security forum, meetings of ASEAN defense ministers and partners, the so-called ASEAN+, and a number of other formats” based on the “principle of consensus” among such universal formats.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has previously questioned whether the EU would be able to strike a trade deal with Australia, in solidarity with France.

But on Friday, September 1, spokespersons for the European Commission explained than it is not “punishing anybody”. The decision to delay the talks by a month took place a couple of days ago and would “allow us to prepare better”, they said, adding that it was not “unusual” to push back trade talks.

US-Russia meeting in Reykjavik

Brussels 13.05.2021 Russian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the timeline of bilateral Russia-US contacts by phone Wednesday, May 12, including the proposed highest-level Russia-US Summit, and agreed to hold a separate meeting during the Arctic Council ministerial session in Reykjavik.

“The sides discussed the timeline of other Russian-US contacts for the upcoming period, including Washington’s proposal on the organization of the Russia-US summit,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

The sides also touched upon the interaction between the two countries in the Arctic Council – in particular, in regards to the upcoming Russian presidency in the organisation, which will begin on May 20.

“Lavrov and Blinken agreed to hold a separate meeting on the sidelines of the [May 20] session to review key issues of bilateral relations and the international agenda,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov birthday and birth of Politburo II

Anna van Densky OPINION Amid coronavirus pandemic drama a few noticed a remarkable milestone date, defining the future of Russian Federation for next couple of decades: the birth of the second grand “Politburo” with life-long members. (Image above: Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov).

On March 21 Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia became de facto a “member of Politburo” to stay most probably as long as one of his great predecessors – Andrey Gromyko who led Soviet diplomacy for 28 years (1957-1985). This perspective is especially real in the context of change of Russian Constitution, breaking the time limits for Vladimir Putin to become life-long President.

Before crushing Russian Constitution to dust to establish dictatorship, rooted in methodically consturcted “cult of personality” during last 20 years, Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 143-FZ of May 23, 2016, which provided for a phased increase in the old-age retirement for people who fill government positions in the Russian Federation and positions in constituent entities, as well as those who hold state and municipal services.

The age limit for civil service became 65 years. Previously this age level was 60 years old (Part 1 of Article 25.1 of the Federal Law of July 27, 2004 No. 79-FZ “On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation”).

Extension of the service remains possible, but only for civil servants filling the posts of the category “assistants (advisers)”, established to assist the person filling the public position. The term of extension will not change for them – until the end of the term of office. But the rest of the civil servants, who can be extended to 65 years today, will lose the possibility of further extension.

For the top figures of public service the term can be extended to 70 years. But for them, the procedure for agreeing on such an extension has changed. Before the signature of the law it was decided by the President, then after the amendments enter into force, further service by such persons should be extended by the Federal state body that appointed them to the position or by the corresponding official.

The new rules came into effect on January 1, 2017, however Minister Lavrov has successfully ignored them to stay “forever” top diplomat of Russian Federation, illustrating the predominant culture of contempt to laws, that is so typical for post-Soviet period. None of the official instances clarified the legal basis for the permission to Lavrov to stay beyond legally established age.

However this episode facilites the shaping of Western policies vis-à-vis Russia, returning to the déjà vu pattern of Soviet era of Brezhnev stagnation, ending in biological change of power after him and his Politburo passing away.

Nowadays with the significant achievments of medicine visible on example of “eternal‘ President of Cameroon Paul Biya (87), Putin and his “Politburo” reign togehter with the five year period of Politburoostentatious” funerals can last easerly up to 2040, until Death do us part. Amen!