PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, friends, it is a pleasure to welcome you to the XI meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

It was mentioned already that the club has new co-organisers this year. They include Russian non-governmental organisations, expert groups and leading universities. The idea was also raised of broadening the discussions to include not just issues related to Russia itself but also global politics and the economy.

I hope that these changes in organisation and content will bolster the club’s influence as a leading discussion and expert forum. At the same time, I hope the ‘Valdai spirit’ will remain - this free and open atmosphere and chance to express all manner of very different and frank opinions.  
21 October 2014
We have noted the latest in a series of anti-Russian statements made by Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow.
It appears that the continued manipulation of public opinion has been caused by the apprehensions of NATO ideologists that Russia’s active contribution to international efforts aimed to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s promotion of a positive agenda in international relations in general, can undermine a myth about the alleged Russian threat to the security of NATO member countries. Essentially, this postulate is used to justify the need for uniting the alliance on the basis of rigid discipline in the spirit of the Cold War, as well as the current policy to advance the NATO infrastructure eastward and build up NATO’s military presence near the Russian border. At the same time, European security risks contained in these plans are being disregarded yet again.
20 October 2014
Mr Nikonov, friends,
First of all, I’d like to thank you for the invitation, which I was very pleased to accept. It’s in our interest to discuss in as much detail as possible the issues that directly affect the Russian people and the national development plans, as well as issues that concern the international situation and the future world order with representatives of various political forces, primarily, the leading party, United Russia.
In many ways, the current international situation is defined by the fact that the world is going through a transition period. We are dealing not just with the beginning of another historical stage, but, it would seem, with a change of eras. Such pivotal moments are usually characterised by a substantial increase in instability and unpredictability in international affairs, which is what we see today in individual regions and globally.
The realignment, or, I would even say, the deconcentration of the global balance of forces, is a hallmark of our time. Most clearly, this can be seen in the greater economic power and increasing political clout of the Asia-Pacific Region.
19 October 2014
Question: How would you assess your talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris? Were there any tense moments?
Sergey Lavrov: Our relations have been tense because of the basic issues, which we seriously differ on, but which we have been discussing and trying to settle, and also because of the current situation that has developed for obvious reasons. However, I again sensed that Mr Kerry was willing to search for positive issues that would boost our relations, and also solutions to the issues on which we differ. It’s another mater that the proposals our US partners make are mostly designed to suit their unilateral interests, whereas the proposals we make to our colleagues usually take into account their approaches to the issue at hand and are aimed at finding a balance of interests. This is challenging work that includes, of course, the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. We are cooperating on the complicated issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, participating in the organisation that was created to resolve the “frozen” issue of the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and are negotiating all issues that are on the UN Security Council agenda. It’s logical that Ukraine invariably comes up in discussions with all our partners. In short, the issues on the international agenda are very contradictory and call for compromise solutions. We’re ready for this.
9 October 2014
Mr. Chair,
Let me congratulate you upon your election to this important position and wish you success in the upcoming work. Most certainly, you can count on the support of the Russian delegation.
From the broad agenda of the First Committee we decided to touch upon some topics which seem to be the most relevant. We will begin with the issues of nuclear disarmament which are in the spotlight of our forum.
Elimination of the threat posed by the weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, remains one of the key priorities of the international community. Russia is actively working to that end taking concrete steps for limitation and reduction of its nuclear arsenals. Over the last 25 years they have been reduced many times over. Under the New START Treaty we have set a goal of reaching the agreed aggregate limits of warheads, means of delivery and launchers by the start of early 2018. We think that this goal can be achieved.
Permanent Representative
Alexander V. GRUSHKO
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