Russia's Lavrov calls West an 'empire of lies'

'The rest of the planet is sick of it - they don’t want to live under anybody’s yoke any more,' Russian Foreign Minister tells UNGA

Sergei Lavrov blasts US and allies in UN General Assembly speech

Sergei Lavrov blasts US and allies in UN General Assembly speech
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday launched a blistering attack on the West at the UN General Assembly, accusing it of hypocrisy, not abiding by international treaties and being an “empire of lies”.

“The US and its subordinate western collective are continuing to fuel conflicts which artificially divide humanity into hostile blocs and hamper the achievement of overall aims,” the Russian diplomat said.

He accused western countries of doing “everything they can to prevent the formation of a genuine multipolar world order”.

“The rest of the planet is sick of it,” he said. “They don’t want to live under anybody’s yoke any more.”

On the Middle East, he stated that Moscow was pleased to see the Arab League expanding its influence in the region once more.

He also welcomed the return of Syria to the “Arab family” and lauded the commencement of the normalisation process between Damascus and Ankara.

The Russian Foreign Minister emphasised the necessity of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, highlighting the importance of adhering to UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative as guiding principles for a solution.

However, he accused the US of monopolising the mediation process, saying Washington was “doing everything [it] cannot to allow this”.

Ukraine-Russia conflict latest – in pictures

On the recent peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, he said the time was ripe for trust-building measures between both parties, and added that Russian involvement would “certainly help this”.

But he alleged that western powers were attempting to impose themselves as intermediaries between the two nations – something he said was unnecessary.

Russia has sent peacekeeping missions to Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan where Baku launched an offensive this week.

After his speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr Lavrov held a press conference during which he dismissed Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's proposal for a global peace summit as unfeasible.

“It is not possible to implement this,” he said of the 10-point Ukrainian peace plan. “It's not realistic and everybody understands this, but at the same time, they say this is the only basis for negotiations.”

Through their support of Ukraine, US and the EU have effectively entered into direct conflict with Russia, the Foreign Minister said.

“You can call it anything you want, but they are fighting with us, they are straight-up fighting with us. We call it a hybrid war, but that doesn't change things,” Mr Lavrov said.

Black Sea grain deal ends – in pictures

On the possibility of reviving the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Mr Lavrov said the UN Secretary General's latest proposals were “simply not realistic”.

He said promises made to Russia, including removing sanctions on a Russian bank and reconnecting it to the global Swift system, had not been met.

Russia withdrew from the grain deal in July, citing hindrances to its own food and fertiliser exports as well as insufficient Ukrainian grain distribution to needy countries, a year after it was negotiated by the UN and Turkey.

As to Saudi Arabia's potential interest in acquiring a nuclear arsenal in response to Iran's development, he responded that nobody wished to witness the emergence of additional nuclear-armed states.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly confirmed that they have no such intention. Even their faithful leader has issued a relevant fatwa. So we believe that since they won't have the bomb, then Iran's neighbours won't be tempted to take that path,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Zelenskyy met on Friday with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who pledged additional aid to the war-torn country.

And earlier this week, Mr Zelenskyy addressed the UN General Assembly and accused Russia of “weaponising” food, energy and even children against Ukraine and “the international rules-based order” at large.

Mr Zelenskyy also held talks in Washington with the US Congress and President Joe Biden, who pledged the imminent arrival of tanks to bolster Ukraine's arsenal.

Updated: September 23, 2023, 7:08 PM