Nota: Temuramah secara atas talian ini dikendalikan oleh penulis, Fahmi bin Faiz bersama Duta Besar Rusia ke Malaysia, H.E Valery Yermolov pada 18 Januari, 2017.
Pada waktu itu, penulis merupakan wartawan akhbar WARTA.
Atas faktor kesihatan Duta Besar, sesi temuramah secara berdepan tidak dapat dikendalikan, namun penulis berbesar hati di atas respon pantas dari pihak Kedutaan Besar Rusia di Malaysia memberikan maklumbalas dalam bentuk bertulis, melalui kiriman e-mel.
Berikut adalah isi temuramah tersebut.
Semoga ianya bermanfaat dalam menjernihkan persepsi terhadap Rusia, yang menjadi mangsa kempen Russophobia pihak barat.
1. As far as we know, Russia and Malaysia celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2017. How do you assess the cooperation between the two countries?
It should be noted that Malaysia is an important foreign political and economic partner of Russia in Southeast Asia. We have long-term, time-tested ties of close friendship and mutual respect. This year our countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations (April 3, 1967). There is a series of major social, political and cultural events, including the exchange of letters between the leaders of our states that are dedicated to the anniversary.
The regular high-level and top-level Russian-Malaysian contacts are important for further development of cooperation. In this respect, the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak on the sidelines of ASEAN-Russia Summit in Sochi (May 19, 2016) can be considered a key event for the entire range of the bilateral relations.
The talks at the highest level gave an opportunity to exchange views on the most topical issues of the bilateral and regional agenda, gave a powerful impetus to the development of the Russian-Malaysian interaction in practical areas and outlined guidelines for the further promotion of multifaceted cooperation in the priority areas.
Our countries are united by common intention to expand the constructive dialogue with each other. We also share joint approaches to build a just and democratic world order, address key issues of regional and global agenda and effectively cooperate in numerous international organizations, including the UN.
We appreciate the regular Malaysian support of the UN resolutions, initiated by Russia. We also established mutually beneficial cooperation in exchanging support during the elections in the United Nations bodies.
Moreover, Malaysia is one of the most promising trade partners of the Russian Federation among the ASEAN countries. In recent years, the trade and economic relations between our countries can be characterized as stable and steadily developing.
In addition to that, the favorable customs regime, the lack of mutual discriminatory restrictions, as well as the complementarity of our economies are equally important for increasing trade.
2. What is the state of relations between Russia and the US? How does Russia assess a new US President D.Trump?
Unfortunately, it must be mentioned that the relations between the two countries are in a crisis, due to the policy of the previous administration. And it seems that the Obama team has deliberately brought down bilateral ties to the state of the “Cold war” times.
It should be noted that it was Barack Obama at the beginning of his first term in 2009 who suggested to “reset” the comprehensive relations with Russia. However, the partners did not manage to keep this intention for long. By promising cooperation in a respectful way, in reality Washington promoted a “leader and follower” policy.
When it became clear that Russia intends to pursue an independent foreign policy, the United States began to fear our strengthening position on the world stage and turned to confrontation.
There are many examples that I could mention: the anti-Russian Magnitsky Act, which was adopted on December 2012, numerous attempts to discredit the Olympics in Sochi, which subsequently resulted in an unprecedented public persecution of the entire Russian sports.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency, financed from the US federal budget, was one of the initiators of the suspension of our athletes from international competitions.
After the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev three years ago, also inspired by Obama administration, Washington has openly proclaimed policy of “systematical containment” of our country. Many channels of dialogue between the states were “frozen” by the US side.
There are 172 Russian citizens and 350 of legal entities, including leading companies in the fields of energy, defense industry and the financial sector in the US sanctions blacklists now.
Another example is the expulsion of the 35 Russian diplomats from the US during New Year holidays and closing access to the recreational area of the Russian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the UN, that possess diplomatic immunity.
With new changes in the White House there is a hope for the better in the Russian-American relations. We hope that Trump administration shows wisdom and focuses on normal pragmatic dialogue. Russia, for its part, is open and ready for the improvement and renewal of normal dialogue.
The telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump on January 28 this year was helpful in both political and human terms.
It has shown that the leaders of the two countries are ready to communicate on the basis of the national interests of each state. The presidents agreed to continue working at the expert level, as soon as the Trump’s Cabinet is formed.
There are common problems challenging Russia, the United States and the entire international community as well as promising areas of cooperation which require joint coordinated actions. First of all it is the struggle against terrorism.
3. The situation in Syria. What is the role of Russia in the settlement of the Syrian conflict?
The prolonged internal armed conflict, which has lasted for 5 years already, affected the whole region. According to the UN, about 40% of Syria’s industrial facilities has been destroyed or put out of action; 82% of the citizens live below the poverty line.
Unemployment rate has exceeded 57% of the working population. UN experts characterize the situation in Syria as a humanitarian crisis.
Like any inner conflict, the current crisis in Syria had its own preconditions. We can mention a lot among them like the aggravated socio-economic problems arising from the feel of many Syrians that their country entered a prolonged period of political stagnation, absence of freedom and etc.
However, this unresolved internal problem led to a massive and fierce civil conflict due to the influence of external factors, and the «Arab spring» was only one of them. It’s not a secret that the Syrian crisis has been provoked from the outside.
Dissatisfaction in Syria was used by external opponents of Damascus, who decided to seize the moment with the aim to change the regime and to bring to power more “comfortable” figures.
External sponsors helped to organize the opposition groups and supply them with arms. They also provided them with funding and established training bases of insurgents, thus pouring fuel on the fire in the civil war. As a result, it is not “revolutionaries” and “fighters for democracy” who dominate among the various antigovernment groups, but terrorist and extremist forces, primarily from Islamic State and An-Nusra.
The main task which the entire world community is facing is how to save Syria and its people. It is necessary to stop violence and start substantial talks between Syrians about ways to end the conflict and restore everything that was ruined during many years of confrontation.
As for the question about motives of Russian operation in Syria, I can say that the purpose of our participation in counter-terrorist operation in Syria is to help Syrian legitimate authorities to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups acting there.
We responded to the official request from Syrian government to help to fight terrorism. We do not see any reason to be ashamed of it. Those, who proclaimed Bashar Assad non-legitimate and openly call for subversion of legitimate government, should be ashamed.
We remember very well the results of the similar actions “to dethrone dictatorial regime” in Iraq and Libya, and we do not want this scenario to be reproduced in Syria.
As for ISIS, this terrorist group is a threat for the whole world and for Malaysia too. The aim of its elimination responds to Russia’s national interests, as ISIS members strive for destabilization of the situation in the Russian Federation.
If today we don’t defeat terrorism in Syria, tomorrow it will be on the doorstep of Russia and Malaysia as well. On a larger scale, the defeat of terrorists in Syria will contribute not only to normalization of life in that country, but also to strengthening stability and peace in the Middle East.
The Russian involvement in Syrian crisis starts to bring positive results. After a declaration of a ceasefire on December 30, 2016 with Russian and Turkish mediation being introduced, the level of violence in Syria decreased and humanitarian conditions improved.
At the same time, ISIS terrorists together with Jahbat al-Nusra and others do not leave their attempts to break down the ceasefire.
Moscow is satisfied with the results of international meeting on Syria between Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syrian Government and representatives of Syrian armed opposition that took place in Astana on January 23-24, 2017.
The meeting helped to consolidate and expand the ceasefire zones. The agreements, achieved at that meeting, are aimed at ensuring total compliance with the ceasefire, and urging Syrian participants to become proactively involved in the national dialogue in Geneva under UN auspices.
Also, Russia supports the resumed intra-Syrian dialogue led by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The talks should have a wide-ranging and all-inclusive format, as stipulated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
4. Your opinion on NATO activities carried out near the Russian border.
Talking about aggressive NATO actions in general, Russia is concerned about unfriendly steps of Alliance like its expansion to the East, breaking off relations with us, even in the framework of Russia-NATO Council, blocking all cooperation, absence of any kind of dialogue on very important directions like counter-terrorism, drugs related crimes, situation in Afghanistan and etc.
We have to state that NATO, which was created with defensive purposes, is now taking very aggressive actions. We do not see any constructive agenda from NATO for a long time, although, we are ready for any cooperation and dialogue, but with one condition: it should be done on an equal footing and should not contradict international law.
5. On the investigation of the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov.
Currently the investigation into Ambassador Andrey Karlov’s assassination by Turkish law enforcement agencies in close cooperation with an investigative group from Russia continues. Several suspects have been detained in relation to this terrorist attack.
We expect that all the plotters and accomplices will be identified and held to account. Turkey has repeatedly assured us of that at the top level.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Malaysia and all Malaysian people for support and condolences expressed by them in connection with this brutal murder.
The first one to react was Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Prime minister of Malaysia, who condemned this terrorist attack and expressed condolences to the family of Ambassador Karlov and the Government of the Russian Federation in his Twitter. The relevant statement of the Government of Malaysia was also published on the website of Wismaputra.
The President of the Senate of Malaysia S.Vigneswaran and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican sent letters of condolence to the Embassy. Dato’ Azmil Zabidi, the Undersecretary for Europe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia signed the book of condolence, opened for that sad occasion in the Embassy.
Moreover, we consider those flowers, brought to the Embassy by Malaysian people the next day after the tragedy as a sign of sincere grief and sympathy.
(Disiarkan kali pertama di laman Facebook beliau pada 21 Jun 2018)