The G-7's Naples summit, which is to be attended by President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation, is to become a landmark event in international affairs. The main tendencies of global politics' development, as well as its main component the emerging Russian-Western partnership in a post-confrontational world are focused on the forthcoming summit.
Such a partnership has already evolved through several stages. For its part, Russia has signed the Partnership For Peace program envisaging its cooperation with NATO, as well as a partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union.
With this prospect in mind, the G-7 is expected to gradually turn into the G-8, which is seen as a natural and essential stage of the transfer to global democracies' mature strategic partnership. In the first place, such a transformation should encompass the political dimension.
The first practical steps were taken along this road during the July 1993 G-7 summit in Tokyo. And the Naples summit is expected to score even more impressive achievements in this respect. Concrete decisions, due to be made in Naples, should reaffirm the common viewpoint that Russia's stage-by-stage integration into the club of the world's leading industrial nations corresponds to the long-term interests of all parties involved in this process.
The demise of totalitarianism and the end of the Cold War have presented us with an historic chance making it possible to solve the following double task that of establishing a transparent and democratic Russian state and turning that unstable post-confrontational world into a stable and democratic entity. The attainment of these goals is vitally important both for Russia and the West if only because they share common democratic convictions and because their long-term interests are not contradictory: conversely, they mutually complement each other, as far as the overwhelming majority of international issues are concerned.
At present, Russia is defending its historic choice in favor of democracy, market economics and an open and civilized foreign policy. This is being done in the course of unprecedentedly difficult and painful reforms. In the obtaining situation, it is highly important that Russia know the following that it is needed by the world as a powerful partner, who should occupy a befitting place in the family of free, rule- of-law and democratic states. Any policy meeting such aspirations will become the best Western investment in Russian and global stability, serving as the most effective response to fears concerning the revival of "Russian imperialism.
The Western world managed to work out an integral joint strategy for dealing with the main problems at hand after the second world war. Among other things, the Marshall Plan played the key role in Western Europe's economic revival, with which the deterrence" concept provided an effective answer to the totalitarian challenge.
Mature strategic partnership involving democratic nations both in the East and the West could serve as a response to current challenges. Such partnership should be strategic and mature only because Russia shares common values and because it is high time we stopped stating our intentions and got down to business. The mutual recognition of one another in the capacity of like-minded states that are committed to common democratic values, UN and CSCE norms should be transferred into the plane of practical activity. Russia's participation in the work of such entities as the G-7, which highlight the unity of the world's leading democratic states, would serve as a concrete expression of such recognition.
The G-7 states coordinate their political and economic approaches between themselves first and foremost, and then synchronize the same approaches with Russia. Such a situation is used to formalize an institutional gap" between Russia and leading Western democracies.
This is why the question of the G-7's two-stage transformation into the G-8 is now hot on the agenda. The parties concerned should first start discussing political issues, all the more as Russia is already seen as an indispensable partner here. This process would be completed in the course of Russia's integration into the global economy.
The creation of the G-8 political club would serve to beef up the existing machinery for coordinating the world's most influential states' foreign-policy actions. This is particularly important today when international relations abound in conflicts and crises. The leading democratic powers should coordinate their approaches to the solution of such issues well in advance; this is a key aspect of their settlement. The Bosnian crisis shows rather vividly that such "pre-emptive" coordination is a must. This concerns all "burning" and "smoldering" conflicts alike. It's much easier to prevent a fire from breaking out rather than eliminating its consequences.
Political interaction within the G-8 framework would allow democratic powers to more effectively form a more stable, predictable and peaceful global order through joint effort and with the help of the appropriate institutions. Such an order should rest on the following pillars a tough NBC-weapons non-proliferation regime covering the relevant know-how and delivery means; a more effective UN mechanism, particularly in the peace-keeping field; a resolute rebuff to aggressive nationalism; cooperation in asserting generally recognized international human rights standards, as well as genuinely universal economic, trade and financial international institutions. Russia is vitally interested in all these spheres; besides, it has the required potential for playing a weighty and constructive role here. Russia's significance is going to increase if it manages to combine its efforts with those of the G-7.
Russia constitutes an irreplaceable link connecting two emerging security and cooperation systems in the Euro-Atlantic and Asia-Pacific regions. In this sense, our country serves as the G-7's natural and essential partner in considering the modern world's main political problems.
At the same time, we understand only too well that our participation in the G-8 club does not constitute some kind of privilege; on the contrary, this amounts to a well thought-out balance of rights and responsibilities. Russia is ready to shoulder that burden. This is guaranteed by the irreversibility of the Russian leadership's policy aimed at continuing and deepening reforms.
Russia has suggested a wide range of political issues involving our common interests, which could be discussed during the G-8's Naples summit.
Russia supports the formation of an effective security and stability system for the Euro-Atlantic region. Such a system should heed the interests of all states without any exception whatsoever (regardless of their size, geographic location and economic potential). The CSCE should play a special role in the creation of that system's political framework. For its part, the G-8 can accomplish a lot in order to boost the CSCE's peacekeeping potential, helping streamline wide-ranging interaction between the CSCE and the NACC, the WEU, the CIS, NATO, etc.
The establishment of solid security in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the development of local economic cooperation also correspond to the G-8's interests.
Speaking of the construction of the post-confrontational world, we should attain the following top-priority common goal. In short, the G-8 should conduct a coordinated and responsible policy in the field of NBC weapons non-proliferation and the transfer of conventional weapons and military technologies. The G-8's nuclear and non-nuclear members could make a joint statement in support of permanently extending the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty during the forthcoming 1995 conference.
The democratic nations should help to ensure compliance with universal human rights and freedoms, as well as the implementation of the world human rights conference's decisions, which were adopted in Vienna in June 1993. This should become a major aspect of our common efforts. Economic and social progress, as well as solid international security are only possible on the grounds of respect for human and ethnic minorities' rights.
The G-8 could also help expand the UN peace-keeping effort in former Yugoslavia, Africa and other regions; this concerns more effective collective peace-keeping operations and the UN's crisis-prevention mechanisms as well.
The G-8 could more closely cooperate in unlocking crises and conflicts on CIS territory, which would become an important manifestation of partner-like nature of our relations. Our Western partners could also support more substantially peace-keeping efforts by Russia and its neighbours, that are being undertaken in accordance with the goals and principles of the UN Charter and the CSCE, and in accordance with certain agreements involving the parties concerned.
Russia is ready to discuss any other proposals, too, all the more so as there are no major international political issues that can be settled without its participation. As far as the discussion of economic issues is concerned, Russia expects its G-7 partners to comprehend the huge economic and social value of our transformations, taking this into account when concluding practical decisions. This seems to be the most important thing here. Russia hopes that the G-7 is going to discuss the implementation of the Tokyo package" containing all sorts of financial and economic decisions supporting the Russian reform drive. Russia still regards highly these specific forms of support that do not require any additional outside funding (access to international markets), that do not increase our debt burden (direct investment and debt-restructuring plans) and which help boost our interaction with the IMF and the WBRD. This country also pays special attention to the projects' social orientation.
We must start implementing various programs envisaging assistance to our privatization and economic-restructuring projects as soon as possible. The same applies to the fund for the support of small and medium business, which can also yield a fast and tangible effect.
The Naples summit should expressly state that Russia is a nation possessing a transitional economy. This is highly important because such a statement would recognize the need for providing a non-discriminatory regime for Russia on global markets. Among other things, the G-7 should revise or rescind various legal acts impeding our access to such markets. This would meet both Russian and our partners' interests. The fact of the matter is that our greater export revenues would make it easier for Russia to service both its own and former Soviet debts.
Russia's special status as a debtor and creditor nation should not be disregarded either. This country is a major donor granting easy-term credits to CIS states; in fact, such a policy makes it possible to uphold socioeconomic stability all over the former Soviet Union.
The Seven Plus One formula should be developed in the future, with the G-7 and Russia regularly discussing economic issues. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming Naples summit will become a major step toward mutual rapprochement, with the G-7 summit opening up new opportunities for realizing the necessity of a wide-ranging partnership in the construction of a stable and democratic world.
Source: Russian Information Agency "Novosti"
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