US playing with fire around Taiwan: Lavrov
Russia calls on the United States to stop fanning the flames of conflict in the Asia Pacific as Washington keeps "playing with fire" around Taiwan.
The United States is "playing with fire" around Taiwan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday in a speech, sharply criticizing Washington for its behavior in the region at the United Nations General Assembly's 77th session in New York.
The situation around Taiwan escalated following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and opposes any direct official foreign contacts with the island.
Pelosi's visit led China to announce ending cooperation with the US on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.
The US 7th Fleet issued Tuesday a statement saying that two military warships, a USS Higgins and a Canadian HMSC Vancouver, transited in the "international waters" of the Taiwan Strait.
The term "international waters" has been used by the US and its allies several times to continue their provocations against China.
The United States is trying to turn the entire world into its backyard through its sanctions, Lavrov said after Washington imposed round after round of sanctions on Moscow in light of the Ukraine war.
"The West does not shy away from expressing its intentions to militarily defeat Russia and cause it to collapse," Lavrov said. "The United States is trying to subjugate Asia."
"Russia gave up the countries that were under the control of the Soviet Union in exchange for peace and for its borders to remain untouched," but the Pentagon programs in neighboring countries pose a threat to the federation's security, the Russian foreign minister underlined.
EU blocking fertilizer shipments to Africa
The European Union has been blocking fertilizer shipments, which Russia wants to export free of charge to help tackle hunger in Africa, Lavrov added.
The foreign minister underlined that grain ships sailing from Ukraine have been "sailing to not-so-poor countries" while sanctions imposed by the US and EU on fertilizer exports are still in place, curbing Russian shipments to African countries facing hunger.
Lavrov said that cargo ships carrying a total of 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizers had been blocked in European ports for weeks.
The cargo was bound for developing countries in Africa but Brussels has not made steps to lift sanctions on its transit, Lavrov told the UNGA.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on world leaders to continue to work on removing obstacles to the export of fertilizers and their ingredients from Russia.
He noted that although such exports do still face obstacles, these Russian products are not subject to any sanctions, praising the international community for the progress achieved in eliminating the indirect effects of sanctions on these exports.
One month prior, Guterres underlined that Russian fertilizers and agricultural products must be able to reach world markets "unimpeded" or a global food crisis could strike as early as next year.
It is noteworthy that on July 22, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed a UN-brokered initiative to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships with food and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports.
Three key Ukrainian ports — Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhne — were unblocked to resume exports. The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was set up to monitor the implementation of the initiative, including ensuring that cargo ships do not carry unauthorized goods or personnel.
The UN-brokered initiative consists of two package documents. The first one, a memorandum, stipulates the obligation of the UN to remove various restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets.
The second defines the algorithm for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the Black Sea ports controlled by Ukraine. Moscow has pointed out that the first memorandum of the grain initiative is not working yet.
India, Brazil UNSC membership
India and Brazil should join the UN Security Council as permanent members, the Russian foreign minister said, explaining that this would "better reflect modern realities".
"Undoubtedly, both the Council and the UN as a whole must be adapted to modern realities. We see prospects for democratizing the work of the Security Council exclusively through the increased representation of countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America," he stressed.
"We particularly note India and Brazil as key international players and worthy candidates for permanent membership in the Council, with a mandatory increase in the profile of Africa," the diplomat continued.
Both Brazil and India are parties to the group of five emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which is an alliance of growing influence in light of the shifting balance of power in the international arena.