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Russian FM Lavrov Slams West In UN General Assembly Speech

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took aim at the West as he took the podium at the UN General Assembly in New York, saying it is hard for the West to accept the loss of what he called its "privileged position" in world affairs.

Some Western countries "are trying to impede the development of a polycentric world," Lavrov told world leaders on September 27, without referring to any particular state.

"It is hard for the West to accept seeing its centuries-long dominance in world affairs diminishing," Lavrov said.

He claimed that "leading Western countries" are attempting to "recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others."

The foreign minister accused the West of holding a double standard when it promotes liberal values when they are convenient but dropping them when they are not.

Lavrov’s speech comes amid persistent tensions between Russia and the United States and its allies over issues including the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts, Moscow’s meddling into other countries’ elections, and a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain last year.

It also comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia's ally, Syria, of using chlorine gas in an attack against rebels in the northwest of Syria in violation of conventions prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. It was the latest in a series of accusations by the West of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government -- which Damascus and Moscow deny.

Earlier on September 27, Lavrov met with Pompeo in New York for talks that included the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, among other things, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov said Pompeo expressed readiness to discuss an extension to the New START treaty despite the collapse of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The 32-year-old INF unraveled earlier this year after Washington formally withdrew from it following years of accusations that Moscow had developed, then deployed, a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the treaty's restrictions.

Russia, which long denied the accusations, then withdrew from the treaty itself.

The demise of the INF, and the nascent arms race, has also fueled fears of other major arms-control treaties collapsing, such as New START, a broader, more comprehensive agreement that is set to expire in 2021 unless Moscow and Washington agree to extend it.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the Lavrov-Pompeo meeting.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS

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