View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

Remarks at the International Conference ”Peace, Security and International Law: A Look at the Future“

April 12, 2003, Saint Petersburg

President Vladimir Putin: I am happy that the Chancellor of Germany and the President of France are taking part in the present conference. The theme to be discussed here is highly relevant, for it is about contemporary international security architecture and the determinant role of international law in its formation. It is obvious that the significance and interrelation of the issues of security and international law have become heightened today.

The world assembled the fundamental rules of international law literally by building blocks, erecting their edifice for many decades and even centuries. These rules and principles rest not only on the democratic experience of Europe, but also on the tragic record of the world wars. Today during the formal part of our event, when bestowing the title of Honorary Doctor of Law on Mr. Schroeder, this was already mentioned.

Yet recently many imperfections in the structure of international law have become revealed as well, along with its inner contradictions, which I think carry with them the potential for serious conflict.

Politicians and leaders of states rely upon the existing legal mechanisms. And the inadequacy of these mechanisms may entail serious consequences. I am convinced that if clear-cut operating legal mechanisms for dealing with crisis situations had been set up in good time, it would be possible to find significantly more effective solutions of the most complex world problems. Moreover, what is very important, without going beyond the bounds of the legal field.

We well understand that the world is fast changing. And it is obvious that the system of international law should also develop and improve, that is, correspond to the fast changing world. But the effectiveness of international law depends on a multitude of factors. And in the first place on a uniform understanding of the values of democracy and humanism. On the will of states and politicians to uphold and promote these values, using the recognized mechanisms of international law.

In this connection I consider it extremely important to enhance the role of multilateral cooperation among states, which until now has constituted the foundation of international stability.

The set of these questions was discussed yesterday in the course of our conversation with the President of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany. We once again become convinced that our views on the main positions practically coincide. One of them is the recognition of the central role of the United Nations. It is important that this organization should possess effective instruments for solving global problems in world politics and security.

Any modernization of its mechanisms, at the same time, should be carried out, and I am convinced of this and would like to stress that, not only within the framework of the UN, but also with the employment of the procedures set into the rules of international law and recognized by the United Nations itself.

Of course, there are no ready-made and indisputable recipes here. Moreover, we have before us more questions than answers. And now as never before it is important to rely upon the opinion of the expert community — lawyers, political scientists and specialists in various fields of international relations.

And an event such as today enables specialists not only to gather, but also to publicly speak out, to declare their opinions on these problems. Such events I think are very important and very timely. Therefore I wish to wholeheartedly thank the university, the law department of St. Petersburg University for the initiative shown. And we, of course, are looking forward impatiently towards the results of your work, fresh ideas and proposals.

Thank you very much.

April 12, 2003, Saint Petersburg