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Moscow Security Conference About To Kick Off

April 23, 2019 (EIRNS)—The 8th Moscow International Security Conference kicks off on April 24, following activities and exhibits that were held today at Patriot Park outside of Moscow. The conference will be opened with a keynote address delivered by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which will be followed by an address from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This year’s edition, which runs through April 26, will be mainly devoted to improvement of arms control systems, reports Sputnik. Other matters on the agenda include the settlement of the crisis in Syria, ballistic missile defense and arms control, terrorism, illegal migration from Africa to Europe, as well as reconstruction and return of refugees in Syria and Iraq.

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami and Indian Defense Secretary Sanjay Mitra are expected to attend the conference, as is International Committee of the Red Cross Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin, who will deliver the closing address, told RT in an interview that over 1,000 attendees from 111 countries are expected, including 35 delegations led by defense ministers and another 19 led by defense or deputy defense chiefs.

While terrorism and regional conflicts that have been rampant over the past decade remain concerning, Fomin said, increasingly more independent states are wary of interference from major powers—particularly the U.S.—and the prospects of a potential sovereignty loss. “They realize that concepts like peace, independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty tend to be increasingly fragile today. They need to be protected. The last 20 years have taught them that a state can only be secure if its military is well-equipped and armed with the most advanced air and missile defense systems,” Fomin told RT.

Fomin cited the U.S. threat to Venezuela as the latest external threat to sovereignty. Venezuela has faced extensive meddling from the U.S., ranging from backing the opposition to threats of a direct military invasion, he said. “The U.S. does not sit idly and is employing other tactics including a broad range of techniques developed for hybrid wars and color revolutions. The Americans have been training leaders and members of extremist groups,” Fomin continued. “They have been ramping up pressure including bribery, bullying, and sectoral sanctions. Operation Blackout is underway, a man-made shutdown of energy facilities deepening the economic crisis.”

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