Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday attacked US and European approaches to multilateralism, including Washington's suggestion of a "Summit for Democracy," saying they risked creating new rifts on the international stage.

Speaking at a virtual ministerial session of the UN Security Council organized by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the veteran Russian diplomat said that developing multilateralism should "be done on a collegial basis."

But he said that "in recent times, we have witnessed attempts to establish an international order... to impose upon everyone new rules that have been drawn up in non-inclusive bodies and circles."

"It is in this context that the US administration wishes to organize a 'Summit for Democracy,'" he said, referring to a proposal made by US President Joe Biden, which Washington says would aim to rally international support to fight corruption, combat authoritarianism and promote human rights.

"But that risks making international relations even more strained and create fault lines in the world, when what we need is a common and united purpose," said Lavrov.

Washington has not yet revealed details or even a possible date for such a gathering.

"Of course, it will be Washington that puts together the list of states to be invited to this summit," said Lavrov, speaking after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had not mentioned the potential summit.

Without explicitly referring to either Russia or China, Blinken had earlier promised that Washington would "continue to push back forcefully when we see countries undermine the international order, pretend that the rules we've all agreed to don't exist, or simply violate them at will."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaking at a press conference in Moscow on May 5 2021.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaking at a press conference in Moscow on May 5 2021. POOL / Alexander Zemlianichenko

"Some argue that what governments do within their own borders is their own business, and that human rights are subjective values that vary from one society to another," he said.

"Asserting domestic jurisdiction doesn't give any state a blank check to enslave, torture, disappear, ethnically cleanse their people, or violate their human rights in any other way," he told the videoconference gathering, in a veiled allusion to the repression of China's Uyghur Muslims.

Blinken referred to the UN founding principle of "sovereign equality," noting that "a state does not respect that principle when it purports to redraw the borders of another" -- a possible reference to Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

In his address, Lavrov also hit out at his European counterparts, saying while Germany and France might seem a "natural" fit to put together "an alliance for multilateralism," the two countries wanted to make the EU the "cornerstone of the multilateral system."

Lavrov said the proposal amounted to "imposing exclusivity in defiance of equality" between countries.

"We do not see the multilateral world as a way of working together to take collective decisions -- we see it rather as a way to impose rules on others," he added, in a speech praised by the Chinese foreign minister.

Wang said that Beijing believes "dividing the world into ideological camps goes against multilateralism," and called on UN members to "seek equality and justice, not hegemony."