20 January 2017
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

30.12.2016

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Moscow, December 29, 2016

Question: Moscow said that it maintains contacts with Donald Trump’s staff “at an adequate level”. Do these contacts continue, in what format and what subjects are discussed? Do you think Trump changed his rhetoric after the election? Have you started preparations for his meeting with Vladimir Putin? Is it possible that Trump will visit Moscow and when?

Sergey Lavrov: As President Vladimir Putin emphasised more than once, we are ready to work with the future US President and his team in order to overcome the crisis that developed in bilateral relations through no fault of ours. Naturally, we welcomed Trump’s intention to build normal cooperation with Russia, which he declared during his election campaign. During their telephone conversation on November 14, both leaders underscored the need to improve Russian-US ties, which are in very bad shape.

As for contacts, the Russian President made public our position on this score. We are open to contacts at any time in various formats but we are not pushing it because we understand that now President Trump is very busy staffing his administration. Obviously, this is his priority for the time being.

The same applies to organising a top-level meeting. It is worth waiting for the new President to take office on January 20, 2017, when channels of dialogue with the Republican administration will be fully open.

Question: Will Russia be able to return to full-scale work in the G8 if its relations with the United States improve under the new administration? Or do we no longer consider this format a priority?

Sergey Lavrov: Your question is not quite accurate. It was not Russia but our colleagues that walked out from the G8. But this is just a remark. Seriously speaking, at one time the G8 was a useful forum for dialogue, but times are changing

Today we do not consider it necessary to work in this format. We believe it has largely exhausted itself and lost its international weight. In fact, the G7 is a kind of get-together that is lagging behind the rapidly changing world. First and foremost, I am referring to the emergence and consolidation of new influential power centres without which topical global and regional issues simply cannot be resolved.

Moreover, many members of this informal club are suffering from the anti-Russian syndrome and continue taking openly unfriendly steps. Members of the G7 are blocking in unison any projects on Russian territory in some international financial institutions, for instance, the World Bank.

We think it is much more useful to promote dialogue with leading Western and other states at other, much more efficient venues. Many key problems are discussed by the G20. This is a much more representative format that unites advanced countries and states with emerging markets. The recent G20 summit chaired by China in Hangzhou confirmed the efficiency and relevance of this cooperation mechanism.

We are attaching special importance to deepening our cooperation in the SCO and BRICS. We are convinced that our joint efforts in these associations with reliance on international law and the UN Charter not only meet the vital interests of our nations but also strongly promote the consolidation of positive, unifying principles in world and regional affairs.

Question: Do you think the United States will agree to carry out joint operations with Russia against al-Nusra in Syria? Is Moscow ready for this?

Sergey Lavrov: From the very start of the operation by our Aerospace Forces in Syria, we suggested that Washington establish very close contacts between our defence agencies.

Despite President Barack Obama’s public statements about the need to coordinate all efforts in the fight against terrorism, the United States had a sluggish response to our proposals on cooperation and only agreed to sign a memo on preventing incidents in the air. Washington also avoided exchanging intelligence information on the coordinates of ISIS facilities in Syria although at the same time it claimed that we were hitting the wrong targets.

Several joint mechanisms on cooperation in Syria were just barely launched. For example, from March to July of this year the military of both countries conducted daily video conferences. The Russian-US Rapid Response Centre operated in Geneva from May to August. True, our partners were “embarrassed” to admit in public to engaging in direct military cooperation, making references to legislative bans or openly speaking about the vestiges of the Cold War mentality in the minds of many members of the US administration.

After the air force of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition dealt “by mistake” a strike at Deir el-Zour in the north of Syria, killing 62 Syrian servicemen, the implementation of the Russian-US agreement on establishing a Joint Executive Group was wrecked. The group was supposed to coordinate the actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the coalition against the positions of terrorists in Syria.

We noted that in an interview with the Boston Globe, US Secretary of State John Kerry frankly admitted that responsibility for the failure of this agreement rests with members of the US cabinet that were “bitterly opposed” to any cooperation with Russia. Clearly, you understand whom he had in mind. Therefore, it would be naïve to expect the current US administration to adopt a different approach in the remaining weeks of its term.

It is also public knowledge that Washington proved unable or simply reluctant to separate the “moderate” opposition from terrorists.

We are ready to cooperate in the anti-terrorist fight with the team of the new US President, Donald Trump, and not only in Syria.




LATEST EVENTS

20.01.2017 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 19, 2017

The ceasefire in Syria, which was introduced on December 30, 2016 with input from Russia and Turkey, is generally holding across the country. Violations are localised and thoroughly dealt with by Russia and Turkey, which are the guarantors of the December 29, 2016 agreements. We note with satisfaction that since December 30, 2016, the level of violence in Syria has visibly declined and the humanitarian situation has improved. The efforts by the Russian centre for reconciliation of opposing sides have helped normalise the situation in the Wadi Barada area near Damascus. The ceasefire has been joined by nine towns in this district, from which 1,268 militants have withdrawn. Most of them have laid down their arms and returned to a peaceful life. The others will be given an opportunity to leave for Idlib with their families in accordance with the established arrangement.


19.01.2017 - Agricultural Attache Derbenskiy took part in the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ annual event

On 17 January 2017 the Agricultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy Vladimir Derbenskiy took part at the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ annual event.


19.01.2017 - LAVROV ON UK INTERFERENCE IN US ELECTIONS (meeting the press on 18 January, after talks with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz )

Perhaps it is time to admit that it was not Russia but US allies who grossly interfered in US internal affairs, in the election campaign. We noticed that Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Theresa May, and other European leaders did so. Official representatives of some of the European countries did not mince words, and essentially “demonized” Donald Trump during the election campaign.


19.01.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Moscow, January 18, 2017

Question: Of late, Western media have been abuzz with stories about “kompromat” (compromising materials), leaks, spy scares and planted stories. Russia is mentioned and accused not only of hacking attacks but of almost everything. Could you comment on this? Sergey Lavrov: Frankly, we have already started to grow weary of discussing the issue of Russian interference in US internal affairs, in particular the election campaign that ended with the election of Donald Trump as president. Because these baseless, unsubstantiated, slanderous accusations continue to surface, I would like to say that the cynicism of the situation is that we are being accused by those who in fact actively interfered in the election campaign themselves. Through the president and other representatives, Russia has repeatedly stated that we are ready to work with any president the American people vote for in accordance with US law. With any president, whoever the winner is. However, unlike us, a number of leaders of US allied countries openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and leaders of other European states were actively involved in that. What’s more, in addition to direct campaigning for Hillary Clinton, official representatives of European countries had no qualms about demonising Donald Trump. For example, my German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier called him, if I remember correctly, a “preacher of hatred.” UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson even said that Donald Trump is inadequate, while then-French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that the Republican candidate was rejected by the entire world. And all of that was said not in a whisper in a narrow circle but loudly and to the whole world.


17.01.2017 - RUSSIAN EMBASSY ON BBC PANORAMA’S “TRUMP: THE KREMLIN CANDIDATE?”

The BBC’s another low in outright post-truth propaganda in the defense of the unsustainable status quo in Britain, US and worldwide. Not a single shred of evidence on any issue raised. John Sweeney’s praise for Ch.Steele’s ‘kompromat’ report “even if it is a pack of lies”, explains it all. And that includes the sense of despair in the face of change to come. A propaganda paid for by TV licence-holders. By the Western elites who adore business as usual for themselves and wouldn’t change neither 25 years ago, nor in 2008, when the crisis struck, hoping to print their way out of it. The Obama Administration promised, but couldn’t deliver change for this very reason. Russia was lying down in its own transformation and cannot be blamed for that. Now “the wrong choice” of the electorate undermines faith in US democracy? And the elites’ impotence equals doom and gloom for the liberal world order, etc?


17.01.2017 - Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the US troop buildup in Europe

Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? Maria Zakharova: Recently Western media and bloggers have been actively promoting the idea that the deployment of US troops in Europe is not particularly significant in military terms and is limited to the transfer of several hundred US rotational troops with a small amount of weapons and combat hardware as part of allied solidarity.


17.01.2017 - Press release on the UN roundtable on the implementation of JCPOA

On January 16, the Centre for Energy and Security Studies and the Russian Foreign Ministry held a roundtable discussion at the UN headquarters in New York dedicated to the first anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to monitor Iran's nuclear programme.


13.01.2017 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 12, 2016

We expect the officials to focus on Syria, considering our countries’ shared interest in an early political settlement of the extremely dangerous Syrian crisis. This crisis is directly affecting Syria’s neighbour, Jordan, which has accepted over 600,000 Syrian refugees. Like our Jordanian partners, we believe that there is no alternative to a political settlement of the protracted Syrian crisis by the Syrians themselves without any preconditions and with active international support. We have taken active steps within various formats to expedite the achievement of this goal in combination with our contribution to the fight against the terrorist groups in Syria.


12.01.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with former Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid

On January 12, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received former Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid.


12.01.2017 - Telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The two leaders focused on the situation in Syria. They pointed out that the ceasefire agreements reached between the Syrian Government and the moderate opposition through the mediation of Russia and Turkey have been mostly complied with and agreed to continue their joint efforts to prepare the intra-Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.



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