26 February 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

22.02.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding media question on the internal Libyan crisis

We have taken note of the February 19 interview which Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, gave to Reuters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. He said he had a positive view on Russia’s role in resolving the Libyan crisis. In that interview, Libyan Prime Minister mentioned the possibility of Russia acting as an intermediary between the Tripoli government and political factions in eastern Libya.


22.02.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

On February 21, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the initiative of the US side.


21.02.2017 - Embassy comment on Russia’s decision to recognize the validity of documents issued by the de-facto authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk

The decision to accept ID’s and other documents issued by the de-facto authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk (East Ukraine) does not imply Russia’s legal recognition of the said authorities.


21.02.2017 - Security Council Press Statement on Passing Away of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin

The members of the Security Council were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, prominent Russian diplomat and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations on 20 February 2017.


20.02.2017 - Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, February 18, 2017

Question: How do you feel about the questions? Were they easy, as usual? Sergey Lavrov: They were predictable, given our Western colleagues’ fixation on seeing Russia as the only party responsible for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Their fixation on this cybersecurity and cyber espionage agenda is equally and utterly incomprehensible. Not a single fact implicating Russia has been cited in the presence of a number of facts pointing in a different direction towards the real source of this unlawful activity. We are doing our best to make our position clear.


20.02.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions following a G20 ministerial meeting and the Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017

Our meetings in Germany are almost over. We spent a day and a half in Bonn and two days in Munich, at a meeting of the G20 foreign ministers in Bonn and the annual international security conference in Munich, which is nearing completion. You attended my speech there, and today I am ready to answer your questions if you have any.


17.02.2017 - Concept paper on the Joint Group (Agreed on as the outcome of the International Meeting on Syria in Astana, February 16. 2017)

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey (hereinafter – the Parties) pursuant to the Joint Statement on the International Meeting on Syria in Astana (January 23-24, 2017, Kazakhstan) decide to establish the Joint Group as part of a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure foil compliance with the ceasefire regime in the Syrian Arab Republic; prevent provocations; determine all modalities of the ceasefire, including separating terrorist groups ISIL/DAESH and "Al-Nusra Front" from the armed opposition groups in order to consolidate the ceasefire regime; strengthen confidence-building measures and discuss other related issues that can contribute to the UN-sponsored intra-Syrian negotiations on a political solution based on UN Security Council resolution 2254.


17.02.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comment and answers to media questions following talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Bonn, February 16, 2017

We have held a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It was a pragmatic and business-like meeting, which I would describe as productive in that we compared our views on prospects for working together in the areas which our presidents discussed in principle during their telephone conversation on January 28. We reaffirmed the existence of similar or identical interests, primarily with regard to the irreconcilable struggle against terrorism in the context of our cooperation within the political settlement in Syria and other countries where terrorism has taken root. We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Our American partners have expressed interest in joining the efforts that are being taken to settle these conflicts.


16.02.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Moscow, February 16, 2017

I would like to welcome you in Moscow in a very timely visit. And just on the eve of the long-awaited, long-expected resumption of the negotiations in accordance with the Resolution 2254 in Geneva and just on the very day when another round of consultations is being held in Astana in the context of the meeting between the Government and opposition with mediation of the Russian Federation, Iran and Turkey.


16.02.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

On February 16, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura ahead of the upcoming intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under the aegis of the UN, scheduled for February 23.



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