29 March 2017
Moscow: 18:10
London: 16:10

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Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 15, 2017

Visit by UN Secretary General Special’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to Russia


On February 16, Moscow will host talks between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The meeting will be held in the run-up to the inter-Syrian talks scheduled to convene in Geneva on February 23 under UN auspices. Mr Lavrov and Mr de Mistura will exchange views on the full range of issues related to the Syria settlement, including progress in the so-called Astana process launched by Russia, Turkey and Iran to facilitate talks between the Syrian Government and the Syrian armed opposition.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov will hold a separate meeting with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

In its contacts with the UN Envoy, Russia will focus on ensuring that the February 23 inter-Syrian talks in Geneva under UN auspices strictly comply with the parameters set forth in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which provides for inclusive and equal participation of various segments of the Syrian opposition. We believe this to be the only way to achieve progress in settling the crisis in Syria and reaching agreements reflecting the interests of all segments of the Syrian population.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend G20 foreign ministers’ meeting


On February 16-17, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bonn, Germany. The meeting will be held as part of Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017.

The general subject of the meeting chosen by its hosts will be ‘Foreign Policy Beyond Crisis Settlement.’ The conversation is expected to focus on foreign policy goals regarding global governance, taking into account UN’s role, especially UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, conflict prevention and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as cooperation with Africa.

What this means is that the G20 countries are becoming increasingly active in their foreign policy efforts not only when it comes to settling crises, but also working together to come up with solutions to global challenges in the long run. Russia shares these global priorities and supports efforts to find coordinated approaches to dealing with the root causes of crises the world is facing today, as well as devising lasting solutions to political and economic issues.

The upcoming meeting and its topic are consistent with the trend of opening up the G20 agenda to issues at the confluence of politics and economics. Apart from the financial and economic block, which remains at the core of the G20 agenda, there is growing attention in this forum to issues like countering financing of terrorism, fighting corruption, resolving the refugee crisis, international information security, promoting development, and fighting climate change. Taking all this into account, the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting appears to be quite relevant.

Overall, Russia has a positive view of the priorities put forward by the German Presidency in this forum in all areas of cooperation. There is certain continuity with the Chinese Presidency, especially on issues like the digital economy, innovations and the 2030 Agenda.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that apart from the UN, the G20 has become an essential platform for coordinating the positions of the leading states. Russia believes that this format could be used to achieve progress in key areas such as ensuring sustainable economic growth, coordinating approaches to structural macroeconomic reforms, stimulating investment, strengthening multilateral trade and making it more open.

Russia is committed to remaining proactive in this area. Specifically, Russia is preparing to take part in a number of ministerial meetings, as well as the Leaders’ Summit, the highlight of Germany’s G20 Presidency, scheduled to take place on July 7-8, 2017 in Hamburg.


Events on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting and the Munich Security Conference


Many bilateral meetings and contacts between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts are planned on the sidelines of the events. I am prepared to comment on them today.

On February 16, Foreign Minister Lavrov will meet with Foreign Minister of Germany Sigmar Gabriel, in Bonn. We are working on arrangements for a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. There is a possibility of a meeting with our Chinese counterparts. Arrangements are being made for a meeting with the foreign ministers of Brazil and South Africa. These are the meetings I can confirm at the moment. More meetings are possible considering that the forum will be attended by foreign ministers of twenty countries. We will keep you informed about additional contacts and, of course, their results. We are currently planning meetings for February 17 with the foreign ministers of Italy and Japan on the sidelines of the forum. Once again, more meetings are possible.

Also, during the Munich Security Conference, a significant number of bilateral and multilateral meetings are expected. On February 17, Foreign Minister Lavrov will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif.

On February 18, bilateral contacts in Munich will continue. Minister Lavrov will participate in a traditional meeting with representatives of the Russian and German business communities. A meeting is planned with President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Foreign Minister of Croatia Davor Ivo Stier, Foreign Minister of South Korea Yun Byung-se, Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of Slovakia Miroslav Lajcak, and Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault. Also for February 18, a meeting in the Normandy format is being organised. There is a possibility of it happening. We will be able to confirm the date and exact time later. Contacts with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, are planned for the same day. We are bringing together a meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, and several other meetings.

Let me point out again that these are the meetings we are still working on and the schedule may change. We will keep you informed.


To be continued...


29.03.2017 - Russian Embassy’s press-secretary responds to a media question

Question: Can you comment on a Russian-Chinese initiative on investigating use of chemical weapons in Iraq and Britain’s reaction to it? Press-secretary: On 24 March, Moscow and Beijing put forward a draft resolution proposing that OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism in Syria to be extended to Iraq. Such an initiative reflected our serious concern over an increasing number of cases of chemical weapons use by terrorists in Iraq and the spread of WMD-terrorism throughout the region on the whole.

29.03.2017 - Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov answers questions from readers of the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty

In seeking early implementation of the Minsk Agreements we assume that a long-term solution to the problems connected with the deep crisis that has hit Ukraine can only be found by political and diplomatic means. The Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015 has been approved by the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 2202 of February 17, 2015. We are convinced that there is no alternative to the Minsk Agreements today. The West thinks likewise. The main provision of the Minsk Agreements is Kiev’s direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. Neither Russia, nor the new US President, nor anybody else can do for the parties to the conflict what is needed to achieve a settlement, and that is to agree with each other directly on mutual guarantees of security and the principles of building a common future.

28.03.2017 - On FCO “concern about Russian protest arrests”.

Surprised with the statement of the Foreign office. Russia respects and protects the rights of citizens to voice their concerns or protest peacefully. Nevertheless, there is a set legal procedure for arranging public events in a major city. In many cases it was followed, resulting in civilized, democratic meetings where our citizens voiced their criticism of the Government, which is normal. Unfortunately it was not always the case. Some of the self-labeled “anti-Kremlin activists” consciously misled people, provoking illegal actions, including the attack on a policeman who was wounded. Pupils and teenagers were actively recruited to participate in the event, mostly by promises of monetary reward.

28.03.2017 - Press Secretary answer to a media question on Defence Secretary Fallon statements

Question: Media report that on 27 March UK Defence Secretary Mr Fallon said that Russian behavior abroad is becoming more “assertive and arrogant”. What can you say on that? Answer: We are disappointed, though not surprised, by a string of unfounded accusations against Russia made by Mr Fallon.

28.03.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano, Moscow, March 27, 2017

We are glad to welcome you to Moscow. We value our Italian partners’ interest in further developing Russian-Italian interaction. Italy holds a special place in the system of Russia’s foreign policy relations. Our cooperation is based on firm traditions and successful experience in many areas. Our political dialogue, including at the top level, has been developing rapidly despite recent problems, along with ties between our parliaments and cooperation between our ministries and agencies, including foreign policy ones.

28.03.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

On March 27, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received a telephone call from UK Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson.

24.03.2017 - Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, March 23, 2017

On March 23, the next round of intra-Syrian talks based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254 will begin in Geneva under the auspices of the UN. The delegations of the Syrian government and Syrian opposition groups invited by the UN will continue consultations in keeping with the agreed-upon agenda, including forming trustworthy, inclusive and non-confessional governance, drafting a new constitution, using it as the basis for holding elections, fighting terrorism and other topical issues. In our view, combating terrorism is a priority topic, because, as evidenced by the recent terrorist attacks in the Damascus suburbs and Hama Province, terrorism remains the main impediment to peace in Syria.

23.03.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the entry ban to Ukraine for Russia’s Eurovision 2017 contestant Yulia Samoilova

The Ukrainian officials have, once again, proved their image of a regime infested with Russophobic paranoia and nationalist insecurities.

23.03.2017 - Condolences to Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May

Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May over the tragic consequences of a terrorist attack in central London.

22.03.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

On March 22, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Moscow with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The officials, who met ahead of the fifth round of the UN-facilitated intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, continued their exchange of opinions on the entire range of issues pertaining to the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

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