22 October 2018
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Ambassador Yakovenko on the achievements in the Russian-British relationship in 2013 (Interfax)

The events of the passing year have confirmed that normalization of our bilateral political dialogue has become a stable and steady trend. Our relationship has been developing in a sustainable, dynamic manner, moving in the right direction, i.e. serving the mutual interests of Russia and the UK, our citizens. And most importantly, we share the philosophy that strong multilateral diplomacy should be supplemented by robust bilateral relationships, strong enough to withstand the impact of any political conjuncture.

The political leaders set the right, result-oriented tone for our bilateral relations. Over the last year and a half, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister David Cameron have held six personal meetings and have regularly spoken on the phone.

A new mechanism, that of the Strategic Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers, has been launched. The first “2+2” meeting was held in March in London, while the second one is scheduled to take place next spring in Moscow.

Russia and the UK have continued an active dialogue on topical global issues at other levels, including consultations between the Foreign Ministries. By tradition, concurrence of our positions on a number of topics was accompanied by serious differences on others. At the same time, wherever interests of the international community so required and the situation allowed, the differences did not prevent us from reaching agreement, in particular, on such important problems as the Iranian nuclear programme and political settlement of the Syrian crisis. Positions of Russia and the UK are especially close on such pressing international issues as safeguarding stability and security in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of foreign military presences and the Middle East peace process.

Permanent members of the UN Security Council, Moscow and London, together with the other P-5 partners, pursued an agreed policy regarding the reform of the UN and the Security Council. The nuclear power status dictated close approaches of Russia and Great Britain to the matters of nuclear disarmament, including within the context of breaking the deadlock at the Disarmament Conference and efforts to launch a conference on establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

Russia’s G20 presidency and the UK presidency of the G8, as well as Russia’s G8 presidency in 2014, have provided another dimension to our cooperation in global affairs. The priorities and programmes of these presidencies have been subject to synergy to achieve maximum efficiency of collective work and ensure continuity.

Moscow and London continue intensive efforts to renew the legal framework of our bilateral relationship – agreements on military technical co-operation and mutual recognition of higher education certificates are discussed. We view the decision of the British side to resume contacts between the special services to ensure security of the 2014 Sochi Olympics as another positive development in our relations.

Dynamic growth has been witnessed in trade and economic cooperation. The UK has remained one of Russia’s leading partners in trade (with mutual turnover of USD 17.5bn in three quarters of this year) and investment (with UK cumulative investment in Russia reaching USD 24bn, and Russia’s investment in the UK coming to USD 9bn).

To cite the most significant economic events of the year, I would like to mention the 10th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Trade and Investment chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable in Moscow on 12 November, and the first meeting of the Russian-British High-Level Energy Dialogue led by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey in London on10 June.

Considerable attention has been focused on energy cooperation. The successful deal between Rosneft and BP in March, including exchange of assets, became one of the milestones in the development of the Russian market. Active effort is aimed at two promising areas – a possible increase of direct supply of Russian natural gas to the UK and enhancement of nuclear energy cooperation with a potential entry of Russian advanced technologies into the UK market.

On 18 September, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Secretary Owen Paterson endorsed our Veterinary services’ agreement to lift the temporary ban on the import of UK beef and lamb by-products to Russia. The ban on beef and lamb had been lifted earlier.

Technological and innovative cooperation is a relatively new area of our economic cooperation, and both parties recognize the potential behind expansion of partnership relations between such companies. One of the ideas is to create a Russia-UK Venture Forum, which would serve as a platform for interested companies and investors. A programme of cooperation for the near future was endorsed by the 11th meeting of the bilateral Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation held on 16-17 October in London under the chairmanship of Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov and Secretary of State Vince Cable.

Financial cooperation is another important area, including joint work on creation of a Moscow International Financial Centre (MIFC), as well as active participation of British companies in preparations for sporting events like the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Summer Universiade in Kazan and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Increasing attention is paid to regional cooperation; both sides continue to promote contacts between small and medium-size businesses.

The potential of the UK as a promising business partner, in my view, is bolstered with the accelerated economic growth over the last few months and the restored entrepreneurial and consumer confidence. I believe that there are things for Russian companies to pay attention to with a view to expanding the horizons of their operations in the UK.

The cultural cooperation has also been actively developing. Moreover, the traditionally substantial exchanges in this area are to be brought to a higher level. In March, in accordance with the decision of our leaders, the Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement on holding a Russia-UK cross-year of culture in 2014. The preparations have now entered the final stage, with plans having been made for over 250 events. On 12-13 November, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Gologets, Chairperson of the Russian Organising Committee, visited London to discuss the details of the Russian and UK programmes of events with Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza. The logo of the Year was approved and presented to the media.

The historical and emotional dimension of our relationship is of crucial importance. Having established the Arctic Star medal, the UK Government granted permission for the British veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded the Russian Ushakov Medal. In 2014 our countries will take part in commemorative events to mark the centenary of World War One, in which we were also allies.


27.09.2018 - Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.

06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.

22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.

16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”

24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.

21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.

17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.

26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

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