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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 18th meeting of heads of special services, security agencies and law-enforcement organisations of foreign states, Sochi, October 16, 2019

Mr Bortnikov,


The annual forums of the heads of special services, security agencies and law-enforcement organisations held by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) are regarded by right as a unique format of an international dialogue of top professionals.

The theme this year, Systemic Approaches to Counterterrorism, is essential for preserving international peace as well as global and regional security.

The main goal we will be discussing is to build up joint efforts to block all sources of fostering terrorism, including manpower, ideological, material and financial assistance.

A positive example in this respect was the Second International Conference on Countering Illicit Arms Trafficking in the Context of Fighting International Terrorism, held in Moscow in September.

A solid international legal framework has been created for effective counterterrorism cooperation, including UN Security Council resolutions, universal anti-terrorist conventions and protocols, as well as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The special services and law-enforcement organisations have at their disposal the special UN Security Council bodies, such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions committees, as well as the committee established pursuant to Resolution 1540 on preventing non-state actors from obtaining hold of weapons of mass destruction.

The recently established UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) will play an important role in the revamped international architecture of counterterrorism. The practical missions of the OCT are to implement the projects that stipulate the provision of technical support to the interested member states, including in Central Asia, to strengthen border security, to block the channels of weapon supplies to militants, and to combat terrorist propaganda. The voluntary donations made by Russia to the OCT budget are used to address these vital undertakings.

One more Russian contribution to international counterterrorism efforts was the establishment by the FSB of the International Counterterrorism Database, which General of the Army Alexander Bortnikov has mentioned and which involves dozens of countries and multilateral organisations. I would like to point out that this databank can be used to track down and detain foreign terrorist fighters around the world practically in real time.

This goal is becoming increasingly more important in light of the developments in north-eastern Syria. For many of the past years, we have been trying to attract international attention to the inflammatory policies of the United States and members of the US-led coalition aimed at destroying the Syrian Arab Republic, creating quasi-states east of the Euphrates and encouraging Kurdish separatism and confrontation with Arab tribes. We are reaping the first fruits of this short-sighted policy, which has led to a new armed conflict and the proliferation of ISIS terrorists from that region throughout the Middle East and North Africa and the rest of the world.

The European countries that used every available pretext to refuse to take in their citizens who had fought for ISIS and were interned in camps in eastern Syria share responsibility for this. We believe that the countries that grant citizenship to people who later become terrorists must accept responsibility for them.

The settlement of this problem and the Syrian crisis in general is possible exclusively on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. Russia will continue to promote the signing and implementation of agreements between Damascus and the Kurds in strict compliance with international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolution, as well as interaction between Syrian and Turkish authorities aimed at protecting security on their common border in keeping with the 1998 Adana Agreement.

This approach, as well as efforts to encourage all ethnic and religious groups in Syria to join a dialogue, will help to restore the sovereignty and unity of the Syrian Arab Republic and also to efficiently coordinate measures to root out the terrorist threat in Syria.

One more major challenge is the situation in Libya and around it. Destroyed in the illegal NATO operation eight years ago, the Libyan statehood has not been rebuilt so far. The ongoing internal Libyan confrontation has created a vacuum of security, which is conducive to a rise of terrorism and is attracting militants from Iraq and Syria. Libya is at risk of becoming the largest terrorist stronghold in North Africa, from where this evil is spreading into many countries of the continent.

Because of what is happening, it is vital to forget about geopolitical competition. Only an inclusive dialogue of all the Libyan political forces and coordinated support by all external players can help overcome the deep crisis and deliver the people of Libya from the terrorist evil.


A systemic approach to counterterrorism should include measures to prevent radicalisation that can lead to terrorism and to involve civil society in these efforts. I would like to point out that the key role in and the responsibility for organising the fight against terrorism and terrorist propaganda rests with states, their special services and law-enforcement agencies. Civil society organisations should complement these efforts without substituting state functions.

Of special importance is the fight against extremist ideology, including in the information space. After the threat of the caliphate has been eliminated, ISIS started changing into a ramified terrorist network based on recruitment, above all the recruitment of young people via social media. It is becoming increasingly more important to coordinate common systemic approaches so that  the use of the internet for terrorist and extremist purposes can be prevented.

Regrettably, there are obstacles in the way of this goal. In particular, our Western partners prefer to cooperate with a limited group of countries in this field, unwilling to involve such countries as Russia and China in the development of the rules and the standards for global IT companies. Nevertheless, we believe that common sense will prevail. I would like to note that the first step towards this has been made: during their summit in Osaka in June 2019, the G20 leaders adopted, with active support from Russia, a joint statement on preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism (VECT). The statement sets out the key priorities of international cooperation, including the dominant role of states in counterterrorism and condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations without any exceptions. This means that double standards must be abandoned. This is how we interpret this obligation of the G20 leaders.

A large contribution to these efforts has been made by the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism signed in 2017. This document, which sets out the tried and tested collective approaches to the fight against terrorism and extremism as its breeding ground, is open for signing. We invite all countries to join it.

Of course, the fight against extremism must be based on strict compliance with international law, renunciation of any ideological and political preferences in the fight against terrorism and attempts to divide terrorists into ones that are “good” or “bad”. It is extremely dangerous when some countries use the concept of countering violent extremism to make the international community believe that the terrorist threats stem from the policy of the so-called authoritarian regimes. In point of fact, the largest groups of the terrorist international – Al-Qaida, Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS – were born of the NATO countries’ military gambles in the Middle East. We are not reminding you about the real causes of the rapid rise of terrorism in the region because we want to ramp up rhetoric, but only because we should draw lessons from the grim experience of the past few years and start developing truly partner-like interaction in the spirit of the initiative on a global anti-terrorist coalition, which President Vladimir Putin advanced at the UN General Assembly.

Russia has consistently advocated anti-terrorist cooperation based on good will, renunciation of any hidden agendas and the use of terrorist groups for attaining one’s geopolitical goals, as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, including under the pretext of combating terrorism and extremism. We are open for constructive and equal cooperation with all our foreign partners on the solid basis of the UN Charter.

I wish all of you at the forum every success.


14.07.2020 - Foreign Ministry statement on the fifth anniversary of concluding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Five years ago, on July 14, 2015, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Germany, Iran, China, Russia, France and the United States, with the participation of the EU, concluded settlement agreements for the Iranian nuclear programme that were unique in their scope and reach. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action driven by the common political will of the countries participating in its development and reinforced by UNSC Resolution 2231 was a major achievement of multilateral diplomacy. It showed the benefits and effectiveness of the decisions made during the talks that prevailed over approaches based on threats, pressure and brute force.

09.07.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference following political consultations between the foreign ministers of Russia and three African Union countries (South Africa, Egypt and the Congo) via videoconference, Moscow, July 8, 2020

Colleagues, Today, we held the first political consultation meeting at the foreign minister level between Russia and three members of the African Union. This mechanism was established after the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi last October. These countries are the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are the former, current and next presidents of the African Union.

24.06.2020 - President Vladimir Putin's speech at the military parade marking 75th anniversary of Great Victory, 24 June 2020

People of Russia, Our dear veterans, Foreign guests, Soldiers and sailors, sergeants, warrant officers and ensigns, Officers, generals and admirals, I wish you all the best on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. A victory that determined the future of the planet for decades to come and went down in history as the grandest in its scale, significance and moral value. This year, the traditional Victory Day celebrations are being held in Russia on June 24. Exactly 75 years ago, the legendary victors paraded right here, along the Kremlin wall, to commemorate the end of the Great Patriotic War. That parade went down in history as a triumph of unprecedented scale, the triumph of good over evil, of peace over war, and life over death.

19.06.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei, Minsk, June 19, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our Belarusian friends for the warm welcome accorded to our delegation.

18.06.2020 - Article by President of Russia Vladimir Putin '75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future'

75 years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Several generations have grown up over the years. The political map of the planet has changed. The Soviet Union that claimed an epic, crushing victory over Nazism and saved the entire world is gone. Besides, the events of that war have long become a distant memory, even for its participants. So why does Russia celebrate the 9th of May as the biggest holiday? Why does life almost come to a halt on June 22? And why does one feel a lump rise in their throat? They usually say that the war has left a deep imprint on every family's history. Behind these words, there are fates of millions of people, their sufferings and the pain of loss. Behind these words, there is also the pride, the truth and the memory.

18.06.2020 - Article co-authored by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Serbian Kurir on June 18, 2020

Public discussions about possible outcomes of the Kosovo knot have become noticeably livelier recently. The United States and the EU are striving to make themselves an indispensable part of the settlement and are competing for the leading role in this process. In addition, as it happened before, they often disregard the opinions of other stakeholders, which fact calls into question the very possibility of finding a fair solution. Looking back into the recent past and analysing the regrettable consequences of external interference in the region’s affairs is something that must be done if we want to avoid making more mistakes. We also believe it is important to provide a general assessment of the current state of affairs and to outline our fundamental approaches to the Kosovo settlement.

17.06.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on US Officials’ Statements on Russia's manipulation of the International Criminal Court

Last week, Washington announced more unilateral sanctions. Unfortunately, this has already become common practice for the United States. These sanctions are directed at an unusual target - not one of the many countries that are out of US favour, but the International Criminal Court and its staff. This event was the subject of a joint briefing by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defence, the Attorney General and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

02.06.2020 - Appeal by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the parliaments of foreign States and the peoples of the world with regard to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism

Appeal by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the parliaments of foreign States and the peoples of the world with regard to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism

28.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article about the world amid the coronavirus pandemic for Chinese newspaper Global Times, Moscow, May 28, 2020

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus changed life on the planet virtually overnight. It also became a crush test for international relations, both at the level of individual countries and multilateral associations. The obvious consequences include an economic recession, a crisis of global governance and the growth of protectionist and isolationist sentiments. The pandemic has seriously limited humanitarian, cultural and tourist exchanges, as well as people to people contacts. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

27.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the joint news conference with CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas following the CSTO Foreign Ministers Council videoconference, Moscow, May 26, 2020

We have held a CSTO Foreign Ministers Council meeting via videoconference. Russia is chairing the CSTO this year. Considering the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus infection, we approached the preparations and holding of this meeting with certain precautions.

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