10 April 2020
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Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

Question: What areas of cooperation will be in the focus of your visit to India and will determine the strategic partnership between the two states in 2020? What do you think about the Indian-Russian cooperation in general?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a special year for our countries. Twenty years ago, India and Russia signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.

Developing relations with New Delhi is among our absolute foreign policy priorities. I am pleased to state that the Indian-Russian relations are characterized by self-sufficiency, not being subject to the influence of "ever-changing foreign policy winds". And this is vividly evidenced by regular leaders’ meetings and increasing contacts at all levels. Further strengthening of our multi-faceted cooperation is in the fundamental interests of our peoples and in line with the task of enhancing international and regional security and stability. I am convinced that our Indian friends share similar logic.

During the visit, we plan to discuss with our colleagues topical issues on the bilateral agenda, primarily taking into account the results of the Indian-Russian summit that was held on September 4-5 last year in Vladivostok. The discussions will be mainly focused on the prospects of increasing trade and economic cooperation which is the foundation for expanding the entire system of the Indian-Russian partnership. Certainly, we are interested in a constructive exchange of views on the key issues of our time.

I also plan to take part in the Raisina Dialogue annual international political conference.

Question: How can India and Russia protect their interests in trade and investment, including in the defense sector, from unilateral sanctions?

Sergey Lavrov: Against the background of the increasingly aggressive use of financial sanctions by the U.S. Administration, Russia continues its policy aimed at gradual de-dollarization of the economy. Together with our main partners, including India, we work on developing economic and legal mechanisms to reduce the negative impact of restrictions on bilateral trade and investment ties.

Expanding settlements in national currencies is one of our priorities. Relevant intergovernmental agreements on settlements and payments were concluded with China and Turkey last June and October. Within BRICS, agreements were reached on the mutual opening by the Central Banks of relevant correspondent accounts. We consider that de-pegging from the dollar in mutual settlements is an objective response to the unpredictability of the U.S. economic policy and the outright abuse by Washington of the dollar's status as a world reserve currency.

Currently, New Delhi and Moscow are vigorously working to prepare a new intergovernmental agreement on the mutual protection of investments, which will by far increase investor protection for both sides. The agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and India which is currently being negotiated should also contribute to this.

Question: India is interested in foreign investments, including from Russia, for implementing the Make in India programme. What could attract Russian entrepreneurs? How could both sides realize the unfulfilled potential of the economic partnership?

Sergey Lavrov: Full investment cooperation is essential to the development of the whole complex of bilateral relations. This topic has traditionally been one of the central issues on the agenda of the Indian-Russian negotiations, including at the highest level. A broad range of coordination mechanisms is at our disposal, allowing for customization of the individual parameters of our interaction taking into account the traditionally close cooperation between our countries and good prospects for its development. Paying heed to the wishes of the business community, we seek to create the most favourable environment enabling Russian businesses to enter the Indian market. We are confident that our Indian partners intend to do the same.

We maintain fruitful cooperation in strategic areas. Russian companies are ready to actively join in the Make in India programme. They certainly have a stake in the harmonization and optimization of the import and export procedures, as well as facilitation and standardization of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. Yet, India's asymmetrical tax treatment of foreign business as compared to the regime enjoyed by Indian entrepreneurs in Russia remains the sticking point. Consultations on the removal of trade barriers are underway to make our domestic markets more attractive for mutual investments.

Today, such tasks as qualitatively improving the bilateral trade pattern and shifting its focus from commodities to high value-added products are taking priority. We need to move forward, build a portfolio of joint projects, forging new technological alliances in advanced, knowledge-intensive industries.

Question: What new areas of the Indian-Russian bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation involving third countries could be developed in the energy sector?

Sergey Lavrov: India is the third largest energy consumer in the world, while Russia is one of the world's key producers of hydrocarbons. Thus, the strategic interests of our countries in this area coincide.

We are establishing cooperation in geological exploration, joint development of oil and gas fields in the territory of the two countries, including offshore projects, which will eventually allow India to become the first non‑Arctic state extracting resources in the Arctic. Specifically, Indian companies participate in the development of oil and gas fields under the Sakhalin-1 project, as well as the Vankor oil and gas condensate field. The Rosneft oil company, in its turn, is a shareholder in one of the region's largest refineries, Vadinar.

We are looking into ways of improving the energy supply routes from Russia to Indian partners. Relevant agencies are studying the prospects for expanding cooperation in hydro- and heat power industry, energy efficiency, as well as in the design and construction of facilities that generate energy from renewable sources.

The Kudankulam nuclear power plant is the flagship project of our peaceful atom cooperation. We are working to develop energy cooperation in a trilateral format, following the example of the Ruppur nuclear power plant project in Bangladesh.



07.04.2020 - President Vladimir Putin's message to Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson

Dear Prime Minister, Let me express my sincere support for you at this difficult moment. I am sure that your energy, optimism and sense of humour will help you defeat the illness. With all my heart, I wish you a speedy and full recovery. Sincerely yours, Vladimir Putin

23.03.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Saturday news show Vesti v Subbotu, Moscow, March 21, 2020

Question: For you, Sri Lanka is your youth. What did you feel when you came back here? We are now in the new Embassy building, while you worked in the old building. Still, what memories did it stir up from when you worked here? Sergey Lavrov: Of course, I mostly remember the old building where I worked for four years. I was an aide to Soviet Ambassador Rafik Nishanov, God bless him. We created a tight-knit group of MGIMO graduates and more experienced personnel, including first secretaries and councillors.

27.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the ceremony of signing a cooperation agreement between the Foreign Ministry, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) and the Federal Archive Agency (Rosarkhiv) on information coverage of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Moscow, February 26, 2020

We have just signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS on covering the events that will be devoted to and are already being held to honour the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Foreign Ministry has established very close, collaborative and friendly relations with our colleagues – the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS. We are combining the capabilities of federal executive bodies and our media on a very topical theme.

21.02.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's welcoming words at the reception to honour the Russian Armed Forces

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen, We have gathered today to honour the Russian Armed Forces. Our Army has seen many glorious victories. Those who liberated Europe and all humanity from fascism on the battlefields of the World War II are still among us. After that terrible war, 75 years ago, the leaders of the USSR, United Kingdom and United States agreed to create the United Nations Organisation designed to prevent such devastating tragedies.

19.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the joint news conference following Russian-Italian talks between foreign and defence ministers in the two-plus-two format, Rome, February 18, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality we traditionally receive in Italy. I completely agree that the fourth joint meeting between the Russian and Italian foreign and defence ministers was held in a constructive manner. The last time we met in this format was in 2013. We find that resuming work in this format is timely and important.

18.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following the 56th Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 17, 2020

The Munich Security Conference is over. You have seen all the speeches. Our media have already made assessments. I will be glad to answer your questions. Question: Did you discuss with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo President Donald Trump’s participation in the meeting of the UN Security Council permanent members proposed by Russia? Is the US position now clear? Did you discuss extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)? Did you manage to reach any agreement?

17.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the 56th Munich Security Conference, Global Disorder – Other Opportunities for a New Agenda, Munich, February 15, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Sadly, there are attempts to brazenly distort history and to equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers. These attempts will remain on the conscience of those behind them. No one and nothing can belittle the decisive role of the Red Army and the Soviet people in defeating Nazism. At the same time, we will always keep in our minds the spirit of Alliance during the War and the ability of the states to unite and fight the common threat regardless of ideological differences.

10.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiyskaya Gazeta editorial office and its regional partners during a business breakfast, Moscow, February 10, 2020

Question: There are numerous reports in the media about preparations for the upcoming Defender-Europe 20 military exercise, due to take place this May in a number of Eastern European countries. This will be the largest US military exercise in the past 25 years. Given the considerable cooling in relations between Russia and NATO, are we witnessing the birth of a new Cold War?

06.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Prensa Latina News Agency, February 5, 2020

Question: What is your opinion of the new US punitive measures to toughen the embargo against Cuba that has been in place for almost 60 years? Sergey Lavrov: We can see that US attempts to reformat the Latin American region in line with its geopolitical interests aim to overthrow the “undesirable regimes” in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The archaic Monroe Doctrine serves as the ideological foundation. In the run-up to the presidential election, the White House continues to ratchet up sanctions against those states which preserve their national independence, sovereignty and identity. This openly anti-human policy runs counter to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the UN Charter.

03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya 1 television channel for the documentary Antarctica: 200 Years of Peace, Moscow, February 2, 2020

Sergey Lavrov: Antarctica, which was discovered 200 years ago by the first Russian expedition of Faddey Bellinsgauzen and Mikhail Lazarev, is a continent where international relations, as it was decided after long disputes, are guided by the Antarctic Treaty signed 60 years ago. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty sets out the principles that regulate the activities of all countries in Antarctica. First of all, the contracting parties pledged to use Antarctica for peaceful purposes only, preserve its biological resources and prohibit all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research (the latter provision was confirmed by the contracting parties for at least 50 years at their meeting in Madrid in 1991). The treaty also bans any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. There is also a provision on cooperation based on mutual respect and conducted in the interests of the whole of humankind.

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