18 January 2020
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685 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     677 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



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.



16.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a plenary session of the Raisina Dialogue international conference, New Delhi, January 15, 2020

Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.

14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.

14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.

19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.

18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

Thirty years ago, on December 18, 1989, Brussels hosted the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the USSR and the European communities. This date became the point of departure for official relations between Russia as the successor state of the USSR and the European Union. Symbolically, the Agreement was signed slightly over a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that came down in history as a landmark signifying the end of the Cold War, a period, when the continent was divided into two opposing ideological blocs. The founders of the Russia-EU partnership knew that it would be impossible to erase the centuries-old divides on the continent unless a broad framework for cooperation was created in Europe. Both sides intended to make it mutually beneficial, long-term, and resistant to economic and political fluctuations.

06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.

29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.

28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.

21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.

13.11.2019 - Article by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the media of the BRICS countries "BRICS Strategic Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth", November 12, 2019

On November 13–14, 2019, Brasilia will host the 11th BRICS Summit. In the run-up to this key event of the year for our group I would like to share Russia's vision of the BRICS strategic partnership. The current Brazilian BRICS Chairmanship managed to achieve serious progress in all main pillars of cooperation – political, economic and humanitarian. Russia supports its Brazilian friends in their efforts to improve the practical impact of our multifaceted interaction on the prosperity of our States and peoples.

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