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815 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     807 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

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. We played football and volleyball. We had a club, which no longer exists. The leased building was returned to local authorities because the new Embassy has a club on its premises.

There is one thing that comes to mind first of all. A small viper crawled into my office in the old building. The air conditioners were installed in the wall and the snake crawled through a small gap between the air conditioner and the wall. We got rid of it very quickly, but after that all offices were inspected to see if any gaps in the walls needed to be closed.

In addition to the club where we met every weekend, I also have warm memories of our sports games. By the way, we also watched films at the club. It was a good tradition. Nowadays the embassies seldom hold film screenings. Everyone can watch what they like at home.

Question: What films did you watch back then?

Sergey Lavrov: We were sent good Soviet films, which are shown on television even now. We also liked to play beach football. Diplomatic couriers delivered mail and collected our mail once a month. Many of them were good athletes, including football players who held the title of merited athlete. For example, Dynamo player Vladimir Savdunin played football with us. Others included players from the Spartak club. It was fantastic: we were very young then and we had a chance to play football with world famous athletes.

I also remember the trips we made. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. It takes a few hours’ drive to the mountains where people use wood-burning stoves, or tea plantations, the former British settlements which have been turned into recreation spots open to all.There is a place in Sri Lanka that is known as World’s End. It is believed that Adam lived there after he was expelled from Paradise. There are many interesting places on the island. I would recommend travelling there, if possible. It is a bit like Sochi, with both the sea and the mountains nearby. They don’t ski there, but the mountains are certainly good for hiking. Sri Lanka has a very interesting history. I also recommend visiting Sri Lanka’s old capital, Kandy.

We are developing bilateral tourism. I have held talks with President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and my colleague, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and it turned out that the number of Russian tourists in Sri Lanka increased by 30 percent to some 85,000 in 2019. Our colleagues are delighted, first by the increase itself and, second, because, apart from absolute figures, Russian tourists spend more money per capita than tourists from other countries. In short, tourism has good prospects. Our mutual trade is growing as well.

I remember that the idea of a new embassy building was aired back when I was working at the Soviet Embassy here in 1975-1976. In other words, things were not moving fast enough, but it is the result that matters. I believe the result is quite good. One can live and work here very well.

Question: Do you still remember any behests or advice you received from Rafik Nishanov?

Sergey Lavrov: He is a wise man. It is difficult to formulate his behests, but he showed what diplomacy was by his very behaviour and the way he worked and communicated with our foreign colleagues. Always courteous, he never offended anyone even with a hint and he always showed that he heard what his interlocutor was saying. When your response includes minor details your interlocutor used, it shows that you listen to and hear what is being said.  

Rafik Nishanov also has a fine sense of humour. When he greeted me with “Hello, Marxist” upon his arrival at the embassy – I usually sat at my desk by that time – it meant that he was in a great mood and everything went very well that day. In general, he seldom lost his temper. Of course, there were some critical situations; we had our ups and downs. There were car accidents involving our personnel, which is a nervous situation, but he always settled any problems we had, bless him.

 

This interview was taped during Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Sri Lanka on January 14, 2020

 




LATEST EVENTS

16.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the RBC media holding on current international issues, Moscow, May 15, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview on current international issues


14.05.2020 - Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference following a video conference of foreign ministers of the SCO Member States, May 13, 2020

We have just completed the SCO Member States foreign ministers’ video conference where we discussed the general state of affairs in the region and the world and the SCO priority goals in connection with the spread and consequences of the novel coronavirus infection. We thanked our colleagues for supporting the Russian chairmanship’s proposal to hold this SCO foreign minister extraordinary meeting on this sensitive and important topic.


14.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks and answers to questions at a news conference following the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States via video conference, Moscow, May 12, 2020

We have just concluded a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It took place via video conference for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.


09.05.2020 - Online concert dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory

Ensemble Productions Company with the support of the Russian Embassy in London and Rossotrudnichestvo in the UK organises an online concert dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.


09.05.2020 - Vladimir Putin congratulated veterans and all Russians on Victory Day

On the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the President laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden.


09.05.2020 - Message from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on the occasion of Victory Day

Today marks 75 years since the surrender of Germany brought an end to the Second World War in Europe. On this historic day, I would like to pay tribute to the men and women of that heroic generation, from many nations, who kept on fighting to achieve victory.


08.05.2020 - President Putin's congratulatory letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Dear Prime Minister, Let me send you and the British people my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Nazism.


08.05.2020 - Congratulations to leaders and citizens of foreign states on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War

Vladimir Putin sent congratulatory messages to the leaders and citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia as well as the peoples of Georgia and Ukraine, on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War... The President of Russia also sent greetings to the leaders and people of Great Britain, the United States of America and France.


30.04.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TASS news agency, Moscow, April 29, 2020

Question: This is our first online interview. How familiar are you with this format by now? I know you are holding online meetings, and even met with your BRICS colleagues via this format. How much more time, do you think, will we have to work online?


28.04.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers during a video lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Moscow, April 27, 2020

Mr Torkunov, MGIMO University is rapidly making the switch to new technologies in the face of the real restrictions the coronavirus has placed on in-person interactions. I was told that you had managed to organise the switch very quickly without somehow losing the materials you have to impart, in addition to the knowledge. I am confident that MGIMO University will do a good job of holding its exam period, the defence of graduation theses and the state final certification. I hope that you will find a creative way to enroll new students. I don’t know how the campaign will be organised, but please ask if we can do anything to help you. We will try to be useful.



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