22 September 2017
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Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s interview with Izvestia newspaper, published on February 13, 2017

Question: In 2016, a wave of terror attacks swept across Europe and the US. This year also started with attacks in Europe, and terrorism is still an issue for everyone, Russia included. Vladimir Putin has said on numerous occasions that we can overcome terrorism only by working together. When will the West understand that in order to overcome this common scourge what the world needs is to form a broad coalition?

Oleg Syromolotov: You are absolutely right: in order to fight international terrorism the world does need a broad coalition that would be guided in its actions by the UN Charter, international law and UN Security Council resolutions. Destroying ISIS is a priority as far as counter-terrorist efforts are concerned. Everyone understands that. However, countries tend to adopt different approaches to achieving this aim due to their differences, primarily disagreements on political matters. Some go as far as supporting various kinds of terrorist groups, thinking that they will be able to control them, which is a huge mistake. As a result, they tend to fall into the same trap over and over again.

We hope that with Donald Trump as the new president of the United States and the new administration, the West will change its approaches to counter-terrorism efforts. Maybe they will finally understand that this fight should be free from any double standards or hidden agendas, and that the legitimate government of a country where the counter-terrorist operation takes place cannot be excluded from relations with foreign powers.

Let me give you one example. A coordinated effort to fight radical ideology without any compromises and in full compliance with international law and UN resolutions could serve as a foundation for uniting the broad coalition. In autumn 2016, Russia submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council aimed at countering the spread of terrorist ideology, justification and instigation of terrorist activity, including through the internet. Unfortunately, our Western partners have been quite restrained in their response to our initiative, to say the least. I think that common sense and the self-preservation instinct could compel them to be more open and constructive in cooperating with Russia.

To give you an example, I can refer to my February 8 meeting in Moscow with Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service Pedro Serrano to discuss international counter-terrorist cooperation.

During the talks, we discussed opportunities for expanding counter-terrorist cooperation in multilateral formats, primarily within the UN, reaffirming the need for the international community to work together in fighting the global threat of terrorism, while being guided in its efforts by international law, the UN Charter and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We agreed to hold the next round of talks in Brussels.

Question: Are there any differences in the approaches to fighting terrorism adopted by Moscow and Washington? Isn’t it one of the reasons why the two countries have so far been unable to fully cooperate on this issue?

Oleg Syromolotov: As strange as it may seem, but despite the extreme terrorist threat, until recently Western countries led by the US did not even think about giving up on the double standards in their fight against terrorism, thereby undermining the tenets of international counter-terrorist cooperation and helping terrorist forces strengthen their positions.

In fact, they have been following the same scenario time and again, and were consistent and cynical in doing so. They try to consolidate their global dominance by nurturing various radical forces and pitting them against unwanted regimes. They are willing to act in bad faith and violate all agreements for a single purpose: to stir up trouble and use the crisis situation to their benefit. This short-sighted policy is lamentable, and so are its consequences, including for Western countries and their citizens. It is not that easy to put the genie back in the bottle. Just look at all the issues Europeans are now facing after certain European countries carried out geopolitical experiments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Nevertheless and despite the existing differences, Russia and the US are still natural partners in fighting terrorism. Both countries should be interested in developing and strengthening this partnership. Russia hopes to be able to establish a more meaningful dialogue in this area with Washington under the new administration. That said, there is still a lot to be done in order for both sides to begin moving towards strengthening international counter-terrorist solidarity and to stop making a political issue out of efforts to combat the global scourge of terrorism. By the way, the double standards adopted by the US are to blame for the lack of momentum in the creation as per the initiative of the Russian president of a broad counter-terrorist front under UN auspices and based on international law, with a contribution from all countries to the best of their ability and subject to agreement of the country where the counter-terrorist efforts take place.

We assume that against the backdrop of rampant terrorism it is our duty to put political differences aside and finally try to cooperate in fighting terrorism in an honest and open manner.


20.09.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks during talks with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, New York, September 19, 2017

Once again, I would like to thank you for the hospitality you showed us several months ago. We also look forward to your visit.

20.09.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjarto, New York, September 19, 2017

As you know, we have always advocated the unity of the European Union, so we wish you all the best.

20.09.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks during talks with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, New York, September 19, 2017

We value any opportunity to hear your views on developments in the region, as well as to coordinate our further steps regarding the issues of concern to us in the interests of stability in the Balkans and the development of the region’s countries in accordance with the will of their people.

20.09.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, New York, September 19, 2017

Sorry for a small delay. Very nice to see you again. We believe that our dialogue is important. After your visit five years ago, this would be a good occasion to check where we are and what we get to do together to promote our very good relations and friendship.

20.09.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TASS and The Associated Press, New York, September 20, 2017

Question (in English): After your meeting with Secretary Tillerson, how would you evaluate the relationship with the United States? And has Russia given up on hopes of a significant improvement under the Trump administration? Sergey Lavrov (in English): The relations are at a very difficult and a very low point, which is the legacy of the Obama administration. We certainly noted what President Trump was saying when he was running for president about the relations with Russia and what he continues to say. Basically, that he wants to have good relations with Russia, understanding that this would be in the American interests and the interests of solving quite a number of important and most acute world problems. And what I feel talking to Rex Tillerson is that this is the position of the administration. They are not happy with the current state of relations, and we are not happy at all. And I believe that the understanding is that we have to accept the reality which was created, as I said, by the spiral of unfriendly steps started by the Obama administration, but this reality is with us. And being responsible people, I believe the Russian Government and the US administration should exercise this responsibility in addressing the bilateral links as well as international issues. We are not yet at a point where this would become a sustained trend but understanding of the need to move in this direction is present, in my opinion.

19.09.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov

On September 18, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York.

18.09.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

On September 16, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the initiative of the US side.

18.09.2017 - Joint statement by Iran, Russia and Turkey on the International Meeting on Syria in Astana 14-15 September 2017

reaffirming their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic; guided by the provisions of UNSC resolution 2254 (2015);

15.09.2017 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

On September 14, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the US initiative.

15.09.2017 - Press release on Alaska delegation’s visit to Russia

On September 4-10, Russia was visited by a group of public figures from Alaska, including representatives of the academic community and non-governmental organisations, members of the Alaska Historical Society and prominent figures of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.

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