25 May 2017
Moscow: 06:10
London: 04:10

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  




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.


24.05.2017 - Meeting of Vladimir Putin with FIFA President Gianni Infantino

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Infantino, we are glad that you have a positive view of Russia’s efforts to prepare for the FIFA World Cup and Confederations Cup.

23.05.2017 - Condolences to British Prime Minister Theresa May

President Vladimir Putin expressed his deep condolences to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Theresa May over the tragic consequences of the terrorist attack at the Manchester stadium.

23.05.2017 - Press release on the arbitral tribunal on the law of the sea (claim of Ukraine against the Russian Federation)

On 12 May the arbitral tribunal established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the request of Ukraine claiming violation by the Russian Federation of this Convention held its first meeting. The arbitral tribunal presided by Judge Jin-Hyun Paik (Republic of Korea) considered, with the participation of representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the principal procedural documents that will govern the work of the tribunal.

22.05.2017 - Press release on a meeting of the Russian-Palestinian Working Committee on the Middle East

On May 20, a meeting of the Russian-Palestinian Working Committee on the Middle East was held at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian party was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov (co-chairman of the committee) and Sergey Vershinin, the Russian Foreign Minister’s Special Representative for Middle East Settlement and Director of the Ministry’s Middle East and North Africa Department. The Palestinians were represented by Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian President’s advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations and a member of the PLO Central Council (co-chairman of the committee), and Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal.

19.05.2017 - Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov’s meeting with a delegation of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee

On May 18, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov held a meeting with a delegation of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (Riyadh Group). There was an exchange of views on the progress and prospects of the inter-Syrian talks under UN auspices, in particular, in the context of the latest proposals by the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

19.05.2017 - Press release on the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department meeting with NGO delegates and researchers

On May 18, senior officials from the Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department held an annual meeting with delegates from the concerned Russian NGOs and the research and expert communities. They exchanged opinions on a wide range of current international security and strategic stability issues.

18.05.2017 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides, Nicosia, May 18, 2017

We have held very useful talks. Cyprus is our reliable and time-tested partner in Europe. Our ties are based on sincere feelings of friendship and the sympathies of our peoples, on their spiritual and cultural affinity.

18.05.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

On May 18−20, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Nicosia, which concludes Cyprus’ six-month chairmanship of the Council’s Committee of Ministers (CECM). The main theme of the upcoming ministerial session is Reinforcing Democratic Security in Europe.

16.05.2017 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the latest application of the so-called “Law on Occupied Territories” in Georgia

We took note of the announcement by Georgian authorities that former Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov would be added to the list of “persona non-grata” due to his past visits to the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia. As we can see, official Tbilisi continues its systematic provocations, undermining the process of improving relations with Russia. It is difficult to provide rational explanations for this behaviour, because Russia-Georgia normalisation brings with it tangible benefits for the economy and citizens of Georgia.

15.05.2017 - Excerpts from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview with Channel One’s Vremya weekly news and analysis programme, Beijing, May 14, 2017

Question: The meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson only lasted forty minutes, compared to the Moscow meeting which was took one hour longer. Nevertheless, it seems that you had enough time to achieve the needed results. Specifically, you said that you talked about Syria at length, and the Americans were people of action. Could you be more specific about the action you were referring to here? Could you share some details about this meeting? Sergey Lavrov: Firstly, Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow was important because of the mere fact that it provided an opportunity for the first face-to-face meeting at foreign minister level and a meeting took place with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Since this was the first contact of this kind, we spent quite a lot of time going through all the subjects on the agenda related to bilateral ties and international and regional issues. The visit to Washington was a follow-up to the conversation already started in Moscow. Rex Tillerson and I had a meeting that lasted about two hours, and a little less than an hour in the White House, where we talked at length with US President Donald Trump about Syria (as I have already said at the press conference in Washington), primarily focusing on the groundwork that was laid last year, and further efforts along these lines by the new administration.

all messages