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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

29.06.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the opening ceremony of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities, Krasnodar, June 28, 2017

Mr Minister,

Mr Kondratyev,

Mr Pervyshov,

Colleagues, friends,

First of all, I would like to thank the Krasnodar Territory authorities for the hospitality and warm welcome they have accorded us. I am pleased at this opportunity, together with the leadership of this territory and this city, to welcome my German colleague Sigmar Gabriel.

I am greatly honoured to take part in the opening ceremony of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities. This forum, which took over from Karlsruhe, is an important event in the vast array of bilateral interregional and people-to-people contacts. Considering the current situation in Europe, when relations between our states – to put it bluntly – are going through hard times, such depoliticised cooperation is an important element in fostering an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding between nations and countries. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would particularly like to note the contribution made by the Sister Cities international association to preparing this event and fostering Russian-German cooperation in general.

We have always sought and will continue to seek to build our relations with Germany on the basis of equality and consideration for each other’s interests. History and recent experience show that deviating from these principles causes serious damage to both our countries and the stable development of the European continent as a whole. We are still open to close coordination of efforts in the interest of strengthening European security, for which our countries bear special responsibility, and we are ready to work together to counter global threats and challenges, primarily international terrorism and extremism.

Lately, our ties have acquired a more constructive and pragmatic nature. The top-level dialogue is moving forward. On May 2, President Vladimir Putin had talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi. We will be happy to host the German president in Russia.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has received an invitation. Interparliamentary and interministerial exchanges continue, including between our diplomatic services. The high-level working group on security issues is resuming full-scale activity.

We welcome the positive trends in the trade and economic sphere. In the first quarter of this year, trade was up by one-third, year on year. A lot was said recently at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in which our German partners took a very active part, about the interest of German business circles in expanding their operations in Russia. Major joint projects are under way and mutual investment activity is expanding. The interagency working group on strategic cooperation in the economic and financial sphere, which will next meet in July, makes a valuable contribution to efforts in this area.

Cultural, humanitarian, scientific and educational cooperation, as well as cooperation in historical and memorial activities, is expanding. Contacts between civil societies, including as part of such influential discussion forums as the St Petersburg Dialogue and Potsdam Meetings, are as relevant as ever. The bilateral year of youth exchanges was a great success. Mr Gabriel and I plan to attend its closing ceremony in Berlin on July 13.

Today, my colleague and I are giving the go-ahead to a new joint initiative – the bilateral year of regional and municipal partnerships, which will be held under our patronage. Its extensive programme in Russian regions and German federal lands includes numerous activities in various fields – from the economy and business to culture and sport. I am inviting the heads of Russian and German regions and cities to take an active part in it. We will mark the anniversaries of the establishment of ties between Moscow and Düsseldorf, St Petersburg and Hamburg, and other cities and regions.

Overall, we have many positive examples of joint efforts. They should lay the groundwork for a new unifying, forward-looking bilateral agenda, which would not depend on the political situation of the moment, and for returning our relations back to the path of strategic partnership for the good of our nations, Europe and the world as a whole.

Obviously, Russians and Germans must not be allowed to become alienated from each other. The path of postwar reconciliation and subsequent rapprochement was far too long and hard. It may be recalled that many prominent statesman have consistently advocated for friendship and neighbourliness between Russia and Germany, including such an influential, thoughtful and farsighted politician as Helmut Kohl, who, unfortunately, died recently. President Vladimir Putin recalled his meetings with Mr Kohl, stressing that he had urged everyone to renounce phobias and look to the future.

I would like to wish the conference organisers and participants success in your important and much-needed work.




LATEST EVENTS

19.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning alleged identification by the Metropolitan police of suspects in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on today’s media reports claiming that the Met Police have allegedly identified two suspected perpetrators of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury? A.: We have seen the report by the Press Association saying that investigators believe to have identified the persons who poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal by cross-checking CCTV recordings with lists of people who entered and left the United Kingdom around that time. The Security Minister Ben Wallace has already given assessment to this report by writing in Twitter that it “belongs in the ill informed and wild speculation folder”. In this regard, we would also like to mention the statement of the Met Police on the Salisbury poisoning published by “Daily Mail” on 17 July, according to which “the investigation into the Salisbury attack remains ongoing and we’re not prepared to discuss any lines of enquiry at this stage”.


19.07.2018 - Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s answers to questions by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency about the investigation into the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents and the murder of Nikolai Glushkov

Question: What could you say about the investigation into the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury? Maria Zakharova: We have noticed that Britain has lately modified the tactics of covering the investigation into the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents. While earlier the London police limited themselves to general phrases accompanied by a lot of media leaks and high-level politicised statements, then now they make regular public statements, with politicians referring to the need to wait for police conclusions. Despite insufficient informative value, this creates an illusion of transparency.


18.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s statement of on the 4th anniversary of the MH17 plane crash in Eastern Ukraine

Q: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insists on Russian state responsibility for downing MH17 flight in Eastern Ukraine. How would you comment on this? A: Indeed, four years have passed since Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight crashed in Donbass, claiming the lives of 298 innocent passengers from many countries. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who lost their lives. From the very first day Russia has advocated a thorough and impartial international investigation into this crash. Our country immediately offered all necessary technical and expert assistance. Instead, the Netherlands did not allow Russia to participate in the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) and opted to pursue a preselected line of investigation, almost entirely ignoring essential information that Russia was providing.


17.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statement of Minister of State Alan Duncan on the “Ukrainian political prisoners”

Question: Foreign Office Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan has urged Russia to release the “Ukrainian political prisoners” Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh and Emir-Huseyn Kuku. How would you comment on this? Answer: The Embassy has taken note of Sir Alan’s statement, which fails to reflect the real state of affairs. It should be reminded that Oleg Sentsov has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on grave charges of creating a terrorist group and preparing two terrorist acts.


17.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning The New York Times article on the Skripals case

Question: According to the New York Times, British investigators suspect “current or former agents of the GRU” of the attempted poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. How would you comment on that? Answer: We are not surprised by the new wave of anti-Russian publications in the run-up to and on the day of the meeting between the Russian and U.S. Presidents in Helsinki. However, we are concerned by the fact that, while the British authorities keep concealing all information concerning the investigation into the Salisbury incident, the newspaper has quoted “one former US official familiar with the inquiry”. It appears that the British authorities have shared confidential and extremely sensitive information with private individuals who have no authority or grounds for access thereto. Meanwhile, the Russian side has been trying to get access to the investigation and ensure cooperation between the British authorities and Russian experts for over four months, to no avail.


16.07.2018 - Russia-US summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of the United States of America Donald Trump have met in Helsinki for their first full-scale summit meeting. Before this, Mr Putin and Mr Trump had met on the sidelines of various international events.


16.07.2018 - News conference following talks between the presidents of Russia and the United States

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, The talks with President of the United States Donald Trump were held in a candid and business-like atmosphere. I think they were quite successful and beneficial. We reviewed the current state and prospects of Russia-US relations and key international issues. It is obvious to everyone that our bilateral relations are undergoing a complicated period but there is no objective reason for these difficulties and the current tense atmosphere.


14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new invitation of the OPCW experts to the UK

Question: How would you comment on the recent statement of the FCO concerning the new invitation to the OPCW experts to visit the United Kingdom in the framework of the Amesbury incident investigation? Answer: Following the new invitation extended by the UK to the OPCW technical experts “to independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent”, which Charles Rowley and Dawn Sturgess have been exposed to, we would like remind of the fact that after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March Russia proposed to the UK to use the mechanisms under Article IX, paragraph 2 of the CWC and carry out a joint investigation.


14.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning course of investigation of the Amesbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the recent statements that a small bottle containing nerve agent has been found in Amesbury? Answer: Unfortunately, Russia has no access to any official information concerning both the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and other suspicious incidents in the UK, because the British side refuses to cooperate with us in any way possible. We cannot check or verify any British statements. As for this incident, we have to rely only on public statements, and we are almost sure that the British side will not be informing us directly.


11.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the activity of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down

Question: As early as in April the Russian Embassy requested assistance of the British side in arranging a meeting with Chief Executive of the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Gary Aitkenhead and his colleagues. Have you managed to ascertain whether this secret lab had produced A-234 type agents that were allegedly used against the Skripals? Answer: Sadly, the FCO has ignored our query, which brings us to the conclusion that the British authorities wish to prevent us from communicating with experts who might have some information that is inconvenient for the Conservative government. In his interview to Sky News in April, Mr Aitkenhead himself did not deny the fact that his laboratory had produced and stockpiled nerve agents, including the so-called “novichok”. He added that they “would not be allowed to operate if we had lack of control that could result in anything leaving the four walls of our facility”.



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