18 March 2018
Moscow: 03:11
London: 00:11

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  




Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani following his visit to Qatar, Doha, August 30, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our Qatari friends for their hospitality and very good organisation of our work.

As my colleague, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, said, we were received by Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar this morning and after that detailed talks were held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.

At all these meetings, we reaffirmed our commitment to the further development of interaction over the entire spectrum of areas in line with the agreements reached during His Highness Sheikh Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit to the Russian Federation early this year and in the course of telephone conversations between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and the Qatari leader.

We are committed to promoting our trade and economic ties more actively. Of course, trade so far falls short of both countries’ potential. In this regard, we attach much importance to energising the Joint Russian-Qatari Commission for Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation, which held a meeting in Doha in April of this year. Incidentally, our entrepreneurs held a business forum on the sidelines of this event. Quite recently, we have also upgraded the composition of the Russian-Qatari Business Council, which should also facilitate progress in trade and economic interaction.

We have confirmed our shared interest in continuing our coordination in the energy and oil production area as well as within the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. We note a growing interest towards investment interaction, specifically between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Qatar Investment Agency. We have agreed to continue cultural, humanitarian and educational exchanges, including during preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

As my colleague, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, said, Minister of State for Defence Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah of Qatar visited the Russian Federation recently to attend the Army-2017 International Military Technical Forum. He held talks with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, which revealed mutual interest in promoting contacts in this sphere.

We also discussed current regional issues, including crises in Syria, Libya and Iraq. We share the opinion that every one of these conflicts must be settled exclusively through an inclusive dialogue between all ethnic and religious forces without any external interference, so that the people themselves can decide the future of their country. In this regard we are grateful to our Qatari friends for their high assessment of Russia’s efforts to promote the concept of de-escalation zones in Syria, considering that such zones will also create more favourable conditions for promoting political dialogue.

We also share the concern over the deadlocked Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We are convinced that solutions must be searched for on the path of direct dialogue based on the Arab Peace Initiative, which the quartet of international intermediaries – Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU – has supported more than once. Russia and Qatar believe that the restoration of Palestinian unity is an issue of crucial importance. The current developments in relations between the cities of Ramallah and Gaza are absolutely abnormal. We believe that the Palestinians must resume the implementation of the framework agreements reached earlier, which provide for restoring the unity of all on the basis of the PLO platform and the Arab Peace Initiative.

As my colleague has said, we discussed the situation in the Persian Gulf in light of tensions between Qatar and a number of other Arab countries. We are convinced that solutions to this problem must be based on mutually acceptable approaches, dialogue and compromise, and without counterproductive militant rhetoric.

We have reaffirmed our support for the mediation efforts of the Emir of Kuwait. We are ready to contribute to these efforts if the parties believe that this would be useful. As I said in Kuwait, we want the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) to be united and strong and to facilitate the solution of the region’s problems, and strong and to facilitate a solution to the region’s problems, of which there are many, without creating new ones.

I would like to again express gratitude to our Qatari friends for their hospitality. I invite my colleague, Foreign Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, to visit Russia at his convenience.

Question: As you have said, many envoys are visiting the region. How does the role of Russia’s envoys differ from the others who are attempting to resolve the crisis in the Persian Gulf? We have heard reports of the ideas you are bringing to the leaders of the Persian Gulf countries and countries involved in the conflict. What are these ideas? What was the reaction in Kuwait and the UAE when you discussed the situation with Qatar?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding Russia’s role, we are not acting as mediators, as I said. Kuwait is playing the role of a mediator. We believe that this issue should be resolved through the efforts of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). We know that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has proposed mediation services. We will welcome it if these proposals produce results and these efforts meet with success. But for our part, we have not proposed anything that differs from what Kuwait and the United States are proposing. We do not think this necessary. There are sufficient proposals that provide a perfectly adequate base for beginning dialogue. We will continue our policy of contacts with all countries in the region.

Question: Why did you not go to Saudi Arabia this time?

Sergey Lavrov: I will visit Saudi Arabia and Jordan in early September.

Question: A few days ago, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran is allegedly preparing sites in Syria and Lebanon to produce precision-guided missiles that could be used against Israel. Are you aware of any such plans on Iran’s part? Could you comment on this situation? Was this matter mentioned during Mr Netanyahu’s visit to Sochi?

Sergey Lavrov: Mr Netanyahu told the media himself about what was discussed at the talks in Sochi.

As for your question regarding whatever area of cooperation between Iran and Syria, my position is that if their cooperation in whichever field does not violate the basic provisions of international law, it should not be cause for question.

If anyone in the Middle East or other part of the world plans to violate international law by undermining any other country’s sovereignty or territorial integrity, including any country in the Middle East or North Africa, this would be condemned.

We have no information that anyone is planning to attack Israel.

Question: With roughly a month to go before the elections in Germany, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maassen, who is effectively head of German counterintelligence, made new statements about possible Russian interference. In the US case, you usually explained these sorts of statements as attempts to justify the Democrats’ failure in the elections, but how would you comment on the German allegations? What do they gain from this when Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has such a popularity margin with a month to go before the elections?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not know why German intelligence is making statements about Russian meddling in the German election campaign. Perhaps they want to prove their effectiveness, but they have not provided a single fact. If it is facts we are talking about, it emerged some time ago that the American intelligence services were intercepting the Federal Chancellor’s conversations. I do not recall German counterintelligence commenting on this established fact in any way. That is all.


17.03.2018 - Press release on summoning UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow to the Russian Foreign Ministry

On March 17, UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note stating that in response to the provocative actions of the British side and groundless accusations against the Russian Federation with regard to the incident in Salisbury, UK on March 4, 2018, the Russian side has taken the following decisions in response. Twenty-three diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and are to be expelled from Russia within a week. Taking into account the disparity in the number of the two countries’ consular missions, the Russian Federation recalls its agreement on the opening and operation of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in St Petersburg. Respective procedures will be followed in accordance with international legal practice. Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation, its activities are terminated. The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures.

16.03.2018 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry

The decision by the Ukrainian authorities, released on March 16, 2018, not to allow citizens of the Russian Federation to the Embassy and general consulates of Russia on the day of the election of the President of the Russian Federation causes nothing but indignation. Such actions are unprecedented and do not fit into generally accepted ideas about civilised countries. The above steps contradict not only the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, but also international human rights standards, in particular, the provisions of the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

14.03.2018 - Embassy Press Secretary comments on the death of Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Q: Can you comment on the mysterious death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London? A: Regretfully, the Embassy has received no information whatsoever regarding the circumstances of the death of Mr Glushkov. The investigation is not transparent, the British side appears not inclined to cooperate. This can only cause regret. Today the Embassy made an official request to provide all the information in possession of the British side regarding this Russian citizen whose death, as you said, appears mysterious. Overall, we are surprised with UK authorities’ reluctance and unwillingness to provide us with full details of both the poisoning of Russians Sergei and Yulia Skripal and the death of Nikolay Glushkov.

14.03.2018 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to “punish” Russia, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries.

14.03.2018 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on US threats to launch military strikes at Syria

During the discussion of Resolution 2401 on the ceasefire and the humanitarian pause in Syria in the UN Security Council on March 12, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley implied that the US might launch military strikes at Syria similar to last April when such actions were based on unfounded unilateral US accusations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government. Russia and Syria were also accused of violating the ceasefire and causing the suffering of civilians, primarily in East Ghouta.

14.03.2018 - Statement of the Russian Embassy

On 14 of March Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was informed that 23 diplomats were declared personae non gratae. We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted. All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-UK relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.

13.03.2018 - Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, at the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council on the chemical incident in Salisbury, The Hague, March 13, 2018

Mr Chairperson, In connection with the vicious attacks launched by British officials in London, as well as the statement by the head of the British delegation to the OPCW with regard to Russia concerning the suspicious story of two persons poisoned with a toxic agent in Salisbury, we would like to state the following. The British authorities’ unfounded accusations of Russia’s alleged involvement in using poisonous agents on their territory are absolutely unacceptable. Our British colleagues should recall that Russia and the United Kingdom are members of the OPCW which is one of the most successful and effective disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms. We call upon them to abandon the language of ultimatums and threats and return to the legal framework of the chemical convention, which makes it possible to resolve this kind of situation.

13.03.2018 - Press release on summoning the UK Ambassador to the Russian Foreign Ministry

On March 13, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Russia Laurence Bristow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov strongly protested the evidence-free accusations by the UK authorities of Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. It was stated that the actions of the UK authorities are a clear provocation and that the Russian Federation was not involved in the incident that took place in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. From the Russian side, it was emphasised that Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring and until the UK demonstrates compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention that stipulates a joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready. Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia. Any threat to take “punitive” measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.

13.03.2018 - Press Secretary responds to media question

Q: Can you comment on yesterday’s threats of cyber attacks against Russia? A: Statements by a number of MPs, “Whitehall sources” and “experts” regarding a possible “deployment” of “offensive cyber-capabilities” cause serious concern. Not only is Russia groundlessly and provocatively accused of the Salisbury incident, but apparently, plans are being developed in the UK to strike Russia with cyber weapons. Judging by the statements of the Prime Minister, such a decision can be taken at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Security Council. We invite the British side to once again consider the consequences of such a reckless move.

12.03.2018 - Embassy Press secretary responds to BBC question

Q: Has your mission made any contact with the UK authorities over the wellbeing of Sergey and Julia Skripal? A: Literally the next day after the first reports on the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter the Embassy officially requested the Foreign Office to provide information on their health situation and the investigation. This is important to us since his issue has become quite a negative factor for the relations between our countries due to the unfounded accusations against Russia advanced by the media. British officials don’t provide any additional information and don’t distance themselves from the media campaign. The investigation is being concluded in a non-transparent manner, whenever for the Russian side nor for the public. Quite naturally, this is a source of concern.

all messages