20 July 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

25.09.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Itogi Nedeli for the NTV network, Moscow, September 24, 2017

Question: It looked as if it was a difficult week for the UN General Assembly, what with some delegations walking out and others joining the debate and making statements. It was probably part of the diplomatic game. What is your assessment of these developments?

Sergey Lavrov: This is inevitable, because heads of state and ministers attend the opening session of the UN General Assembly and the General Debate. It is mostly a week of bilateral contact and, of course, remarks delivered at the General Assembly, where all countries present their approaches to current international issues. A huge number of side events are held parallel with the GA session, and this could be even more important. These include bilateral trust-based talks on delicate issues, during which the sides sometimes find something that they will be able to use in their work later. Also, a great many multilateral events are held. In my case, I have attended some 70 meetings, including with the foreign ministers of the CSTO, SCO, CELAC and many other countries, plus a meeting of the five permanent Security Council members with the UN Secretary-General.

It [the General Assembly] is a very important international event, because it allows you to meet with nearly all state leaders in one place within a matter of one week.

Question: The Americans announced before the GA session that US President Donald Trump would deliver a deeply philosophical speech about the world order and the need to reform the UN, but as I see it, in the end he called for making America great again, because the United States pays too much to the UN and gets too little in return, and that all countries must fend for themselves. He meant that if the United States pays so much, it has more rights to dictate its will to others. What is our opinion on this matter? It appears that we have our own view on what the UN should be like.

Sergey Lavrov: The UN should be what its member states decide it should be like following the talks that all of them attend. It should be reflected in the decisions that they take as the result of these talks.

As for the principles of the [Political] Declaration for UN Reform, which the American delegation has distributed and opened for signature by UN member states, the majority of them are indisputable: the UN should be more effective and efficient, it must deliver on its mandate, reduce mandate duplication and overlap, and strengthen its budget functions. But when Russia and some other UN member states proposed discussing some phrases, we were told that the declaration is not for discussion and that we must sign it as it is. Of course, Russia, China and France could not accept this approach.

Many countries have signed this declaration, but this has not made it a UN document. It is true that the event was held at the UN headquarters, but it is not connected in any way to the bodies that were created under the UN Charter. For the UN Secretariat to accept these recommendations and principles as the basis of its operation, as Washington wants it to do, the Secretariat must be mandated to do so by the Security Council or the General Assembly and ECOSOC. This is all regarding the status of such declarations. However, we are glad that the Trump administration has taken an interest in the UN. It would be much worse if it ignored the organisation.

That the UN is a bit overweight is old news, but any serious reform calls for caution, because the UN’s “corpulence” is due to the fact that it has 193 member states. Each member state, even if it only has a population of 10,000 or 15,000 people (there are such countries, in particular, in the South Pacific), wants to take part in the organisation’s work, in particular, to have its representative at the UN Secretariat. I believe that this is a perfectly understandable desire. Therefore, we must be very careful when cutting away the fat so that we do not damage the living UN organism.




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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