18 October 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

15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations? Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.


15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the British government calls to step up anti-Russian sanctions

Question: How would you comment on the news that the British government has been lobbying a new EU sanctions regime against Russian nationals allegedly involved in use of chemical weapons and cyber-attacks in Europe? Answer: We have taken note of the respective statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 14 October and the relevant media reports. These suggest that, faced with an imminent Brexit, the British government makes every effort to step up the sanctions pressure on Russia and to complicate as much as possible Russia-EU relations after Brexit.


13.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 October marks seven months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. Does the Embassy have any new information on this case? A.: Unfortunately, once again we have to state that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of the death of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Glushkov that occurred on British soil on 12 March. The British authorities continue to ignore numerous Russian requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the Nikolay Glushkov’s death. There are no answers to the Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting or consultations between the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation experts and the Metropolitan Police representatives.


12.10.2018 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s introductory remarks at the press-conference on 12 October 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, In recent weeks we have received a number of media requests concerning the current state of bilateral affairs between Russia and the United Kingdom. I am also often asked how numerous anti-Russian statements by the British officials influence our approach towards the UK. Considering this, I have decided to invite you today to make respective short comments on these issues and answer your additional questions. Currently the relations between Russia and the UK are at a very low level. The reason for that lies in an aggressive anti-Ru ssian campaign launched by the current Tory government and supported by the British media.


09.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new Bellingcat’s investigation

Question: How would you comment on Bellingcat’s claims that it has “tracked down Alexander Petrov’s real identity”? Answer: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently advised us to consider such publications and statements as a display of freedom of public debate into which the UK Government does not interfere. There have already been reports that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police would not comment on these “speculations”. This is exactly the case when we should follow the example of our British colleagues.


08.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK authorities’ reaction to Russia’s official requests following recent flagrant media publications

Question: The Embassy declared its intent to request clarifications from the British side following the recent accusations of cyberattacks, and the media reports on preparations for retaliatory cyberstrikes against targets in Russia. Has there been any response? Answer: Today we have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which implies that, as before, the British side is not going to provide us with any details that may serve as the basis of the accusations. In this case, we are not in a position to make comments on the essence of those accusations.


05.10.2018 - Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC journalist Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on the Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal published on 4 October? A.: We intend yet to study this book. At the same time, it is a well known fact that Mark Urban has close links with British secret services. This gives us grounds for considering this book as an attempt to compensate for Sergei Skripal’s public non-appearance as the key witness to the Salisbury incident. Instead of facts, the public is again offered speculation and guesses.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the recent anti-Russian statement by the Foreign Office

Question: How would you comment on today’s statement by the Foreign Office accusing Russia of worldwide cyber-attacks on massive scale? Answer: This statement is reckless. It has become a tradition for such claims to lack any evidence. It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government.


03.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on INF Treaty

Question: How would you comment on the latest statements by US officials on Russia’s alleged non-compliance with INF Treaty? Answer: Russia has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). The US allegations of Russian non-compliance relate to one particular missile type. While we have assured Washington on multiple occasions that the mentioned missile does not violate INF, the US has never explained the exact reasons of their preoccupation. These allegations divert attention from the American actions that are breaching a number of INF provisions.



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