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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

28.11.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting, Moscow, November 28, 2017

Mr Ivanov, colleagues, friends,

I’m pleased to participate in the Russian International Affairs Council’s general meeting devoted to its performance in 2017. Although the year is not out yet, it is already clear that it was, to put it mildly, by far not the easiest.

Conflicts continue to increase. Constructive interstate cooperation is on the decline, unfortunately. Unipolarity throwbacks raise concerns as one centre of international influence wants to act like a hegemon resorting to fast-track decisions, military blackmail, and brute force in order to promote its goals.

The situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula remains complex. Turbulence in the Middle East persists. Even though a major blow has been dealt to the terrorists who holed up there, we have so far failed to transform the mixed but generally useful experience gained by various stakeholders in forming a global anti-terrorist coalition under the auspices of the UN, the idea of which, as you are well aware, was advanced by President Putin about two years ago.

Given these circumstances, major crises continue to plague Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. Major agreements, which we consider an example of constructive multilateral cooperation, are in jeopardy. I’m referring, in particular, to the Iranian nuclear programme issue. Growing tension in the Persian Gulf not only in relation to Iran, but between the Arab monarchies as well, are of concern to us. The internal political crisis in neighbouring Ukraine has not been settled because of the Kiev authorities’ absolute unwillingness to comply with the Minsk Agreements in the part that concerns them, and the aspirations of Kiev’s Western curators to encourage such a position.

On the plus side, I would like to note the results of the meeting of the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Sochi which took place on November 22, the resumed Geneva talks between the Syrian Government and the opposition groups, and preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. All of this seeks to promote the political process in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Russia's strategic interaction with a number of large states, including within BRICS and the SCO, continues to expand. The unification processes and projects in Eurasia actively continue, and major work is being done to harmonise the integration projects.

Overall, we are now going through a stage of mixed trends, which will continue. The world has entered a period of transformation. As one of the geopolitical centres and one the most active international players, Russia actively participates in forming a new, more just and democratic polycentric world order, the formation of which is a fact and a reality. This is a process, which, of course, will last for a long time.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing relentless attempts to reverse this process, which, we believe, are one of the main reasons for today's tensions in international relations.

Given these circumstances, clear understanding of the prospects for global development, and comprehensive understanding of the key trends in international affairs has taken on special significance. RIAC’s contribution to addressing these important tasks is significant, and its activities in 2017 deserve high praise. Much has been done in many different areas.

This is confirmed by objective measures, such as the number of publications and events. I will not list them all. The Council is confidently implementing its primary mission which is to promote Russia’s foreign policy interests.

In this regard, I will note the ever growing role of the Council as a provider of expert support for Russian diplomacy. The traditional international conference on Russia-China relations held in May is a case in point. It is gratifying to know that this successful undertaking has spread to include Russia-India cooperation. I’m referring to the conference, Russia and India:  Strategic Vision of Bilateral Relations and the Changing World Order, which was held in October. I believe it’s important for this conference, just like the events on the Chinese matters, to become traditional for the Council.

I consider it important to continue to expand both the coverage of important international stories as well as the number of foreign partners. Given the current complicated situation, the role of interaction via experts and international affairs pundits in supporting the bilateral dialogue, and keeping our partners updated about our assessments, is growing. Joint research, which is another RIAC’s important area of focus, also contributes to this mission.

It is comforting to know that education remains one of the Council’s key functions, which is implemented in various forms, including summer schools, webinars, lectures, and breakfasts with experts. The updated version of the Council's website launched in May has already become one of the most popular Russian media platforms offering high-quality analytical material on important international topics. Notably, we have attained the level of leading Western websites in this area.

The Ministry values its interaction with the Council. We are proud of the fact that this year Sergey Kislyak, who is present here, became one of its members, and Alexander Kramarenko became its programme director for development.

In general, I believe that the Council, which was established in 2011, has gained a strong form in the second five-year period of its activities. Dynamic and profound changes that the modern world is experiencing, the tasks that all of us who are involved in international relations and Russia’s foreign policy are faced with are becoming more complicated.

I’m confident that the Council will continue to successfully maintain its reputation as the leading domestic think tank providing expert and analytical support for the needs of Russia’s foreign policy.




LATEST EVENTS

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”.


09.07.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the death of Dawn Sturgess

Q.: How would you comment on the information concerning the death of the British citizen Dawn Sturgess, who, according to the British authorities, was poisoned by the same nerve agent that had been used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A.: We would like to express our sincere condolences to relatives and friends of Dawn Sturgess following her tragic death. We hope that the circumstances of her poisoning will be investigated in good faith and in accordance with high international standards, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. As it stands now, the police investigation of the Skripals case is limited by political frameworks imposed by the current government.


06.07.2018 - From the Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, July 5, 2018

Media coverage of the World Cup in Russia The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues to delight with its exciting football contests. Experts and fans are unanimous is their opinion that the matches have been spectacular. There’s no need to even mention the entertainment aspect of the tournament, as fans are clearly having the time of their lives when there are no matches to watch. According to our guests’ posts on social media, the atmosphere is fantastic not only in Moscow, but other host cities as well. We can see that the enthusiasm of the fans is rubbing off on the media, which is great. Indeed, we focus on these matters, because there was so much misinformation. This is not surprising, as it is difficult to make up stories now, because everyone can see everything with their own eyes, and the mudslinging directed at our country before the World Cup doesn’t work anymore.


05.07.2018 - Embassy press officer’s comment on the statement by Ben Wallace

Q: UK Minister of State for Security at the Home Office Ben Wallace stated that he is “waiting for the phone call from the Russian state” to get explanations of the “use of chemical weapons” in Salisbury. What should he expect? A: The Russian Ambassador to the UK is ready to meet Mr Wallace – we have requested meetings at the Home Office and Metropolitan Police several times, in relation to the Skripals case, as well as the murder of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov. In both cases the FCO had suggested the Embassy should contact the police directly. Yet our letters to Scotland Yard met a resounding silence. If the British law enforcement authorities wish to end this silence and finally engaged in a substantial dialogue with Russia as envisaged in the international agreements signed by UK, we will be happy to have the opportunity to ask the many outstanding questions. We await Mr Wallace’s specific proposals as to when he will be available to meet.



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