21 September 2019
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566 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     558 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of External Relations of Angola Manuel Domingos Augusto, Moscow, August 26, 2019


Ladies and gentlemen,

We had a very productive meeting. We held in-depth discussions on Russian-Angolan relations and our cooperation on the international stage.

Our countries are bound by years-long ties of friendship and cooperation that go back to the period of Angola’s fight for freedom and independence.

We noted the high and ever growing standards of mutual understanding and mutual trust. We spoke at length about the specific fields of bilateral collaboration, primarily those where our cooperation was put down on paper during the official visit of President of Angola Joao Lourenco to Russia in April of this year and his talks with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Both of us called for strengthening our political dialogue. We agree that our trade and economic ties are growing ever stronger, which meets our mutual desire to advance our business partnership even further. We are preparing to implement several mutually beneficial industrial and mining projects, especially in diamond mining, as well as in the sphere of power generation, fishing, transport, agribusiness, space communications, finance and lending, plus military and technical cooperation. We have decided that the next meeting of the Russian-Angolan Intergovernmental Committee on Military and Technical Cooperation will be held in the latter half of the year to confirm our movement towards this goal.

Economically-wise, Russian companies have shown considerable interest in the broad and promising Angolan market. We have agreed to continue to help establish direct contacts between our business communities, including at the level of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation and Trade. The Russian-Angolan Business Council, which was established in March of this year, will be instrumental in this. The list of side events of the Russia-Africa Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Sochi on October 23−24, includes a meeting between the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Commission and a dialogue between the Russian and Angolan companies that are working together within the framework of our plans for deepening our economic cooperation.

We are also promoting our cultural, humanitarian and interregional exchanges. We pointed out the positive practice and experience of training Angolan professionals at Russian universities, where some 1,120 Angolans are currently being educated. In addition to this, several score of Angolans are studying at the universities of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.

We have agreed to discuss the improvement of our contractual legal framework in various areas, such as mutual recognition of diplomas, the establishment and operating terms of culture and information centres, cooperation in crisis management, the peaceful use of nuclear energy and commercial shipping.

We have exchanged views on pressing issues on the regional and international agenda, revealing similar or even identical positions. Our two countries are unanimous in their advocacy of strict respect for international law in full compliance with the UN Charter. This implies, first of all, respect for the sovereignty of each state, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, and, of course, the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world, where every nation has the right to independently determine its development path. Based on these most important principles, we closely cooperate at the UN and support each other. We are grateful to our Angolan friends for their co-authorship and for voting in favour of all the main Russian initiatives at this global platform.

It was very useful to listen to our Angolan friends' assessments of the situation in Africa, especially in such hot spots as the Congo and Africa's Great Lakes, the Central African Republic and others. We greatly appreciate the active peacekeeping role of Angola in helping to resolve conflicts on the African continent. We are confident, like our Angolan friends, that addressing Africa’s problems requires a comprehensive approach, which involves coordinated action by Africans themselves with support from the international community. For our part, we have reaffirmed our readiness to continue to contribute, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to the consolidation of stability and security in Africa.

The cooperation between African states and organisations and BRICS is an important aspect of modern international relations. We agreed that we will continue the practice that began in 2018, when representatives of leading subregional African organisations attended the BRICS summit.

I especially would like to emphasise that, concerning the UN Security Council reform, Russia strongly advocates reaching the broadest possible consensus, with priority given to fixing the main shortcoming of the existing Security Council – the underrepresentation of emerging countries. Any reform of the UN Security Council should be ultimately aimed at increasing the representation of Asia, Latin America and Africa of course. Russia will preside over the UN Security Council in September. One of the key priorities of our presidency is to help Africans deal with their problems – crises, conflicts and other situations.

In general, we are satisfied with the outcome of the talks. I am confident that Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto’s visit will contribute to the further promotion of Russian-Angolan cooperation. Thank you.

Question: The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, went on record as saying the other day that, in his opinion, the Syrian army’s advance to liberate Khan Shaykhun  and other areas was a gross violation of the spirit of both the Astana and Sochi arrangements. Do you agree with this?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as the developments in the Idlib de-escalation zone, specifically in the area of Khan Shaykhun and its environs, are concerned, [I can say that] the Syrian armed forces are operating with our support and breaching no arrangements. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that last September’s agreements provided for the establishment of a de-escalation zone and encouraged the cessation of hostilities conducted by the illegal armed groups, given the understanding that no one has freed the terrorists (identified as such by the UN Security Council) from [implementing] the Security Council resolutions. The ceasefire regime has not applied to them from the start.

It became clear that the terrorists had not calmed down. More than that, they were intensifying their provocative activities from within the Idlib zone by attacking the Syrian army’s positions, civilian facilities, and Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base. Early in 2019, we again came to terms with the Turkish colleagues on the need to create a demilitarised strip within the Idlib de-escalation zone so that it is stripped of weapons capable of “reaching” the Syrian army’s infrastructure I have mentioned, the civilian facilities and the Russian military base. Our Turkish colleagues have established several observation posts there for this demilitarised strip to start operating. We suggested organising joint patrolling. So far, we have failed to do this. Regardless of all the measures that have been adopted, including the establishment by the Turkish armed forces of their observation posts, the shelling from within the Idlib zone, as we have repeatedly said, continued “over the head” of the Turkish observers and, to some extent, even grew more intense. Of course, to cut short these violations and the provocative, unacceptable actions, strikes are delivered at the targets that present a threat for the Syrian territory and the Russian air base. No one has ever agreed that there would be no retaliation of this kind against terrorist organisations that attack [us] by fire. This is why, when the Syrian army eliminated the seat at Khan Shaykhun, this was done totally legitimately and it was necessary from the point of view of the Syrian settlement goals set by the UN Security Council.

I would like to note that we too often hear emotional remarks about the sufferings of the civilian population and international humanitarian law violations caused by the Syrian army as it operates, with support from the Russian Aerospace Forces, in Idlib. They are pointing to hospitals that were allegedly ruined on purpose and spreading other fabrications. Once again, I would like to express the hope that the international media and the press community will use facts rather than the above-mentioned allegations, the more so that the majority of these insinuations come from the notorious White Helmets. We will do all we can to enable journalists to see with their own eyes what the current rather nervous campaign is all about.     

Question: The G7 leaders held a heated discussion on the possibility of readmitting Russia to the club. Does cooperation in this format have a future? Under what conditions would Russia agree to re-join the group? Would it accept a possible US invitation to attend the next G7 summit meeting?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the eight- or seven-country format, they did not sign any documents even though Russia did not attend. President Vladimir Putin said on this subject during his talks with President of France Emanuel Macron a week ago that the G8 does not exist. This was our Western partners’ decision. We are working actively and productively within the framework of other formats, such as BRICS, the SCO, the integration associations created in the post-Soviet space and the G20, not to mention the UN. Never during that time have we raised the idea of relaunching the G8 in our contacts with anyone. In fact, it wasn’t considered when making our foreign policy plans. But our Western colleagues suddenly started talking about the G8, making several public statements on this matter. Some of them spoke about the need to revive the G8, while others argued that Russia does not deserve it and that it’s impossible or can only be done on certain conditions.

Someone suggested creating a 7+1 group. It appears the G7 leaders are trying to convince or dissuade themselves. We have no connection to this at all.

We have not asked anyone about any of this. As I said, we learned about these developments from the public statements made by some of our Western colleagues. We have not made and will not make any requests regarding this. Life has moved on. As President Putin said at Fort de Brégançon, we are not trying to avoid contact with the G7 countries, but if we look at the global economy and politics, including financial policies, the main problems are decided on at the G20, which includes the G7 and all the BRICS countries. Our positions at the G20 are determined by the approaches that are coordinated at BRICS. This is a fact. It is the reality from which we must proceed.

Question: How would you assess the threats from the United States to the Damascus International Fair participants?

Sergey Lavrov: The Damascus International Fair opens in a few days. We heard that the US is threatening all participants in this exhibition with sanctions, seeing their very presence at this event as “support” for “the Syrian regime,” as they say. This is the kind of rhetoric that we regularly hear from the US concerning Syria or other countries where governments hold independent positions, not dance to someone else’s tune.

At the same time, I would like to point out one circumstance the US administration fails to mention while threatening the Damascus International Fair participants. I am referring to what the US is doing and making its allies do on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. There they are doing the opposite: not only do they allow anyone to carry out projects in the area, but they even urge their allies in the region and in Europe to make every effort to help get life back to normal there, rebuild infrastructure, resolve humanitarian issues and, in the longer term, create conditions for the normal functioning of this territory. I will not discuss how realistic this is while they still fail to agree on how to resolve military and political issues and ensure security in the region.

As you know, discussions are underway between the US and Turkey, and between the Kurds and Arabs. The situation is not simple. But I am only mentioning this to emphasise that this approach is unacceptable – by pursuing this policy with respect to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the United States is undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR). This is a gross violation of the US’ obligations undertaken together with all other members of the international community by voting for the UN Security Council resolution that unequivocally reaffirmed the inviolability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. I hope our American partners will be more respectful of international law. Right now, their actions regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the INF Treaty do not give us any hope that these calls will be heeded.

Question: It has become known that there may shortly be a Normandy format summit. Will there be a ministerial meeting before this? When will it take place?

 Sergey Lavrov: We have already said many times that the Normandy format is helpful. Vladimir Putin confirmed this during his meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron at Fort Bregancon. We are also constantly reminding our partners that to keep this format going it is important to implement the decisions reached within its framework before. One of these decisions is the disengagement of forces and military hardware, starting with three pilot districts. Disengagement has finally started in Stanitsa Luganskaya that was a stumbling block due to the absolutely destructive position of the Poroshenko regime. Moreover, it has already made substantial progress. Now both sides have started eliminating fortifications on both sides of the contact line. The repair work of a bridge in Stanitsa Luganskaya is being discussed. This is a very positive turn of events. After this, it will be necessary to organise the disengagement of forces in two other districts – Petrovskoye and Zolotoye ‒ that were mentioned in the Normandy format. The disengagement took place there but the Ukrainian armed forces crept back. The Contact Group is dealing with this. I hope that the disengagement of forces will take place in all three districts and that the Normandy format can be applied to the entire line of contact. This would be very important.

The second term that must be fulfilled is to seal legally the Steinmeier formula to the effect that the special status of the Donbass territory will temporarily be introduced on the day of the elections. It will become permanent when the OSCE observers submit a report on the free and fair elections. I think this is the minimum that is common knowledge that is essential for another Normandy format summit to take place.

As for a ministerial contact, as you already know we do not yet have a partner in Ukraine. The government is still to be formed there. Before talking about contacts in the Normandy format and planning them, we would like to understand what position the new government will assume as regards the Minsk Agreements when it is formed. As with our German and French partners we really do hope that the new government will unequivocally reaffirm its commitment to the Minsk Agreements.

This is all the more important since during the election campaign and immediately after the elections we heard many contradictory statements on behalf of the new administration, the new office of the Ukrainian president, that ran counter to Kiev’s commitments to this very important issue. So let me emphasise once again that confirmation of the commitment to the Minsk Agreements on behalf of the Ukrainian authorities will be very important.




17.09.2019 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on attack against oil infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia

According to media reports, a large-scale drone attack was launched in the early hours of September 14 against oil refineries of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company Saudi Aramco near the cities of Abqaiq and Khurais in the eastern part of the Kingdom. The Houthi Ansar Allah movement, now fighting against forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Arabian Coalition supporting him in Yemen, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

17.09.2019 - Joint Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gathered in Ankara on 16 September 2019 for a Tripartite Summit.

12.09.2019 - Press release by Russian MFA on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement

Moscow has taken note of the Arab countries’ highly negative reaction to the statement made by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his intention to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. We share concerns over these Israeli plans, the implementation of which can lead to a dramatic escalation of tensions in the region and undermine hopes for a long awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

12.09.2019 - Embassy comment on the state of the investigation into the death of Nikolay Glushkov

12 September 2019 marks exactly one year and half since Russian national Nikolay Glushkov was murdered in London under mysterious circumstances. We regret to state that the British side has failed to provide any meaningful reply to our numerous enquiries. Since April 2018 the Home Office has been ignoring the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance over Russia’s own criminal case into the death of Nikolay Glushkov. The British authorities have also been silent regarding the Embassy’s repeated proposals to arrange a meeting between the Russian Ambassador and the Met Police Commissioner or hold law-enforcement experts’ bilateral contacts.

12.09.2019 - Wizz Air UK to launch new services to Moscow and St Petersburg

The UK-based airline Wizz Air UK has announced that it will launch two new services from its London Luton base to Russia’s Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow and Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg. Both routes will commence on 1 October 2019 and operate daily.

11.09.2019 - Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov`s interview to the National Institute of Information of Suriname, September 11, 2019

Sergey Lavrov: It is true, the relations between Suriname and Russia have gained new momentum in the recent years. A number of landmark events contributed to it: the first-ever visit of Yildiz Pollack-Beighle, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname, to Russia in October 2017, and the signing of two fundamental instruments establishing framework for our bilateral cooperation; I refer to the Agreement on Basic Principles of Relations and the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Conditions for Waiving Visa Formalities in the Mutual Visits of the Citizens of our countries. We regard Suriname as an important partner in developing multifaceted cooperation with the States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We aim at enhancing cooperation with this subregion in such priority areas as facilitating sustainable development, providing assistance in disaster response, training of diplomatic, law-enforcement, and emergency services officials of the Caribbean States, increasing educational, tourist, cultural, humanitarian and sport exchanges, promoting economic initiatives.

08.09.2019 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the exchange of prisoners held in custody in Russia and Ukraine

We view the agreed reciprocal release of persons held in custody on the territories of Russia and Ukraine as a positive signal to be followed by other important steps to overcome the current deadlock in Russia-Ukraine relations and in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. It was made possible by fulfilling the agreements reached personally by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine. Unlike its predecessors, Vladimir Zelensky’s administration showed a reasonable approach and readiness to compromise. We hope this step will create a positive background for substantive work within the Minsk Contact Group and in the Normandy format.

06.09.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the MIC Izvestia multimedia information centre Vladivostok, September 4, 2019

I would say that international relations continue to get steadily worse. It is a process that cannot be stopped yet. You see how our American colleagues along with their closest, most loyal allies are actually aiming to undermine the entire international legal system that developed after the Second World War, including the strategic stability and arms control agreements reached over the past decades. In the early 2000s, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was unilaterally terminated. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has just fallen apart, and it is not clear whether the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3 or New START) will get extended. In general, the international law institutions that were created after the Second World War and developed on the basis of universal agreements are now undergoing the most severe trials. The very term “international law” is used less and less often by our Western colleagues. They prefer to talk about some “rule-based order.” As practice shows, they invent these rules on the spot to suit their current needs and try to convince everyone else that these are multilateral decisions that everyone must follow.

04.09.2019 - Embassy comment on the situation concerning the Salisbury incident with Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal

18 months have now passed since the mysterious incident in Salisbury. Despite our numerous appeals to the British side for transparency of the investigation, access to the affected Russian nationals, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and substantive cooperation to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident, no clear answer has been received. More than 80 Notes Verbales sent to the Foreign Office and the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance have been ignored so far. We would like to recall just a few of critical points that make the political version voiced right after the incident untrustworthy.

04.09.2019 - Joint statement following the 20th India-Russia annual summit ”Reaching new heights of cooperation through trust and partnership“

At the jubilee 20th Annual Summit, both leaders noted progressive development of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. These relations are unique, confiding and mutually beneficial by nature, encompassing all possible areas of cooperation. They are based on similar civilizational values, time-tested friendship, mutual understanding, trust, common interests and proximity of approaches to the fundamental issues of development and economic progress. Regular meetings of the leaders of the States, including those on the sidelines of various international fora and growing momentum of bilateral contacts at all levels are a vivid proof of this Partnership.

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