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PRESS RELEASES

13.05.2015

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Sochi, May 12, 2015

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Sochi, May 12, 2015

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for waiting patiently until the end of today’s talks, which proceeded in two stages: the presidential stage has just ended, and before that, we held detailed ministerial talks with Mr Kerry and his team.

It should be said that this meeting is being held during the ongoing celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in World War II. Our meeting today began with laying wreaths at the Eternal Flame at the local memorial to the victims of the Great Patriotic War. I’d like to say that we and the residents of Sochi highly appreciated the gesture that was made by the US Secretary of State and his delegation.

During the talks with the Russian President and at the ministerial level, we discussed all the current issues on the international agenda, including countering terrorism and other security challenges, and factors that influence strategic stability.

The Ukrainian crisis was, of course, among the key issues we discussed. Russia and the United States hold different opinions on the origins and development of this crisis. But we are unanimous in our beliefs that it can only be solved peacefully through the full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including direct dialogue between Kiev, Lugansk, and Donetsk on all aspects of the Package of Measures agreed upon in Minsk on February 12 of this year. They include strict compliance with ceasefire conditions, the withdrawal of weapons, constitutional reform that takes into consideration the opinion of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, local elections, and a solution for the economic issues that have been compounded by the regions’ blockade by Kiev. In short, all provisions of the February 12 Minsk Agreements without exception must be implemented. We have also agreed that the United States and Russia would use their influence on the conflicting parties to consistently and firmly urge them to coordinate their efforts in implementing everything that was agreed upon in Minsk.

We have also discussed ways of resolving the conflict in Syria. We have agreed to continue, and even expand, our efforts aimed at promoting a process that would help fulfill specific agreements stipulated by the Geneva Communique of June 20, 2012.

We agree that the issue of terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which have gained strength and continue to expand their influence, creating threats in the entire Middle East and even outside it, is closely linked with Syrian crisis. We are convinced that the main powers should more effectively pool their efforts in order to combat this threat. Moreover, a consistent struggle should be launched against all manifestations of this evil, without double standards and on the basis of approved principles of international law.

Regarding other items on the international agenda, we have exchanged opinions about and expressed satisfaction with the implementation of agreements to finally resolve the issues around the Iranian nuclear programme. We have discussed the situation in Yemen, Libya as well as other Middle East countries. We have talked about Afghanistan and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Russia and the United States are still firmly committed to the need to ensure its denuclearisation.

We have reviewed the current state of bilateral relations, including specific irritants that have recently appeared. In a broader context, we have exchanged opinions regarding systemic problems that have accumulated in our relations over the past few years. Although we disagreed on some issues during our talks, today’s meetings have helped us understand each other better. We understand the need to avoid steps that can harm long-term Russian-US relations and bilateral cooperation in various areas. This is especially the case when considering that the solution of numerous acute contemporary problems depends on our concerted joint efforts on the international scene. I would like to single out this concept as one of the main conclusions of today’s talks.

For our part, we have never shied away from cooperation. Today, President Vladimir Putin has clearly confirmed our readiness for wide-ranging and close cooperation on the basis of equality and consideration of each other’s the interests and stances.

I would like to thank Mr Kerry for this long but very productive day.

To be continued...




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