MOSCOW, January 26. A wide range of topics and foreign policy interests of Russia – from Japan in the East to USA in the West and from Norway in the North to South Africa in the South – highlighted by the head of Russian foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov at the large annual press conference dedicated to the results of 2015. In just over three hours, the Minister answered many questions from the media.
The press conference aroused high interest among Russian and foreign journalists were accredited to a third more than a year ago. In social networks the procession lined up to press center of foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation of journalists jokingly compared it to the queue at the exhibition of Serov in the Tretyakov gallery.
Syria: without preconditions
One of the Central themes is to be expected was the situation in Syria. Speaking about the forthcoming inter-Syrian negotiations, Lavrov said that no preconditions for their beginning should not be, as “humanitarian aspects must be one of the Central”. “We are for a ceasefire, as the United States. But some countries in the (Persian) Gulf said: “We will be ready to give a command to those who guided us, to cease fire only if you feel that the political process started and have the prospect of Bashar Assad”. Draw your own conclusions, who really cares about the suffering of civilians, and who wants at any cost, even at the cost of worsening the humanitarian catastrophe, regime change in Syria,” – said the Minister.
Lavrov: some countries want to change the regime in Syria even at the cost of a humanitarian catastrophe
Answering the question about the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the head of Russian diplomacy pointed out that the Syrian leader had asked Russia for political asylum. Lavrov also denied media reports that the former head of the GRU Igor Sergun allegedly offered Assad to resign. “It is not true. A conversation with President Assad of this kind was not necessary,” the Minister said.
He recalled that not so long ago, Bashar al-Assad visited Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the meeting, the Syrian leader said the agreement “for negotiations with the opposition, including the armed opposition, agreed to form on earth a broader anti-terrorist war and with the IG (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization “Islamic state”), and “dzhebhat EN-Nusra” (also prohibited in Russia), and the like”, said Lavrov.
He also stressed that the inter-Syrian negotiations should collect the widest possible range of participants, including Syrian Kurds, constituting 15% of Syria’s population. “We hear in recent times, doubt individual, I would say, one member of the International support group in Syria, to invite Syrian Kurds, namely the party of Democratic Union. I believe that without this party, without this party, the negotiations can not bring the result we want, namely, the final political settlement in Syria,” said Lavrov.
Combating terrorism: the picture becomes clearer
One of the key moments of 2015 was the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation for the formation under UN auspices of a broad anti-terrorist coalition, said the Minister. “The actions of the Russian space forces – in response to the appeal of the Syrian leadership – really helped to turn the tide in the country, helped to provide a controlled contraction of space terrorists”, – said Lavrov. After that, in his opinion, “the picture became clearer who is fighting the terrorists and their supporters and attempts to use them in their selfish purposes.”
A big press-conference of Sergey Lavrov following the results of 2015. Text translation
Referring to the claims by the US that Russian aircraft in Syria “bombs inappropriate,” the foreign Minister reminded that Russia has repeatedly offered the American partners to establish daily coordination, however, “no answer”. “I am lost, this is not a serious, adult conversation”, – said Lavrov.
Answering the question of whether the killed civilians during the air raids of Russian aircraft on objects of terrorists, the Minister said that “in war anything can happen, but we never provided any evidence” of this. “Our goal ATT to work in the SAR recheck more than once, everything is done to make sure there are no civilians”, – he added.
Commenting on statements by the United States “for the permissible number of civilian casualties” during the strikes in Syria, Lavrov expressed the view that “if the US plans are place, it is a violation of international humanitarian law”. “There are a lot of claims to this country on the application of international law”, – he stressed.
For Ukraine “Minsk-2” mandatory
Touching upon the settlement of the situation in Ukraine, Lavrov said that the Ministerial meeting “Norman Quartet” may take place on 8 February. He once again pointed to the necessity of fulfilling the Minsk agreements. “I think a huge achievement of the past year achievement of the Minsk agreements 12 February 2015. Afterwards, we pressed for the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine on the basis of fulfillment of the obligations that are contained in the set of measures”, – he said.
Lavrov: Moscow will demand strict observance of the “Minsk-2”
Lavrov also remarked that not all the arrangements have been made. “First of all those relating to the commitment of Kiev on the establishment of direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk to resolve the political aspects of the Ukrainian crisis”, – he explained, Recalling that “it was agreed to continue this work in 2016”. “We will demand their execution strictly in accordance with the additional agreements, the additional efforts made, in particular, during the meeting of leaders “channel four”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry.
He expressed the view that Kiev sees Western sanctions against Russia as a resolution not to implement the Minsk agreement. “I don’t want to have someone build a policy so that “Minsk-2″ must be performed by Russia, not Ukraine”, – said the Minister.
According to Lavrov, “the fact that the West has got itself in a trap (in the issue of linking the sanctions against Russia and the Kiev Minsk agreements – ed.), begins to penetrate their consciousness.” “The West understands the futility of the current situation, when all pretend that Russia should fulfill the Minsk agreement, and Ukraine can do nothing – neither the Constitution does not change, nor the special status of Donbass does not provide, nor Amnesty, nor elections to organize, in consultation with the Donbass”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry.
The West need
Answering a number of questions about the relationship of Russia with the US and other Western countries, the Minister suggested the need for a General “reset” international relations, all countries of the world reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Charter. “The question (about the “reset” of relations with the US) not to us. Under President George W. Bush – in a personal relationship – our bilateral relations have reached a very, very low,” Lavrov said. The administration of President Barack Obama offered to “reset”, realizing “the abnormality of relations,” he continued. However, all positive developments quickly began to wane, not only because of Ukraine. “When we joined the WTO, the US realized that the amendment of Jackson-Vanik no longer profitable. But they wouldn’t be themselves if it was just cancelled, they came up with the “Magnitsky act”. The point in this case is not supplied, we hope that the truth will be known to all. Then there was the reaction to the situation with Snowden,” said he.
Lavrov: West appeals to Russia much more than Russia to the West
In General, according to Lavrov, Russia and the West should ideally support each other. However, it turns out that the Western partners are constantly turning to Moscow for help. European counterparts, said the Minister, in bilateral contacts, urging Russia to implement the Minsk agreements. “They say: “Give us something to do, and that we take too much damage and want that the page is turned, – said the Minister. – So it turns out that in this situation we give them more than they us.” The Minister noted that Russia has influence on the Donbass. “But you also need to influence the authorities in Kiev. We need the West in terms of influence on the Kiev authorities, but this is not yet happening,” he said.
According to the Minister, every time Western partners “are appealing to Russia with a request to find any compromise or isolation”, however, he could not remember what requests Russia turned to the West for the last time.
Touching upon the issue of anti-Russian sanctions, the Minister noted that today Russia has been focused on “do not depend on the zigzags in Western politics.” However, he rejected the possibility of building models of economic development based on the likely use of sanctions against competitors. “Better and more honest to build its development strategy, therefore, to consider all the factors of the modern world with his normal development, not zaladilas that someone somewhere will be punished, so the market will be more favourable for us”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry. We must proceed from the fact that we are all in favour of the free development of international relations, the free and full development of every state without any restrictions. “It will be a long-term one hundred percent more useful for our country”, – said Lavrov.
The Litvinenko Case
Journalists could not ask the head of the Russian foreign Ministry the question of the “Litvinenko case”, the report on which was published recently in London. Lavrov said that the report “to the Russian leadership put forward serious allegations and not presented exactly no evidence”.
Lavrov: in the British report on the case of Litvinenko, there is no evidence
If this “took a competent lawyer and have analyzed those facts and those statements that make the heads of the British government, then, in General, can be prosecuted for libel”. Material for this has accumulated enough, he said.
“We would like to in the UK conducted an objective investigation of the multiplying deaths of Russian citizens, which is not something that in 10 years remember, and forget in a few months and tell us nothing,” said the Minister. However, he agreed with the statement from the foreign office that “the Litvinenko case” would further complicate our bilateral relations. “Not just the “Litvinenko case” and play around “Affairs of Litvinenko” our relationship is very seriously difficult, and it will be – our relationship is complicated – without any “maybe”, “probably”, “maybe”. They just get worse”, – said Lavrov.
And other important topics…
Interested journalists and other themes. So, speaking about the relations with Georgia, Lavrov said that they “emerge from the deep freeze”. “Ready to go in the long term to a visa-free regime, but it would be weird in a period when we have no diplomatic relations, which were severed not we”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry.
Restart of international relations and children’s behaviour United States: key statements by Lavrov
Speaking about the situation with North Korea, Lavrov expressed doubt that Pyongyang has tested a hydrogen bomb it is. Russia consults with the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea “about what was”, and I’m not sure “it was a test of the hydrogen bomb”. However, the head of Russian diplomacy did not support the proposal of South Korea to get together in the format of “six minus one”. “It’s not a good idea. Come, that we are trying to isolate. When trying to isolate Iran – nothing good happened. You cannot repeat this error with regard to the DPRK,” he said.
Answering the question about Crimea, Lavrov stressed that Russia does not conduct any negotiations on the return of the Peninsula to the Ukraine. “Crimea is the territory of the Russian Federation in full accordance with the will of the people of the Crimea”, – he stressed.
During the press conference they also talked about cooperation with the BRICS (Russia, China, Brazil, India, South Africa), on the situation of refugees from third countries who moved from Russia to Norway, about relations with China and Japan. In conclusion, talking to reporters, Lavrov wished everyone a happy Chinese New year.