Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has held a press conference with journalists at the United Nations, during which he reiterated Russia’s positions on key issues around the glob.
Here are the main points
On Syria, Russia’s Foreign Minister stated that “we cannot allow for partition”. He further stated that it would only bring more instability to the Middle East and that the only parties who would benefit from such a thing would be those who seek to benefit from causing havoc across the region.
Beyond this, Lavrov stated that time tables for military withdrawal among all foreign actors in Syria is premature and that this can only be discussed once the battle against terrorism is totally won.
Sergey Lavrov also reiterated Russia’s position that only the Syrian people can determine their future and that the political decisions of Syria should not be influenced by foreign powers.
North Korea and Iran:
Lavrov expressed disappointment in Donald Trump’s remarks indicating that he seeks to tear apart the JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal). If the US does this, the Foreign Minister stated that North Korea will say to itself, “How can I have a deal with you (with US) if you break the deals you make and take back what you have given”.
He further stated, “I hope this example will not become a precedent”.
Lavrov stated that the Sino-Russian Double-Freeze proposals for the Korean peninsula remain the best way forward and that ‘hot headed’ military options would be catastrophic, in a clear rejection of Donald Trump’s militaristic approach to Pyongyang.
When asked if he met the Foreign Minister of the DPRK who is scheduled to address the General Assembly on the 23rd, Lavrov stated that the last time they spoke was at the ASEAN summit in Philippines which was held last month. Lavrov stated that a meeting with the North Korean Foreign Minister is not currently on his busy UN agenda.
In respect of the Saudi led boycott of Qatar, Lavrov stated that he maintains close contact with the Foreign Ministers of all countries involved including Qatar, the UAE, Saudi and Egypt. Lavrov stated that as with all other disputes, dialogue is the only way forward.
He remarked that sanctions are never a good option but remarked on the hypocrisy of many in the west worried about the sanctions against Qatar which have only lasted a few months while the west continues to sanction Syria, something which has led to a large scale humanitarian disaster which Russia condemns.
Sergey Lavrov stated that he met with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh and had productive talks on the Rohingya refugee issue. He further stated that Myanmar is taking into consideration the need to take care of the humanitarian aspect.
Lavrov stressed that it is necessary to have dialogue will all concerned parties in Myanmar just as this is the case in Venezuela. He continued to urge calm on the issue.
Cuba and Venezuela:
When asked about Donald Trump’s views on Donald Trump’s threats against Cuba, particularly as it relates to the US embargo. Here, Lavrov said that unilateral sanctions are never a good idea and that this applies equally to Cuba and Venezuela.
Describing Venezuela as a “friendly country”, Lavrov condemned US sanctions before stating that the US problem in Venezuela is that the US only talks to those opposed to President Nicolas Maduro. Sergey Lavrov stated that in spite of Russia’s good relations with the Venezuelan President, Russia has cordial talks with all sides in Venezuela.He stated that this is a model that should be used in any crisis and he said that “it should happen in personal life too”.
Sergey Lavrov remarked with regret that “You cannot undo what you’ve done…you cannot go back in time”. He went on to slam NATO for its extra-legal murder of former Libyan Revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi. Lavrov stated that the best thing for Libyan would have been not to manipulate political processes. He then stated that Libya was bombed as blatant violation of the UN mandate for a no fly zone. Lavrov then mocked NATO saying, it is “the most democratic organisation in the world as they call themselves…that’s why everyone seeks to join it”.
He then criticised France for giving weapons to enemies of Gaddafi in Libya, weapons which were then used by Slafist terrorists in neighbouring Mali where then French then sought approval from the UN Security Council for an anti-terror mission.
Lavrov stated that he spoke with the French Foreign Minister at the time and stated that they created the very mess in Mali they now seek to clean up. He said that the French Foreign Minister replied “C’est la vie”, but Lavrov stated that was simply not a good enough response.
The Russian Foreign Minister stated that Russia seeks new elections in Libya, but such things are a long way off.
In this segment of his press conference, Sergey Lavrov noted that it is as though many of the journalists seek out Russia to solve all of the world’s problems, even those issues which are not directly related to Russia. He again joked later in the press conference when addressing Russia’s support for Palestinian statehood, “Yet another problem that is Russia’s responsibility”.
Sergey Lavrov stated that it was unfortunate that Barack Obama put a “time bomb” under US-Russia relations. He stated that he would not have expected such behaviour from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Turning to the Russiagate issue, Lavrov reminded reporters that the DNC website was hacked by an insider–someone with direct access to the DNC computers. This person who ultimately passed the information to Wikileaks is widely believed to be Seth Rich who was murdered shortly after the scandal broke out.
Lavrov remarked that after a year of thorough investigations, not any evidence of Russia meddling was found; not in the US, nor in France and Germany.
Sergey Lavrov compared the attitude of modern American jurists and pundits to that of the infamous Soviet state prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky who once said that “the accusation is the king of proof”.
It’s been one year and we have not seen a single fact–and not in France and Germany either
He further stated that there have been no great breakthroughs in so-called ‘east-west relations’ and that his meetings with western Foreign Ministers this year was little different than in previous years. Lavrov stated that will there is frequently an impetus to improve relations, this still has yet to happen.