26 January 2020
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693 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     685 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 Foreign Minister of the Republic of Burundi Ezechiel Nibigira, Moscow, November 5, 2019

Good afternoon,

The meeting with my Burundian colleague Ezechiel Nibigira took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere. We enjoy friendly relations based on the principles of international law, respect for mutual interests and deep historical sympathy that our peoples have for each other.

We praised the positive dynamics of our trade and economic relations. The figures are not too impressive yet, but they show significant growth: more than four-fold in the past three years. This corresponds to our mutual intent to bring our mutually beneficial business partnership to a new level, and today we have reaffirmed that. We have recently managed to launch an entire series of successful joint projects in manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Several Russian companies are operating in Burundi. In turn, a shop selling Burundian tea and coffee opened in Russia and is doing very well. We also agreed to maintain direct contacts between our business communities. The most promising areas of cooperation are interregional cooperation; in particular, there are good plans to develop an entire range of joint projects in Burundi involving the Republic of Mordovia.

Our Burundian colleagues have informed us about the steps taken by the country’s government in order to finally put an end to the existing domestic difficulties and about the preparations for the general elections, which will take place in May 2020.

In turn, we confirmed our steadfast position on respecting the sovereignty of Burundi. We believe it is inadmissible to interfere in the domestic affairs of this African country, and we confirmed that this will be our position when discussing issues related to the developments in Burundi at the UN, including its Security Council.

We talked a lot about cultural ties. Both sides praised the training of Burundian specialists at Russian universities. Including the Soviet era, over 4,500 Burundians have received education in Russia in total. Today, about 120 Burundians are studying humanitarian disciplines. Dozens of Burundians are studying at universities under the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry and at courses under the Federal Security Service.

We also agreed to continue to offer internships for Burundian diplomats at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy at the expense of Russia next year. In addition, next year new experts will be able to apply for corresponding courses. Today Mr Minister will have a meeting with Rector of the Diplomatic Academy Alexander Yakovenko.

We discussed the prospects for another new venture, the establishment of a National Crisis Management Centre in Burundi. We have received such request from Gitega’s officials. We have agreed to get down to this issue, to the practical parts of it, with the Russian Interior Ministry and the International Civil Defence Organisation.

We praised the results of the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi on October 23–24. We are happy that our Burundian friends, as well as our other colleagues from which we received feedback, liked the organisation, details and results of this event.

We agreed to promote the implementation of the documents signed by Russia and the African Union, the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union Commission, thus adding new details to the comprehensive ties between Russia and Africa.

We discussed regional and international affairs. We have spoken in favour of the further development of cooperation with the UN and other countries to ensure compliance with the UN Charter and principles, including the unacceptability of interfering in others’ domestic affairs and respect for people’s right to choose their own path and model for development.

Burundi traditionally cosponsors the Russian Federation’s key initiatives at the UN General Assembly, including such documents as the unacceptability of glorifying Nazism, those on not placing weapons in outer space, the promotion of transparency and confidence-building measures in space and international information security.

Today we agreed to support the approval of a resolution on the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II including an official meeting in New York in May 2020 at the UN General Assembly session.

We also exchanged opinions on collaboration at UN human-rights agencies. We expressed a common position here: We need to review specific cases without trying to politicise them or use the subject of human rights for interfering in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.

I would also like to note the following important fact. Today we confirmed the close coordination of our work at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to prevent attempts by some of our Western partners to erode the fundamental consensus-based foundations of this Convention, that have been manifested in the past 12 months, and to try and impose non-consensus approaches in the area of eliminating chemical weapons and ensuring complete chemical disarmament, and this runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Convention itself.

We also discussed many issues facing the African countries. Russia invariably proceeds from the need to respect the opinions of the Africans themselves and to draft approaches towards resolving various crises. This is how we will continue to approach the UN Security Council while discussing various hotspots on the African continent, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the entire African Great Lakes region, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Mali.

Today, we discussed a Somalia peace settlement in great detail, and we praised the position of Burundi on this issue. I would like to note that over 4,000 peacekeepers from Burundi are serving in a proper manner with the African Union’s mission in Somalia. This is a substantial contribution to stabilising this important country, which is still torn apart by domestic disputes, and where terrorists, including organisations like Al-Shabaab, continue to consolidate their positions. 

On the whole, I consider these talks to be very useful. I hope we will continue to make headway on the matters we discussed today for the benefit of our relations, countries and people.

Question (addressed to both ministers): The Burundian Minister of Public Security and Disaster Management recently spoke about the need for Russia and Burundi to exchange intelligence data on members of illegal armed groups. Does Burundi plan to join the FSB database of foreign terrorist fighters? Will Russia and the CSTO expand counterterrorism ties with Burundi?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Ezechiel Nibigira): Russia is interested in developing counterterrorism cooperation with all countries, including those in Africa. As I have said, we train foreign security personnel at the special centre of the Federal Security Service (FSB), including for the Burundian Ministry of Public Security. Today we discussed the FSB’s [International Counterterrorism] Database, which can be used to track foreign terrorist fighters in real time. Some 50 countries and international organisations, including Interpol, have access to it. We will provide our Burundian friends with materials from which they can learn how they can join this important international mechanism.

Question (addressed to Ezechiel Nibigira): The Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi raised some Western countries’ apprehensions concerning the full-scale return of Russia to Africa. One of the irritants is military technical cooperation. Mr Minister, what can you tell us about this?

Sergey Lavrov (adding after Ezechiel Nibigira): Those who are concerned about relations between other countries are prisoners of a neo-colonial mentality, when huge continents were considered certain countries’ domain that other countries were not allowed to enter. But all this has changed. Next year we will mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1960. This Declaration has created modern Africa and modern independent African countries. The Declaration was co-initiated and co-authored by the Soviet Union. African countries remember who made a great contribution to their independence and liberation from the colonial yoke, and just as importantly, helped them acquire the basic foundations of statehood, such as security forces and basic national industries.

Therefore, I see no legal or moral reason for anyone to be worried if we and our African colleagues want to strengthen our cooperation.

Question: Some foreign media have reported that Russia and the United States have signed secret agreements on the northeastern regions of Syria and that the Russian military is allegedly entering the areas that US troops are leaving. Can you comment on this?

Sergey Lavrov: Frankly, I do not think that any agreement with the United States is possible today. I see no reason to look for secret motivations in the plans that were coordinated during the talks in Sochi between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in October. The memorandum they adopted is a perfectly clear document. All of the provisions are being implemented. As for the United States, first it said it would pull out of Syria. Then it said it was returning. And tomorrow it may again announce a withdrawal. It would be unconstructive and counterproductive to try to coordinate a long-term policy of normalising Syria and rebuilding its sovereignty and territorial integrity while keeping an eye on the inconsistent actions of a country that maintains its presence in Syria illegally in violation of international law.

I would like to point out again that the memorandum that President Putin and President Erdogan approved in Sochi is being implemented. The Russian military is working in close contact with the Syrian Army in a 30-kilometre buffer zone, from which the Kurdish self-defence forces have pulled back. The Russian military police and their Turkish colleagues are patrolling a 10-kilomere border line in the 30-kilometre buffer zone.


16.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a plenary session of the Raisina Dialogue international conference, New Delhi, January 15, 2020

Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.

15.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

Question: What areas of cooperation will be in the focus of your visit to India and will determine the strategic partnership between the two states in 2020? What do you think about the Indian-Russian cooperation in general? Sergey Lavrov: This is a special year for our countries. Twenty years ago, India and Russia signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.

14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.

14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.

19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.

18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

Thirty years ago, on December 18, 1989, Brussels hosted the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the USSR and the European communities. This date became the point of departure for official relations between Russia as the successor state of the USSR and the European Union. Symbolically, the Agreement was signed slightly over a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that came down in history as a landmark signifying the end of the Cold War, a period, when the continent was divided into two opposing ideological blocs. The founders of the Russia-EU partnership knew that it would be impossible to erase the centuries-old divides on the continent unless a broad framework for cooperation was created in Europe. Both sides intended to make it mutually beneficial, long-term, and resistant to economic and political fluctuations.

06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.

29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.

28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.

21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.

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