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624 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     616 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

05.09.2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks and takes questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Erlan Abdyldayev, Moscow, 4 September 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, My colleague, Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Erlan Abdyldayev, and I held good talks. We reviewed progress in the implementation of the agreements achieved by the presidents of Russia and Kyrgyzstan in all areas of bilateral relations, including the agreements reached during the meeting of the two leaders in Sochi in August.

Our relations have reached a qualitatively new level. Our alliance and strategic partnership across all areas, including political dialogue, as well as economic, trade and investment, military and technical, and humanitarian cooperation, have been infused with new meanings. There’s progress that brings real results, and benefits our countries and peoples. We focused particularly on economic integration in Eurasia. We are convinced that the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union will contribute both to addressing the issues facing the Kyrgyz Republic, and to the overall strength of bilateral relations between the member states of the Customs Union, including Russia and Kyrgyzstan. We provide the necessary assistance for creating the tools that will promote the development of the Kyrgyz economy and harmonise it with the Eurasian integration processes.

As I mentioned earlier, humanitarian ties are particularly important. In a show of traditional friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, we have provided a significant number of stipends to students from Kyrgyzstan. Nearly 3,000 Kyrgyz students attend Russian universities. We appreciate and support the activities of the Yeltsin Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University in Bishkek. We believe that it is an important tool, which, along with other steps taken by the leadership of Kyrgyzstan (including in the form of regulatory and legal acts), will promote the Russian language in Kyrgyzstan.

We have reviewed a variety of international and regional issues. We share views on key challenges facing Central Asia and the international community. We are satisfied with the good level of cooperation within the CSTO, the CIS, and the SCO, and with the way our delegations cooperate in the UN, the OSCE and other multilateral forums. Today, we signed a Programme for Cooperation of the foreign ministries of Russia and Kyrgyzstan for 2014-2015, which focuses on continued coordination of our actions.

We attach particular importance to the meetings and events that will take place in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, and also in the CIS, the CSTO, the UN and the OSCE, regarding the upcoming 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Second World War.

We have common goals in providing security and stability in Central Asia, primarily with regard to combating drug trafficking, international terrorism and other cross-border crime. With increasing uncertainty in Afghanistan, such work is becoming particularly important. We have exchanged views on how these issues will be addressed at the SCO, the CIS and the CSTO summits, to be held this year.

Of course, we shared our views on the situation in Ukraine. We firmly believe that the violence and fire should stop immediately and unconditionally, and that negotiations with the participation of all the opposing forces should begin. From a broader angle, the promised constitutional reforms involving all regions and political forces in Ukraine must be carried out.

We stand in solidarity with our brotherly Ukrainian people. We want to provide humanitarian aid to civilians who continue to suffer from ongoing shelling, as we strive to achieve a ceasefire as our primary goal.

Overall, today's talks reaffirmed our mutual commitment to further enhancing the comprehensive Russian-Kyrgyz partnership. I’d like to thank my colleague and friend Erlan Abdyldayev for good teamwork, and for the invitation to visit Kyrgyzstan.

Question: Talks are underway regarding the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the Customs Union. As is known, the Agreement between the Governments of Russia and Kyrgyzstan on Expanding Economic Cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Integration, which is important for Kyrgyzstan, was signed recently. What measures does this Agreement provide in order to adapt the Kyrgyz economy to the level required for Customs Union membership?

Sergey Lavrov: We are interested in the swift implementation of the fundamental agreements reached by the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan on 29 May at the summit in Astana. Today, Mr Abdyldayev informed us that the Kyrgyz government has adopted several decisions approving a large package of documents that need to be signed before Kyrgyzstan joins the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community. We welcome this approach.

At the same time, we are nearly done coordinating two Russian-Kyrgyz documents that will provide important and concrete tools to support the Kyrgyz economy as it proceeds to harmonise with the integration processes in Eurasia. A special fund is being created and a corresponding financing mechanism, a road map, is being developed. As the two presidents agreed in Sochi, these agreements are nearing completion. I hope that they will be signed soon.

Question: As is known, Kyrgyzstan supplies labour to Russia. Do you believe that Kyrgyzstan may eventually join the Agreement on Legal Status of Migrant Workers and Their Family Members, signed by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, even before Kyrgyzstan joins the Customs Union and the EAEC?

Sergey Lavrov: The answer lies in the agreement’s article describing the accession procedure. I am confident that this issue can be considered with the participation not only of Russia, but of other signatories to the agreement, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well. In any case, this issue will be decided not by us but the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. As far as I can tell, the process of Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Customs Union and the EAEC is accelerating. Following accession, the existing agreements in any area that is covered by the common economic space, and subsequently by the EAEC regulations, will automatically apply to Kyrgyzstan as a member state.

Speaking of migration in general, I’d like to note that a bilateral working group has been established to address issues faced by migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan, as part of ongoing reforms in our migration policy. The transformations seek to bring migrants “out of the shadows” who are working without legal papers and whose rights are being infringed upon (they have no legal protection), and to make sure that they are working legally and enjoy social protection. These issues are being discussed. In situations in the past when a violation of Russian law took place in good faith and due to an urgent need to address humanitarian issues (reuniting with family, visiting sick relatives or, for example, students leaving on vacation without properly formalising their status), we will act flexibly and constructively, so as not to hurt conscientious citizens of Kyrgyzstan who live, work and study in Russia.

Therefore, even before Kyrgyzstan's accession to all the EAEC migration instruments, we already have fairly important bilateral mechanisms, which will allow us to resolve many issues at this stage.

Question: How would you respond to US President Barack Obama’s statement that the Russia-NATO Founding Act may be amended? He said NATO should be ready to accept new members in the near future and also mentioned the formation of an air force training centre in Estonia, as well as the US decision to expand sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

Sergey Lavrov: This is not simply another statement by the US President. It concerns broader issues.

As for the declared intention to amend the Russia-NATO Founding Act, this document was elaborated by all countries that are members of the Russia-NATO Council, and can only be amended collectively. Unilaterally, it is possible only to withdraw from the act, but this would apply only to the country that makes this decision. Declaring that “I, a single country, have decided to amend a collective document signed by 28 nations” is not entirely appropriate, either legally or politically.

As for other threats voiced by Washington and some other capitals, I’d like to emphasise the following. It is not the first time, given a glimmer of hope for a political solution in Ukraine, that the party of war has instantly mobilised. In the last seven or ten days, we have witnessed many events that were actively sought by our Western partners in the process of establishing additional contacts in the search for ways of settling the crisis in Ukraine. Minsk hosted a meeting of the presidents of the Customs Union countries and Ukraine, with the participation of the heads of the European Commission and the Eurasian Economic Commission. President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Pyotr Poroshenko spoke on the phone several times after their two hour-long frank and detailed conversation in Minsk.

Yesterday’s telephone conversation between them was entirely devoted to the need to encourage processes that will help reach a ceasefire between Ukrainian security forces and representatives of the southeast of the country. Following this conversation, President Putin compiled a seven-point plan and asked the parties involved in the conflict to review his ideas. We are hoping for a reply from official Kiev and self-defence fighters. We have done, are doing, and will continue to do everything we can for the implementation of the proposal to establish a dialogue, starting with the top priority: ceasefire. I’ll repeat that the coincidence of the outburst of anti-Russian rhetoric with the most vigorous efforts towards political settlement suggests only one conclusion, notably, that Kiev’s party of war enjoys active support from abroad, the United States in this case.

Let me recall that when efforts were made to create the conditions for political settlement, in particular, during the direct dialogue between President Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Poroshenko, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared that his Government was submitting to parliament a draft law on renouncing the country’s non-aligned status, and taking a course towards joining NATO. Like President Obama, he actively supported the need to accept new members into the alliance. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also spoke much in the same vein.

In parallel with Yatsenyuk’s declarations, we hear insulting statements made by Dmitro Yarosh to President Poroshenko. Vehemently opposing any steps towards the cessation of violence, Yarosh said that if the head of state is unable to achieve military victory, this will be carried out by the Right Sector militants without him. Therefore, those who now stand on the path of war by supporting radical militant elements in Kiev, are taking on a huge responsibility, not only for the continued bloodshed but also for the attempts to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the actions of Ukraine’s current president. I hope this will become clear to Washington and other capitals that are intoxicated with anti-Russian rhetoric today.

Question: What do you expect from tomorrow’s meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk? Will the sides take real steps to deescalate the conflict, taking into account the measures proposed by President Putin?

Sergey Lavrov: As I’ve already said, our goal is to use all available opportunities for launching negotiations. This aim was repeatedly proclaimed by Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, including at international forums, for instance, at the Geneva meeting on 17 April and in Berlin on 2 July of this year.

The Contact Group is the first attempt (following the practice of round tables conducted in different regions of Ukraine before the presidential elections, which has now been forgotten for some reason) to find a negotiated solution that would reflect the readiness to listen to self-defence fighters and their far-from-extreme demands.

They want to live in the land where they, their fathers and grandfathers were born; to have an opportunity to take a direct part in arranging their life, to elect and be elected; to understand what share of taxes they will have; to be confident that they will be able to choose a language in which to speak and raise their children. These are absolutely common and simple wishes that are natural for a normal, civilised European country with national minorities.

We are interested in keeping the pace of this fragile but mounting process under the auspices of the Contact Group. As a participant in the process and a country that is doing everything on a par with OSCE representatives to establish specific and meaningful dialogue between Kiev and the southeast, we have suggested seven points made by President Putin yesterday. We are ready to explain and specify the meaning of these points, and, most importantly, we want to hear the response to this plan from the main sides involved in the confrontation: Kiev and the southeast of Ukraine. Naturally, we will be ready to listen to additional proposals from Contact Group members in the hope that eventually we’ll arrive at some common position.

Let me repeat that we’ll insist on ceasefire as the first step; this is the main goal now. The civilian population has been suffering terribly for too long. All responsible politicians and those who are in charge of gunmen in Kiev and the southeast should realise their responsibility before the people of that much-suffering country, stop the war and start coming to terms on various issues. This applies to measures proposed by President Putin, such as monitoring ceasefire; providing guarantees for the non-use of heavy artillery against civilians and of aircraft against cities, other inhabited localities and civilians; rendering urgent humanitarian relief to civilians; and starting to restore the infrastructure with a view to providing at least some life support for the war-ravaged cities and regions.

We’ll work towards these results at the Contact Group’s meeting in Minsk tomorrow. I hope all of its other members will pursue the same aim.




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