23 February 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

25.09.2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Itogi Nedeli for the NTV network, Moscow, September 24, 2017

Question: It looked as if it was a difficult week for the UN General Assembly, what with some delegations walking out and others joining the debate and making statements. It was probably part of the diplomatic game. What is your assessment of these developments?

Sergey Lavrov: This is inevitable, because heads of state and ministers attend the opening session of the UN General Assembly and the General Debate. It is mostly a week of bilateral contact and, of course, remarks delivered at the General Assembly, where all countries present their approaches to current international issues. A huge number of side events are held parallel with the GA session, and this could be even more important. These include bilateral trust-based talks on delicate issues, during which the sides sometimes find something that they will be able to use in their work later. Also, a great many multilateral events are held. In my case, I have attended some 70 meetings, including with the foreign ministers of the CSTO, SCO, CELAC and many other countries, plus a meeting of the five permanent Security Council members with the UN Secretary-General.

It [the General Assembly] is a very important international event, because it allows you to meet with nearly all state leaders in one place within a matter of one week.

Question: The Americans announced before the GA session that US President Donald Trump would deliver a deeply philosophical speech about the world order and the need to reform the UN, but as I see it, in the end he called for making America great again, because the United States pays too much to the UN and gets too little in return, and that all countries must fend for themselves. He meant that if the United States pays so much, it has more rights to dictate its will to others. What is our opinion on this matter? It appears that we have our own view on what the UN should be like.

Sergey Lavrov: The UN should be what its member states decide it should be like following the talks that all of them attend. It should be reflected in the decisions that they take as the result of these talks.

As for the principles of the [Political] Declaration for UN Reform, which the American delegation has distributed and opened for signature by UN member states, the majority of them are indisputable: the UN should be more effective and efficient, it must deliver on its mandate, reduce mandate duplication and overlap, and strengthen its budget functions. But when Russia and some other UN member states proposed discussing some phrases, we were told that the declaration is not for discussion and that we must sign it as it is. Of course, Russia, China and France could not accept this approach.

Many countries have signed this declaration, but this has not made it a UN document. It is true that the event was held at the UN headquarters, but it is not connected in any way to the bodies that were created under the UN Charter. For the UN Secretariat to accept these recommendations and principles as the basis of its operation, as Washington wants it to do, the Secretariat must be mandated to do so by the Security Council or the General Assembly and ECOSOC. This is all regarding the status of such declarations. However, we are glad that the Trump administration has taken an interest in the UN. It would be much worse if it ignored the organisation.

That the UN is a bit overweight is old news, but any serious reform calls for caution, because the UN’s “corpulence” is due to the fact that it has 193 member states. Each member state, even if it only has a population of 10,000 or 15,000 people (there are such countries, in particular, in the South Pacific), wants to take part in the organisation’s work, in particular, to have its representative at the UN Secretariat. I believe that this is a perfectly understandable desire. Therefore, we must be very careful when cutting away the fat so that we do not damage the living UN organism.




LATEST EVENTS

22.02.2018 - Agricultural Attache Derbenskiy took part in the Conference of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU)

On 20-21 February Vladimir Derbenskiy, Agricultural Attache of the Russian Embassy, took part in the annual NFU Conference in Birmingham on the invitation of the Union.


22.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the situation in Eastern Ghouta

Q: Could you comment on the statement regarding the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta made by Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on 21 February? A: The best way to improve the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is for Jabhat al-Nusra fighters to withdraw. Instead, this terrorist group that controls the area constantly attacks residential areas and diplomatic facilities in Damascus, keeps civilians as hostages and uses them as a human shield. Information on civilian casualties mostly comes from Nusra-affiliated structures, which cannot be seen as impartial. Several medical evacuations have been arranged but met with refusal by the terrorists, who are preventing any attempts to negotiate a larger-scale civilian evacuation.


21.02.2018 - MFA comment on the accusations by UK against Russia of staging massive cyber attacks against Ukraine’s cyber infrastructure

A new era of information warfare against Russia is upon us. It is now alleged that Russia had something to do with the June 2017 cyber attack against Ukraine. The UK Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have now joined the Western media in spreading these accusations. This time, however, instead of laying the blame on the anonymous and now legendary “Russian hackers,” they went as far as to accuse the Russian government. In keeping with the tradition adopted by the West in general, London failed to provide any specific facts, preferring to make groundless and exasperating statements and allusions and pretending that everything is clear even without coming up with any evidence.


20.02.2018 - DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES



15.02.2018 - Embassy Comments on statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad

The statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad regarding Russia’s alleged responsibility for the NotPetya cyber-attack is, like many other similar accusations, not backed by any evidence. It is another example of irresponsible and hostile rhetoric of British officials towards Russia. The Embassy considers it as a part of the continuing campaign aimed at the stigmatisation of our country, that we have witnessed in the UK over the recent months.


15.02.2018 - The latest anti-Russian campaign in Western media (MFA comment)

We have noted a number of articles published by Western media in the latest campaign to denigrate Russia’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria. Here are just a few of the many examples: “Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say” (The Washington Post, February 5); “Russia bombs Syria rebel strongholds after jet is shot down” (Newsweek, February 5); “Biggest airstrikes in a year hit Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet” (The Guardian, February 6); “Devastating Russian airstrikes of retribution in Syria” (Deutsche Welle, February 5); “Russia launches an offensive after the jet is downed” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 5). These articles are obviously carbon-copies – their style and reasoning are strikingly similar. The misinformation comes down to allegations that the Russian Aerospace Forces are striking rebel strongholds in Idlib, killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, including medical institutions. The Syrian Army is being groundlessly accused of using chemical weapons.


14.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the chemical incidents in Syria

Q: Could you comment on the recent statements by a number of Western politicians and media claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict? A: Russia is against any use of chemical weapons and is a strong supporter of chemical disarmament. In Syria we are in favour of conducting professional on-site investigations of all chemical incidents, something that has never been performed. Instead, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) relied on “evidence” provided by the self-styled activists and rescue organisations such as the White Helmets which are in fact colluding with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.


12.02.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veterans

On 9-11 February 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medals to the Arctic Convoys veterans Mr David SIMPSON and Mr George MOON


10.02.2018 - Embassy Press Officer on Boris Johnson’s comments on the humanitarian situation in Syria

Q: Would you please comment on the yesterday’s statement by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the humanitarian situation in Syria? What is Russia’s position on this issue? A: The humanitarian situation in Syria remains predictably difficult. Russia continues to take efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both directly and through international organizations. As regards to the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib as well as in Afrin, Hasakah, Raqqa, Rukban camp and other areas, we share concerns of the UN agencies in Syria and we have repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities.


09.02.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a ceremony on the occasion of Diplomats’ Day, Moscow, February 8, 2018

Colleagues, friends, We are grateful to our guests and comrades for accepting our invitation. I have the honour to declare this ceremony devoted to Diplomats’ Day open. (Anthem of the Russian Federation) * * * I would like to again express our gratitude to all those who have joined the Foreign Ministry staff and veterans on this occasion, including our colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Executive Office, the Russian Security Council, ministries, agencies and other offices with which we maintain close and fruitful cooperation. My special thanks go to Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.



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