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The presentation of a collection of poetry “The Hour of Courage” composed from verses by the poets of Donets Basin took place in Moscow on the eve of the Day of Russian Language commemorated in Russia every year. The book was compiled and edited by the Foundation “Russian World”. The presentation for journalists held in the INA “Russia Today” was attended by the chairman of the Parliament committee for education, the chairman of the directors’ board of the foundation “Russian World”, Vyacheslav Nikonov and the authors of the verses from the collection: Vladislav Russanov, Marina Berejneva, Anna Reviakina, Valadimir Skobtsov, Svetlana Maximova. With them was Yuri Yurchenko, one more outstanding poet who read his verses. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

The talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Tanasak Patimapragorn have been very useful and meaningful.

Thailand is one of Russia’s oldest partners in Southeast Asia. Our relations are based on traditions of friendship, mutual respect and trust. In July 2017 we will mark the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Today we have agreed to do everything in order to hold befitting celebrations of this date, including several major events.

The marathon negotiations conducted by the P5+1 international mediators and Iran for many years have come to an end. The talks were coordinated by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who, together with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, is now giving a presentation on the results of their work for the journalists and audiences around the world.

Question: Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin had talks on the sidelines of the BRICS and SCO summits in Ufa. They mentioned the issue of joining the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). What could you say about the results of their meeting?

Sergey Lavrov: During the summit in Moscow last May, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin signed a memorandum on the initiative to join Silk Road Economic Belt projects and the processes of Eurasian economic integration. Naturally, Russia and China are not the only two potential participants in these efforts. This issue concerns the entire EAEU. The initiative put forward by the leaders of our two countries is now being reviewed by our EAEU partners.

Sergey Lavrov: Another round of ministerial talks on Iran's nuclear programme has come to a conclusion. We compared our notes, noted substantial progress and singled out eight to nine issues that need to be finalised. We issued instructions to our deputies/policy directors, who will follow up on this work over the next couple of days. In the end, I believe that this meeting, just like our meeting in Lausanne, was the right thing to do. The closer the finish line, the more stakeholders are tempted to bargain for more concessions from the other side. This is natural. It happens all the time at any and all multilateral meetings and discussions. Today, we can state the following result — we have come closer still to a final agreement. Clearly, everyone is interested in reaching it. We decided not to set any artificial deadlines for ourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held useful and constructive talks in keeping with the way our dialogue with Luxembourg has always been.

Luxembourg is our longtime partner and a major foreign investor in Russia. We noted the ongoing interest of the business communities of both countries in deepening our cooperation. We welcome the active work of Luxembourg’s industry flagships, such as Paul Wurth in metallurgy, and Guardian Industries, on the Russian market. Recently, Accumalux Russia – a high-tech joint venture – was created in Togliatti. We agreed that we will promote and maintain the interests of our respective business communities in harmonising and implementing new projects.

Some things should rise above even the calculations of diplomacy, not just in Washington but on the world stage too. And the 70th celebration of the end of World War II — perhaps the last major anniversary to be celebrated honoring the “Greatest Generation” while it is still on this earth decades it fought in the epic conflict — is one of them.

The current polarization between Russia and the U.S. will be keeping the two countries from celebrating together. And while both sides deserve blame, it should be recognized as a loss for both countries that we have let our relations slip to a point that we can’t jointly honor our WWII veterans.

I had hoped to go to Germany at the end of April for a small tree-planting ceremony at the site where American and Russian troops converged at theRiver 70 years ago, shortly before the allied victory over Nazi Germany and the Japanese.

On July 28, 1943, in one of his famous fireside chats, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told his fellow citizens: “The world has never seen greater devotion, determination and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend in the world of the future.”

What has stymied this sincere wish of the 32nd president?

There is some validity to each of the possible explanations, making it all the more important to understand how these two completely different countries, at the most difficult moment in the history of humankind, ended up fighting side by side. One of the key drivers of this unusual alliance was a shared recognition of the scale of the evil that the world confronted in 1939.

There can be no right thinking Singaporean of whatever shade of political opinion that does not feel at least some sense of loss. Those of us who were privileged to work with Mr Lee Kuan Yew in whatever capacity, and thus knew him in some degree, cannot but also feel a profound personal sense of grief. Mr Lee was not only a great leader – that is obvious -- he was a man, human, and so inevitably complex. He evoked the entire range of human emotions, and evoked them strongly. His legacy will be many faceted and debated for many years. I can only speak of what I personally experienced. As a young MFA officer I was fortunate to have attended many meetings with Mr Lee and to have travelled with him. Later in my career, I sat in on policy discussions, several at times of crisis. I never intended to be a civil servant. I had prepared myself for an academic career. But I soon realised that most of what I thought I knew was at least superficial if not downright irrelevant. My real education in international relations began only when my life intersected, however tangentially, with Mr Lee. And if I stayed in the bureaucracy it was largely because of his example and what I learnt from him.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held useful and candid talks, which we both believe warrant positive coverage at the news conference.

Our countries enjoy traditionally friendly relations. We are united by similar or even identical approaches to the key issues of the modern world.

We focused particularly on promoting bilateral relations, which have really taken off, especially in trade and the economy. Of particular importance is our continued cooperation in the oil and gas industry, the power industry and the military-technical sphere. Russian economic operators, primarily LUKOIL and Gazprom Neft, as well a number of other companies, are working in Iraq and are contributing substantially to the revenue side of the Iraqi budget.