Ladies and gentlemen,
Negotiations with my Slovak colleague M. Lajcak have just been concluded, and they were held in friendly, confidential atmosphere and were very specific.
We have the general understanding that the Russian-Slovak relations are based on the solid foundation, which is based on the principles of good neighborliness and partnership. In our relationship there are no serious problems, the most favorable conditions for the dynamic development of cooperation in all fields were created.
There is the good basis for bilateral cooperation in the spheres as economy including energetic such as nuclear energy, advanced technology, cultural and humanitarian spheres. Many energy and infrastructure projects have good prospects, which are now discussed by the relevant agencies of the two countries. We are looking forward to the active participation in their implementation from the side of the Intergovernmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation. In addition to the functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister M. Lajcak was appointed as co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC). In the nearest future he will hold the meeting with Russian co-chair D. O. Rogozin, in the course of which they will discuss the issue of preparing of the session of the IPC.
Today we covered a number of international issues. Our countries share similar views on many aspects of the situation in Europe and the world in general. We discussed in detail the relationship between Russia and the EU, activities of the NATO-Russia Council. Most recently, we together with M. Lajcak participated in the ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels.
We note with satisfaction the positive intention of Slovak partners in regard to the promotion of the visa-free regime between Russia and the European Union. We appreciate that under the Schengen rules Slovak side is preparing additional relief of visa formalities for the visit of the countries by Russian tourists.
From the international themes we discussed the situation in the Balkans, the Middle East situation, the «Arab Spring», Syria, and a number of other issues.
We agreed to organize even closer cooperation between the two ministries the next year. I am grateful to M. Lajcak for the negotiations and cooperation.
Question (to the both ministers): What key activities are planned in 2013 dedicated to the 20-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic?
S. V. Lavrov (speaks first): Indeed, on January 1 of 2013 there will be the 20-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. This is very important date. We agreed that we will be celebrating the holiday with concrete actions.
As it already has been said, there will be meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on economic and scientific -technological cooperation, which will review and take stock of the situation in the trade - economic, scientific - technical spheres. A number of projects are in the advanced stage of development. I am sure that at the meeting of the Commission the recommendations and decisions will be formulated that will allow promoting of these projects.
It is also planned to complete the entire set of documents, on which my colleague M. Lajcak said. Accumulating concrete information we will negotiate on the timing of possible contacts in the high and highest levels.
In addition to trade, economic, scientific - technical cooperation between the two countries there are the developing of rich human communication. Next year we plan a series of events dedicated to the anniversary of diplomatic relations. I am sure that this date will not pass unnoticed.
Question: How would you comment on the recognition of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Force from the side of the United States as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, as stated today by the President B. Obama? Does this contradict the agreements on the search of the solution of the Syrian crisis through Geneva communiqué?
S. V. Lavrov: I learned with some surprise that the United States through its President acknowledged the «coalition» as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This is contrary to the agreements set forth in the Geneva communiqué, which expects the start of the dialogue between the representatives of Syrians appointed by the government, on the one hand, and the opposition - on the other.
When the formed «coalition» approved the «manifesto», which stated that the main aim is to overthrow the regime, the dismantling of state institutions and the rejection of the dialogue with the Government of SAR, we asked the American partners, how this compared with the logic fixed in Geneva communiqué. Colleagues in the United States answered that the main thing is to unite the opposition and its platform can be corrected later, as they said.
Apparently, they decided not to adjust it. If the «coalition» is recognized as the sole legitimate representative, it seems that the United States decided to bet on the armed victory of the «National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Force». We will still refine from our American colleagues, how they represent the situation taking into consideration the statement made public. In the course of Geneva consultations held three days ago it seemed to us that the Americans still understood the need to create the conditions for dialogue among Syrians including SAR government.
For us the expressed recognition is the unexpected turn. We will clarify what exactly is meant, and how the United States now intends to proceed.