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Answers to questions of mass media by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov summarizing the results of the meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Berlin, 26 February 2013

26-02-2013, 14:53

Question: How did your negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry go?

Sergey Lavrov: We had a very ambitious conversation that lasted more than two hours. We discussed practically all aspects of our bilateral relations and key issues of the international agenda with emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa. In my opinion, the conversation was constructive. I felt the wish of my colleague John Kerry to line up our relations on a track of partnership, certainly without turning a blind eye to the issues that are irritant, including those that have emerged just recently. We mentioned Magnitsky Act, the problem with the attitude of the USA towards the children adopted from Russia. It was decided to move ahead in the situations where our interests match – in fact there are many of them – without turning a blind eye and still trying to solve these problems. They include stimulation of economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian links, also interaction in creating favourable conditions for settlement of different conflicts.

We discussed the situation known as Arab spring in this context. We talked about Syria, events in its neighbouring countries, our interaction on the Nuclear Program of Iran, the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, peace process in the Middle East. I feel that the second Barack Obama Administration will try to play a more constructive role in the mentioned lines in what concerns its foreign policy activities headed by John Kerry.

I would like to highlight a crucial point. We discussed in detail problems with Russian children adopted in the USA. John Kerry admitted that these are real rather than implied problems, assured that he will personally use all reasonable efforts to provide us full transparency and accountability in the USA in this sphere. I consider these statements to be very important. We will seek materialization of these words into practical actions.

Question: How can you comment on the reports that appeared in the Russian press regarding messages about some declaration being prepared between Russia and the USA on AMD?

Sergey Lavrov: I read these messages and talked to their author. I do not know his sources, but there are no grounds for such kind of stories. I do not know where this information comes from.

We stated our position. Russia and the USA have already adopted a sufficient number of declarations within the framework of OSCE, NATO-Russia Council. It was declared at the summit level that we will all secure indivisibility of security, when none of us will ensure its security at the cost of others' security. According to our invincible belief based on specific layouts that we familiarized our US and NATO colleagues with, the AMD system will create problems for Russia’s security. We have enough declarations here. If we cannot agree on a cooperative system (as the Russian party offered many times starting from the visit of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in 2007), then there is no need to talk about yet another declarations, but rather about guarantees of the non-directionality of the system inside the region and against Russia’s nuclear capacity – about guarantees that will be verified based on objective military and technical criteria.

Question: When can we expect the next meeting of Russia and the USA at the summit level?

Sergey Lavrov: We presume that US President Barack Obama is considering the invitation that he received.

Question: Can we expect any movements in the Syrian situation after your today’s meeting with US Secretary of State? Have any new elements occurred?

Sergey Lavrov: What concerns Syria, the main thing is that we have confirmed our mutual understanding that it is inadmissible to continue violence and our commitment to do everything that depends on Russia and the USA (although not everything depends on us, we will do everything possible) to create conditions for the beginning of a dialog between the government and the opposition as soon as possible. Nobody will solve problems of Syrians for them. But for this decision to be discussed, they need to sit down at the negotiating table.

We advocate for this to happen as early as possible. Yesterday we talked about it in Moscow with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem and his delegation that assured us that they have a negotiation team and are ready to start the dialog as soon as possible. We expect that the opposition that will soon have a meeting in Rome with representatives of Western countries and some countries of the region will also opt in favour of the dialog. We heard contradictory statements of its representatives in this respect. We hope that the opposition will not only opt in favour of the dialog, but will also determine its negotiation team. We talked about it at our today’s meeting, and, I hope, we will do our best for this dialog to start as soon as possible.

Question: What are your impressions from the first meeting with John Kerry?

Sergey Lavrov: They are very good. 

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