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Speech by Sergey Lavrov, and his answers to questions from the mass media during the joint press conference summarising the results of the negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrisov

6-08-2014, 14:44

Dear Erlan Abilfaizovich,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I can fully share your assessments, which have just been stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrisov, with regard to the negotiations in Ust-Kamenogorsk today.

We have good impressions from visiting this part of Kazakhstan – the city and the Province, where the multinational nature of the Kazakh people is clearly visible. We value this multinational nature, because we are also such a state and are interested that everybody lives in peace and consent with each other. As friends, we talked about this in detail and fairly today.

We have reviewed the course of the implementation of the agreements reached between the presidents of our countries, who meet very frequently – there were three meetings this year only and no less contacts are yet to come this year.

We discussed the course of implementation of the Plan of Joint Actions of Russia and Kazakhstan for 2013 – 2015 and the state of affairs in the economic, humanitarian, energy and other areas of our multifaceted interaction. We agreed on the accents to be placed in the work of sectoral ministries and agencies for them to be able to fulfil the tasks set by Russian and Kazakh leaders with maximum efficiency.

International problems is the field of our close interaction and coordination. As allies and strategic partners, we coordinate our steps bilaterally and within the framework of the CSTO. As to the activities in the UN, OSCE, in other forums, including the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, where Russia is an observer, but Kazakhstan will accommodate the headquarters of the OIC economic organisation. The CIS and the SCO are bodies, where many changes are happening right now, which we need for their further development. We also talked about this today.

We can talk about our agenda for a long time – it is truly substantial. There are almost no issues of international and regional life, which were not discussed between our countries. We are interested in supporting each other on the international stage. We follow the growth of Kazakhstan’s goodwill in global affairs with likes and support. We will welcome further progress in this direction in all possible ways.

I would like to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrisov, the leaders of the East Kazakhstan Province and the Mayor’s Office of Ust-Kamenogorsk for their warm welcome of our delegation.

Question: Immediately after the introduction of sanctions against the Russian company Dobrolet, an information has appeared that the Russian Ministry of Transport jointly with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are discussing the question of restricting or completely closing overflight of European airlines over the Siberia. Is that so? If it is so, when can this measure enter into force?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not want to comment on different rumours. All of you probably know how actively airlines of foreign countries – European, American and Asian use the Russian air space. I am not an addict of using ban methods, create real problems for passengers – plain people, who have nothing to do with what those, who started the war in Ukraine, do. I repeat, I will not comment on rumours. Yesterday, when commenting on this story, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that when responsible states act, they should think, how this would affect consumers and Russian companies. We assume that our western partners should think about their nationals and companies.

Question: What are the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the nuclear energy area?

Sergey Lavrov: We discussed this today. In my opinion, these prospects are the best and the most favourable. The agencies of our countries, which are in charge of nuclear energy are maintaining contacts – there have been another consultations just recently, a memorandum devoted to the plan to construct a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan was signed and a respective intergovernmental agreement is being prepared.

You have mentioned the Ulba Metallurgical Plant today, which I also was lucky to visit. This is a truly legendary company. In general, there are many interesting ideas, which might be quite in demand in practice within the ambit of cooperation of this plant with Russian partners.

Therefore, everything is developing quite good in this area.

Question: Russia has proposed another initiative to the UNSC regarding the need to create a humanitarian corridor in the South-East of Ukraine as soon as possible, probably also under the aegis of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Other UNSC members have perceived this initiative with restraint. Is the Russian initiative supported by other countries and international organisations, including the ICRC?

Sergey Lavrov: We do not need a UNSC resolution to resolve this issue. We have convened this session to draw attention to the drastically worsening humanitarian situation in the South-East of Ukraine, which has already become a humanitarian disaster, and to the yesterday’s assessments by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According the UN data, over 700,000 Ukrainians have crossed the Russian border, 136,000 of them asked for official asylum. These are serious numbers. You know about the situation in the Rostov Region and other regions of the Russian Federation, where refugees from Ukraine are heading through the Rostov Region. To ease sufferings of those, who are still unable to escape from the South-East to other parts of Ukraine, or abroad, we raised a question before the ICRC for this authoritative and respected organisation to provide its aegis for convoys with aid, primarily for the Lugansk and Donetsk Regions, including the supply of generators, water treatment plants, medical equipment, medicines, food and other essentials. Lugansk has almost no electricity and water. The situation is no better in Donetsk and surrounding populated areas.

I can say that ICRC leaders have supported this approach and I hope that they will operatively work on practical aspects of the implementation of this initiative.

However, our insistent addresses to the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe to member states of these organisations, among other things, pursue the goal to draw attention to the events in the South-East from the humanitarian point of view. Conscious silence about these events is purposeful misleading of communities, corrupt supply and distorting of information.

We already provided the example, how the western journalists working in Russia demonstrated no initiative to go to the Rostov Region and see with their own eyes what is happening there, to talk to refugees, learn from them, what they have experienced in the so-called area of the “counter-terrorism operation”, which in fact is civil war. The western journalists are not enthusiastic to go there to talk to living witnesses of these events.

Something unusual happened a few days ago. We proposed foreign correspondents, who are accredited at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to use the flight sent by the Ministry to Rostov-On-Don, for them to go there for one day, without staying overnight, without expenses, for them to talk to refugees and Ukrainian militaries, who crossed the border the day before and were provided medical and domestic assistance. Many journalists have used this proposition, however, it was used by almost nobody from the US mass media. Only Bloomberg has sent its correspondent, all the others refused. A Reuter correspondent, who confirmed his participation and was already heading to the airport, turned back in the middle of the road and refused to go, probably because he received a call from leaders of this well-known independent mass media. Of course, the situation is evident to all the honest people, and we expect that journalism will not be forced to betray the foundations of free journalism.

Question: What is your attitude to the prospective accession of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)?

Sergey Lavrov (answers after Erlan Idrisov): When the Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was signed on 29 May 2014, the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan also discussed the prospects of its extension. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, who showed interest in the accession to this body, provided their “roadmaps”, which were coordinated with members of the “troika”. Armenia has implemented this “roadmap”. As the Kazakh Foreign Minister, Erlan Idrisov, has said, technical and organisational aspects of the Armenia’s accession ceremony to the EAEU are being discussed right now. As to Kyrgyzstan, the “roadmap” continues to be implemented. I will note that Kazakhstan and Russia bilaterally assist this country in the implementation of envisaged events, which are required for it to become full EAEU member. We assess these processes positively and wish to contribute to them in all possible ways.


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