Minister Sergey Lavrov
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Question: The year is drawing to a close. It’s been a critical, difficult and complicated year. What are our main achievements on the international front? What has our country accomplished?

Sergey Lavrov: Speaking about achievements – though we usually assess our work in terms of effectiveness, not successes – I would single out the fact that we have managed to draw attention to the need to build a new multilateral and multipolar international system. The idea is not so new: its foundations are enshrined in the UN Charter, which sets down the principle of consensus among the leading states within the Security Council (I mean its permanent members) and collective security, i.e. collective efforts to overcome any risks and threats facing the whole humankind.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m sincerely pleased to welcome to Moscow my Serbian colleague and friend, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. Our talks have been useful and detailed, focusing primarily on OSCE issues in the context of the Serbian Presidency of it in 2015.

We both believe that in the current difficult situation in Europe it is very important to conduct a collective search for ways of enhancing trust and mutual understanding on our continent and the rest of the Euro-Atlantic Region. In this context we emphasised the importance of promoting the Helsinki+40 process and establishing the Group of Wise Men, about which we agreed at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel on 4-5 December.

Q: Mr. Lavrov, let’s begin with the crisis in Ukraine. There were rumors that Moscow was ready to host maybe some negotiations. Can you tell us about the latest news?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, there is reason for some cautious optimism, but the news which you just mentioned, about Moscow being ready to host some meeting, is new to me. We have been in agreement with our Ukrainian colleagues, colleagues from the OSCE and the people from Lugansk and Donetsk area. We have been pushing for convening another meeting in Minsk of the contact group, which is very important to make sure that we intensify the implementation of the Minsk protocol signed in September, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve at the moment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have conducted in-depth, substantive negotiations on bilateral relations between Russia and the Kingdom of Belgium, and on issues on the international agenda, taking into account Belgium’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe over the next six months.

We proceed based on the premise that we share and support the CE’s goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is drawing to an end. First of all, I would like to praise the Swiss Chairmanship, and personally the President of the Swiss Confederation, Head of the Federal Department (Minister) of Foreign Affairs and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter and his entire team, who have worked hard the entire year to ensure balance in their work and in the activities of the entire organisation, including its secretary, in full accordance with the underlying OSCE principles.

Mr. Chairperson,

Secretary General,

President of the Parliamentary Assembly,

Ladies and gentlemen,

We should like to thank the Swiss Chairmanship for the choice of topic for today’s discussion. The Euro-Atlantic region is experiencing a serious crisis, and it is vital to find a way out of it. A way forward can only be found together, and only if we draw the right conclusions from the lessons of the past. All of our experience in recent years demonstrates that unilateral approaches and the failure to recognize mistakes will not get us anywhere.

A meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry lasted an hour and a half. We discussed progress at the talks on Iran’s nuclear programme. This is the key priority considering the time factor and the agreement to reach a final compromise before 24 November this year. Our deputies are working in the region, in Muscat, together with an Iranian representative. They are discussing concrete issues that need to be settled to formulate a final agreement. Russia and the United States are resolved to do our best to achieve this target by the agreed date. We will attempt to find solutions to the remaining two or three issues.

A conference on peace and security in Iraq attended by foreign ministers from about 30 countries has opened in Paris. The participants include top officials from countries of the region, such as Iraq (President Fuad Masum and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari), and representatives of states that are cooperating with Iraq and other states of the Middle East and North Africa in combating the terrorist threat. We have drawn the attention of the participants to the fact that we have been talking for a long time about terrorist manifestations that have become markedly more frequent in the Middle East and North Africa after the Arab Spring, when the aim of overthrowing regimes was raised above the common goal of preventing the spread of the terrorist threat. We have done this not for the sake of allocating guilt, but only in order for the world community to fully consider the lessons of the past in planning future actions. It is essential to realise that there should be no double standards in the fight against terrorism. There are no "good" and "bad" terrorists. It is necessary to be consistent and not to make one’s own priorities more important than the common goal of fighting terrorism.

Good afternoon.

Today we have deemed it useful to meet and talk about the developments surrounding Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis, primarily in its southeastern regions. As you know, the humanitarian convoy that Russia sent to the Lugansk Region finally reached its destination after days of hardship, coordination, negotiation and re-negotiation. Today this relief will start to be distributed with the participation of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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.