KIEV, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia and Ukraine had made progress on perfecting the contractual and legal basis for the functioning of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian territory.
“We would like to accelerate this process,” Lavrov said after negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart Konstantin Grishchenko.
The Russia foreign minister also spoke about gas problems and the forthcoming visit to Moscow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on October 22.
“Economy is a vital foundation of our cooperation. The Ukrainian president’s visit will focus on the entire range of issues linked to our interaction. The conversation is going to be comprehensive and all-encompassing,” Lavrov emphasized.
At the same time, he refrained from detailed comments on Russia-Ukrainian gas cooperation.
“Specialized agencies deal with energy cooperation. We should leave these subjects to professionals,” the Russian foreign minister said.
He also touched on international themes. Russia will highlight the need to change OSCE electoral standards at the forthcoming meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Dublin in December.
“The OSCE hasn’t yet worked out any universally acknowledged rules of election monitoring for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR),” Lavrov said.
“Russia submitted a relevant proposal to the OSCE as early as 2007. This proposal can serve as a basis for future discussions. We are going to remind the OSCE about this proposal and distribute in once again at the forthcoming meeting of the Council of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Dublin in December,” Lavrov emphasized.
The Russian foreign minister said that the OSCE electoral standards were changing slowly. Lavrov believes that it would be expedient to carry out comparative analysis of election legislations in the OSCE member countries. He explained that some countries didn’t meet their commitments to invite foreign observers to elections while others, like Australia, didn’t reflect that aspect in national legislations at all.
Lavrov recalled that Ukraine would take over the OSCE presidency in January 2013. “We are going to support all the concepts which the Ukrainian presidency is going to have,” the Russian foreign minister went on to say.