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Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov holds annual press conference

January 17, 2017, 10:37 UTC+3

Top diplomat marks the achievements of Russian diplomacy and foreign policy in 2016

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© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Terrorism was the key global threat last year but the international community is unable to unite to fight against it, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during his annual press conference:

"The number of threats did not decrease last year," he said. Moscow is regrets the fact that international community "still cannot create a united front against terrorism":

"Of course this causes serious concern and regret. Why is this happening? There may be many reasons. We see that the problem of forming common ranks to fight terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, many other threats, this problem is becoming systemic,"  Lavrov said.   

A range of reasons create obstacles for joining efforts, he said. "This problem faces basic contradictions between the objective tendency of formation of the multipolar world on the one hand and the actions of those who try to stick to the outdated concept of multipolarity," he explained.

Another reason is a contradiction in basic principles of foreign policy of different countries, he said. "This is pragmatism, good and well-understood national interests or messianism [belief in a messiah] and drive to spread one’s values around the world, in a way they were implemented in this group of countries," he said.

On global economy and Moscow's pragmatism 

Russia is seeking common ground with those interested in the global economic expansion for the benefit of all countries and nations, Lavrov stressed: 

"Our choice preference is pragmatism based on vital interests of Russia. They are simple and permanent and imply that the country gets on well and promotes welfare."

"We are searching for mutual interests with those who are ready to spur global economic growth for the benefit of all countries and nations without any exception, we’re seeking common ground with those who are aware of the lack of options regarding uniting efforts in tackling terrorism and other todays’ threats," Lavrov said. 

On Syria and the upcoming Astana talks 

Russia considers it right to invite representatives of the United Nations and the new US administration to Syria talks in Astana on January 23 and expects Washington will accept the invitation: 

"Now a meeting in Astana is being prepared," the minister said. "We consider it right to invite representatives of the UN and the new US administration to take part in it," Lavrov said.

"We expect that the new US administration will be able to accept this invitation and will be represented by its experts at any possible level," the Russian foreign minister said.

"This will be the first official contact, during which it will be possible to start discussing measures to increase the efficiency of the fight against terrorism in Syria," Lavrov said. 

The talks in Astana should agree on the full-fledged participation of Syrian field commanders in the political process: 

"What these negotiations lacked was the participation of those who really determines the situation on the ground. You can call them armed formations, armed groups of the opposition," the foreign minister said.

"Now that Russia and Turkey have come up with an initiative to involve those who are confronting each other with arms in their hands in the negotiation process and after the Syrian government has signed the relevant agreement with the field commanders of the basic part of the armed opposition, we have made an important step forward," Lavrov said.

"One of the tasks of the Astana meeting is to agree that these field commanders will participate in the political process," the Russian foreign minister said.

On NATO and European security 

Russia is prepared to build relations with the United States, the European Union and NATO on the basis of equality and mutual respect for each other’s interests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated. 

"With due regard for the principles of equality and mutual accommodation of each other’s interests and mutual respect we are prepared to build relations with the United States, the European Union and NATO. Let me say once again, there should be no import of values or attempts to dictate any values to us," Lavrov said.

Russia, he said, adhered to a stance of pragmatism based on the country’s fundamental interests.

"These are simple and immutable. They are confined to giving the country a good life, to raising the wellbeing of our people, and to ensuring sustainable development of our economy and social sphere amid security and most friendly external conditions," Lavrov explained.

Moscow’s foreign policy, Lavrov said, bore no trades of messianism.

"We are looking for common interests with those who are prepared to ensure the world economy should develop to the good of all countries and peoples without exceptions; we are looking for common approaches shared by those who understand that pooling efforts in the struggle against terrorism and other modern threats has no alternative," Lavrov said. 

Russia, Japan and 'unworthy' actions of the Obama administration 

The outgoing US administration tried to put pressures on Tokyo in an attempt to hinder the dialogue between Russia and Japan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. 

The Russian top diplomat said Tokyo had been under pressure from the outgoing US administration, which "went to great lengths in its attempts to upset the outlook for normal relations between Japan and Russia."

"The outgoing administration has been doing unworthy things. In this particular case they tried to make use of their relations with Japan to treat their Japanese allies as second-rate members of the international community, as subordinate members of the international community," Lavrov said.

Korean peninsula and joint efforts with China 

Lavrov has said Russia and China are certain about the need for resuming negotiations on the current state of affairs in the Korean Peninsula.

"In the most trustworthy manner Russia and China have been advancing initiatives aimed at resuming the negotiating process. They are certain that provided the world community stays firm regarding the impermissibility of North Korea’s claims to the nuclear status and provided the provocations and adventures involving nuclear tests and missile launches are firmly condemned the Korean Peninsula should be not a point of steady accumulation of threats. That crisis should not be used for fast-tracked and disproportionate arms buildups and growing aggressiveness of military exercises held there. Alongside pressures on Pyongyang we should open the door to resuming negotiations," Lavrov stated.

About the situation in the Middle East Lavrov said that on the regional issues Russia and China have traditionally voted in a solidary fashion and coordinated their actions in all matters, including the struggle against terrorism.

Lavrov said that Russian-Chinese relations today were the best-ever in the history of the two countries.

Bilateral cooperation is on the rise along all lines, he said.

"We are certain that coordinated actions by Moscow and Beijing in the international scene are one of the key factors for world stability and we will go ahead with this cooperation," he said

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