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Lavrov says progress noticed on Syrian, Iranian situations

December 18, 2013, 12:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Closure of issues over Iran’s nuclear program to lead to reconsidering US concept on European ABM

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© ITAR-TASS/Denis Vyshinskiy

MOSCOW, December 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Progress has been noticed on the Syrian and Iranian tracks based on common sense and collective political and diplomatic actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the Federation Council, upper house of parliament, on Wednesday.

“Since the very beginning Russia has insisted the Syrian conflict be settled through dialogue with the respect of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the minister said.

Russia “seeks to contribute to the political settlement in Syria”, he said, adding “We’re working hard to convene the Geneva II Peace Conference. The unification of the Syrian opposition would facilitate this.”

“Our consistent position helped take decisions and launch the efforts aimed at putting chemical weapons in Syria under international control in order to eliminate them in the future,” Lavrov said.

He added that the closure of issues related to Iran’s nuclear program should lead to reconsidering the U.S. concept on European missile defense, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the Federation Council, upper house of parliament, on Wednesday.

“The resolution of Iran’s nuclear problem will allow us to ground the need to create missile defense in Europe,” the minister said.

Russia wants all members of the international community to help Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the Federation Council, upper house of parliament, on Wednesday.

The Foreign Minister also touched upon the Afghanistan situation as well.

“We want aid to be provided to Afghanistan by all members of the international community in full respect of the country’s sovereignty. Not selectively, but in all spectrum of threats that the country is facing,” Lavrov said.

The minister said the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) should cooperate with NATO in order to fight drug trafficking.

The United States is planning to create nine military bases in Afghanistan after 2014. But an agreement has not signed yet, Lavrov said.

Collective efforts are indispensable to fight threats and challenges from Afghanistan. “The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) rivet priority attention. Concrete measures have been worked out to strengthen Tajikistan’s external borders,” the minister said, adding “As for Uzbekistan, it is not a member of the CSTO. We have an allied treaty with it. Based on this treaty we’re taking concrete measures, which should minimise threats that will increase after 2014 when the NATO-led international contingent leaves Afghanistan.”

“We’re discussing the creation of a new international presence, which will be much smaller and comprise of two parts - NATO’s presence to train Afghan forces and the U.S. presence, which will carry out antiterrorism tasks in compliance with its mandate. Powerful military bases are being deployed to implement these tasks,” Lavrov said.

“A corresponding agreement has not been signed yet between Americans and Afghanistan. Kabul insists the sovereign rights be ensured if there are any violations from foreign presences. In any case, we should ‘paddle own canoe’ if the Western partners stay in Afghanistan or not,” he said.

“Thus, the CSTO is the key instrument. It is conducting operations to intercept drug flows to Central Asia and then to Russia,” Lavrov said, adding “Financial flows, which are using to back terrorism, are also being intercepted.

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