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US urges Central Asian countries to avoid developing relations with Russia — Lavrov

The top diplomat said that Moscow and Washington were pushing ahead with cooperation on a number of tracks, including Syria
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Vitaly Belousov/POOL/TASS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
© Vitaly Belousov/POOL/TASS

BISHKEK, November 27. /TASS/. Washington has been trying to persuade the Central Asian countries to refrain from any further development of relations with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told an audience of students and teachers at the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy on Wednesday.

"The United States has long worked on relations with the Central Asian countries," Lavrov said. "We know that it has been openly persuading the Central Asian countries, although most of them are our military and political allies, to refrain from the further development of relations with Russia. We never do things like that."

Lavrov stated that Central Asia, just like any other region of the world, should not become a scene of rivalry between major powers.

"It is always possible to find opportunities for developing cooperation with this or that country to mutual benefit and to safeguard one’s interests without trying to infringe on the legitimate interests of that country and to develop cooperation with third partners," he said. "Regrettably, the United States pursues such a policy. It manifests itself not only in Central Asia. The Americans conduct the same policy in relations with all of our foreign partners in Asia, Latin America and Africa. We draw the attention of our US counterparts to this whenever we meet. We believe it is wrong."

At the same time Lavrov revealed that Moscow and Washington were pushing ahead with cooperation on a number of tracks, including Syria.

"Although the United States and the coalition it leads are present in Syria illegally, we do not wish to create more problems for the Syrian people and for our military personnel, who at the request of Syria’s legitimate government work there to help fight terrorism and maintain stability," Lavrov said. "There is a channel of communication between the Russian and US military. It works professionally and prevents the risks of any unintentional incidents."

Russia-US dialogue on Afghanistan

Russia has established cooperation with the United States on the political settlement in Afghanistan, but it has not yet achieved US consent to exchange information about the current situation on the ground, the Russian foreign minister noted.

"We have good contacts with them [the Americans — TASS] over the process of preparing conditions for a political settlement, but as far as the situation on the ground, such as the exposure of specific terrorist threats and drug trafficking flows, is concerned, we have not yet achieved the reciprocity of our US counterparts," Lavrov claimed, adding that the terrorist organization Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) was building up forces in the north of the country.

"Up to this day there have been no answers [from the United States] to our questions and the questions of many Afghan officials, including the governors of some provinces. Helicopters carrying no identification markings are seen regularly on the way from the central areas of Afghanistan to the North," Lavrov commented. "There is the suspicion that militants and weapons are being airlifted there. We have been asking the Americans, because they are in control of the air space. There has been no answer yet."