PHNOM PENH, August 5. /TASS/. Russia is ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners with the US, but only within the channel, negotiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden. If the Americans resort to public diplomacy, its’ "their problem," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Friday.
The top diplomat said that Washington’s logic in the situation around House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is "strange," and noted that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken displayed no interest in contacts with his Russian counterpart during the ASEAN events in Phnom Penh.
Here are the key statements Lavrov made while in Cambodia.
On exchange of prisoners
Russia is ready to discuss exchange of prisoners with the US, but only within a channel, negotiated by the two national leaders: "If the Americans once again decide to resort to public diplomacy and to make loud announcements that they plan to take some steps, then that is their business, and I would even say, their problem. The Americans often do not comply with agreements on a quiet professional work on this and many other topics."
On contacts with Blinken
Despite the statements made by the White House that the US Secretary of State will "buttonhole" the Russian Minister if he has the chance, Blinken displayed no interest in a contact: "I did not see that he was interested in buttonhole me or whatever, all my buttons are intact," Lavrov said.
On the upcoming UN General Assembly
The US manipulates their obligations as the UN headquarters host country. Recently, the Russian Foreign Minister sent a letter on this issue to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, "who must make the headquarters host country behave properly."
Moscow does not know yet, what will be the level of Russia’s representation during the upcoming UN General Assembly: "Whether it will be a delegation from Moscow, or if […] our American colleagues will obstruct the arrival of our delegation in the spirt of their ‘love of freedom,’ we’ll see," Lavrov said.
"Russia cannot be not represented in the UN, and it is not up for the Western states to decide that," he added.
On Blinken’s reference
The US Secretary of State referred to the UN Charter for the first time "in many years," when he said that territorial integrity and sovereignty of states are sacred: "apparently, one can refer to the UN Charter as well, when they want to justify those totally undermining actions which the UN have undertaken and continue to undertake to create threats for Russia from the Ukrainian territory."
On Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan
There were many "scintillating statements" during the meeting about the situation in the Taiwan Strait after Nancy Pelosi’s visit: "there were rather sharp remarks made by our Chinese partners, whom we support. And there were counter statements by the US and Japan that it is none of China’s business, and that the declared policy of supporting the ‘one China’ principle does not mean that they have to ask permission from Beijing to visit Taiwan. That’s some strange logic, to be sure."
On the US policy in the Asia-Pacific
The creation of such structures as AUKUS by the US poses a threat to ASEAN’s open formats, and the military bloc itself is being used "to promote NATO interests in the Indo Pacific Region."
Recently, Washington proposed an alternative to the ASEAN economic partnership, with only seven out of ten ASEAN member states invited: "this is a display of not inclusiveness, but exclusiveness of the proposed structures, where only those are being invited to who will not create too many problems, who will not emphasize their point of view too much, and will instead agree to the point of view of those who make decisions, effectively, alone."
On Iran nuclear deal
Russia supports Iran on the nuclear deal, and the US must return to the initial agreements: "the Americans seek to make an amended plan a subject of a new agreement, while the Iranians insist that everything must be just as it was approved back in 2015. I believe that Iran’s position is totally legitimate."
On situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
Moscow has not yet seen Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s proposals on details of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, but "any side […] of course is entitled to propose additional initiatives," Lavrov said.