MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. In 2024, Russia set a goal to remove any dependence from the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a press conference on Russian diplomatic work in 2023.
The foreign minister alleviated the rumors about the direct talks between Moscow and Kiev, allegedly being prepared, and named the countries that Russia considers its "close circle."
Here are Lavrov’s key statements.
On friends of Russia
The relations between Russia and China currently experience the best period of their centuries-long history.
"There relations are more firm, reliable and more advanced than a military union in its previous Cold War-era understanding."
"In all cases interests of Russia and China reach a common denominator after negotiations, and this is an example for resolution of any issues by any other participants of global communication."
The relations of particularly privileged cooperation with India develop gradually. Russia also takes relations with African states to a truly strategic level. It develops relations with the Latin American continent. Russia’s close circle also includes Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
About 30 states are interested in rapprochement with BRICS. This association has great future ahead. Being a superregional global structure, BRICS "symbolizes the diversity of a multipolar world."
Argentina’s rejection to join BRICS at this moment is this country’s sovereign decision.
"This is not a rejection to join, this is an explanation of why they are not ready to do so at this point."
Russia has nothing against other states’ agreements with Ukraine, but this will not change Moscow’s plans, and the special op’s goals will be achieved.
"There are no hopes that Russia will be defeated in any way. […] Those who failed to learn history - and those are many in the West - they can dream about it."
Ukraine will meet Afghanistan’s fate, "because, when one relies on one’s master without realizing that the master thinks only about himself, not about you, one cannot expect that the interests of your people will be taken into account in any way."
Russia is philosophical about the West’s signals regarding peace settlement in Ukraine. Previously, President Vladimir Putin "once again said: we do not reject negotiations, but those who do must understand that the longer they delay, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate."
"Now, we see this prophecy fulfilling," Lavrov said.
Media reports that Moscow and Kiev may allegedly hold direct negotiations in Geneva are rumors.
"It is not up for Ukraine to decide when to stop and when to talk seriously about realistic preconditions for the end of this conflict," "it is necessary to talk with the West about it."
"The West wants no constructive resolution that would take Russia’s legitimate concerns into account." This is being indicated by incitement and coercion of Kiev "for increasingly aggressive use of long-range weapons to strike Crimea, in order to make it unsuitable for life, as well as deep into Russian territory, and not only incitement, but handover of corresponding weapons as well."
On arms control
Some time ago, Washington raised the issue of arms control "solely in order to resume the inspections and to visit [Russian] nuclear facilities."
"Meanwhile, they shipped weapons to the Ukrainians that were used for strikes at our strategic bomber bases, for example."
"So this is how it is: ‘Yes, you are our enemy, we have declared you our enemy. But we are ready to talk about looking at your strategic nuclear arsenal again. It is unrelated."
It is impossible to talk about the restoration of a strategic stability dialogue with the US in separation from the overall security situation, so there are no grounds for any conversation at all.
Moscow "does not reject this perspective, of course, as it does not reject an option of a political and diplomatic settlement of the existing disagreements."
"But we firmly condition such option on the West’s fully-fledged rejection of its malicious course towards comprehensive undermining of Russia’s security and its interests, as well as demonstrative, public disrespect for our root interests."
However, "the Americans have never desired such comprehensive review of problems of strategic stability."
On situation around Yemen
The US, together with its allies, trampled all norms of international law.
"No one gave anyone any mandate to bomb Yemen." "And the excuse statements from Washington - they look […] very pathetic".
It is difficult to make any predictions about the possibility of a dialogue.
"The most important thing right now is to stop an aggression against Yemen, because the more the Americans and the British bomb [Yemeni territory], the less eager the Houthis are to negotiate."
On Palestinian-Israeli conflict
US President Joe Biden and other Western states understand that the situation in the Middle East will be very difficult to settle without the establishment of a Palestinian state.
"The semi-closed contacts with involvement of the US, Israel and certain Arab countries ‘do not imply a direct dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis; instead, they imply that the adults will agree on how the Palestinians will have to live on, and then they will tell them about it."
"This will yield no success."
"It is impossible to ensure Israel’s reliable security without the establishment of a Palestinian state. And Russia is very interested that Israeli, the Israelis live in security. This is our long-time partner."
On Armenia and Azerbaijan
The lack of progress in normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan is caused by Yerevan’s position. It takes advice from the West, which seeks to prevent the implementation of trilateral agreements between Moscow, Baku and Yerevan.
Azerbaijan is ready to sign a peace treaty with Armenia on Russian territory, but Yerevan’s position is unclear.
"There are all reasons to say that the West wants to prevent the fulfillment of agreements that Yerevan and Baku reached with Russia’s mediation."
The "3+3" format on Trans-Caucasia is promising, "because it does not depend on some global geopolitical conjuncture, and it is free of this game of ‘preserve the hegemony,’ which Washington and its colleagues from Brussels develop currently."