Posts Tagged ‘Lavrov’

Iran nuclear deal should be preserved: Russia

October 6, 2017

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

ASTANA (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he hoped U.S. President Donald Trump would make a “balanced” decision on whether to remain engaged in the international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

“It is very important to preserve it in its current form and of course the participation of the United States will be a very significant factor in this regard,” Lavrov told reporters on a visit to Kazakhstan.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the deal, a senior White House official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.

Trump, who has called the pact an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated”, has been weighing whether it serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with its terms.

If Trump declines to certify Iran’s compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

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Saudi king to start Russia visit on Thursday

October 2, 2017

Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will begin a visit to Russia on Thursday at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, Saudi state news agency SPA said, the Gulf ruler’s first trip to Moscow since becoming king in 2015.

During the visit the two countries plan to set up a $1 billion fund to invest in energy projects as part of efforts by two of the world’s biggest oil producers to expand cooperation, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier on Monday.

SPA said the two leaders would discuss bilateral and regional issues, but gave no details.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Russia helped forge a deal between OPEC and other producers to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day from January to lift crude prices.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Gareth Jones

Russia Tell U.S. to Step Back From Dispute Over Military Observation Flights (“Open Skies”)

September 28, 2017

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday told the United States to step back from a confrontation over military observation flights before the two countries became embroiled in another round of tit-for-tat retaliatory measures.

The United States has accused Russia of flouting the so-called Open Skies Treaty, an agreement designed to build confidence between the two countries’ militaries, and said it plans to take measures against Moscow.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported on Tuesday that would include restricting Russian military flights over American territory in response to what it said was Moscow preventing U.S. observation flights over its heavily militarised Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday that Moscow would respond to any new U.S. restrictions.

“Nobody has canceled the principle of reciprocity in international relations,” said Zakharova.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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Russian Foreign Ministry ‘Working Behind Scenes’ to Resolve North Korea Crisis

September 26, 2017

MOSCOW — A conflict on the Korean peninsula would have “catastrophic consequences”, and Russia’s foreign ministry is working “behind the scenes” on finding a political solution to the North Korea crisis, the RIA news agency cited a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Tuesday.

Cited by RIA, Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the non-proliferation and arms controls department at Russia’s foreign ministry, also said the U.S. approach to North Korea was a dead end and the tool of sanctions against the North had almost been exhausted.

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Mikhail Ulyanov

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. strategic bombers even if they are not in the country’s air space.

(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Katya Golubkova)

China, Russia urge end to North Korea vicious cycle

September 19, 2017

AFP

© KCNA/AFP/File | North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a launching drill of the medium-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location
NEW YORK (AFP) – The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers called for a peaceful end to the “vicious cycle” on the Korean peninsula as they met in New York for the UN General Assembly, Beijing said Tuesday.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov urged all parties to seek a “peaceful resolution” to the current stand-off with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Korean Peninsula nuclear problem must be solved through peaceful means,” it quoted Wang as saying, adding that “the current deepening vicious cycle must be broken”.

“Restoring peace talks is also a necessary step to carrying out the UN Security Council’s resolution,” he said.

Lavrov said Russia’s position on the issue is “completely identical” to China’s, the statement said.

Russia has joined China’s call for a “dual-track” approach in which North Korea suspends its weapons programme in return for the United States halting military drills in the region.

The White House said earlier that US President Donald Trump had spoken with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping over the phone, saying the two leaders were “committed to maximizing pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

Trump is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly but Xi — who has a major Communist Party congress next month that will cement his leadership for the next five years — is not attending the event.

The UN Security Council last week imposed a fresh set of sanctions, though Washington toned down its original proposals to secure support from China and Russia.

Regional tensions have soared this month as North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and staged an intermediate-range missile test over Japan.

Trump has not ruled out a military option for dealing with Pyongyang.

The US flew four F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Monday in a show of force.

Separately, China and Russia began a joint naval exercise east of the Korean peninsula.

Saudi Arabia Seeks Clarity on the Qatari Position — Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir says

September 11, 2017

Jeddah: Speaking at a joint news conference with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that Qatar needed to show seriousness in finding a solution to the crisis.

“We want clarity in the Qatari position, we want seriousness in finding a solution to this crisis that leads to the implementation of principles which all countries support: no supporting terrorism, no welcoming unwanted guests, no spreading hate, no intervention in others’ affairs,” Al Jubeir said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups.

Lavrov said Russia was in favour of dialogue to settle the dispute.

© AFP | Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov following a press conference at the ministry headquarters in Jeddah on September 10, 2017

“We have confirmed our position (that we are) in favour of settling the disagreements by means of negotiations, by directly expressing concerns and achieving solutions which would take into account the concerns and the interests of all parties,” Lavrov told a news conference in Jeddah.

“We are interested in all those mediatory efforts that are currently being made producing results and the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) being restored,” he added.

Kuwait and the United States have been mediating to reach a breakthrough in the three-month long crisis that has put the whole region on edge, and prompted Turkey to send troops to Qatar in a sign of support.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/we-seek-clarity-on-the-qatari-position-al-jubeir-1.2087835

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Russia urges dialogue to solve Gulf crisis

September 10, 2017

Reuters

JEDDAH (Reuters) – Arab countries and Qatar should enter into direct talks to solve a diplomatic dispute, Russia’s foreign minister said on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, urging all parties to restore regional unity.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups – a charge it denies.

“We have confirmed our position (that we are) in favor of settling the disagreements by means of negotiations, by directly expressing concerns and achieving solutions which would take into account the concerns and the interests of all parties,” the minister, Sergei Lavrov, told a news conference in Jeddah.

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 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“We are interested in all those mediatory efforts that are currently being made producing results and the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) being restored,” he added.

Kuwait and the United States have been mediating to reach a breakthrough in the three-month long crisis that has put the whole region on edge, and prompted Turkey to send troops to the wealthy Gulf state in a sign of support.

Last week, Saudi Arabia suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the news conference that Qatar needed to show seriousness in finding a solution to the crisis.

“We want clarity in the Qatari position, we want seriousness in finding a solution to this crisis that leads to the implementation of principles which all countries support: no supporting terrorism, no welcoming unwanted guests, no spreading hate, no intervention in others’ affairs,” Jubeir said.

The two ministers also discussed the planned de-escalation zones in Syria and unification of the Syrian opposition.

“The kingdom supports the creation of de-escalation zones and looks forward to starting a political process that will end the Syrian crisis,” Jubeir said.

President Bashar al-Assad’s negotiators have not met directly with the opposition because there is no unified delegation from the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and two other groups, known as the Cairo and Moscow platforms, all claim to represent the opposition.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow, Writing by Sylvia Westall and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

Putin: Russia May Order U.S. to Cut Further Its Diplomatic Staff in Moscow — Wants to take the U.S. to court over violation of Russia’s property rights

September 5, 2017

XIAMEN, China — Russia reserves the right to further reduce the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, adding that Moscow would not do that for now.

Reacting to what he called Washington’s “boorish and unprecedented” actions towards Russia’s diplomatic facilities in the United States, Putin said he would order the Foreign Ministry to take the U.S. authorities to court over violation of Russia’s property rights.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Qatar and Russia to bolster economic ties — Qatar Officially Part of The Russia, China, Iran Alliance

August 30, 2017

Two of the world’s largest energy producers have vowed to increase trade relations. Qatar is under pressure amid an economic boycott by neighboring Gulf states over its alleged support of terrorism.

Katar Doha - Sergey Lavrov und Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (Reuters/N. Zeitoon)

Qatar and Russia announced the new agreement, which will see closer trade ties, during a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Gulf Nation on Wednesday.

Lavrov made the commitment after a meeting in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

The Russian foreign minister told reporters that Moscow “attached great importance” to economic and energy cooperation between the two countries.

Sheikh Mohammed, for his part, said Qatar could no longer rely on neighboring states to support its economy or guarantee food security.

The two nations are among the world’s top oil and gas producing countries.

Last year, Qatar bought a stake worth billions in Russia’s state-controlled oil company, Rosneft.

Read more – What is the Qatar crisis?

Qatar is looking to expand its economic relations after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirate severed diplomatic and trade ties with the Gulf nation in June.

The Arab countries accused Qatar of destabilizing the region by supporting “terrorists,” a charge dismissed by Doha.

The diplomatic rift, aimed at isolating Qatar, has disrupted supply chains and affected flow of goods into the tiny emirate.

Read – Qatar resumes full diplomatic ties with Iran

‘Arab allies not willing to negotiate’

With no signs of tensions easing, Sheikh Mohammed said his country was willing to negotiate an end to the diplomatic crisis, but had seen no sign that Saudi Arabia and its allies were open to mediation.

“Qatar maintains its position that this crisis can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue … but the blockading counties are not responding to any efforts being conducted by Kuwait or other friendly countries,” the Qatari Foreign Minister told reporters at a news conference with his Russian counterpart.

Lavrov – who has also visited Kuwait and the UAE as part of his Middle East tour – called for all parties to find a solution.

Read – Beyond Libya: Russia’s strategy in the Middle East

He said if face-to-face negotiations started, Russia would be ready to contribute to the mediation.

“It’s in our interests for the GCC to be united and strong,” the Russian top diplomat said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Russia has long sought to establish itself as a major player in the region’s affairs, most notably in Syria’s six-year civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad.

ap/kms (AFP, Reuters)

 http://www.dw.com/en/qatar-and-russia-to-bolster-economic-ties/a-40299911
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A Iranian woman walks past a wall painting in the shape of Iranian flag in Tehran, Iran on the first anniversary of nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on January 16, 2017.
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© Saudi Royal Palace/AFP/File / by Ali Choukeir | A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on July 30, 2017 shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) receiving prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Jeddah

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Germany Keen to Avoid New ‘Ice Age’ in Ties Between Russia, West

August 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Germany and Europe want to ensure that new U.S. sanctions against Russia do not lead to a new “ice age” in ties between Russia and the West, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday.

Gabriel said he spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the sanctions in a meeting in Washington, adding that he was grateful that U.S. President Donald Trump had agreed to coordinate on further measures with U.S. allies.

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German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel

“We as Europeans have great concerns that this will have unintended consequences for Europe. We don’t want to completely destroy our business relations with Russia, especially in the energy sector,” Gabriel said.

Trump this month approved new sanctions on Moscow for its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and for what U.S. intelligence agencies say was its meddling in the U.S. presidential election, a charge Russia denies.

Gabriel has criticized the United States for the move, saying the new punitive measures expose European companies involved in energy projects in Russia to fines for breaching U.S. law.

Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries even urged the EU to retaliate against the United States if the new sanctions on Russia should end up penalizing German firms.

Gabriel said European leaders were concerned that the latest sanctions would not only have economic consequences, but could also “lead to a new ice age between Russia and the United States and the West.”

Despite European concerns about the sanctions, Gabriel insisted that Moscow must do its part to implement a fragile ceasefire agreement in place for eastern Ukraine, including the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

“That would be a starting point for improved relations,” Gabriel said.

Kurt Volker, the newly appointed U.S. special representative for Ukraine, told broadcaster Deutsche Welle, that Washington would not forge any agreement with Moscow “over the heads of the Ukrainians or behind the backs of the Europeans.”

“The U.S. has made clear we fully support the Normandy process, and it’s not our intention to become a part of it or to try to go over the top of it,” Volker told Deutsche Welle.

He acknowledged Russian concerns about Washington’s decision to consider arming Ukraine in the conflict, but said it was “quite reasonable for Ukrainians to want to be better able to defend themselves.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President on Monday called for Russia and Ukraine to increase their efforts to implement the ceasefire agreement.

The conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists has claimed more than 10,000 lives since it erupted in 2014. Germany and France have tried to convince both sides to implement a peace deal agreed in Minsk in 2015 under the so-called Normandy process but with little success so far.

Merkel told reporters on Tuesday that sanctions against Russia would be lifted when the situation in eastern Ukraine improved.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson)