Kerry to Lavrov: Ignore Obama’s naming of Russia on top threats list

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Reuters/Carolyn Kaster)
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says US Secretary of State John Kerry called on him to “pay no mind” to a statement by President Obama, in which Russia was included to a list of top global threats.

President Obama voiced the three most significant global threats at the UN General Assembly in September. Ebola topped his list, followed by “Russian aggression in Europe.” In third place was the threat represented by the Islamic State extremist group.

READ MORE: Russia tops ISIS threat, Ebola worst of all? Lavrov puzzled by Obama’s UN speech

The US president once again included "aggressive Russia" in his top world dangers list at the recent G20 Summit in Australia.

I was pointing out the enumeration of threats, which Obama has allowed himself, starting with his speech at the UN General Assembly,” Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday, speaking at the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament).

Not so long ago, I was having a conversation with John Kerry and asked him what it all meant. He answered, ‘Pay it no mind’,” Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, his American counterpart said that because he wanted to discuss the Iranian nuclear program issue and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

It’s not appropriate for a powerful country to have such a consumer attitude to its partners,” Lavrov commented. “Where you’re needed, help us; where you’re not, obey us.

The minister said Russia was working on helping to resolve the Iranian and Korean crises “not to please anyone,” but to help the international community avoid risks associated with these issues.

The State Department said that Kerry’s words were “incorrectly characterised" by the Russian foreign minister.

“We’ve seen the reports of Mr. Lavrov’s comments. It’s unfortunate that these reports indicate that the foreign minister has incorrectly characterized the private diplomatic discussions between himself and Secretary Kerry,” said the department’s spokesman Jeffery Rathke in Washington, DC.

“As we’ve said repeatedly we will continue to work with Russia on areas where we agree while standing firmly against Russia’s violations of international principles and the sovereignty of other nations, but that characterization is incorrect,” he elaborated. “Of course the Secretary supports the President’s statements regarding Russia and he didn’t indicate otherwise in his conversation.”


West ‘torpedoing’ de-escalation efforts in Ukraine

Sergey Lavrov has accused the US of getting its envoys around the world to demand other nations’ support for sanctions against Russia.

He said he recently raised the issue with John Kerry, telling him, “There’s not a single government where they [the envoys] did not come, demanding with various degrees of aggression support for the sanctions against the Russian Federation.”

The sanctions are, meanwhile, only “undermining efforts to get the world economy stabilized and aren’t driving the world an inch closer to the solution of the Ukrainian conflict.

Blaming Russia for the crisis in Ukraine is wrong, Lavrov said, as what provoked the crisis in Ukraine in the first place was “the last quarter-century’s policy by the Western states to boost their own security at the expense of other countries’ security.

The chances to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine have regularly been torpedoed by our Western partners, which is particularly true of the February 21 agreement [between president Yanukovich and opposition leaders],” Lavrov said.

The real way to solve the crisis in Ukraine at the moment, Lavrov said, is helping to bring Kiev and the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk regions to the negotiation table.