‘We need to cool hotheads down’: Lavrov urges diplomatic solution to N. Korea crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged all parties to stick to a diplomatic approach to the Korean Peninsula crisis, condemning both the reckless tests of Pyongyang and belligerent rhetoric of the US.

We have to calm down the hotheads and understand that we need pauses, we need contacts,” Lavrov said when discussing the North Korean issue in New York.

The ongoing exchange of threats surrounding the Korean standoff is unacceptable, Lavrov said. Likewise, “the nuclear-missile gambles” on the part of Pyongyang and calls to wage war on the Korean Peninsula do not contribute to defusing the tensions, he added.

The efforts of certain countries to mediate the situation on the peninsula are welcome, and certain “neutral European countries” are ready to play that role, the Russian diplomat said.

Speaking on Iran, Lavrov warned that if the nuclear agreement with Tehran fails, Pyongyang could be discouraged from making any deals on curbing its own nuclear and missile programs in exchange for easing sanctions.

Lavrov urged the US to resolve issues with Iran through channels specifically designed for this purpose, and to abstain from attempts to bring the nuclear deal with Tehran down.  “The [Iran] program is in the complete state, it was approved in a UNSC resolution, and dissecting this program is equal to destroying everything achieved. Everyone understands that,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“If the agreement on the Iranian nuclear problem fails, North Korea will say: why should we negotiate with you, if you’re unable to do so?” Lavrov said.

“Germany’s Foreign Minister spoke on that yesterday very persuasively, and I don’t want to steal his authorship. He said, that if the United States in such a situation will break the agreement and reinstate those unilateral sanctions against Iran, which were dropped two years ago under the agreement, it will be a very wrong signal to North Korea,” he added.

‘Russia tied to fixing crises worldwide’

The ongoing trend, whereby Russia is blamed for everything while it has to actually resolve conflicts worldwide, is quite tiresome, Lavrov admitted.

“I don’t like that certain politicians tend to put everything on Russia. Russia and China have to fix the Korean problem, Russia has to do this and that with Syria,” Lavrov said. “We’re also blamed for other crises, including the one in Yemen, which we have completely nothing to do with.”

Lack of cooperation is evidently seen in Syria, where the American military was directly barred from cooperating with Russia by the US legislature, Lavrov said. In order to “finish off” the terrorists in Syria efficiently, Russian and the US military need not only to maintain the “de-confliction” process, but to actively cooperate.

“Why? Because these are such legislators who are not interested in untangling conflicts in various parts of the world and establishing ties with Russia, profitable for American business, but to send some political signals,” Lavrov said.

The current issues in US-Russia bilateral relations stem from the actions of the former presidential administration, the Russian foreign minister added.

“Russian-American relations are suffering not due to ongoing conflicts, but due to petty and vindictive actions by the former administration, which placed this delayed-action mine under Russia-US relations. I did not expect that from the Nobel Peace Prize winner,” Lavrov said, referring to former US President Barack Obama.