Russia monitoring situation in Kyrgyzstan after elections – FM spokesman
Speaking at a regular Foreign Ministry press briefing on October 29, 2010, Andrey Nesterenko told journalists about major foreign policy events, including Foreign Minister Lavrov's visits to Poland, Norway and Vietnam,and the adoption of the Russian Antarctic Strategy.
On October 29, 2010, briefed journalists about the foreign policy events.
RT presents the full transcript of Andrey Nesterenko’s briefing.
President Medvedev’s meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev andArmenian President Serzh Sargsyan
Among the notable foreign policy events of relevance to our country over the past few days, I would like first of all to highlight the top-level meeting held on 27 October in Astrakhan between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The summit concluded with a joint statement, humanitarian in nature.This is a special declaration aimed at strengthening confidence-building measures. Details on this can be found at the Russian President’s website.
Foreign Minister Lavrov’s meetings with Hugo Martinez, Foreign Minister of El Salvador, and Milan Rocen, Foreign Minister of Montenegro
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the last week, as previously reported, held talks in Moscow with Hugo Roger Martinez, Salvadoran Foreign Minister, and with Milan Rocen, Montenegrin Foreign Minister. Martinez’s visit was the first official visit to Russia by a Salvadoran Foreign Minister. Detailed reports are posted on the Russian MFA website.
Foreign Minister Lavrov’s meeting with heads of Latin American and Caribbean diplomatic missions
Sergey Lavrov met with the heads of diplomatic missions of the states of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on October 25. The first such event relating to Latin America was a reflection of the qualitative changes in relations between Russia and the LAC countries.
Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov received on October 26 the IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, who was in Moscow to attend the 5th International Energy Week “Moscow Energy Dialogue.”
Working Visit to Poland by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov on October 28 returned from Warsaw after a working visit to Poland during which he, jointly with his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski, conducted a meeting of the Russian-Polish Security Cooperation Committee, led by the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of the two countries. Minister Lavrov was received by President Bronislaw Komarowski and met with Senate Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz.
During an enlarged Committee session, in which the representatives of the Russian and Polish agencies most closely involved in the process of bilateral interaction took part, along with the principal coordinators for cooperation mechanisms, a comprehensive review of the state and growth prospects of practical areas of Russian-Polish relations was carried out. Along with discussion of topical issues and projects in the fields of economy, energy and transport, considerable attention was devoted to the tasks of reinvigorating cultural-humanitarian, scientific and youth exchanges, contacts between the civil societies of Russia and Poland and inter-regional ties.
Both sides noted the importance of consolidating the positive trends in Russian-Polish relations and their“resetting” on the basis of mutual respect and due consideration for the interests of each other. Agreement was reached in this context to maintain and build on the dynamics of the work of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, the Group for Difficult Affairs arising from the history of Russian-Polish relations, and the Russian-Polish Public Dialogue Forum. The parties noted among the main cooperation mechanisms the significance and relevance of a recently established new format – the Forum of Regions,operating under the aegis of the upper chambers of the parliaments of Russia and Poland.
During the Warsaw meetings, key aspects of the international agenda were frankly and keenly discussed, particularly in the context of the upcoming Russia-NATO Council, OSCE and Russia-EU summits in the next few weeks, as well as the Polish presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2011.
Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming attendance at the 5th East Asia Summit
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov on October 30 will take part as a special guest in the5th East Asia Summit (EAS), to be held in Hanoi as part of the annual ASEAN events at the highest level.
The summit will announce the accession of Russia and the United States to this group.
Entering the EAS, Russia intends to help strengthen peace, stability and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and create a more perfect security and cooperation architecture here.
EAS was formed in December 2005. To date,it is composed of the ASEAN member states, Australia,China, India, Japan,New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.
Working Visit to Russia by German Vice Chancellor and Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
At the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, will make a working visit to Moscow on November 1-2.
During the talks, the foreign ministers will hold an in-depth exchange of views on a wide range of topical issues of the international and bilateral agenda with emphasis on moving Russian-German cooperation forward in the proven format of the Partnership for Modernization.
Taking into account the outcome of the summit of the Russian, German and French leaders in Deauville on October 18-19,major attention will be paid to coordinating the approaches to the content of the upcoming multilateral meetings involving the Russian President and German Chancellor, including the G20 summit in Seoul, the Russia-NATO Council top-level meeting in Lisbon and the OSCE Astana summit.
The ministers will consider a number of practical issues concerning, in particular, the expansion of the treaty and institutional base for cooperation between the two countries in the humanitarian and legal fields. An important topic is further reciprocal facilitation of visa issuance practice and generally the promotion of a Russia-EU visa-free dialogue.
The head of the German foreign affairs agency is scheduled to meet with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and with adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and co-chair ofthe Russian Association of Lawyers Veniamin Yakovlev and members of the Association.
On the “Hobert case”
In relation to the upcoming visit of German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle I was asked: “How is the situation evolving around the ‘Hobert case’ and will the topic be discussed during the talks in Moscow?”
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will again draw the attention of his German counterpart to the so-called case of Hobert.Its solution appears possible by way of the German side paying as a humanitarian gesture a commensurate and decent compensation to the relatives of the two Russian citizens killed in a road accident in Moscow on November 30, 2008, of which a German court has found B. T. Hobert guilty. An ex-employee of the German Embassy in Moscow, Hobert had at the time of the crime immunity from criminal jurisdiction on the Russian Federation territory as a member of the administrative and technical staff of the German diplomatic mission in our country.
Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming attendance at the Ministerial Meeting of the Northern Dimension
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on November2 will be in Norway to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Northern Dimension to be held in Oslo. He is scheduled to have bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Norway and Iceland.Also during the visit an agreement will be signed between the governments of Norway and Russia to facilitate travel for border area residents of the two countries.
On completion of second part of the OSCE Review Conference
The second part of the OSCE Review Conference ahead of the OSCE summit in the capital of Kazakhstan, the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization in 2010, wrapped up in Vienna on October 26. Delegations of member states reviewed progress in the fulfilment of the obligations falling within the framework of the first(military-political security) and second (economic and environmental issues)baskets and conducted a comprehensive analysis of the activity of the governing bodies and executive structures of the OSCE with a view to improving their performance. More detailed information on this subject can be found at the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
The Visits to Russia by Special Adviser to the US Secretary of State for Arms Control and Disarmament Robert Einhorn, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, US Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder
Special adviser to the US Secretary of State for Arms Control and Disarmament Robert Einhorn stayed in Moscow this week, as well as US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Gordon and US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder. In meetings with senior Russian Foreign Ministry officials an exchange of views took place on a wide range of issues related to the disarmament and nonproliferation agenda. The parties touched upon questions of the work of the Russia-NATO Council,especially in preparation for the Council’s upcoming summit in Lisbon. They also discussed topical issues of Russian-American political dialogue.
Resumption of the work of the incident prevention and response mechanism in the Georgia-South Ossetia border area
A meeting took place on October 28 in Ergneti village on the border between the Republic of South Ossetia and Georgia in the framework of the joint incident prevention and response mechanisms (IPRM) agreed upon in 2009 during the Geneva Discussions on Transcaucasia. The representatives of Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia, as well as of the OSCE and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) took part.
The work of the IPRM in this sector has resumed after a long break. The South Ossetian side had suspended its participation in meetings because of the refusal by the Georgian side to conduct a necessary investigation into the fate of the Ossetians who went missing in2008 on the territory of Georgia. ICRC representatives and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg had become engaged in dealing with this problem, which produced definite results.
At the meeting the situation on the border was discussed. Participants noted that it was continuing to stabilize. They also reviewed some everyday matters, especially the issue of drinking water and gas supply to border villages. The next meeting in the framework of this mechanism is scheduled for December 10.
The resumption of the IPRM is an important step towards further reinforcement of stability and security in the Georgia-South Ossetia border area. The IPRM fulfils a substantial role in preventing incidents and provocations and helps alleviate tension in the region in conditions of the absence of firm security guarantees from the Georgian side.
Current situation in Kyrgyzstan in the context of parliamentary elections
We continue to monitor the situation in Kyrgyzstan. As we know elections to the Parliament were held there on October10. However, official vote results are still not announced. Uncertainty remains regarding the future configuration of parliamentary coalitions.
We expect all political forces in Kyrgyzstan to show restraint and prudence, and all issues and controversies to be resolved within the field of law and through internationally accepted democratic procedures.
We hope that the situation will clear up soon and bodies of legislative and executive authority will be formed in Kyrgyzstan, which will enable the country’s leadership to deal closely with the socioeconomic tasks for the benefit of the multinational people of the Kyrgyz Republic.
I was asked: "What is the Russian Foreign Ministry’s comment on the start of loading fuel into the reactor at Bushehr NPP?”
As far as we know, the work is proceeding in normal mode, and upon completion of all necessary activities for the physical start-up, the start-up of the plant for energy production will be carried within the time limits agreed with the Iranian side. All the works, of course, are being conducted under IAEA supervision.
Around the Transnistrian conflict settlement
As to the Russian military presence in Moldova, it is fully consistent with Russia's status as a guarantor country in the Transnistrian settlement. The peacekeeping mandate clearly links the duration of our participation in this operation with the prospect of a political agreement on the settlement of the conflict.
However, I would like to recall that for 18years now, there has been no bloodshed and no shots ringing out in the region where the Russian peacekeepers are present, to whose firm word both Chisinau and Tiraspol listen. The question is, does this interfere with the Transnistrian conflict settlement?
We are sincerely surprised that in today's complicated conditions, in the situation of an official negotiation process interrupted in February 2006 on the initiative, by the way, of the Moldovan side, in the absence of a vision of the prospect of arriving at a real political agreement, Russia is insistently urged to wrap up its participation in one of the most effective peacekeeping operations, completely ignoring the fact that its breakdown would bring the conflicting parties to direct confrontation and be fraught with a new flare-up of fighting.
We believe that the myopic politicians seeking to discredit the role of the Russian peacekeepers in maintaining stability in the Dniester region only pursue their own parochial interests and therefore harm in the global sense the Transnistrian settlement.
Neither should one forget the inhumane nature of such statements with regard to the tens of thousands of people who endured combat actions and the pain of loss of relatives and loved ones – people who see the peacekeepers as the only protection against a repeat of the tragedy.
The task of ensuring the protection of the military equipment storehouses is entirely our responsibility. Only the deadlocked political negotiation process does not permit unblocking the removal.
On the Adoption of a Resolution against the US Blockade on Cuba
The UN General Assembly at its 65th session has held a plenary meeting dedicated to considering an agenda item entitled“Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” Voting in favor of the resolution calling for an end to the blockade was the overwhelming majority of the international community – 187 states. Only two delegations – the US and Israel– voted against.
The Russian delegation backed this resolution, qualifying in its statement the continuing blockade of Cuba as an anachronism, inconsistent with the present-day realities. The vote results attest to the unprecedented support of efforts aimed at abolishing the unilateral sanctions of the US.
Russian Antarctic Strategy to 2020 and Beyond
The Government has adopted a Russian Antarctic Strategy to 2020 and beyond. This document enshrines our state’s political line with regard to the Antarctic Treaty and related international legal acts, and lays down the priorities and quantitative and qualitative parameters for national activities in the southern polar region.
As one of the initiators of the Antarctic Treaty, which last year turned 50 years old, Russia is in favor of preserving and strengthening its regime and consistently implementing its basic objectives and principles. We are interested in seeing peace and stability maintained in the southern polar region, environmental requirements complied with, and an enabling environment established for broad international scientific cooperation. It is in this vein that the Strategy’s basic foreign policy assumptions are formulated.
The adoption of the Strategy and its implementation will allow for more focused Russian research in Antarctica, will create for Russian citizens and legal entities more favorable conditions for the conduct of lawful business activity in this region, especially in fisheries, and ensure more rational use of available material resources.
The Strategy embeds administrative,financial and economic bases for effective functioning of the Russian Antarctic Expedition – the main entity engaged in Russian governmental activities in the region – and ensures sustainable development of its infrastructure.
The devising and adoption of the Russian Antarctic Strategy to 2020 and beyond is evidence of Russian presence preservation and reinforcement in the southern polar region, and will facilitate implementing our foreign policy, economic and scientific tasks,interests and goals in this area of the globe.
On the assessment of the situation of national minorities in Estonia by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
I was asked the question: “How could you comment upon the assessments given in the conclusions of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) following consideration of the eighth and ninth reports of Estonia on its compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination?”
It should be noted that these findings of the Committee clearly validate Russia’s concerns about the discriminated situation of national minorities in Estonia. No significant progress has been observed over the years in Estonia’s implementation of its pledges to fight racial discrimination. The same holds true for the recommendations of CERD.Many of the recommendations, primarily those for the use of languages of national minorities, are repeated from time to time. They figured in the findings of CERD in 2002 and 2006. Obviously, therefore, CERD also raised the question of establishing the post of Ombudsman for human rights (now his functions in Estonia are shared by the chancellor of justice and the commissioner for gender equality). We hope that the Estonian authorities will heed the opinion of the authoritative UN body, and will not limit themselves to“cosmetic” measures, but take real steps to remedy the humanitarian situation in the country.
About the article of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg, ‘Freedom to demonstrate is a human right – even when the message is critical’
We have taken note of the article of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg ‘Freedom to demonstrate is a human right – even when the message is critical’ (posted on the website of the Council of Europe on 26 October), in which he comments on the freedom of assembly situation in Europe using the Russian Federation and,in particular, the “Strategy 31” movement as an example.
The legitimate question arises as to why Mr. Commissioner chose precisely Russia as an example. The events of the lastfew months in some European countries show that in them the question of ensuring the right to freedom of assembly is more acute than in our country.Moreover, according to high ranking international experts, the Russian legislation in this area is even more liberal than some of our European partners.
As to the gist of the matter, we would liketo stress once again that freedom of assembly has been and remains one of the bases of Russian democracy. The right to freedom of assembly is firmly guaranteed by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and by federal law in full compliance with international obligations of Russia.
Regional conference of Russian compatriots living in the Baltic States
The fifth regional conference of Russian compatriots living in the Baltic States took place in Tallinn on October 22-23,2010, continuing the series of regional meetings being held in 2010 with the assistance of Russia’s Government Commission for the Affairs of Compatriots Abroad and the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Participants in the forum welcomed the plans to hold in 2011 in Moscow. the World Thematic Conference of Compatriots on the Status of the Russian Language and came up with a proposal to hold a regional round table on similar issues next year.
The conference gave emphasis to questions of information work, in particular, to improve the Baltiyskiy Mir (The Baltic World) regional magazine.
It was decided to hold the next regional conference in the autumn of 2011 in Latvia.
From the answers to media questions:
Question: Recently, the Canadian side has introduced new visa requirements which in some of their provisions directly contradict Russian legislation. Could you comment on this situation?
Answer: We have taken note of the large number of Russian media reports on this story, and not only that. We also have a statement from the Russian Union of Travel Industry saying certain provisions of the new Canadian visa questionnaire for some categories of citizens raise serious questions.
I can say that the new questionnaire, which so far along with the previous version is in use around the world, is designed for short-term visitors to Canada – tourists, business travelers, those coming for study or work under contract. It is a document with several addenda that contain a lot of personal questions about the applicant’s past, including those pertaining to military service, work in government, participation in political parties, etc. In this case, apparently, it is expected that the visa applicants must have not only an excellent memory, but also extensive information about the organizations in which they were involved in their life journey.
We presume that every sovereign state has the right to set standards and regulations for visas for entry into its territory. However, it should be noted that the modified Canadian questionnaire goes beyond the generally accepted criteria for this sphere, and its introduction is contrary to the current global tendency towards simplification of visa regimes. In addition, it is very discordant with the overall positive dynamics of Russian-Canadian bilateral cooperation. There is no doubt that the innovation will greatly complicate the process of obtaining Canadian visas by Russian citizens.
Since the new Canadian questionnaire is much more complicated than its Russian analogue, we plan to raise the issue at the upcoming bilateral consultations in November in Moscow with Canada on consular and visa issues. Should no tangible progress be made, we do not rule out the application of similar measures to Canadian citizens wishing to visit Russia.It would be a step in the direction of deterioration, but we believe it necessary to avoid the one-sided position of our citizens who will have to objectively suffer additional bureaucratic difficulties in obtaining a Canadian visa.
That's all I can say on this issue at the moment. Let's wait for the end of the consultations, maybe the situation will change somewhat. I would like to hope so.
Question: Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Poland ended yesterday, and what is Russia's reaction to the Polish Foreign Ministry’s support of the lawsuit by families of the victims of the Katyn massacre?
Answer: The Russian and Polish foreign ministers spoke in detail about this at their joint press conference after the strategy committee meeting. This question was raised. We are in discussion on this topic in a mutually respectful manner. We are well aware that this is a very sensitive issue for Polish public opinion. We are working with Polish colleagues on all practical matters related to the ultimate solution of this problem.
The number of documents which, as you know,have been handed over by decision of President Medvedev, who kept the situation under his personal control, allows me to say that we have moved far ahead and are sincerely interested in ensuring that this issue is taken off the agenda of our bilateral relations and is not politicized by certain forces in either of the two countries.
Question: Is the Foreign Ministry monitoring the situation with the Russian sailors in Vietnam?
Answer: Of course, we do monitor all such situations that happen. Unfortunately, Russian people suffer who are included in international ship crews. It is normal marine practice, but the difficulties which our citizens find themselves in, make us think about what could be under taken in the future to exclude them. I do not mean the Foreign Ministry,but the trade unions and other organizations dealing with the rights of seafarers, in this case, Russian.
The Russian Consulate General is addressing this problem. N. M. Sukhanov, chairman of the Far Eastern Regional Organization of the Russian Seamen's Union, to which the crew of Phu Hai-1 had turned for help, has established contact with it. To our knowledge, the vessel is owned by Antel Investments Ltd, a company registered in Belize.
Sukhanov was informed of the situation and the Consulate General’s actions to settle the labor dispute between the seamen and the management of the company. In turn, he said that the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation has taken up the case, whose officials will communicate directly with the management of Antel Investments Ltd.
Agreement is reached with the Far Eastern branch of the Seamen’s Union on the maintenance of further contact and coordination of action to unblock the conflict.
I stress again that our consular offices, or employees of the consular sections of embassies, depending on where similar situations arise, upon receipt of the first information, immediately try to connect with the host country authorities and with the crews in order to protect the rights of our citizens.