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16 Jun, 2010 12:24

New resolution leaves much room for further cooperation with Iran - FM spokesman

At a weekly media briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrey Nesterenko focused on adoption of UN Security Council resolution on Iran, the situation in Kyrgyzstan and other issues.

RT presents the full transcript of Andrey Nesterenko’s briefing from June 10, 2010.

Outcome of Third Summit Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)

The Third Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Member Countries of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) took place in Istanbul on June 8. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was among those attending.

The meeting issued a Declaration setting top priorities for the forum for the next two years and recording common approaches to regional and global issues. It also included the signing of a Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Secretariat, Its Staff and Representatives of the CICA Member States, aimed at improving the efficiency of the forum’s administrative and technical body.

Vietnam and Iraq became new full members of the forum, and Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh were granted observer status.

On the sidelines of the summit an informal CICA-OSCE foreign minister-level meeting took place, the aim of which was to coordinate cooperation between the regional associations.

Vladimir Putin’s attendance at the Istanbul summit was a further indication of the importance that Russia attaches to the Asian vector of its foreign policy and to the development and strengthening of constructive engagement with the countries of the region. The Russian side believes that the CICA is a useful tool for a broad dialogue on security and stability in Asia and to strengthen the atmosphere of confidence, contribute to improving the architecture of security and cooperation in the Eurasian space and is an important element of an emerging regional network of multilateral associations and dialogue entities.
Russia intends to work closely with Turkey, which takes over the chairmanship of the CICA for the period 2010-2012, in questions of Conference activity.

SCO summit

At this moment a session of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is beginning in the Uzbek capital Tashkent with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in attendance.

Vladimir Putin to visit France

On June 10-11, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will pay a working visit to France where he will attend the opening ceremony of a Russian National Exhibition being held in the framework of the so-called cross-years of the two countries. During the visit Putin will meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, as well as with his counterpart, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

About International Forum ‘Afghan drug production – a challenge to the world community’

An international forum, Afghan Drug Production – A Challenge to the World Community, started its work in Moscow on June 9. It had been organized conjointly by Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service and RIA news agency. The event was attended by government and political figures, high-ranking representatives of the UN, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, NATO and other international organizations, heads of law enforcement agencies, noted experts, international journalists, and so on.

The tone for the forum was set by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who noted that illicit trafficking in Afghan opiates is a serious threat to not only Russia, but also other countries in Europe and North America. There has to be a comprehensive approach to combating this phenomenon directly associated with the spread of extremism and terrorism, an approach that involves addressing the social degradation of Afghan society, eradicating poverty through, inter alia, transition to the cultivation of alternative crops, and fighting corruption.

Given the magnitude of the problem it is obvious that efforts by the Afghan government alone are not enough. UN-led joint action by the international community is needed, with the active participation of all interested states, international and regional organizations such as NATO, the SCO and the CSTO. These goals would be served by creating a broad anti-drug coalition with the involvement in it, in addition to those entities, of civil society institutions as well.

For successful cooperation in this area the world community has to move away from politicizing the struggle against drugs and dividing states by the degree of threat posed by their illicit production, because regardless of country of origin it represents a threat to international peace.

In order to strengthen, inter alia, the institutional framework of our country's participation in this activity, on June 9 this year President Medvedev approved the National Anti-Drug Strategy for the Russian Federation, which determines its main objectives, directions and tasks.

Speakers at the forum included the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, and the director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov.

It is expected that today the forum will conclude its work by adopting a final joint document.

Sergey Lavrov’s visit to China

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov paid an official visit to the People’s Republic of China on June 4.
In Beijing, Lavrov was received by President Hu Jintao and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

There were talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi. The heads of the foreign affairs ministries of the two countries examined in detail current issues in Russian-Chinese relations. This year’s schedule of political contacts was verified and progress in the preparations for an upcoming official visit to China by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were discussed.

The parties also discussed a number of pressing global and regional problems.

The talks have demonstrated Russia and China’s focus on further all-round development of the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and on enhancing coordination in international and regional affairs.

11th round of Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasia

On June 8, Geneva hosted the eleventh meeting in the framework of international discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia. It was attended by delegations from the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, the Russian Federation, the United States and the Republic of South Ossetia, as well as the representatives of the EU, UN and OSCE.

The security panel continued to discuss the non-use of force in Transcaucasia. The Russian side proposed to consider the possibility of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia adopting unilateral declarations on the non-use of force or threat of force against each other for the long-term stabilization of the situation there. The delegations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia emphasized the priority nature of this topic for the security of their republics and peoples.

A positive overall assessment of the operation of the joint incident prevention and response mechanism (IPRM) in the Georgian-Abkhaz border area was stated.

Hope was expressed for the full restoration of the IPRM in the Georgian-South Ossetian border area, especially in view of the impending end of the period of work by Council of Europe experts helping the search for missing persons there. The important role of the IPRM’s as real tools for the exchange of operational information and for confidence and security in the border areas was reaffirmed.
Within the humanitarian group, an exchange of views continued on the most appropriate solutions to the problem of refugees and displaced persons.

The next meeting is scheduled in Geneva for July 27 this year.

Peace Jirga in Kabul

Held on June 2-4, the Peace Jirga in Kabul was undoubtedly an important stage in normalizing the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA). For the first time, such a representative forum, which was attended by some 1,600 delegates from among the parliamentarians, religious leaders, tribal elders, and members of provincial councils, discussed the issues of advancing the process of national reconciliation in the IRA, which is a key component of the stabilization strategy in the country.

We welcome the commitment expressed in the final resolution of the Peace Jirga to the basic principles of the implementation of the process of national reconciliation, primarily related to compliance by members of the armed opposition with the Government’s demands to renounce violence and break ties with al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

We support the focus of the document on pursuing the line enshrined in the Communiquй of the London International Conference on IRA (January 28, 2010) on “Afghanizing” stabilization efforts in Afghanistan in terms of increasing combat effectiveness of, and transferring responsibility to the armed forces of the country for counterterrorism operations.

Of course, launching the process of national reconciliation does not diminish the importance of effective maintenance of the sanctions regime of the UN Security Council as an essential tool for counterterrorism and anti-narcotics cooperation in the Afghan sector. We believe that the policy of isolating extremist leaders should be consistent and purposeful, especially in view of the fact that, as shown once again by the June 2 militant attack on the venue of the Peace Jirga, they are very eager to disrupt Afghanistan's progress towards peace and stability by any means.

The resolution of the Peace Jirga calls for the international community to prevent the transformation of Afghanistan into a regional arena of confrontation. We hold that realizing this task would be facilitated by restoring after the completion of international stabilization efforts in the IRA, the neutral status of the country under UN Security Council guarantees. Of course, the IRA itself must be the initiator of such a move. Afghanistan was a de facto neutral state for most of its modern history.

Adoption of UN Security Council resolution on Iran

The United Nations Security Council on June 9 adopted resolution 1929 (2010) on Iran. Russia voted in its favor.

Immediately after the vote, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a commentary, which is placed on the agency’s website, emphasizing, in particular, that all the measures prescribed in the resolution are adopted under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, which excludes the possibility of using force. Reference to this article in the preamble to the resolution is supported by a clear statement: nothing in this resolution compels States to take measures or actions exceeding the scope of this resolution, including the use of force or the threat of force.

While working on the resolution within the Six and the UNSC, the emergence of language in the text had been prevented that would have led to the use of “crippling” or “paralyzing” sanctions against Iran. As a result, all the sanctions measures envisioned by the resolution are focused on addressing non-proliferation goals in the context of Iran's nuclear program.

Accordingly, the main purport of the Council decision is to induce the Iranian side to cooperate and to get it to comply with the certain requirements set forth, including through the IAEA.

However, we can’t ignore the signals indicating that some partners intend, almost immediately after the decision in New York, to move to considering additional sanctions against Iran, more stringent than those provided by the UNSC resolution. We regard this as the manifestation of a policy that runs counter to the principles of joint work within the Six and the UNSC format. Unacceptable to us are attempts in such a way to place oneself “above” the Security Council. We also categorically reject any national decisions on the imposition of “extraterritorial sanctions,” i.e., restrictive measures under one’s own legislation with regard to individuals and legal entities in third countries. Such decisions, should they affect Russian legal entities or individuals, would entail retaliatory response by us.

The new resolution leaves much room for further cooperation with Iran in the trade and economic domain and on energy, transport and peaceful space exploration.

The Six had exerted considerable effort in preparing a package of positive incentives for Tehran. This package remains in force, as has been unambiguously confirmed by the new resolution. We hope that the leadership and people of Iran will come to realize the benefits to be gained by developing cooperation with the international community in various fields.

At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the Joint Statement issued by the Foreign Ministers of the Six following the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1929 (2010) on Iran, the text of which is also posted on the Russian MFA website.

On situation with ‘Freedom Flotilla’

I was asked to comment upon Russia's position on the UN’s initiative for an international commission to investigate the situation with the ‘Freedom Flotilla,’ and there was also a question about how in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s view the efforts of the international community, including the proposed EU controls on cargo ships bound for Gaza will contribute to lifting the blockade of the Palestinian enclave?
As you know, our condemnation of what happened on May 31 in the Eastern Mediterranean was immediate, loud and clear.

The death of innocent people is, of course, unacceptable. All the circumstances of the tragedy must be investigated with the utmost objectivity. This is the essence of the approach of the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council, which Russia helped to develop.

That is why we actively support the efforts of the UN and other parties to organize an inquiry with an international presence which would meet the highest international standards and would be a full inquiry, impartial, independent and credible in the eyes of the international community.
We believe that this would benefit the relaxation of tension around Gaza, and the promotion, ultimately, of the peace process in the region as a whole.

With regard to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, I can reiterate the principled stance of Russia in favor of its expeditious lifting. To this end, we will continue to work in multilateral and bilateral formats. The ideas being voiced about how to move toward ending the isolation of the Gaza Strip, toward alleviating the living conditions of its inhabitants, in particular, the EU initiative mentioned by you, are of course useful. That’s also what the Middle East Quartet, which includes Russia, is closely concerned with.

Settlement of conflict in Darfur

I was asked what the situation and the prospects for conflict settlement in Darfur are with the resumption of the negotiation process in Qatar.

Negotiations did indeed resume between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement in Doha on June 7. But the situation in Darfur, unfortunately, remains tense. In May there were serious recurrences of armed conflict in the province.

This situation has largely resulted from gross violations of the armistice agreement reached in Doha in February this year brokered by the UN, African Union and Qatar between the Government of Sudan and the insurgent Movement for Justice and Equality, which unilaterally in early May withdrew from the negotiations.

In this connection we reaffirm our principled stand on the lack of alternatives to a political resolution of the Darfur crisis. We hope for the Doha negotiations to continue. It is essential that all the Darfur militias should join in and that the ceasefire be observed unconditionally. We will actively support efforts to this end.

Situation in Kyrgyzstan

We remain focused on developments in Kyrgyzstan. Vladimir Rushailo is in Bishkek right now. The special presidential representative for relations with the Kyrgyz Republic is holding consultations with its new leadership and various political forces.

We are monitoring the situation in Kyrgyzstan in the context of the June 27 referendum on the new draft Constitution. As part of the preparations for this important political event, Vladimir Churov, Chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, visited Bishkek on June 9. Russian representatives will participate in the referendum as observers serving with the monitoring missions of the CIS Executive Committee, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and other international organizations.

Monument to Russian soldiers in Berlin

We are grateful to the Government of the FRG and the Berlin Senate for their decision to allocate 10 million euros to conduct repair work on the Russian war memorial in the Berlin district of Pankow. This complex is one of the three largest Russian war memorials in the German capital. More than 13 thousand Red Army soldiers who died in the battle for Berlin in the spring of 1945 are buried there. The two other central memorials – in Treptower Park and Tiergarten – have been completely renovated in recent years in line with the accords reached at the intergovernmental level. Reconstruction in Pankow is expected to begin in August this year and be completed by August 1, 2012.

We note the German side’s commitment to strict compliance with its international legal obligations to ensure the preservation of the more than 6,000 burial grounds of Soviet soldiers in Germany. The decision of the German authorities, taken in the context of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazism, is – against the background of the participation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Moscow celebrations on May 9, 2010 – additional evidence of the high-level of bilateral military-memorial cooperation with the FRG, and another striking confirmation of the unique Russian-German experience accumulated within the framework of a joint course toward historical reconciliation of Russians and Germans.

Problems of adoption in Russian-Finnish relations

The Russian-Finnish inter-MFA consultations held in Helsinki on June 9 discussed topics of creating in our bilateral relations a legal mechanism for dealing with the recurring recent conflict situations in family and civil matters, especially with children from families of Russian compatriots.

The parties agreed with the need to find mutually acceptable solutions to these problems.
At the end of the first round of consultations, the following joint statement to the media was issued: “In the consultations, the two parties found it expedient to continue bilateral dialogue of the relevant agencies on family and civil matters as is customary in Russian-Finnish relations and in all other areas of cooperation.”

Concerning Government Decision ‘On Approval of the Regulation on Assistance in Returning to the Russian Federation to Citizens of the Russian Federation Who Have Found Themselves Stranded in a Foreign State without Means of Subsistence’

I would like to share information about how it is proposed to assist in returning to the Russian Federation our citizens who have found themselves stranded in a foreign country without means of subsistence.

As you know, Russian law establishes the duty of our diplomatic missions and consular agencies to take action to defend our citizens and provide them with protection in the manner determined by Russian law and international treaties of the Russian Federation. Until now, there was no mechanism in place to govern assistance to Russian citizens in critical situations. Meanwhile, the question is relevant both for countries with large Russian diasporas and for remote regions which certain categories of Russians may visit.

Given the huge increase in numbers of Russian citizens traveling abroad for various purposes, and the wide public resonance that the theme of assistance to our citizens who have found themselves stranded in a foreign country without a livelihood has gained in recent years, the Foreign Ministry had, with regard for the experience of foreign colleagues, prepared the draft Government decision on the issue.

The principle of the gratis allocation of financial assistance underpins the Regulation. But there is to be no receipt of cash – assistance will be made available only “in kind” through the purchase of tickets, food and essential goods, as well as payment of hotel accommodation costs. The Government has clearly set the norms of expenditure, which excludes, for example, the possibility of sending people home on business class flights.

We particularly stress that the adoption of the Regulation does not mean that assistance will be given unconditionally and to all those wishing. Only extreme cases will be considered involving emergency aid. Each particular case will be examined by commissions to be set up within our foreign agencies based on available capacity.

We regard the Regulation as the first but necessary step to establish a comprehensive mechanism to help Russian citizens who have found themselves in emergency situations abroad.
More detailed information will be posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Adoption by State Duma at first reading of the Bill Amending the Federal Law on the State Policy of the Russian Federation toward Compatriots Living Abroad

The State Duma on June 4 adopted the Government-submitted Bill Amending the Federal Law on the State Policy of the Russian Federation toward Compatriots Living Abroad on first reading.
At the initiative of the Government Commission on the Affairs of Compatriots Abroad, the Russian parliament, relevant ministries, the Apparatus of the Government and the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation had been engaged in the bill’s elaboration for eighteen months.
In preparing the amendments, proposals from compatriots themselves had been taken into account. The bill had been supported at country and regional conferences of compatriots and by the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots.

The proposed amendments reflect Russia’s current policy toward compatriots, beginning with a clearer definition of the very subject of the Law – the concept of “Russian compatriots living abroad.” Its clearer definition will allow the state to purposefully conduct work, concentrating on those who consider themselves “Russian compatriots” and seek to maintain ties with their historical Homeland and preserve their Russian identity.

The adoption of the amendments to the Federal Law on State Policy toward Compatriots Abroad will attest to the consistent line by the government on developing and strengthening links with them. An adjusted Law will contribute to further consolidating and structuring overseas Russian communities and fostering their effective interaction with their historical Homeland.

Foreign Ministry/Russian Orthodox Church Cooperation Working Group’s 15th Meeting

The 15th Meeting of the Working Group for Cooperation between the Russian MFA and the Russian Orthodox Church was held in the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on June 3.

It was opened by the Co-Chairmen of the Working Group – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs/State Secretary Grigory Karasin and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.

The sides paid due attention to considering the important and topical question that is associated with the growing influence of the religious factor on the development of international relations, and acknowledged the importance of taking into account the historical, spiritual and cultural role of the Russian traditional religious groups in shaping the foreign policy of the country.

Metropolitan Hilarion’s talk, Golden Collection project, journal Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, on June 9, at the MFA Grand Mansion, gave a talk on “The present-day challenges in a global world: secularism and the religious worldview” under the Golden Collection project of the journal Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn.

The meeting was attended by senior MFA officials, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of public and religious circles, scholars, and Russian and foreign journalists.
The full text of the talk by the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, and his answers to questions from those present, will be published in the next issue of the journal Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn.

Media questions:

Question: How will the adoption of the UNSC resolution on Iran that provides for tougher sanctions against Tehran affect military-technical cooperation between Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran? In particular, will the contract to supply S-300 systems be realized?

Answer: With this question you should approach primarily our military agencies and those entities responsible for arms supplies abroad. Since the resolution on Iran refers to specific types of weapon, I can say that air defense systems, except for MANPADS, are not covered by the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

Question: You spoke about the signals from certain partners in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program concerning the introduction of extraterritorial sanctions and restrictive measures against Tehran. What particular country intending to introduce such measures did you mean and just what Russian individuals and legal entities, in particular companies, will they affect if introduced?

Answer: We said that we keep an eye on such talk with concern. We must await clarification of the situation. If the decisions in question are really made, then they will refer to individuals and businesses accordingly. So far it is too early to speak about this, but we have delineated our position.

Question: What are the results of the sojourn of the delegation of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in Moscow?

Answer: The IHEC delegation, led by its head Faraj al-Haidari, was in Moscow on a working visit from June 7-10 at the invitation of Russian CEC chairman Vladimir Churov to establish direct contacts between the electoral bodies and to get a first-hand look at the Russian experience in organizing and holding elections, including the use of technical means and work with different groups of voters.
Information about its sojourn is posted on the website of the CEC of Russia.
As to the political evaluation of this event, we regard the contacts as an important step in Russia’s practical assistance in the strengthening and development of democratic constitutional procedures in a regenerated Iraq. We presume that this is a good supplement to the Russian efforts to support the stabilization of the country, return it to normal life, as well as strengthening the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.
We also note the role that the IHEC has played in the success of the recent electoral campaigns in Iraq, including the parliamentary elections held in March.

Question: Can the MFA confirm the information that Alexander Lukashenko will visit Moscow on June 11 to meet with Dmitry Medvedev? If this visit takes place, what are the expectations of Moscow from this visit?

Answer: The MFA has no information about Belarus President Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow.

Question: What effect is resolution 1929 going to have on the launch of Bushehr nuclear plant?

Answer: As to Bushehr, it’s a separate project that is being conducted under IAEA supervision; all of the work is being carried out in an entirely transparent way. A few days ago, Prime Minister Putin told a press conference that this project will be launched as scheduled, in August this year.

Question: Has the Russian Foreign Ministry given consent to the arrival in Russia of a new Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia, VolodymyrYelchenko, and if so, when will he assume his duties?

Answer: It's too early to say. We will learn the name of Ukraine’s new ambassador to Russia after the publication of the appropriate decree of the Ukrainian president.