Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 22, 2017

Monday, 25 September 2017 17:02

Question: I want to thank you on behalf of the UN Correspondents Association for this news conference and the ability to talk with you within the framework of the UN General Assembly.
Mr Lavrov, the overwhelming majority of the leaders who have already spoken at the UN General Assembly expressed concern over North Korea’s nuclear activity, and US President Donald Trump has even used the UN pulpit to threaten North Korea. Pyongyang has promised to respond. It appears that neither the US nor the North Korean leaders are ready to accept the roadmap that has been proposed by Russia and China. What can the international community do in this situation? What step should be taken next? Does Russia have any new proposal on the settlement of this crisis?

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you for your kind words.
Regarding the Korean Peninsula problem, we have no new proposals, because we are sure that the potential of the Russian-Chinese roadmap, which has been distributed at the UN in July of this year, is far from exhausted. We have not heard any reasonable arguments in response to our proposals to start working on this problem. Neither have we heard about the reason why our Western partners, including the United States, cannot accept our plan. Let me just remind you, that the roadmap is largely similar to the “four no’s,” which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson formulated a month ago. We are convinced that the UN Security Council should make broader use of these US views.
As for the exchange of threats, this is definitely not a good thing. Indeed, it is unacceptable both to look on silently at the North Korean nuclear missile manoeuvres and to launch a war on the Korean Peninsula. This is the essence of these threats, if they are translated into actions. Therefore, we must cool down the hot heads, so that they understand that we need to take a break and consider a contact. If somebody wants to mediate in this, I am all for it. Some neutral European countries were ready to offer their services as intermediaries in this case. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that if he got such a request from the UN Security Council, he would certainly try to implement it. So, there are plenty of those who want to try a political rather than a military scenario or sanctions on the Korean Peninsula. I would like to remind you about what I said at the UN General Assembly yesterday: All of the UN Security Council resolutions without exception contain, along with sanctions, also provisions on the need to resume talks. Our Western colleagues who refuse to work towards this end, violate the obligations, which they assumed when drafting these UN Security Council resolutions. Russia and China will continue to press ahead for a reasonable rather than emotional approach, which looks like kindergarten toddlers fighting each other and everybody seems unable to stop them.

Question: Mr Minister, you and Russian Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya have said that you hope to be able to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Is Russia willing to discuss missiles, human rights and Syria within the JCPOA or some other format?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia is not the only country to speak about the need to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. All the European countries involved in the talks have said so, plus the overwhelming majority of UN member states. The JCPOA is a complete document that has been approved by a UN Security Council resolution, and changing it is like destroying all our previous achievements. Everyone knows this. If the United States has any concerns regarding Iran, or if anyone else has any concerns about anyone else, these concerns must be settled within the framework of the formats that are suited for this. We have a negotiating process on Syria, a missile regime that does not prohibit countries from having ballistic missiles, and we have the Human Rights Council for dealing with human rights problems. Comparing apples and oranges would be an unwise choice, especially on such complicated topics as Iran’s nuclear programme.
To be continued...

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