Press conference of Sergei Lavrov and Rex Tillerson

The Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov


U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson


Questions from the press


Foreign Minister Lavrov: Good evening. It’s been a long day. We held talks with U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Just had a long (over two hours) meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.


The negotiations were thorough and candid, covering the whole range of issues that are key to our bilateral relations and for cooperation on international Affairs.


Recorded that the present stage in our relations and in the international situation — not the good one. There are numerous problems, including the ones that were left as the bombs the previous US administration of Barack Obama. We are realists and we understand that overcoming such barriers requires a major effort. What we are focused on such efforts with the understanding that there will be a counter-movement by our American colleagues, is a fact. Today once again the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has confirmed that our consistent line.


We see attempts to prevent our cooperation and even to escalate the confrontation. We believe that this short-sighted approach, especially because history has proven that when Moscow and Washington cooperate, benefit not only our peoples, but also the whole world.


Reaffirmed our shared commitment to an uncompromising struggle against international terrorism. This theme, which our presidents have discussed during several telephone conversations, including telephone conversation on the night of 4 April, when Donald trump called President Putin to Express condolences for the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg metro.


Of course, in the context of counter-terrorism we discussed the situation in Syria. Raised, of course, and the incident, which occurred after April 4 in Syria near Idlib had used chemicals, and the ensuing missile attack on the United States military airfield on 7 April. As you know, our estimates we have repeatedly stated. Today we talked about the need carefully to investigate the incident, which has already become the subject of much speculation.


The Russian Federation supported the initiative to draw the attention of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) in the Hague that she has all the powers to initiate such an investigation. Drew attention to an official letter from the Syrian Government to the UN and the OPCW with a request to immediately send a team of inspectors to conduct an impartial and objective investigation of the situation on the scene of incidents in Idlib province and on the airfield which was subjected to shock. We have seen the readiness of our American colleagues to support this investigation. We expect that existing UN and OPCW powers will be involved immediately. In this regard, we consider counterproductive to try in the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution, which will be dedicated not so much to investigate the incident, how many of legitimizing statements, a priori, accusing Damascus that happened. We have other facts. I repeat, we don’t someone to impose. I want there to be an objective, impartial and fair investigation.


We also discussed the state of Affairs in the actions of the aerospace defence forces of Russia and the coalition, headed by the United States, in the context of the existing Memorandum on the prevention of incidents in Syria and ensuring the safety of aviation during operations in the SAR. As you know, this Memorandum was suspended by the Russian side. Today the President of Russia Vladimir Putin confirmed our readiness to resume its use on the understanding that it will be clearly confirmed the original goal of action air force American coalition and the Russian space forces, namely the fight against ISIL, “al-Nusra Dzhebhat” and other affiliated with them as terrorist organizations (banned in Russia — approx. ed.).


We also presume that the publicly declared Russia and the United States it had no intention to interfere in the internal Affairs of Syria or other States remains in effect. We hope that the examples of Iraq, Libya, other countries will serve as a good warning against similar attempts were repeated elsewhere, including in the Middle East and North Africa. Once again, our shared commitment to ensuring the complete destruction and defeat of ISIL and other terrorists remains in effect, which was confirmed today in its entirety.


In addition to the fight against terrorism in Syria and in the region as a whole, we have a common interest to reach a political settlement complicated the Syrian crisis. Russia and the United States in recent years has led international efforts to find compromise, to unite all participants of the Syrian conflict and the external players at the negotiating table under UN auspices. Today we agreed to continue bilateral interactions to help and push the multilateral process. We appreciate that in addition to the Geneva process where we participate together with our American colleagues, we also have a Playground of Astana, where U.S. partners are present as observers.


Russia and the United States also has many opportunities to help the international community to settle conflicts in Yemen, Libya and not least to try to find ways to still break the deadlock of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. I am sure that the ongoing contacts in this area will be useful.


We also have the issue of Afghanistan. As you know, over the last couple of years, we have used a variety of formats that were aimed at forming the external support for the Afghan reconciliation. One such attempt is going on April 14 in Moscow. A meeting of the so-called Moscow format with the participation of Afghanistan and its neighbors, including Central Asian, which invited American representatives. We hope that in one way or another they will be able to participate in this meeting.


We touched on the crisis in Ukraine. We have a common position that the Minsk agreement by 2015 must be met. We recalled how when the previous US administration had established two-way channel of consultations between Moscow and Washington in addition to the Quartet in the framework of the “Normandy format”. We have felt the interest of the current administration to continue bilateral contacts on the subject to help to find practical ways of implementing the Minsk agreements in full. We would welcome such efforts. We are ready for them.


We talked about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, which made us very worried. Russia and the United States stand for strict observance of the resolutions of the UN Security Council, which were adopted on this subject. Today we talked about how to find ways to get out of the spiral of confrontation and to go to, to create the conditions for the negotiation process of resolving the issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through political and diplomatic efforts.


We have also noted the special responsibility of Russia and the United States for the situation in the sphere of military-political security in the regional and global levels. Checked the clock on progress in the implementation of agreements on strategic stability, arms reduction, which are in force between our countries. Agreed to overcome some pause that has arisen in these processes, for objective reasons, in connection with the change of command in the White house. We expect that contact to review progress in our cooperation in the sphere of strategic stability and arms control will resume and will be held in a business-like, pragmatic with a focus on clear implementation of what we agreed.


Mentioned the state of Affairs in our economic relations. Feel the interest of businesses on both sides to increase cooperation and overcome the negative trend, which is observed in the volume of trade and investment for objective and subjective reasons. We offered to support the initiatives of business circles of the two countries to their direct contacts received support from the Russian government and the US administration.


Another arrangement. We have agreed to allocate special representatives from our ministries — from the Ministry of foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, to detail without any emotion, artificial exacerbations to look at stimuli that have accumulated in our relations in recent years, primarily during the presidency of Barack Obama. I believe that if both sides would be shown a pragmatic approach to this work, it will definitely bring results and will improve our relationship.


Overall, I think we all understand how difficult situation in our relationships, in the world, how many people are there to practice the features of modern communication technologies, cyberspace, in the virtual world as a whole, how some people abuse the opportunities provided by modern technologies, trying to use them in their very worthless political purposes. I think that in the USA and in Russia there are enough sensible people who will be able to “separate the wheat from the chaff” and be guided by indigenous, non-engaged the interests of our peoples, countries and the entire international community.


That’s my feeling from the talks. With all the current objective and artificially created problems there are many prospects for collaboration. Russia is open not only to dialogue with the United States in various fields, but also to joint action, focused on results, in the areas that meet the interests of both countries. Of course, we will expect reciprocity from the United States. I am confident that today’s meeting, the many hours we spent with Rex Tillerson together with the President of Russia, was well spent. After what we did today, together, we can better understand each other. We hope that these contacts will be continued, as directly between us and our employees and other departments of the US administration and the Russian government.

Secretary Rex Tillerson: Good evening. We have just spent a two-hour productive meeting with President Putin, as was mentioned by foreign Minister Lavrov. We openly discussed the current state of Russian-American relations. I expressed the opinion that the current state of Russian-American relations unsatisfactory, and the level of trust between our two countries is low. Such a relationship can not exist between the two main nuclear powers of the world. Next, we discussed ways of improving channels of communication. We exchanged views on the situation in Syria and shared his views on possible ways forward.

Earlier the Minister of foreign Affairs Lavrov held a long conversation on matters requiring immediate attention, and the questions that we need to pay attention in the longer term. We understand that to achieve progress on issues where we have different point of view will require improvements in long-term relationships.

We spoke in detail about Syria and found that in some areas we share common views. Specifically, we believe in a unified and stable Syria, and want to deny safe havens to terrorists, thinking about the attack on our country. We agree that there should be denuclearization of North Korea. We agreed on the need to establish communication between our two countries on a higher level as a diplomatic and military.

But there is a wide range of other issues on which we have differences. Some of them have global consequences the long-term nature, and some are bilateral. In the past two years were undertaken series of mutual actions, demonstrating the dissatisfaction of our countries to each other. We need to try to put an end to this steady degradation, which does not contribute to restoring the confidence between our two countries and make progress on issues that have great importance to us.

We agreed to establish a working group to address less significant issues and to ensure greater stability in our relationship, so then you can move on to more serious problems. We agreed with foreign Minister Lavrov, that we will consider further proposals on achieving success in Syria, including consultations with our allies and with coalition members. We will continue the discussion on how to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

We also discussed the threats that today is the North Korean regime. We talked about the ongoing efforts of the regime on the nuclear program and the constructive role can Russia play in persuading North Korea to change its current course, in order to create the conditions for negotiations about the future.

With regard to the Minsk agreements, we have discussed their importance. Russia may succeed in implementing them, reducing violence and taking measures to withdraw troops and heavy weapons to the separatists that the OSCE observers to perform their tasks. Until you reach full progress in accordance with the Minsk agreements, the situation in Ukraine will continue to create obstacles to improve relations between the US and Russia.

I thank the foreign Minister for productive negotiations and look forward to further conversations in the future. Thank you.

Moderator (through translator): ladies and Gentlemen, we now turn to the questions. Let’s start with the TV channel “Russia 24”.

Question: “Russia 24”. My first question to Mr. Tillerson. In recent days we have heard from Washington is not only controversial, but aggressive statements. I mean the words of President trump, who called Assad “animal”, and the statement of White house spokesman Sean Spicer (Sean Spicer), who said that even Hitler did not use chemical weapons. How do these statements contribute to the objectives of diplomacy? When rhetoric can change?

Rex Tillerson:
well, from the point of view of the United States, which is confirmed by the facts, there is strong evidence that the recent attack with chemical weapons in Syria was planned and carried out by troops of the Syrian regime. We are quite sure of that. This is just another case of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, given that it is over 50 times used bombs with chlorine and cluster munitions, and other weapons that maim and kill people in the most awful way. So I think that President Assad himself has invoked this feature.

Moderator: Josh Lederman…

Sergei Lavrov (through translator): I must add a few words. Obviously, this is a topic on which we disagree, because Russia insists on an objective investigation. We together with the United States in 2013 initiated the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria. In record time, was drafted the relevant agreements in the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons in the Hague and the UN Security Council. There are reports of the OPCW, which fixes the progress in eliminating all declared chemical weapons stockpiles. They also fixed the problem consists in the fact that a couple of places where they stored chemical weapons is under the control of extremists. Between Damascus and the Hague is a continuous process with its difficulties. We use our relationship with the Syrian government in order to encourage them to brand full cooperation. We are committed to the completion of this work and will see it through to the end.

As for the investigation of allegations of use of chemical weapons, there is the Mission of the OPCW to establish the facts of use of chemical weapons in Syria (MOFS) and the Joint mechanism of the OPCW-UN investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria (CMP). We have some issues to address these structures, because all, without exception, the prosecution sent to the government of Syria the use of chemical weapons, based on the so-called “remote testimony”. I’m not even going to once again focus on the completely discredited the so-called “white helmets” repeatedly convicted of fraud.

With regard to the evidence available in connection with the use of chemical weapons on the territory controlled by the opposition, often the Syrian government and Russian troops operating in Syria, was transferred to the OPCW evidence, including areas of research samples. It was not a “remote testimony” and evidence. The study of these present in the Hague in the material form of evidence as a very much delayed.

Again, I’m not trying someone else to blame or to exonerate. We insist on objective investigation of the incident on 4 April this year. By the way, as has happened in the past, all this coincided with the convening of a conference on Syria on the initiative of the EU in Brussels. Once on the eve of the conference there were reports on the use of chemicals in Idlib province, many protesters began loudly and actively demand that this thread was dedicated to a conference convened for the consideration of the whole complex of problems of the Syrian settlement.

Given the hype and the tremendous tension created in the media space and the political sphere, in the international community around this incident, we are convinced of the need for “sober” its impartial, international, independent investigation. It is necessary to direct an international group of objective and professional experts in the place where it was allegedly used chemical warfare agents and to the airport, which, according to our American colleagues, was used in order to there to guide aircraft shells filled with chemical toxic substances. We saw no evidence that this was so, especially on TV and on the testimony of people who were on the airfield immediately after takeoff and causing hitting, not had any signs to say that there was any chemical warfare agents.

I apologize for such a long review, but I wish to emphasize our absolute conviction that if our colleagues in the UN and the Hague will wriggle out of this investigation, it will mean that they do not want to establish the truth. We will insist on this.

Moderator: Josh Lederman of the Associated Press.

Question: Thank You. The Secretary of state Tillerson, I want to ask you about your conversation with President Putin on Syria. You gave predictions that Assad will leave power in a political transition. How do you get Assad to participate in the transition process which will lead to his removal from power? And allegations of war crimes will be addressed? And how long the United States will be subject to the approval of Russia?

And another question to foreign Minister Lavrov, if I may. Your government and the US government are at an insurmountable distance on the Syrian issue, on Ukraine and on other issues. Have you ever had the impression that today in discussions with us Secretary of state Tillerson you were able to solve some of the previously mentioned questions?

Rex Tillerson: well, we discussed in detail the future role of Assad in the political process, and no. Of course, we are of the opinion that the rule of the Assad family comes to an end, and that they themselves are to blame, leading in the last years of the war. We discussed our point of view that Russia as the closest ally of the regime in this conflict has the optimal features to help Assad to accept this reality. It is important that Assad’s departure was conducted in an orderly manner to those circles and groups, whose interests he represents, felt that their interests too would be protected at the negotiating table to find a political settlement. As it happens, it will be resolved in the transition process. We think that everything should be done alternately. Everything goes on as usual and at their own pace. But in the final version, in our opinion, the future system of government Syria will be no place for Assad or his family. It seems to us, the international community did not agree. The world did not agree.

Question: And what about the accusations of war crimes?

Rex Tillerson:
We discussed that over time will accumulate all the new evidence, it is possible that is crossed the threshold of when it will be possible to indict the individuals, including Bashar al-Assad. As you know, this is a very serious legal obstacle that must be overcome in order to bring such charges. I would say that now not all the evidence is assembled, but I think that after a certain time it will be possible to create an evidence base. And there are people who work on its creation.


Sergei Lavrov (through translator): I would like to say I don’t think that we the United States are at an insurmountable distance from each other on many issues on the international agenda. This applies to Syria and Ukraine. In the introductory words we mentioned agreements, and especially on the intensification of channels of dialogue on Syria and Ukraine.

With specific regard to the problems of Syria, particularly President Bashar al-Assad, today we talked about history, and Rex said he is a new man and prefers not to delve into history and deal with today’s problems. However, the world is arranged so that if we do not learn from the past, you will hardly be able to succeed in the present. I’m reminded of situations where a group of States, primarily Western countries, NATO members were absolutely fixated on the elimination of a dictator, authoritarian or totalitarian leader.

In order to remove the former President of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, NATO in 1999 launched a war in Central Europe in flagrant violation of the UN Charter, the Helsinki final act of the OSCE. Bombed, among other things, the television station that is a war crime according to all interpretations of the Geneva conventions, residential quarters, China’s Embassy was attacked, bombed bridges and passenger trains for almost three months. In the end, when it ran out of shells and targets, which are at least relatively can be attributed to the goals of dual-use, came to the UN Security Council.

Another example — another dictator Saddam Hussein, who was hanged after the invasion (of Iraq). We all know what justified this intrusion. Since then, only Tony Blair, in my opinion, publicly confessed that all the reasons for the invasion of Iraq was a “fake.” Where is Iraq, you know everything better than us.

Then there was Moammar Gadhafi. Also it was stated that this dictator has no place in his country, and there must prevail a democracy. What is happening now with Libya, we also know. The Libyan statehood is a huge issue, and we are the United States and other partners (talked about this yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian President Sergio Mattarella) try to restore the Libyan state through a national consensus, trying to stop the situation, when this country turned into the channel of illegal migration, slave trade, today announced the public your colleagues from the media.

Speaking of not very recent examples, it’s worth remembering Sudan, whose President Bashir was wanted by the International criminal court, and after a few years, the Obama administration decided that in order to address the issue of the Sudan, the country should be divided into two parts. Created South Sudan, and actively asked for our help to obtain the consent of President Bashir, which the US wants to see in criminal court that he did not resist the partition of Sudan into two States. President al-Bashir kept his word by starting to cooperate with the international community. Sudan was divided into two parts according to the project of the Obama administration only to last year, Washington began to insist on imposing sanctions against his brainchild — South Sudan.

So that kind of experiment based on possession change some of the dictator, totalitarian or authoritarian leader, we have already passed. We know all too well how it ends. Positive examples would be overthrown the dictator, and all “went like clockwork”, I don’t remember. If they are, I would be grateful if you could tell me about it.

So in Syria, as repeatedly stressed by President Putin, we’re not focusing on any person of President Bashar al — Assad or someone else, as in Libya are now trying to bet on Sarada, on the Haftarot. We advocate that they sat down and agreed. Similarly, in Syria. All Syrians, as recorded in the resolutions of the UN Security Council, needs to sit down and negotiate. It should be an inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue. The fate of Syria needs, as recorded in the resolutions of the UN Security Council, to define the Syrians themselves without any exceptions. The most important thing — not to remove a particular character from the political scene, and to agree on how it will be organized by the Syrian government that it is a democratic, secular (what you’re up against opposition from the so-called Higher Committee on negotiations) that in this country all ethnic and religious groups feel protected and fairly represented in government. I assure you that once such consensus is reached, and this must be done through the drafting of a new Constitution, questions of fate, individuals would be solved much more efficiently and without any tragic consequences for the state, the country, the people.

Moderator: “Kommersant”

Question (via interpreter): thank you. I have a question for Mr. Tillerson. Did you discuss during today’s negotiations the question of alleged Russian interference in presidential elections in the United States? What Russia’s actions in cyberspace are different from the actions of the USA? According to the American media, we know that Iran’s nuclear programme was disrupted by using the Stuxnet virus created by the USA. Now the same methods, with the help of cyber weapons, the US is trying to stop the missile program of the DPRK.

Rex Tillerson:
We very briefly touched on the issue of cybersecurity and, in particular, the question about the challenges that face us, in terms of the threats emerging threats. But, I think, I actually make a distinction between those cases where cyberinsurance used to intervene in the decision-making process in the country as to how elections are conducted. This is one use of cyberinsurance. The use of cyberintrusions against programs that are involved in armaments is another use of these tools, and I’m making the distinction between these two cases. Obviously, this question arose in our time, and now as an international community we must make a conclusion about how we want to answer it. And, therefore, will continue to undergo debate this issue on the agenda, this issue is in the agenda that was handed down to me by the Minister of foreign Affairs Lavrov for discussions in the future.

Sergey Lavrov:
We are interested in close collaboration to combat crimes in cyberspace. Probably, you heard it, we talked about this. Another year and a half ago, in October 2015, given the concern of the Obama administration actions of the so-called Russian hackers, which they began to catch on around the world illegally and without affecting existing between Moscow and Washington legal procedures to bring them into the US and there for the prosecution, we asked the Obama administration to engage, to hold a special contacts between the competent authorities, to establish a bilateral mechanism, which in real time would be exchanged information about where, who and how is trying to disrupt existing international and national legal norms of Russia and the USA. Back then we said we were not interested in the fact that our citizens were engaged in cybercrime. The Obama administration has refused this offer, simply did not react. Then suddenly at the end of his “tenure” in November of last year, they still offered to meet. Of course, our colleagues in the relevant field agreed, but at the last moment, the Obama administration has changed his mind, apparently, was too busy in order to undermine Russian-American relations before the coming of the new administration.

Today we talked about the fact that we have this interest is not only preserved, but also fully actual. We offered to resume contacts between the special representatives of the President of Russia and the U.S. Administration and relevant departments. We are only a contact. We felt that this time the result of these efforts will lead to the creation of a channel.


Moderator: rich Edson from the Fox News Channel.

Question: Thank You. The Secretary of state Tillerson, did you discuss with President Putin and foreign Minister Lavrov, sanctions or other concessions, which could go to the United States in exchange for the change of behavior of the Russian government? And yet, if we talk about your answer to the previous question — have you submitted to President Putin or foreign Minister, concrete evidence of Russian government intervention in the American elections?

And now a question for foreign Minister Lavrov: if the independent investigation concludes that the Assad government has used against its own people chemical weapons, then what do Russia? President Putin said that attempts to blame Assad and to plant evidence. You presented this evidence to the Secretary of state Tillerson today, and give Russia to accept any scenario in which Assad is removed from power?

Rex Tillerson:
We have not discussed any changes in the status of the sanctions that were imposed on Russia due to its actions in Ukraine, as you know. As for the question about interference in the election, then, in my opinion, in this respect there is a firmly established opinion in the United States, and I believe that this issue was discussed on Capitol hill and with members of Congress. And this is a serious issue. This is a question that, in our opinion, is serious enough for the imposition of additional sanctions. And so we are attentive to the seriousness of the issue regarding this specific intervention in our elections, and I am sure that Russia also closely relates to this.

Sergei Lavrov:
the US Secretary of State Tillerson sanctions today are not threatened (as, indeed, does not threaten). We openly discussed the issues that we had on the agenda, including those on which we have problems, and they are a majority.

The question of what would happen if the investigation shows the involvement of the Syrian authorities in chemical attacks, consider this hypothetical. We don’t want to read tea leaves, because it is now foretold that raised a hysterical campaign about the urgent need to bomb Syria to the last stone. Of the Senate and house of representatives of the United States such appeals are heard after the shock, which the American side has inflicted on the Syrian airfield. We don’t want to speculate on the important things — the use of chemical weapons, attempts to acquit someone or to stage attacks using toxic substances. We want to establish the truth in full accordance with the principles of the American and Russian laws and with the laws of any normal country. The presumption of innocence must be respected. And if, as I said, our formal proposal to conduct an unbiased and impartial investigation, sent today to the Hague, will be inhibited, we will make certain conclusions about those who are “brakes” to use.

As for the assertions that had been made like the US government has incontrovertible evidence that we interfered in the election campaign, then again I have to say that we have not seen a single fact or even hint at the facts. Who saw them, I don’t know. We did not get shown and not told, though we repeatedly asked to produce the data underlying these allegations.

Today, I have already mentioned, we know that there are many cohorts of people who want to completely undermine our relationship in order to promote its domestic and maybe foreign policy ambitions. This is a game with a bad result and intentions. Give us concrete proof, and then we will be ready to answer.

Moderator (through translator): “RIA Novosti”.

Question (through translator): Good evening. I’d like to ask a question to both Ministers. The Korean Peninsula, the Americans sent there for a naval expedition. Did you during your negotiations and about the possible risks for that particular region? And does this mean that America has any plans regarding military operations in the Korean Peninsula?

Rex Tillerson: the Shock group, “Carl Vinson” is constantly in the Pacific ocean. It is always in region of the Pacific theatre of war. Her movements are carried out according to the instructions of the military planners. For the current course no specific reasons. “Vinson” constantly walks up and down the Pacific, so I wouldn’t look for some special motive in its current location.

Sergey Lavrov:
I repeat that some of the other topics we discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and around it. As I understand it, with all the nuances, and perhaps significant, there is a common desire to resolve this problem exclusively by political and peaceful means to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through negotiations. There are specific efforts that are now taking members of what used to be called “the six-party process.” We and our Chinese colleagues have some ideas. We need to unite around the desire to solve this problem exclusively by peaceful means.

And the last question is the American side.

Moderator: the Final question asks Margaret Brennan from CBS News.

Question: thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, prior to those talks, you said that you believe that Russia is either incompetent or complicit in these gas attacks. After your lengthy meeting with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov, do you understand what is true and what exactly needs to be done to restore the lost trust?

And Minister Lavrov, would you be so kind to answer in English, please. President trump called Bashar al-Assad animals. The leader of the government, which you continue to support. Tell us how long Russia will risk the lives of their soldiers and spend money on his protection?

Rex Tillerson:
as for the knowledge of Russia or its participation in the attack with chemical weapons, we have no specific information that would indicate the involvement of Russia, Russian military forces for this attack. What we know — and we are very solid and confident in the conclusions made by us — is the fact that the attack was planned and executed by the regime forces on the orders of Bashar al-Assad.

Sergey Lavrov:
I can only reiterate that, as in the case of the so-called Russian hackers and chemical incidents in Syria, we would really like, in addition to numerous statements in words, to obtain at least some evidence of actual properties. Until we have such evidence not have. Once again, in Syria we work at the request of the legitimate government of a member country of the UN, are not under any sanctions of the Security Council. We are there to fight terrorism. It is in our interests to allow in Damascus “ruled the roost” Igilovtsy necropsy. If you look at the facts of the case, over the past year and a half put together by the Obama administration, the coalition was not engaged in essentially the purpose for which it was declared, ‒ it is not fought effectively, persistently and intensively with LIH and “al-Nusra Dzhebhat” (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.) until there appeared the Russian space forces. Even after that, U.S. President Barack Obama American coalition struck with just some of the ISIS positions. “Dzhebhat an-Nusra” they are always spared. We have a strong suspicion that no one was able to dispel that “dzhebhat an-Nusra” is still kept in order to at some point to use “plan B” and try to force to overthrow the Assad regime. The consequences I mentioned. We have seen this in Iraq and Libya. I hope that will prevail people who learn lessons from history.

Of course, you need to deal with those who commit crimes in Syria. I think, as said not so long ago one of my American colleague, all the time. There must be priorities. Recently we heard from Washington that the No. 1 priority is ISIS. As said White house spokesman Sean Spicer, we are all quite able to cope with the ISIL, leaving the Assad regime. Same thing I said former U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. He said that the Obama administration believes that ISIS, the terrorists in Syria is much more important and serious the threat is more important than the Assad regime. Here we have the same thoughts. It is necessary to see the obvious threat. If ISIS need to fight, if ISIS can be defeated, not overthrowing the regime, overthrowing the regime, it is possible to lose to ISIS. Let us be guided by pragmatic common sense, not emotions.

Moderator (through translator): that concludes our press conference. Thank you very much.