Saturday, December 31, 2016

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Moscow, 9 December 2014

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Moscow, 9 December 2014
Question: One of the year’s main outcomes is the sharp deterioration of Russian-US relations. Some experts believe that they are close to the Cold War level. Is that an accurate assessment? What should be done to improve them and is Russia prepared to make the first move? How feasible are better relations considering that the US is entering a presidential election cycle? Can we expect contacts to resume at the highest level and in all formats? Is US Secretary of State John Kerry planning a visit to Moscow, and are you planning to visit Washington?
Sergey Lavrov: As President Putin emphasised in his address to the Federal Assembly, the containment policy against Russia is not a recent phenomenon. Whenever they think that Russia has become too strong and independent, the necessary tools are immediately put to work.
Problems in our relationship with the United States were building up even before the crisis in Ukraine, and not because of anything we did. We can recall the notorious Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012. However, what has been happening since the beginning of this year is even more depressing. The White House has embarked on a path of confrontation, accusing Russia of all manner of sins in connection with the Ukraine crisis, which to a large extent was provoked by Washington.
In practical terms, as early as last spring Washington ended bilateral dialogue in most areas and even suspended the activities of the Presidential Commission, which was created in 2009. Among other issues, the Commission and its working groups dealt with counterterrorism and illegal drug trafficking.
In addition, sanctions were imposed on Russia in violation of international law and WTO norms. As of today, they have affected 50 Russian citizens and 47 companies and banks.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Moscow, December 29, 2016

29 December 201615:21

Question: Moscow said that it maintains contacts with Donald Trump’s staff “at an adequate level”. Do these contacts continue, in what format and what subjects are discussed? Do you think Trump changed his rhetoric after the election? Have you started preparations for his meeting with Vladimir Putin? Is it possible that Trump will visit Moscow and when?
Sergey Lavrov: As President Vladimir Putin emphasised more than once, we are ready to work with the future US President and his team in order to overcome the crisis that developed in bilateral relations through no fault of ours. Naturally, we welcomed Trump’s intention to build normal cooperation with Russia, which he declared during his election campaign. During their telephone conversation on November 14, both leaders underscored the need to improve Russian-US ties, which are in very bad shape.
As for contacts, the Russian President made public our position on this score. We are open to contacts at any time in various formats but we are not pushing it because we understand that now President Trump is very busy staffing his administration. Obviously, this is his priority for the time being.
The same applies to organising a top-level meeting. It is worth waiting for the new President to take office on January 20, 2017, when channels of dialogue with the Republican administration will be fully open.
Question: Will Russia be able to return to full-scale work in the G8 if its relations with the United States improve under the new administration? Or do we no longer consider this format a priority?
Sergey Lavrov: Your question is not quite accurate. It was not Russia but our colleagues that walked out from the G8. But this is just a remark. Seriously speaking, at one time the G8 was a useful forum for dialogue, but times are changing

Friday, December 30, 2016

Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Mr Shoigu and Mr Lavrov briefed the President on work to resolve the Syrian crisis, in particular, agreements reached between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and readiness to begin peace talks.
December 29, 2016
The Kremlin, Moscow
 With Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
 With Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
3 of 5
Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
The news has just come in that this morning, a few hours ago, an event that we not just long since hoped for but also worked hard for has taken place. Three documents have been signed. The first is an agreement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition on a ceasefire on the Syrian Arab Republic’s territory. The second document agrees a series of measures to monitor the ceasefire. The third document is a statement of readiness to start peace talks on ending the Syrian conflict.
The Russian Defence Ministry and Foreign Ministry were in constant contact with our partners in Damascus and other capitals and worked hard together with our partners in Turkey.
We know that the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers recently held a trilateral meeting in Moscow, at which all three countries committed themselves to not simply monitoring but also guaranteeing the peace process in Syria.
I would like to hear your analysis of the events currently underway, and we will discuss the next steps in this peace process. We realise that the agreements reached are very fragile and require particular attention, patience, a professional approach to the issues, and constant contact with our partners in the region.
Mr Shoigu, you have the floor.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, acting on your instruction, the Defence Ministry, with Turkey acting as intermediary, spent two months in talks with leaders of the groups that make up the moderate Syrian opposition. These groups control the greater part of areas in Syria’s central and northern regions not under control of the government in Damascus. These detachments have more than 60,000 fighters. The most influential field commanders from seven opposition groups took part in the talks.
At the same time, we carried out the same work with the Syrian government. The talks made it possible for the parties to reach a common position and sign these three basic agreements that introduce a ceasefire, establish a monitoring regime, and set out procedures for organising talks on a peace settlement of the Syrian conflict.

Zakharova: ‘Obama team are foreign policy losers, humiliate Americans with anti-Russia sanctions’

Zakharova: ‘Obama team are foreign policy losers, humiliate Americans with anti-Russia sanctions

Zakharova: ‘Obama team are foreign policy losers, humiliate Americans with anti-Russia sanctions’
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has posted a scathing Facebook comment on US President Barack Obama’s approval of new anti-Russian measures, arguing Obama’s “bitter” and “helpless” team did a disfavor to the White House’s reputation.
Zakharova wrote that the outgoing president did not manage to leave “any” major foreign policy achievements as part of his legacy and instead of “putting an elegant period” to his two presidential terms has “made a huge blot” with his latest decision to impose more sanctions on Russia, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two diplomatic compounds in the US.   
“Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own president. Not by international terrorists, not by [the] enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote, labeling the current administration “a group of foreign policy losers, bitter and narrow-minded.” 
“Today, Obama officially admitted it,” she wrote.

Kremlin: New sanctions underline Obama admin’s ‘unpredictable & aggressive’ foreign policy

Kremlin: New sanctions underline Obama admin’s ‘unpredictable & aggressive’ foreign policy

Get short URL Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) From right: Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov. © Michael Klimentyev / Sputnik

The new US sanctions against Russia are another manifestation of the unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy by the Obama administration, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press-secretary, said.
In our point of view such actions of the US current administration are a manifestation of an unpredictable and even aggressive foreign policy,” Peskov told the journalists.
We regret the fact that this decision was taken by the US administration and President Obama personally,” he said.
As it said before, we consider this decision and these sanctions unjustified and illegal under international law,” the presidential spokesman added.
The US restrictions won’t be left unanswered by Moscow, Peskov said, promising adequate, reciprocal” reaction “that will deliver significant discomfort to the US side in the same areas.
However, he added that “there’s no need to rush” with the countermeasures against Washington.
"Considering the current transition period in Washington, we still expect that we’ll be able to get rid of such clumsy actions… of behaving like a bull in a china shop, and that we’ll be able to make mutual joint steps to enter on the path of normalization of our bilateral relations," the spokesman said.
Earlier Thursday, Obama announced a set of countermeasures in response to what he called “the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election.”
Obama has humiliated the American people by his decision, as it has complicated the political transition for the new US government, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own President. Not by international terrorists, not by enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson MariaMZakharova on new threats of sanctions from the United States

28 December 201619:44


The outgoing US administration has not given up on its hope of dealing one last blow to relations with Russia, which it has already destroyed.   Using obviously inspired leaks in the US media, it is trying to threaten us again with expansion of anti-Russian sanctions, “diplomatic” measures and even subversion of our computer systems. Moreover, this final New Year’s “greeting” from Barack Obama’s team, which is already preparing to leave the White House, is being cynically presented as a response to some cyber-attacks from Moscow.

Frankly speaking, we are tired of lies about Russian hackers that continue to be spread in the United States from the very top. The Obama administration launched this misinformation half a year ago in a bid to play up to the required nominee at the November presidential election and, having failed to achieve the desired effect, has been trying to justify its failure by taking it out with a vengeance on Russian-US relations.

However, the truth about the White House-orchestrated provocation is bound to surface sooner or later. In fact, this is already happening. On December 8, US media quoted Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp as saying that the local authorities tracked down the origin of a hacker attack on his voter registration database after the election. The attack was traced to an IP address of the Department of Homeland Security. This was followed by an attempt to quickly cover up this information by a flood of new anti-Russian accusations that did not contain a single piece of evidence.

We can only add that if Washington takes new hostile steps, it will receive an answer. This applies to any actions against Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, which will immediately backfire at US diplomats in Russia. The Obama administration probably does not care at all about the future of bilateral relations, but history will hardly forgive it for this après-nous-le-deluge attitude.



We are presently still living under the spell of Sigmund Freud’s sanctification of the libido. This is despite its counterintuitive logic, unveiled by the Auschwitz-survivor Victor Frankl, which has yet to percolate through the Western cultural elites and media. Frankl rediscovered under the duress of hell the poor value of libido in the struggle for naked survival, very differenct from Freud’s naked soul. Rather transcendent intangibles such as a faithful spouse, even if far away, were sustaining Frank’s resilience. Alexis Tocqueville once said he believed the family to be the last resort of resistance against tyranny. What does it mean that ever since the Renaissance we seem to have undermined family and therefore religion which depends on it? How did this play out with the rise of Hitler?
It was Edmund Husserl, a contemporary of Freud’s, who analyzed the human mind under the auspices of phenomenology, answering to the crisis of Western sciences with the call “back to objects!” His great accomplishment was to have initiated a new effort for creating meaningfull self-knowledge even if he remained under the Hellenic paradigm of vision. This can be gathered from the fact that he meant the same thing when speaking of transcendental phenomenology and of mathematical metaphysics. In hindsight we may say, he should have reserved the former for human beings and the latter for dead objects. Ultimately this confusion, shared by many at the time, would cost humanity dearly soon thereafter.


At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.


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