Russia and the United Kingdom are both interested in increasing cooperation to find solutions to international and regional problems, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Nesterenko.
In his weekly address to the media, Andrey Nesterenko has also elaborated on Vladimir Putin’s negotiations with Lokke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, progress in START talks with the US and many other issues.
RT presents the full transcript of the address.
On November 2nd in Moscow, the Head of the Government of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, held negotiations with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lokke Rasmussen. It was their first personal meeting, covering a wide range of issues. Firstly, bilateral trade. As a result of the negotiations, the Russian Prime Minister noted with satisfaction that they managed to keep a constructive dialogue on basically all issues in Russian-Danish co-operation. According to him, such a constructive approach from both sides inspires optimism.
We expressed hope that, in the long run, such a disposition will allow us to considerably advance Russian-Danish relationships, especially as our political contacts have been developing dynamically lately; the economic, scientific, education, cultural co-operation as well as co-operation in other areas of humanities is also expanding.
The co-operation in the energy, industrial, transportation and agricultural spheres is developing rather intensively. We have common and concurring interest in the Arctic.
Detailed information on the Russian-Danish negotiations can be found on the Russian Federation government’s website.
I received this question: Is there any progress in the negotiations on an agreement due to replace the START Treaty? What is the Russian reaction to the U.S. proposals that were made during the visit to Russia paid by White House National Security Advisor James L. Jones?
Yesterday, I partially answered this question. I can repeat that the Russia-U.S. negotiations on START have been practically non-stop. On Monday 9th November, the 8th round starts in Geneva. We hope it will be the final one and that, by 5th December, the new treaty will be approved. Both delegations have clear instructions from their presidents about it. The atmosphere at these talks has been business-like and constructive. Both sides are aware of their responsibility and are doing their utmost to provide the required results. We do have progress. I cannot disclose the contents of discussions. We agreed with our American partners on confidentiality from the very beginning. I believe you’re well aware of the reasons for this. I mean the specifics of the issues in discussion.
Regarding the second part of the question – last week’s meeting in Moscow. I can say that the proposals made during the recent visit by White House National Security Advisor James L. Jones will hopefully bring our positions closer and achieve a balanced document that will meet the interests of both states, i.e. strengthening international security.
Question: Does the Foreign Ministry have any information on whether or not the IAEA received an official Iranian reply to the uranium enrichment proposal? How can you comment on the situation as a whole?
We proceed from the assumption that all parties involved in developing a mechanism for exporting Iran’s low-enriched uranium for additional enrichment, and the making of fuel assemblies for Tehran’s Research Reactor (TRR) are concerned with its successful implementation on the basis of the relevant framework agreement circulated by the IAEA Director- General. We hope Tehran will shortly submit to the IAEA its official positive reply. Any technical details that will inevitably arise in the process of implementation can be settled as the understanding is translated into practice.
Speaking in New York on November 2, IAEA Director-General Dr. Muhammad El Baradei, among other things, touched upon the matter of fuel supplies for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). He said the suggested scheme was a unique and “fast-flowing” chance for turning from confrontation to co-operation, a chance that mustn’t be lost. Dr. El Baradei also urged Iran to react in a fully-constructive way to his proposals and to offer a reply at its earliest opportunity. We fully support Dr. El Baradei on that. We believe that a successful implementation of this project will make it possible to create the necessary atmosphere of trust for a substantive dialogue and on other matters.
Question: What are the prospects of restarting the six-party process of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, considering the message that Pyongyang is willing to renew discussion of the nuclear program, provided Washington first agrees to hold direct negotiations with North Korea and on providing weapons-grade plutonium to North Korea.
As we know, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il has declared his readiness for multi-lateral negotiations, including the six-nation talks, on the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem. He explained it through progress in bilateral negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. We have stated on a number of occasions that we positively regard contracts on the North Korean nuclear issue in any format, with the understanding that they have been made within the framework of approved approaches; that they are transparent for other participants of the six-party process and that they enable progress of the six-party negotiations. We trust that our colleagues from North Korea and the U.S. will find common ground very soon.
Regarding information about the extraction and weapons-grade development of plutonium from used fuel rods in the Yongbyon reactor – this step can hardly be seen as one enabling a favourable atmosphere for negotiations. At the same time, we’d like to ask you not to dramatise this fact. Pyongyang’s actions do not bring anything principally new into the situation.
The 64th session of the UN General Assembly had reviewed the agenda issue ‘On the need for the cessation of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba’.
There were 187 votes in favour of the resolution, which is the majority of international community members; there were three votes against (the United States, Israel, Palau) and two abstentions.
The Russian delegation supported the resolution and evaluated the continuing blockade as an anarchism that doesn’t meet today’s realities.
Results of the voting testify to the unprecedented support in efforts aimed at supporting the abolishment of unilateral sanctions by the US.
On 5th November, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs performed operational searches in a number of places in Moscow. The Bulgarian Industrial Centre was among them. The results are being studied. This operation was not directed against the Bulgarian Industrial Centre, and was carried out in full compliance with Russian and international law.
As far as the question about the diplomatic status of the Centre is concerned, it generates serious doubts. More specifically, it has not been written down in the documents under which the Centre was founded. This refers to the Treaty of 13th July 1974 between the governments of the USSR and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria on the co-operation and further improvement of technical maintenance for machinery, equipment and devices supplied in mutual trade.
Moreover, the Bulgarian Industrial Centre leases offices to a few dozen Bulgarian firms which rules out any possibility of any diplomatic status it might have under the Vienna Convention of 1961, which cannot apply to these companies.
On 2nd November, Afghanistan's independent election commission cancelled the presidential runoff and proclaimed President Hamid Karzai the victor. Russia is satisfied with the closure of the election process in Afghanistan. This opens the way for the formation of a new national Government which has a lot of work to do on stabilising the situation in the country, on its social and economic recovery with support provided by the international community; the UN playing the central co-ordination in that. We challenge Afghanistan to unite its patriotic efforts for the sake of the country’s future. We wish the re-elected President Karzai and the Afghan nation success in moving along the road of democracy in the interests of strengthening Afghanistan as a strong, independent and prosperous state.
Russia intends to keep providing assistance to the traditionally-friendly Afghan state while developing co-operation in political, economic and humanitarian areas as well as fighting against terrorism and drug trafficking.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Hamid Karzai on being re-elected at President of Afghanistan. The complete text is posted on the Russian president’s website.
As was said earlier, on 30th October, the Russian Consulate General in Shanghai received a message from the owner of the ship ‘Orient Wind’ (Cambodia-flagged; 12 crewmen are Russian citizens) about the detention of this vessel in Shanghai port. According to the ship’s owner, The Morservice Company, the ship was arrested as a result of a clash between the ‘Orient Wind’ and the Chinese cargo ship ‘Dee High 16’ in the East China Sea on 13th June 2009.
The owner of ‘Orient Wind’ and the Shanghai port administration have contradictory versions over who is to blame for the accident that happened in June. Moreover, the ship’s owner disputes the rightfulness of financial claims presented by the port administration for damage and repairs to the ship. According to the Morservice Company, these are not necessary. Until this issue is settled, the ship remains detained in Shanghai port.
The Consulate General is maintaining contact with the ship’s captain, the ship’s owner and the marine agent in order to provide consular assistance and, if necessary, the protection of the legal rights for the Russian citizens. The crew of ‘Orient Wind’ has been provided with all necessary items.
Russia proceeds from the assumption that this issue has to be settled as soon as possible in accordance with international law. We continue to follow this situation and provide assistance to our citizens. However I want you to note that the actual incident happened in June this year, but our Consulate General was only informed about it several weeks ago.
I was asked about the situation with the ship ‘Thai Union’, which was hijacked by Somali pirates with 23 Russian citizens onboard.
‘Thai Union-3’ is currently located off the coast of Somalia. According to information from the vessel’s owner (Thai company Samui Fishing), the ship has enough fuel, fresh water, and food onboard. Contact with the pirates has been established, and the owner is currently negotiating the terms and conditions to release the ship and the crew.
This is a delicate situation. We hope it will be resolved in the quickest time.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for its part, is keeping track of the situation. I’d like to use the opportunity to note that all Russian citizens who’re members of various ship crews sailing to various destinations can inform the Russian Foreign Ministry or our diplomatic representations in different countries near which they are sailing, of their whereabouts. This information could be used in order to contact them if necessary.
Following a visit in February to the Republic of Nicaragua of representatives of OAO Farmstandart (Director General I.K. Krylov), its shareholders decided to supply humanitarian aid amounting to 200,000 U.S. dollars in the form of medicinal drugs, medical equipment and healthcare products to Nicaragua’s Health Ministry.
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Managua helped carry out the necessary preparatory and organisation (the list of drugs was co-ordinated, the consignee’s requisites were determined for contract purposes, etc). In late October, a ceremony was held in the Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, during the course of which the two containers were handed over to Nicaragua. The total weight of the drugs and healthcare products that will be distributed between ten Managua-based medical centres was 23 metric tons. The drugs are mostly meant for treating acute respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The gift-handing ceremony was addressed by Ambassador I.S. Kondrashev of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Nicaragua.
Russian tourists Sergey Lyagin and Andrey Mikhailichenko addressed the local social security department of one of the mountain regions, Sichuan Province. They said their fellow travelers, Igor Sherstnev and Anfisa Krashenina, got caught in an avalanche near the Camel Peak (‘Luotuo’ in Chinese) in the Siguan Mountains. The tragedy happened on 28th October, 200km from the provincial centre, Chenghdu city. The authorities immediately sent rescue teams and assistance from regional and provincial sources. The search is being complicated by unfavourable weather conditions (low temperatures, strong snowfall, continuous avalanches). According to experts, there is practically no chance of finding the tourists alive. As of 5th November, the Chinese authorities stopped the recovery operation which is due to restart in January 2010, when weather conditions will enable a better search.
The missing climbers are residents of Blagoveshensk city. A group of 4 Russians arrived at the base camp of Camel Peak on 20th October, to explore the area for a prospective climb. According to local authorities, the Russians hadn’t supplied any applications for climbing, thus their stay in the mountains is viewed by the Chinese as unsanctioned. We want to note that instances of Russians ignoring Chinese rules regulating extreme sports have become more frequent recently. Unfortunately this leads to tragic consequences. Anyway, our embassy in Beijing is keeping close contact with the Chinese authorities on this matter.
Thank-you for your attention. I’m ready to answer your questions now.
Q: How does the Foreign Ministry evaluate the results of the US-EU Summit? What were the reasons for President Obama to hold it?
AN: This summit had indeed taken place several days ago. The U.S.-EU Summit took place on 3rd November. Such summits take place regularly, and the recent one was no exception. Such meetings which involve Russia’s key partners in the international arena are certainly of interest to us. We noticed that, during the summit, the decision was made to establish the EU-U.S. Energy Council at a ministerial level to strengthen co-operation in energy security and the fight against climate change. Considering the seriousness of the energy security problem which we have been discussing with our EU partners, we hope that our contacts and consultation will continue in future, and that we will keep discussing these issues with the EU as well as with the U.S.
Regarding President Obama’s role, I believe we have to get comments from America which observed this summit with increased attention. It would be rather hard for me to comment on it.
Q: What’s the Foreign Ministry’s opinion about the statement of Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski about his willingness to use the U.S. armed forces for protection against an external threat from Russia?
And, how does the Foreign Ministry evaluate Georgian Foreign Minister G. Vashadze's decision to refusal to have a Russian passport?
AN: Indeed, yesterday there had been quite a number of messages about the statements of Foreign Minister Sikorsky that you’re referring to. We’ve certainly noticed them. At the moment we’re verifying this information.
We can only express our deepest bewilderment if it turns out to be true. It looks as if the ‘cold war’ reflexes in their worst manifestation are still alive in Warsaw. Moreover, if the Polish Minister really had said about ‘Russia’s aggression’, they fundamentally contradict declarations from the Polish authorities on their intentions of building a constructive relationship of mutual respect with our country.
As for Georgian Foreign Minister G. Vashadze's decision to refuse to have a Russian passport, it seems difficult to give any evaluations in this connection. I wouldn’t also surmise as to what the current Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted to achieve with this gesture. I can only state that Mister Vashadze's application to renounce Russian citizenship will be duly considered according to Russian legislation.
Q: What’s Russia’s opinion about the work of the Goldstone Commission that has been investigating Israel’s actions in Gaza Strip in the beginning of this year?
AN: The report you’re referring to, or rather a resolution on this report has just been voted for at the UN General Assembly. You can read the speech of Russia’s representative at the Foreign Ministry website. Our standing was also expressed at the UN Human Rights Council. We’re all aware of the results of the voting. I’ve nothing to add to what’s been said by our representatives.