Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's participation in the BRICS foreign ministers' meeting on June 18-19, 2017, in Beijing

On June 18-19, 2017, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took part in the meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers in Beijing. Their substantive and detailed conversation was very timely and useful. The full-format meeting, unrelated to any international forum, was an important addition to the already established practice of the five foreign ministers comparing positions during the “high-level week” in September at the UN General Assembly.

The ministers discussed topical issues related to maintaining international peace and stability and the functioning of the world economy. They held an in-depth exchange of views on a broad range of aspects of the five countries’ cooperation, including the need to coordinate approaches at multilateral venues.

The Foreign Minister of China told his colleagues about the preparations for the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen on September 3-5 of this year.

The BRICS foreign ministers were received by President of China Xi Jinping.

The ministers adopted a joint communique following their meeting.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Beijing, June 19, 2017

Mr Chairman,

Colleagues, friends,

To begin, I would like to thank Minister Wang Yi and his team for their work and, overall, for China’s effective chairmanship of our association.

We immediately welcomed China’s idea of holding a second separate meeting of BRICS foreign ministers. It appears important to discuss current international problems and crises and to coordinate our positions ahead of our leaders’ meeting in Hamburg and the Xiamen summit.

Just as Foreign Minister of South Africa Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, I hope that the practice of these separate meetings of foreign ministers will become traditional. BRICS is a platform which our emerging economies are using to promote common interests and also the interests of a broad range of developing countries.

We have been working to encourage the reform of the obsolete international financial and economic system, which does not take into account the role of the emerging economies. Major steps toward this goal include the implementation of the BRICS Development Strategy, which we adopted at the Ufa Summit, and the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the $200 billion BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement. These steps have boosted the movement toward new global governance architecture.

BRICS is one of the few international institutions that are working to strengthen global trust and improve the search for mutually acceptable compromise solutions based on non-ideological approaches and collective multilateral efforts.

BRICS is an effective mechanism for strategic interaction and for coordinating our views on a wide range of global economic and political issues. The BRICS countries are committed to the principles of indivisible security and collective settlement of disputes by political and diplomatic means in the fight against terrorism and other threats based on international law and the UN’s key role.

Building on the moral foundation of our five countries’ traditional values, we are expanding the BRICS’ humanitarian dimension and hence enriching the cultural and civilisational diversity of the world.

I am confident that the 9th BRICS summit, which will be held in Xiamen in September, will further strengthen our partnership and enhance the effectiveness of our efforts to deal with our common challenges. We wish our Chinese friends success in preparing for the summit. We will do our best to support this effort.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question at a joint news conference of BRICS foreign ministers, Beijing, June 19, 2017

Question: Terrorism is one of the main challenges facing the international community. Could the BRICS nations consolidate their efforts in Syria? Could a mechanism be created so that BRICS representatives monitor the ceasefire, including in those areas where this is being established? Yesterday, the United States assumed control of the al-Tanf border crossing in southern Syria. Could the strengthening of the US role without coordination with the Syrian government complicate the efforts toward a settlement?

Sergey Lavrov: The BRICS countries are at one on the necessity of enhancing the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. We have a Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which has held two meetings and has a considerable potential. These efforts should be taken in an interdepartmental format. We have common views on the need to involve foreign policy departments and the concerned counterterrorism agencies, prevent terrorist attacks and exchange related information.

Of course, it takes more than our five countries to rout global terrorism, and the BRICS countries agree on the necessity of broader international efforts. I would like to remind you about President Putin’s initiative of a broad counterterrorism front, which is still vital. I hope that the recent UN General Assembly decisions based on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposal for a new office for counterterrorism will give momentum to our movement towards this goal. Russia will actively contribute to this.

As for a settlement in Syria, the BRICS countries stand for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We are grateful to our colleagues and friends for the high appreciation they have expressed today for the efforts taken by Russia, including jointly with Turkey and Iran, in the framework of the Astana process. The next meeting in Astana will be held on 10 July. It will be attended by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. The sides involved have agreed to complete the coordination of the parameters and modalities of the regime in the de-escalation zones and around them at the upcoming meeting. When this initiative was advanced at the previous Astana meeting on May 4, the related memorandum said that Russia, Turkey and Iran as guarantors would welcome any contribution fr om other parties, even those that are not involved in the Astana process. As I said, when we know the parameters, we will be ready to consider proposals from other countries that are willing to contribute to the implementation of this initiative.

As for the developments on the ground in Syria, we believe that respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be ensured in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and other UN documents. Any actions on the ground, wh ere many sides are deployed, including those who are involved in the hostilities, must be coordinated with the Syrian government. This is what Russia, Turkey and Iran are doing in Astana. We coordinate all our initiatives and proposals with the Syrian government. We believe that this is how everyone should act, especially when the issue concerns control of any area in Syria and when such actions may raise questions about their real goals.

We urge the United States and all other countries that have military forces or advisers on the ground in Syria to coordinate their actions. De-escalation zones are a possible form of moving forward together. We urge everyone to avoid acting unilaterally, to respect the sovereignty of Syria – as I have said – and to join the common efforts that are coordinated with the Syrian government.