Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a telephone conversation with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault of France, at French initiative, on January 6.
The ministers discussed the prospects for a Middle East settlement. Mr Ayrault informed his counterpart about preparations for an international conference scheduled for January 15 in Paris. Sergey Lavrov described Russian efforts to facilitate restoration of Palestinian unity, emphasising that it was important to work to restore dialogue channels between the parties to the conflict in deed rather than in word.
Mr Lavrov informed Mr Ayrault about the current situation in Syria, where a ceasefire had taken hold thanks to the guarantees provided by Russia, Turkey and Iran. The ceasefire is generally being observed and designed to serve as a basis for a transition to a political settlement. Russia attaches much importance to the planned meeting in Astana between representatives of the Syrian government and the armed opposition. The forthcoming meeting in the Kazakh capital, while not supplanting the inter-Syrian dialogue held under UN aegis in Geneva, will serve as a complement to this dialogue, bringing to the negotiating table all those who really control the situation on the ground and are capable of honouring their commitments.
The ministers broached the problem of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict and discussed possible related moves by the UN Security Council. Sergey Lavrov stressed the need for the UN Security Council to base its reactions on the established facts and avoid any politicisation of the “chemical dossier” not only in Syria but also in Iraq, Libya and other countries in the region.
The two officials also exchanged views on a Ukrainian crisis settlement and reaffirmed the lack of an alternative to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.