Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault
On March 18, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France Jean-Marc Ayrault at the latter’s request.
During the discussion on Syria, Sergey Lavrov said he was satisfied with the progress of talks in Astana. The fact that armed opposition groups were not represented at the last meeting only meant that there were still countries seeking to obstruct a peaceful settlement as per UN Security Council Resolution 2254, he noted. The two ministers agreed on the need for Russian and French representatives to work together on preparing and holding the next round of intra-Syrian talks that are scheduled to open in Geneva on March 23, 2017.
The escalation of tension in Ukraine resulting from Kiev’s unwillingness to give up its attempts to resolve the “Donbas issue” by force was also discussed during the conversation. Sergey Lavrov reiterated that a sustainable truce could not be achieved unless backed by political steps. The Ukrainian authorities need to stop trying to force the region to capitulate by imposing a total blockade, and finally get down to implementing the Minsk Package of Measures in its entirety. Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed that France wants the Donbas blockade to end.
The ministers also exchanged views on a number of issues on the bilateral agenda.