TRANSCRIPT OF RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IGOR IVANOV REMARKS AT PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING RUSSIA-EU COOPERATION COUNCIL MEETING, LUXEMBOURG, APRIL 16, 2002
Unofficial translation from Russian
First of all I would like to support the assessments that have been expressed in regard to the results of our meeting of today. The meeting was held in a constructive spirit, we considered all the items on the agenda. It has once again demonstrated the real striving of Russia and the European Union to expand and develop our strategic partnership consistently. The main attention, naturally, was devoted to the preparation of the upcoming Russia-EU summit, which will be held in Moscow on May 29, 2002, and from this angle we examined the implementation of the decisions that had been adopted at the previous Russia-EU summit in Brussels. I must note - this is our common opinion - that the Brussels summit's decisions are being carried out successfully, and that in Moscow on a whole series of important questions of bilateral relations we will be able to adopt joint documents which will fix areas of our cooperation for the long term. It is questions of coordination between Russia and the European Union in the field of common foreign policy and security, and the formation of a common European economic space. It is also the promotion of the energy dialogue and cooperation in the field of enhancing the coordination between the law enforcement services of our countries so as to create a common space in the area of security. We have a whole variety of very important areas where we are really making progress, and we hope that in Moscow on these issues we will be able to sum up some important results.
In discussing international problems the main attention was devoted to the situation in the Middle East. We have a common position which was formulated in the joint statement adopted in Madrid and we believe that this is a good basis for a way out of the present crisis and the resumption of a negotiation process. In this regard, Russia and the European Union, as has just now been noted by the president of the EU, support the mission of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. We hold that the very big and useful work done by him in the region on the basis of the agreements reached in Madrid opens up real opportunities for stopping the violence and resuming the negotiation process. We are calling upon both the Israeli and Palestinian parties to use these opportunities in order to change the course of the tragic events. We are in continual contact between ourselves, with the US Secretary of State, with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with the representatives of many Arab states and intend to further coordinate our efforts.
We also exchanged views on possible forms of coordination and cooperation in such a region as Afghanistan, where we support the process of political settlement with the interim government of Mr. Karzai in the lead, are ready to give it the necessary assistance in this and will develop forms of cooperation, such as providing humanitarian aid and solving a number of economic problems.
The possibility was examined of cooperation for the future between the European Union and Russia in the Balkans. We exchanged opinions on the problems of mutual interest, such as the settlement of the Transnistrian problem and settlement of the Abkhaz problem. That is, we discussed all the questions that could present an interest for one or the other side in a very constructive and candid spirit. So I can note with satisfaction the fact that it is precisely this constructive and candid spirit that characterizes the relationship between Russia and the European Union. The Russian delegation is satisfied with the results of the Council meeting, we believe that this is an important stage on the road of preparation for the upcoming Russia-EU summit in Moscow on May 29.
Question: What is your vision of the possible participation of Russia in a conference on the Middle East?
Answer: First of all, we, at least, I am now speaking for the Russian side, have received no concrete proposals for holding this or that conference. So far there are only general ideas which were expressed in individual statements. In principle we are not against the conference providing it will ease the process of Middle East settlement. At the same time we believe that discussions around this conference should not distract attention from the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions which are there and which must create conditions for ending the violence and resuming the negotiation process. The possible holding of the conference, I repeat, does not imply postponement of the implementation of the resolutions which have been adopted by the UN Security Council. They must be implemented at once and in full.
April 16, 2002