Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference by BRICS foreign ministers following their meeting, Pretoria, June 4, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I want to thank our South African friends for their hospitality and excellent organisation of our work. I am pleased to see that these meetings of BRICS foreign ministers, along with our annual meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, have become a good tradition and are now held every year. The speed at which international events move requires that we coordinate our positions with our partners in this association on a regular basis.
We discussed a wide range of topical issues as to maintaining international peace and stability, the global economy and trade. We agreed that our common goals to strengthen the strategic partnership of our five countries require constant attention. A constructive and thorough talk confirmed that the five states have identical or similar views of all these issues. This was reflected in the communiqué distributed for the media following the ministers’ meeting.
We seek to strengthen BRICS further as an important factor in the emerging new polycentric, more just and democratic world order that plays a constructive role in promoting stability and security in our restless world.
We spoke about extending our cooperation to the UN, G20, the WTO and other international organisations.
We confirmed our commitment to the principles of indivisible security, collective resolution of disputes by political and diplomatic means, with reliance on international law and the UN’s central role. We share the view that unilateral approaches are unacceptable as are attempts to revise international legal agreements and UNSC resolutions on a number of issues that concern the interests of all countries.
We particularly focused on the settlement of acute international conflicts, intensifying common efforts in the five-party format on combating global threats – primarily, international terrorism. In this context, we welcomed the results of the BRICS Working Group on Combating Terrorism’s third meeting in White River held in April. The meeting adopted a Russia-drafted regulation of this important five-way group.
We also exchanged opinions on cooperation in cybersecutiry. We agreed that it is necessary to improve the international legal framework of cooperation in the area, including through development of a respective five-party agreement.
We welcomed the initiatives of South Africa’s Chairmanship which is preparing for the summit in Johannesburg in late July. The initiatives include using the fourth industrial revolution in the interests of our countries, creating centres for vaccine development, peacekeeping cooperation under the UN, promoting tourism among our countries and a number of other proposals aimed at expanding our practical interaction.
The conversation on economic issues was very useful. Specifically, we discussed the progress of the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy. We also discussed prospects of establishing an energy research platform and a BRICS women’s business alliance.
Once again, I appreciate our hosts’ hospitality.
Question: Did you discuss the results of your visit to the DPRK with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday? Taking into account the BRICS’ growing weight in international affairs, was this topic expanded upon at the BRICS plenary session today?
Sergey Lavrov: Yesterday I met with Chinese Foreign Minister, my friend and colleague Wang Yi. We discussed the entire range of our relations in the context of the preparations for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China on June 8 on the eve of the SCO Summit.
The international issues we discussed include the situation on the Korean Peninsula as well as contacts between North and South Koreas and between Pyongyang and Washington. Together with China, we welcome all the steps and actions that will help overcome mistrust and confrontational tendencies as well as to create conditions to normalise relations and denuclearise the entire Korean Peninsula. At the last stage of this process (I hope it will not be torpedoed, although it is possible) we will have to agree the basic principles and guarantees for peace, stability and security in northeastern Asia in general.
The developments in relations between the two Koreas and North Korea and the US correspond with the ideas proposed in the Russian-Chinese roadmap we with Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed last June, which proposes a three-stage process: renouncing confrontation and confrontational rhetoric; normalising relations between all the antagonists; and collective multilateral efforts to forge peace and stability guarantees in northeastern Asia.
We also examined these processes during our meeting today. Our joint position to support these trends is reflected in the final statement we have adopted.
Everyone is welcome to come visit us for the World Cup without any advance notice. All heads of state and government are invited. We expect a large number of guests. We would also like to wish success to everyone taking part in the World Cup.