International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy, Moscow, June 5, 2017
Mr Secretary General,
Welcome to Moscow. This is our first meeting, although Russia maintains regular contacts with the IFRC. You have been heading the IFRC for almost three years now, and this is a challenging time for humanitarian agencies, which are, by design, expected to abide by the principles of neutrality and impartiality, but not everyone succeeds in doing so. We greatly appreciate your efforts to support the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law and the activities of humanitarian organisations.
The Foreign Ministry is not your only partner. I know that you had a meeting with the Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov today, and Deputy Minister of Healthcare Dmitry Kostennikov is here attending our meeting.
We look forward to discussing issues that concern you and need to be resolved to make sure that the federation you lead functions effectively.
Thank you for the kind words. With regard to humanitarian cooperation, indeed, we have indeed been "pure donors" for many years now. Of course, we pay special attention to the situation in the CIS. Your office in Moscow is in charge of IFRC activities in Russia, Belarus, and Moldova.
We are interested in maintaining cooperation with you, including on issues in our region, such as the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, which gave rise to an enormous flow of migrants to Russia, and the recent assistance provided to people in the North Caucasus who were affected by heavy rains and mudflows. However, the international community needs such services in a lot more regions, such as the Middle East, where Syrians, Yemenis and Iraqis badly need help, as well as Afghanistan, and many other regions.
I look forward to discussing all these matters with you and seeing how we can interact more effectively.