22 October 200416:46

TRANSCRIPT OF REPLIES TO QUESTIONS FROM RUSSIAN MEDIA FOLLOWING TALKS OF MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION SERGEY LAVROV WITH LI ZHAOXING, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE PRC, AND NATWAR SINGH, MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF INDIA (ALMATY, OCTOBER 21, 2004)

2270-22-10-2004

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Unofficial translation from Russian

PRESS RELEASE

Question: Russia and China are SCO participants. Is the possibility of India joining this organization being discussed in this format in order to intensify the struggle against terrorism?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: This topic wasn't discussed today. We already have a number of channels for cooperation with India in the antiterrorist struggle, they are being used. As far as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is concerned, many countries have shown interest in participation in its work in one form or another, as guests or observers. So far, not many applications have come in, formally. We are convinced that, at a certain stage, it will be possible to consider the questions of observers. Right now, the main thing is to consolidate the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and to translate into practical actions the very useful decisions that were adopted and to wait for the established structures to start operating at full steam, including those for combating terrorism.

Question: How do you look on the idea of making CICA a more rigidly structured organization of the SCO type?

Answer: We believe, and today this was reaffirmed by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in conversation with me, that the initial concept of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, notably the concept of a dialogue form remains fully valid and relevant.

Question: What can be said about Russian-Kazakhstan relations after your meetings with Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev and President Nazarbayev?

Answer: We discussed with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev and Foreign Minister Tokayev questions pertaining to bilateral relations, and preparations for a series of measures which are scheduled for a discussion of economic, commercial and other questions in the next few months. We discussed the upcoming Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and cooperation between our two countries in regional organizations within the CIS space and in international organizations, more specifically the UN.

Question: Is it possible to hold meetings in the trilateral format at other levels, in particular at the economic?

Answer: Such proposal was made at India's initiative, to hold meetings between businessmen of the three countries. My Chinese counterpart and I promised to bring this initiative to our business circles' notice, and as soon as they respond - it will be possible to talk about something.

October 22, 2004

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