Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
Transcript of Response by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Questions from Russian Media Following His Attendance at the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, Brussels, October 5, 2010
Question: Court proceedings in the case of Viktor Bout continue, with the odds growing that he will be extradited to the United States. Could you clarify the Russian position on this issue?
Lavrov: The Russian position is very simple. We proceed from the need to strictly follow the letter of the law and to rely on the documents submitted to the court. Viktor Bout's lawyers have very carefully scrutinized these documents. We are familiar with their content and believe that the evidence is absolutely inadequate.
Yesterday in Brussels, I spoke with the Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva and once again drew his attention to our position. I also noted that I had seen in the media the words attributed to him to the effect that he was the one who would make a final decision on this case and that US officials had approached him on this matter. Vejjajiva did not deny that he had said something like that. He, however, perceived the Russian comment in the sense that the very fact that our representatives had not approached the Thai authorities in this connection meant only one thing – we're not going to interfere with the court and we expect that any other approaches to Thai officials do not imply attempts at such interference.
I have reason to believe that our signal will be heard. I do not know what decision will be made, but I expect that all the circumstances will be taken into account, which the court should take into account and no one else. The Court should not be under anyone's influence.
Question: There have appeared reports in the media that Russia and the United States must agree on the case of Viktor Bout. How do you feel about that?
Lavrov: The idea that the United States and Russia should agree on this matter lies outside the legal field. I hope that the court will be guided by the law.
Question: During a recent visit to China, you said that the non-delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran is a result of force majeure.
Lavrov: I can repeat it.
Question: Iranian officials claim that they have a different understanding.
Lavrov: Our Iranian colleagues on a number of issues have a somewhat different understanding, including on what is written in the UN Security Council resolutions. If they had read them more carefully and acted in accordance with those of them that are mandatory, we would not have today, such a tense state around the Iranian nuclear program.
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