Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay
On November 20, Chairman of the Russian Commission for UNESCO, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by telephone with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
Ms Azoulay thanked the Russian leadership for their congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the organisation she heads.
The officials discussed current issues of cooperation between UNESCO and Russia. They focused on the opportunities for using UNESCO’s potential to help alleviate the humanitarian situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in part, as regards protection of cultural and religious landmarks that were damaged by hostilities and vandalism, and restoration of the education system in the region. The Russian minister supported Ms Azoulay’s initiative to send a provisional mission to the region to study the practical opportunities for working in the above areas by agreement with the parties concerned.
Mr Lavrov and Ms Azoulay also emphasised the importance of starting to implement, as soon as possible, the memorandum between UNESCO and the State Hermitage Museum on cooperation in protecting and restoring places of cultural value in the conflict areas in the Middle East, especially in Syrian Aleppo and Palmira.
Mr Lavrov emphasised UNESCO’s role in ensuring a genuinely universal approach to promoting international cooperation within its competence, which is highly relevant in a situation where, acting under the banner of multilateralism, a number of states are making initiatives that are not based on drafting mutually acceptable positions through a concerted effort and are trying to abuse the prestige of UNESCO.
Mr Lavrov and Ms Azoulay agreed to continue contacts on the above and other issues on the UNESCO agenda.