Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nicaragua Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, Moscow, July 19, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
We had good talks. We give special importance to the fact that our Nicaraguan friends are marking the 42nd anniversary of the Sandinista People's Revolution together with us in Moscow. The revolution was a symbol of fighting for independence, equality and social justice. We congratulate our Nicaraguan friends on this memorable occasion. Our congratulations also go to Nicaragua’s capital – Managua.
We stand in solidarity with Nicaragua in the defence of its independence and sovereignty. We outright reject any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of this country as well as any other countries. We resolutely condemn the use of “political engineering” methods against Nicaragua in the context of the general elections scheduled for November. We are convinced that the people of Nicaragua have the legitimate right and are absolutely able to determine their own destiny themselves.
We would like to warn those who count on using the “sanctions stranglehold” and seek to undermine economic development in Nicaragua and other unwelcome countries, hoping to provoke popular discontent. This kind of destructive policy is not just inhuman; it also leads to the emergence of regional hotbeds of tension. We are well aware of how “colour revolutions” end in North Africa, the Middle East and other regions, including those close to Russian borders. The initiators of such illegitimate and unacceptable actions are fully responsible for the collapse of the target countries’ statehood, which usually follows these kind of initiatives, and for thousands of lives and people’s suffering.
Today, we and our Nicaraguan friends have reaffirmed our commitment to uphold international law, respect the UN Charter and its central role, and promote a polycentric, just, and more democratic international order. These principles underlie relations between our countries. We have discussed them in detail.
Alongside Foreign Minister of Nicaragua Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, the delegation also includes Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ivan Acosta and Special Representative of the President of Nicaragua for Cooperation with Russia Laureano Ortega Murillo. We had the opportunity to consider bilateral cooperation in a detailed and comprehensive manner. We can see how important it is to ensure the further advancement of our strategic partnership in all areas now.
Particular attention was paid to strengthening cooperation in coronavirus pandemic response efforts and in healthcare in general. We will more vigorously tap the potential of our joint venture, Mechnikov, which supplies pharmaceuticals and vaccines that are in demand in Nicaragua and other countries in the region.
We praised the implementation of a number of other joint initiatives. A Training Centre (branch) of the Siberian Law Institute of the Interior Ministry in Nicaragua is active in training law enforcement officers from Central America and the Caribbean. There is a GLONASS ground station. A Russian Centre opened at the National Autonomous University under the patronage of the Russky Mir Foundation. The partners are discussing supplies of Russian grain and automotive equipment to the Nicaraguan market, and assistance in infrastructure development. We intensively are working together to develop a national response and relief system for natural disasters and other emergencies in Nicaragua. It is a highly relevant topic considering the climate situation on the planet.
We talked about other promising areas for trade and investment. We agreed to take greater advantage of the potential of the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ivan Acosta is its co-chair. We hope this Commission will have a face-to-face meeting in the foreseeable future (at least this year); it has not met for a couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We have just signed an intergovernmental agreement on international information security. This topic’s relevance is increasing in bilateral relations with our partners as well as in the multilateral context at the UN. Russia has put forth the initiative to work out legally binding, generally accepted rules of conduct in the information and communication technology sphere in order to ensure military-technical security and stability, as well as the initiative to start preparing a universal convention against cybercrime.
We welcomed the high level of foreign policy coordination between our countries. We always support each other’s initiatives at the UN General Assembly and other UN agencies. We will uphold the ideals of international law and the UN Charter. Russia and Nicaragua became the founders, alongside many other states, of a group of friends in support of the UN Charter, which was set up just a few days ago now in New York at the initiative of Venezuela.
We will continue Russia’s dialogue with regional integration associations in Latin America. These are the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN). Our Nicaraguan friends share our views of Latin America as one of the rapidly developing centres of a multi-polar international order. We especially back the desire of our friends and partners in the region to become independent in international affairs.
Our talks were really useful. We are going to maintain very close dialogue in all spheres.
Question (retranslated from Spanish): Did you cover cooperation on countering the COVID-19 pandemic during your talks? Did you reach any specific agreements in this field, for instance, in terms of a schedule for sending Russian vaccines to Nicaragua? Did you discuss the production of Russian vaccines in Nicaragua?
Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres): I can confirm that we did talk in detail about cooperation in countering the coronavirus infection. Nicaragua was one of the first countries to register the Sputnik V vaccine. In May, it also registered Sputnik Light together with Venezuela.
We are sending supplies. We have already delivered over half of the discussed and contracted supplies, which adds up to around 300,000 doses. Now our agencies are discussing the timing for further supplies.
Tomorrow Mr Colindres and his delegation will have a meeting with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). We consider it our absolute priority to complete the supplies in accordance with the agreements we have made.
In addition to this, several months ago now, the Nicaraguan leaders proposed launching the production of the CoviVac vaccine from the RAS Chumakov Federal Scientific Centre for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products at our Mechnikov joint venture.
This is no simple matter. First of all, this company focusses on producing anti-flu vaccines. It is working at full capacity, manufacturing this medication that is being sent not only to Nicaragua but also to Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba. It produces about 30 million doses of these vaccines during a flu epidemic. The second thing is that the production capacities at the Chumakov Centre are not very big. Russia has not yet fully met its demand for this vaccine.
Considering these circumstances, we are studying the possibility of developing the production of a Russian vaccine in Nicaragua. I think this matter will be cleared up in the near future. Politically we support it all the way.
Question (retranslated from Spanish): Could you tell us about the cooperation agreement concerning international information security, which you have just inked? What measures does it provide for?
Sergey Lavrov: The signed agreement on international information security reflects our desire not to limit this urgent issue of the current international agenda to a multilateral level. Serious talks on drafting the rules of conduct of states are being launched at our initiative. We support these multilateral efforts with bilateral intergovernmental agreements with many countries. Nicaragua has joined their club. I believe this is a positive process. We will continue with it.