Once again, good afternoon.
We had useful and meaningful talks. We stated that the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Eritrea continue to develop successfully, despite all the vicissitudes of the international situation. We are developing a political dialogue and contacts between departments that are responsible for trade, the economy, and humanitarian ties. Today we have agreed to provide all possible assistance to our businessmen in both countries in the interests of agreeing and implementing mutually beneficial projects in energy, transport infrastructure, information and communication technologies and agriculture. There is mutual interest here.
Much attention was paid to the task of preventing the negative impact on our practical cooperation of the action of unilateral illegitimate sanctions imposed by the states of the "collective West", which has made sanctions almost the main and only instrument of its foreign policy.
We noted the coincidence of our approaches to key topical issues of our time, including the need for further democratization of international life, respect for the right of the peoples of the world to choose their own destiny and determine the paths and models of their political and socio-economic development.
We have a good level of coordination at the UN platform and at other multilateral platforms. We have a common position to counter the persistent attempts made by Western countries to undermine the foundations of the UN, the principles of international law and establish a unipolar world, promoting Western dominance in all spheres of international life under the strong leadership of Washington.
We examined in sufficient detail the issues of the all-African agenda. We noted the importance of the soonest normalization of the situation in the "hot spots" of Africa. Particular attention was paid to the situation in the Horn of Africa region. We, like our Eritrean friends, are convinced that in order to overcome regional crises, it is necessary, first of all, to promote an integrated comprehensive approach that involves concerted action by the African countries themselves with the support of the world community. We reaffirmed that Russia, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will continue to contribute to strengthening security and stability on the African continent, based on the well-known principle of "African problems - an African solution." So that decisions are not imposed on Africans from outside. There are many such attempts.
At the request of our friends, we shared our assessments of the situation in Ukraine and around it. Once again, we emphasized the goal of our actions - the protection of people from the military threat from the Kyiv regime and the need for the demilitarization and denazification of this country.
We highly appreciated the objective and responsible position of Eritrea regarding the situation in Ukraine. We appreciated the understanding of the fundamental nature of this situation, which is inextricably linked with the global crisis of the European security architecture as a result of the aggressive policy of the North Atlantic Alliance, which grossly violates the commitments made at the highest level, including in the OSCE, that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of the safety of others.
We told our colleagues about yesterday's talks in Moscow with UN Secretary-General Anatoly Guterres, who, in particular, focused on the humanitarian components of the current situation. We talked about what really impressive efforts the Russian side is making to solve humanitarian problems in Ukraine. Secretary General A. Guterres called for the UN, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assist in organizing humanitarian convoys and evacuating civilians. President Vladimir Putin accepted this interest with understanding. We positively assess the desire of the UN to play a constructive, unbiased role. We explained to the Secretary General and his delegation how exactly the UN could contribute to the solution of humanitarian problems. There are several representatives from the UN here.
That's what we were talking about. The talks were helpful. We agreed to continue working on all areas of our agenda.
Question: How are the preparations for the Russia-Africa summit going? Will it take place? In what areas does Russia intend to develop cooperation with African countries?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The Russia-Africa summit is being prepared. This will be the second summit meeting. The first one took place in 2019 in Sochi. Now, with our African friends, we are developing organizational aspects that will allow us to announce the parameters of the upcoming summit, taking into account the situation, which is heavily influenced by coronavirus restrictions. We must find a convenient time and form for all heads of state.
The areas of cooperation with Africa were determined in the decisions of the first summit in Sochi in October 2019: political dialogue, cooperation in the economy, investment, humanitarian and educational ties (a huge number of Africans study at Russian universities), and assistance in solving the problems of the African continent. All-encompassing dialogue. The Association for Economic Cooperation with African Countries has been established. Our Ministry has formed the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, which in practice is engaged in the preparation of further contacts.
Question: One of the conditions for Russia and a number of countries to recognize the Taliban government is to ensure inclusiveness, i.e. participation of all ethnopolitical forces in the government of the country. The Taliban have been in power for eight months. The old leaders of political parties fled, except for H. Karzai and A. Abdullah. New alternative political forces that would declare their readiness to enter a new inclusive government with the Taliban did not identify themselves during these months. Why do you think the Taliban failed to ensure the formation of a truly inclusive government during this period? Is it possible to form it in Afghanistan under the Taliban?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The question of why the Taliban succeeded or not is largely artificial. You can always argue why the Americans and their allies failed in Afghanistan. For 20 years of their stay and complete total control over the country, they have not created a single facility that would generate jobs, an increase in Afghanistan's GDP, etc. The subjunctive in diplomacy does not help.
With regard to ethnopolitical inclusiveness. This was not so much a condition of the international community as a promise, an obligation. It was proclaimed by the Taliban themselves when they came to power, among the steps they will take to restore order in the country and ensure national harmony.
You rightly noted that in addition to ethnic and confessional harmony, there should also be political inclusiveness. So far this is not good. All members of the current government (it is still temporary) are political Taliban, despite the difference in their ethnic origin. Former President H. Karzai and former senior official (de facto Prime Minister) A. Abdullah remain in Afghanistan. I think that they are quite authoritative figures who are open to dialogue with the Taliban. We encourage such contact. I hope it will allow us to further stabilize Afghanistan.
Question: The head of the Civic Chamber of Crimea, AA Formanchuk, spoke about the possibility of incorporating the Kherson region into the Russian Federation. This region and a number of other regions of southern Ukraine are under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. They are in close contact with the people. Was the desire of local residents to join Russia noticed? Is it possible to talk about a new form of the map of Russia, including some regions of the south of Ukraine?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: From the very beginning of the special military operation, we made a statement that the goal is to protect civilians who suffer from the militarization and nazification of their country. From the fact that frank neo-Nazis “rule the show” in power structures. They do not even hesitate to demonstrate the appropriate symbols of Nazi Germany. The population suffers from the fact that the government, headed by the president, passes laws that consistently kill the Russian language, culture, and education in Ukraine. These laws encourage the theory and practice of Nazism. People are under totalitarian oppression. Their mood must be put in the first place, given full priority.
Announcing the start of a special military operation, we said: we proceed from the fact that the citizens of Ukraine will determine their own fate. Decide for them, not for anyone else. Ukraine has been under external control for many years. People are tired of this.