foreign minister

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov arrives in India amid western sanctions

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday. It is the first high-level visit from Russia since the Ukraine crisis that triggered sanctions by western countries.

Russian leaders and elites are facing western sanctions, including an asset freeze and travel ban, over the country’s invasion of Ukraine last month.
The US in coordination with the EU and the G7 has imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, key members of his government and members of his inner circle and over 400 Russian elites considered close to Kremlin. Over 325 members of the Duma have also been targeted with sanctions.

A ban on the export of dual-use goods has been imposed against Russia by the UK, EU and US. Russian flights have been banned by US, UK, EU and Canada. The UK has also banned private jets chartered by Russians.

The EU has imposed a ban on luxury goods exports to Russia and the UK too has decided to do so. The US has banned Russian oil and gas imports. The UK is planning to end Russian oil imports by the end of this year and the EU also plans to switch to alternative supplies.

Western countries have frozen the assets of Russia’s central bank. Russia has hit back by imposing export bans on a range of products until the end of this year. It has closed its airspace to flights from several countries.

Putin is also the head of Russia’s Security Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, and his assets as those of Lavrov are also being frozen in the US, EU, UK and Canada.

US Treasury Department targeted Putin while announcing the sanctions.

“No one individual is more responsible for Russia’s war against Ukraine, destabilization of Russia’s neighbours, the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and years of Russian malign activities globally,” the US Treasury Department had said in a release.

Putin has said he will make “unfriendly” nations pay for their imports of Russian gas in roubles to push up the value of the currency.

Lavrov, who is also a permanent member of Russia’s Security Council, is a key Russian face in the international forums.

Targeting Lavrov, the US State Department had said that as Foreign Minister he “has advanced the false narrative that Ukraine is the aggressor as he has aggressively sought to justify Russia’s actions globally”.

Lavrov’s ‘step-daughter’, Polina Kovaleva who reportedly owns a UKD 4 million property in London was also recently sanctioned by the UK government.

Here are some other Russians against whom sanctions have been imposed by western countries.

Aleksandr Bortnikov is the Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation and a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also imposed sanctions on his son Denis Bortnikov for being associated with the Russian government.

Igor Sechin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman of the Management Board, and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rosneft, one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil companies.

Sergei Naryshkin is the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Naryshkin was previously blacklisted by the Obama administration for his role in the takeover of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian forces in 2014.

Dmitry Peskov is Putin’s Press Secretary. The US Department of Treasury accused him of being the “lead propagandist” and spokesperson of the Russian Federation while sanctioning him. Sanctions were also imposed on three of Peskov’s family members, “all of whom live luxurious lifestyles that are incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin,” according to the US Department of Treasury.

The list of the sanctioned Russian high-profile individuals includes several oligarchs like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and heads of Russia’s premier banks including Sberbank CEO Herman Gref. (ANI)

Malaysian foreign minister sees shift in Beijing’s justification of South China Sea claims

Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia] (ANI): Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says Beijing now speaks less of the ‘nine-dash line’ and more often of the ‘Four Sha’ and expressed doubts on China’s changing claims in the strategic South-China Sea.
China appears to be shifting from the so-called “nine-dash line” toward a new legal theory to support its expansive claims in the South China Sea, although analysts say its alternative is also problematic under international law as outlined by Malaysian Foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah, according to Radio Free Asia. Abdullah said the shift toward has been witnessed by member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and “is even more serious” than the old claim.
“Four Sha,” or Four Sands Archipelagos, are the four island groups in the South China Sea that Beijing claims to hold “historical rights” to.
Beijing calls them “Dongsha Qundao,” “Xisha Qundao,” “Zhongsha Qundao,” and “Nansha Qundao.” Internationally, they are known as Pratas Islands, Paracel Islands, the Macclesfield Bank area and Spratly Islands.
The concept they may be eclipsed, the nine-dash line, is a U-shaped line encircling most of the South China Sea that China has been using to demarcate its sovereignty over the sea, according to Radio Free Asia.
Earlier, an international tribunal in 2016 invalidated the Beijing claim’s in the nine-dash line saying China has no legal basis for it. Although Beijing rejected the ruling, other nations have endorsed it.
On the other hand, US State Department report on China’s South China Sea claims that was published this month, ‘Limits in the Seas’, does not mention Four Sha concept as proclaimed by Beijing.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is among the ASEAN nations’ whose territorial claims overlap with China’s in the South China Sea. The others are Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam. While Indonesia does not regard itself as party to the South China Sea dispute, Beijing does claim historic rights to areas overlapping Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone.

Iran FM, Chinese counterpart announce implementation of comprehensive cooperation plan

Wuxi [China] (ANI): Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province on Friday and the two sides announced the launch of the implementation of a comprehensive cooperation plan, reported Xinhua.
The two sides conducted in-depth discussions and agreed to step up cooperation on energy, infrastructure, production capacity, science and technology, and medical and health care with the announcement of the launch of the implementation of the 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan, reported Xinhua. Wang and Abdollahian also agreed to expand cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and cyber security as well as promote tripartite cooperation, and deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges in education, film and personnel training.
The Iranian nuclear situation was also discussed between the two sides.
Stressing that Iran highly appreciates and will actively participate in the joint building of the Belt and Road, Abdollahian said during the talks emphasising that developing relations with Beijing is Tehran’s top decision.
Tehran is committed to reaching a set of stable guarantee agreements through serious negotiations, said Abdollahian, adding that Iran is willing to maintain close communication with Beijing.
The Chinese Foreign Minister also said that Beijing is ready to work with Tehran to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state. Wang also vowed to strengthen communication and coordinate actions, constantly enriching the connotation of the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership. (Image source: Instagram)

Chinese Foreign Minister held talks with Sri Lankan Prime Minister

Beijing [China]: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday held talks with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed several issues including tourism, investments, and fight against the COVID-19 to mark the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Wang arrived in Colombo on Saturday from the Maldives where he reached on Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of China and the Maldives. Taking to Twitter, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister also announced that he had a “very pleasant meeting” with Wang Yi.
“Had a very pleasant meeting with the Foreign Minister of China. Discussions centred around the logistics of facilitating the return of the many lka med students to China. Also discussed were a host of issues including Tourism, investments, COVID-19, SL relief & post-Covid preparedness,” Mahinda Rajapaksa tweeted.
“I thanked #China and her people for the continued support to #lka. As both our nations celebrate 65 years of bilateral relations, I am hopeful that this relationship we share will only grow & be strengthened in the years to come,” he added.
As per Chinese media outlet, Global Times reported that Colombo will be the last stop of his first foreign visit in the new year.

Russia Foreign Minister denies official recognition of Taliban authorities

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has emphasized that official recognition of Taliban regime in Afghanistan which took power in August last year is not possible despite maintaining working contacts.
Official recognition of the government of the Taliban movement in Kabul will depend on how their promises are fulfilled, including on countering threats emanating from the territory of Afghanistan, stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to Frontier Post. Further, Russia maintains working contacts with representatives of the Taliban movement (banned in the Russian Federation) who came to power in Afghanistan, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“We maintain working contacts with representatives of the new Afghan authorities, including through our embassy in Kabul. In the context of the socio-economic crisis, the humanitarian sphere is becoming a particularly urgent area of practical interaction,” the Russian Foreign Minister noted.
Russian Foreign Minister recalled that the Russian side delivered several consignments of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in November and December, and also helped Afghan students get to the Russian Federation to continue their studies.
“Our colleagues from the Russian Ministry of Defense are making a great useful contribution to these noble efforts,” he said.
“Official recognition of the government of the Taliban movement in Kabul will depend on how their promises are fulfilled, including on countering threats emanating from the territory of Afghanistan,” he added.
The Russian Foreign Minister further mentioned that Afghanistan’s effort in counter-terrorism will be watched.
“In connection with this, we will, in solidarity with the rest of the world community, gradually move towards the exclusion of the Taliban movement from the UN Security Council sanctions lists, which in turn would create the basis for the official recognition of the new government of Afghanistan,” Lavrov said.
Earlier, Russia delivered to Afghanistan the third batch of humanitarian aid weighing 36 tons, consisting of food and medicine in December.
Meanwhile, a 200 passengers, including Russian citizens and Afghan students, who are studying in Russia, arrived in Moscow by special export flights of the Russian Defense Ministry from Kabul.
In the period from August 26 to December 1, 770 citizens of the Russian Federation, the CSTO member states (Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia), Ukraine and Afghanistan were evacuated from the territory of Afghanistan by military transport aircraft, and more than 100 tons of humanitarian cargo were delivered, according to Frontier Post.

Japan to urge China to act responsibly in South China Sea, Hong Kong

Liverpool [UK]: Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said on Saturday (local time) that Tokyo intends to urge China to act responsibly in the East and South China Seas, Hong Kong, and its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Hayashi said Japan opposes China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. He said Japan also has serious concern over the human rights situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, reported NHK World. Hayashi was speaking during the first session of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, which opened in the English city of Liverpool on Saturday. The first session focused on China, Russia, and other regional situations.
The ministers also exchanged views on the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Australia, India, and South Korea are taking part in the two-day meeting. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are also participating in some of the debates, reported NHK World.
The participants plan to compile a document on the outcome of their discussions on the security and human rights issues as well as their measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Blinken meets Australian FM Payne, reaffirms deep commitment to peaceful, secure Indo-Pacific

Liverpool [UK]: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Liverpool to reinforce the ongoing efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
“Great to meet with my good friend @MarisePayne today. We reaffirmed both our nations’ deep commitment to a peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific, COVID-19 economic recovery and resilience, and cooperating to deliver results for our citizens and partners around the region,” tweeted Blinken. Both leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations’ Foreign Ministers meeting held in the UK.
They discussed deepening the US-Australia alliance, the importance of committing to ambitious climate action in the next decade, and the need for like-minded allies and partners to continue to defend, strengthen, and renew democracy around the world, read State Department spokesperson Ned Price statement.
They also expressed concern over Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine and reiterated support for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without resorting to threats or coercion and emphasized Taiwan’s important contributions to global health development.
Both leaders recommitted to the joint efforts in the region and to build back better from COVID-19, added the statement.
They also agreed on the importance of having a Senate-confirmed Ambassador in place in Canberra as soon as possible in light of the scope and scale of shared challenges.

Lithuanian FM resigns over Belaruskali sanctions debacle

Vilnius [Lithuania]: Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis submitted Friday his resignation amid the controversy of Belaruskali products being transported via Lithuania despite the US sanctions against Belarus’ fertilizer manufacturer.
The Belarusian state-owned company is one of the biggest potash producers in the world, and it exports most of its production via Lithuania. The U.S. introduced sanctions on Belaruskali on December 8 and Lithuanian authorities assumed that Belaruskali’s transit across the country would cease on the same day since commercial banks stopped processing the company’s transactions.
However, state-owned Lithuanian Railways said the shipments to the port of Klaipeda would continue for another several months, as Belaruskali had paid in advance before the sanctions came into effect.
The railway company said the Foreign Ministry and the Transport Ministry had been informed about the situation, although Landsbergis initially denied any knowledge of it.
On Thursday, Landsbergis said he was ready to step down.
Transport Minister Marius Skuodis has also signalled he was ready to step down if the prime minister asked him to.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Thursday she would announce her decision early next week.

India supports inclusive, representative govt in Afghanistan, says EAM Jaishankar

New Delhi [India]: Expressing concern over the recent developments in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday said that India, as a neighbour and long-standing partner, supports an inclusive and representative government in the nation.
Addressing the 18th meeting of the Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers on Friday, Jaishankar said: “As a neighbour and long-standing partner of Afghanistan, India is concerned about the recent developments in that country. India supports an inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan.” He further spoke about the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and urges RIC countries to work together to ensure that assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance and politicisation.
“RIC countries need to work together to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance and politicisation. It is necessary for the RIC countries to coordinate respective approaches on the threats of terrorism, drug trafficking and radicalisation,” Jaishankar said today.
The External Affairs Minister also stressed on ‘One Earth, One Health’ mantra and termed it “need of the hour”.
“Our approach to global development should be human-centric. COVID has shown interdependence of the interconnected world. The need of the hour is ‘One Earth, One Health’,” he said.
India took over the chairmanship of the RIC after the last meeting of RIC Foreign Ministers in Moscow in September 2020.
In a veiled reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, EAM Jaishankar on Thursday said any serious connectivity initiative must be consultative, transparent and participatory and conform to principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Addressing the 20th Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, Jaishankar said India today is an emerging economic force at the global level and despite the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.
He said India believes that greater connectivity is an economic force-multiplier that has acquired greater salience in the post-Covid era.

Belarusian Foreign Minister, EU diplomacy chief discuss border crisis

Minsk [Belarus]: Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on Sunday discussed the Polish-Belarusian border crisis and sanctions in a phone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.
“On November 14, 2021 Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei held a telephone conversation with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that “the difficult migration situation at the Belarus-EU border was discussed.” “The Belarusian side reiterated its readiness as a matter of principle for an equal and mutually respectful dialogue with the EU. The futility and counter-productivity of sanctions for the development of Belarus-EU relations was emphasized,” the ministry also said.

EU will expand sanctions against Belarus, says German foreign minister

Berlin [Germany]: The European Union will expand sanctions on Belarus and individuals and companies involved in transporting illegal migrants there, including sectoral sanctions, Acting Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.
“The EU will expand and tighten its sanctions against the regime of [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko. We will make a decision on this at the foreign ministers’ council in Brussels on Monday. Sanctions will be imposed on individuals and companies engaged in targeted smuggling all over the world. Further options are being discussed, for example, the expansion of existing sanctions, primarily the so-called sectoral sanctions, that is, economic ones,” Maas told the German parliament.

Taliban appointed FM of Afghanistan arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Afghan acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan for an official visit as head of a high-level delegation to hold talks with the Pakistani leadership.
Senior Pakistan officials welcomed Muttaqi on his arrival, Xinhua news agency reported citing state television of Pakistan. The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said that Muttaqi’s visit is taking place as a follow-up to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Kabul in October.
The Pakistan foreign ministry said the exchanges will focus on bilateral ties with a particular focus inter alia on enhanced trade, facilitation of transit trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, people-to-people contacts and regional connectivity.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Pakistani media reported that Pakistan has sent a special invitation to Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to attend the Troika Plus meeting.
“Special Representatives for Afghanistan from the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan will be meeting on Thursday and we hope that Muttaqi will also be able to attend,” The News International quoted an official.
The meeting is scheduled in Islamabad for November 11.

Russia’s Lavrov urges western States to stop ‘sabotaging’ return of Syrian refugees

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the Western countries on Tuesday to cease undermining the return of Syrian refugees to their home country by flouting the UN mandate to create the conditions for repatriation.
“All must respect all provisions of this resolution [2254]… It concerns the need for the West to stop sabotaging the requirement to create conditions for the return of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic,” Lavrov said after the meeting with Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher in Moscow. The Russian minister went on to chide the Western states for not engaging in restoring Syria’s infrastructure.
“The West, unfortunately, only collects money to keep these refugees in the countries where they left in the early years of the conflict, especially Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and unwilling to do anything to rebuild the basic infrastructure for the refugees’ return,” Lavrov added.
The minister also called for ending “illegal unilateral sanctions that the West continuously imposes on the Syrian Arab Republic,” especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing since 2011, with President Bashar Assad’s forces fighting against different insurgent groups. The ongoing conflict made millions of the country’s nationals flee to other places, mostly Europe, to save their lives. This created various humanitarian issues in different countries, including those related to the refugees’ subsequent repatriation as the situation in Syria becomes more stable.

Afghanistan’s acting FM discusses bilateral relations, trade with Chinese envoy

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Chinese ambassador Wang Yu on Saturday and discussed bilateral relations and trade.
“Acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi met with China’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu, on Saturday, the foreign ministry spokesperson said, adding the two discussed bilateral relations and trade,” Tolo News tweeted. Last month, the Taliban said Beijing has provided USD 1 million to Afghanistan and has promised additional humanitarian aid worth USD 5 million.
Meanwhile, Chinese FM urged the US and the West to lift sanctions on the country.
The meeting came amid Taliabn’s repeated appeal for wider international recognition. China is among the very few which seem to have started engaging with the outfit. Other members of the international community are taking a wait and watch approach.

Libya’s presidential council suspend FM Najla al-Mangoush

Tripoli [Libya]: Libya’s presidential council on Saturday suspended Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush and barred her from travelling.
According to the Egyptian newspaper Ahram, Libya’s presidential council spokeswoman Najla Weheba said that she was suspended from her duties and barred from travel. The council opened an inquiry into alleged “administrative breaches” by Mangoush, spokeswoman Najla Weheba told the Libya Panorama television channel, while El-Marsad news website close to eastern-based Khalifa Haftar said she took foreign policy decisions without consulting the council, reported Ahram.
Mangoush is suspended days before a major international conference. US Vice President Kamala Harris is due to join French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders at a conference on Libya in Paris on November 12.

Iran to consider experience of past nuclear deal talks in Vienna, says Foreign Minister

Tehran [Iran]: Tehran will take into account the experience of the previous rounds of nuclear deal talks to promote its interests in the upcoming negotiations in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday.
“Taking into account the experience and trends of previous negotiations, Iran will work hard to defend its interests during the upcoming negotiations,” he said in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as quoted by the Iranian Embassy in Moscow in Telegram. In order to see the real progress in the negotiations, European countries (Germany, France and the United Kingdom), as well as the United States, must refrain from excessive demands and proposals that go beyond the nuclear deal and take a constructive approach, Amirabdollahian added.
He also noted that no one should doubt Iran’s serious intentions for the upcoming negotiations and stressed the need for all parties to return to compliance with the obligations under the agreement.
The Vienna talks on the return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the lifting of US sanctions on Iran will resume on November 29.

US trying to set up military bases near Afghanistan, says Russian Foreign Minister

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said that President Vladimir Putin has told his American counterpart Joe Biden at the Geneva Summit that the country is against the US attempts to form agreements with Central Asian countries to deploy the US military on their territory, reported TOLOnews.
The foreign minister claimed that the US is continuing the efforts to establish military bases in a country neighbouring Afghanistan, reported the news channel citing his interview with the Russian Television. The proposals have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, however, the countries rejected the proposal, according to TOLOnews.
“Well aware of the Americans’ intrusiveness, I do not rule out that they will be pressing for the same aim from different sides. I’ve heard that they have been trying to persuade India to grant the Pentagon some opportunities on the Indian territory,” the news channel quoted Lavrov as saying.
Meanwhile, various reactions came up on the US proposals for the deployment of the forces.
“Certainly, the bases would be for suppressing Al Qaeda and Daesh, but the disaster would be with Afghans, ( Afghans will suffer ),” TOLOnews quoted the head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, Sayed Ishaq Gailani as saying.
“Forming military bases will affect the security of the region,” the news channel quoted former diplomat, Shukria Barekzai as saying.

Pakistani Foreign Minister, Australian counterpart discuss bilateral ties, Afghanistan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday held a phone conversation with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne and discussed several issues including Afghanistan and regional cooperation.
The Pakistani foreign ministry statement said that Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong desire and commitment to consolidate and further enhance cooperation with Australia in diverse fields, Xinhua news agency reported. Qureshi also highlighted Pakistan’s constructive role in support of efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He underscored the importance of inclusion, continued engagement of the international community with Afghanistan, and urgent coordinated steps for mobilization of much-needed humanitarian and economic assistance for Afghanistan, the statement added.
The two ministers expressed satisfaction with the current level of engagement. They also agreed on further enhancing high-level interactions, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

Sending US Military ships to Black Sea does not add stability to region, says Russian Foreign Minister

Rome [Italy]: By sending military ships to the Black Sea waters, the US does not add stability to the regions but tries to push coastal countries toward confrontational policies, Russian Foreign Minister COP26 begins as countries plan future actions on climate change said on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Russian defence control centre said that the Black Sea Fleet was monitoring the USS Porter, a guided-missile destroyer, which entered the Black Sea. “The demonstration of the US navy flag in the Black Sea is not an isolated incident. There have been several occasions when the US has explicitly declared the need for its military vessels to enter these waters in order to deter Russia,” Lavrov told reporters.
“Of course, this does not add stability. The Americans are actively trying to push the coastal Black Sea countries, which are members of NATO, to pursue such a confrontational policy,” the minister added.
Russia is ready for any threat, he said, noting there is no problem for Moscow to reliably ensure the security of Russian territory and in the Black Sea.
“But we are always in favour of promoting projects of cooperation, not projects that are based on confrontation,” he added.

Blinken to hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister on the sidelines of G20

Washington [US]: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday in Rome on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
These talks are set to hold amid a fresh row between the two global powers over Washington’s support for the “meaningful participation” of Taiwan in the UN. The meeting between the top diplomats is their first since a stormy session in the US state of Alaska in March during which the Chinese delegation berated Washington.
Wang Yi on Friday said Taiwan has no future other than reunification with China, and it has no international legal status other than being part of China.
Wang Yi said the US and some other countries could not stop the one-China principle 50 years ago, and they are much less likely to succeed in the 21st century. “If they persist, they will pay the price,” the minister added.
This comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had on Tuesday called on United Nations member states to back Taiwan’s “meaningful” participation in the UN system.
This comes as China has consistently made efforts to limit the island’s international participation.
“…We encourage all UN Member States to join us in supporting Taiwan’s robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system and in the international community, consistent with our ‘one China’ policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances,” Blinken had said in a statement.
Arguing for Taiwan’s “robust” participation in the UN, Blinken had said that the island’s exclusion undermines the important work of the UN and its related bodies.

Iran to continue supporting Lebanese “resistance” amid threats, says Foreign Minister

Tehran [Iran]: Iran will continue supports to the Lebanese “resistance” amid pressures, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted by state TV on Sunday.
Despite the economic pressures and the US. “oppressive” sanctions, Iran is prepared to assist Lebanon, he noted. “We have defended the Lebanese resistance in the face of threats posed to Lebanon’s sovereignty, security, independence, and territorial integrity … and our support for the Lebanese resistance in the face of potential threats of the Zionist regime (of Israel) will continue,” he added.
“Supporting the brotherly country of Lebanon is a moral duty that we will never spare any effort for,” the Iranian Foreign Minister said in a tweet at the end of his three-day visit to Lebanon on Sunday.

Jaishankar to embark on tour

New Delhi [India]: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday will embark on a three-nation tour of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Armenia.
Jaishankar will be undertaking the tour from October 10 to 13. He will be in the Kyrgyz Republic on October 10-11, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. He will leave for Kazakhstan on Monday. He will then visit Armenia on October, 12-13, the MEA said. The visit will provide an opportunity for reviewing the progress in India’s bilateral ties with the three countries as well as share views on developments in the region, the ministry further said.
“It will be a continuation of our increased engagement with countries in our ‘extended neighbourhood’,” the ministry added.
This will be Jaishankar’s first visit to Kyrgyzstan as External Affairs Minister.
He will hold a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Rusian Kazakbaev, apart from calling on President Sadyr Japarov. Some agreements, MoUs are also expected to be signed during the visit.
From October 11-12, Jaishankar will be in Kazakhstan to attend the 6th Ministerial meeting of the Conference of Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Nur-Sultan.
Kazakhstan is the current Chair and initiator of the CICA Forum. Jaishankar is also expected to hold bilateral talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Tileuberdi, and call on the Kazakh leadership.
Kazakhstan is the current Chair and initiator of the CICA Forum.
Established in 1999, CICA is a forum aimed at enhancing cooperation through elaborating multilateral approaches towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It currently has 27 member states and 9 observer states and 5 observer organisations India is a member of CICA since its inception in 1999 and has been actively participating in various activities conducted under the aegis of CICA.
Jaishankar will also be visiting Armenia on October, 12-13 the MEA said. This will be the first-ever visit of an External Affairs Minister of India to independent Armenia. He will have meetings with his Armenian counterpart as well as call on the Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly of Armenia.

Iranian Foreign Minister says talks on restoring nuclear deal to resume in Vienna soon

Tehran [Iran]: The Iranian authorities are wrapping up preparations for the negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna and the talks are expected to resume in the coming days, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said.
“The composition of our team of negotiators is almost complete,” Amirabdollahian said as quoted by the Fars news agency, adding that the talks will be held soon at the level of deputy foreign ministers. In 2015, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal) with the P5+1 group of countries (the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom – plus Germany) and the European Union. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief, including lifting the arms embargo five years after the deal’s adoption. In 2018, the US abandoned its conciliatory stance on Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA and implementing hard-line policies against Tehran, prompting Iran to largely abandon its obligations under the accord.
The sixth round of negotiations to restore the JCPOA and lift US sanctions ended in Vienna on June 20. After meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian declared their readiness to resume negotiations on the nuclear deal in Vienna as soon as possible.
In September, US President Joe Biden said that Washington was ready to return to compliance with the JCPOA if Tehran agrees to do the same.

French Foreign Minister Le Drian meets Jaishankar, discuss strengthening strategic partnership, cooperation in Indo-Pacific

New York [US]: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and discussed ways to strengthen strategic partnership and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific between the two nations.
“After the call between Prez @EmmanuelMacron and PM @NarendraModi, I discussed with @DrSJaishankar in New York how to strengthen our strategic partnership and our cooperation in the #IndoPacific. -French FM @JY_LeDrian,” tweeted Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India. Jaishankar is in New York for United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Jaishankar will hold around 15 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday including those with Iran, Australia, Egypt and Indonesia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for the US on Wednesday morning where he will address the UNGA session and participate in the Quad leaders’ summit.
The theme of this year’s general debate is “Building resilience through hope to recover from COVID19, rebuild sustainably, respond to planet’s needs, respect people’s rights and revitalise UN”.
Top leaders from across the world have already started converging in New York for UNGA high-level debate week. The UNGA meeting this year is in a hybrid format but a large number of leaders are expected to arrive in New York.
Several meetings on Afghanistan are also likely to take place. Qatar is also organising meetings in which India is likely to participate.

Saudi Foreign Minister to arrive in India today for 3-day visit

New Delhi [India]: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud will arrive in India on Saturday evening for a 3-day visit.
During his visit to India, Farhan Al Saud will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As per his schedule, Farhan Al Saud will hold a meeting with his Indian counterpart Jaishankar on September 19 at Hyderabad House, Delhi, and will call on PM Modi the next day.
Earlier in August, Saudi Arabia lifted the quarantine rule for Indians who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the Gulf country.
Jaishankar also held bilateral talks with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir last month.

Pak envoy meets Taliban foreign minister, discusses bilateral cooperation

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan on Tuesday met the Taliban interim government’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation between both countries.
“Called on the new Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi and discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly facilitating humanitarian, economic and people to people exchanges,” Khan tweeted. This is the first meeting between a Pakistani official and the representative of the interim Afghan government. Although the two sides have been in regular contact even before the announcement of the interim Afghan government announced last week, The Express Tribune reported.
The meeting, according to the Taliban spokesperson, took place at the ministry of foreign affairs of Afghanistan. Sohail Shahin said the two discussed “smooth movement of people at Torkham and Spin Boldak and problems of Afghan refugees in Pakistan,” the Pakistani publication reported.
According to The Express Tribune, Pakistan is not accepting any new refugees from Afghanistan and only permitting people who need medical treatment, foreigners and evacuees who have valid travel documents through its land routes with Afghanistan.
The Torkham, which is the main border crossing, was closed for pedestrian movement by the Afghan Taliban on Monday. However, the border was reopened on Tuesday.
“Pakistan ambassador promised to facilitate the movement of the people at Torkham and Spin Boldak and resolve problems faced by the Afghan refugees there. The two also discussed the bilateral relationship and the humanitarian aid,” The Express Tribune quoted the Taliban spokesperson as saying.
Afghanistan plunged into crisis last month after Kabul fell to the Taliban and the democratically elected government of former president Ashraf Ghani collapsed.
At a UN meeting in Geneva on Monday, the international community pledged to provide over USD 1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Muttaqi on Tuesday said that it wants good bilateral relations with the world’s countries, including the United States. He also thanked the world for pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid to Afghanistan, reported Tolo News.
Muttaqi also called on the countries, especially the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, to provide development funds to Afghanistan.

NATO is Cold War term, Quad looks into future: EAM Jaishankar

New Delhi [India]: Following China’s reference to Quad as an ‘Asian NATO’, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Saturday said NATO was a “looking back term” while Quad is the “way forward.”
At the inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and Australia here, foreign and defence ministers of the two countries discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. “Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) is a platform where 4 countries have come to cooperate for their benefit and benefit of the world. I think a term like NATO (by China) is a Cold war term, looking back. Quad looks at the future. It reflects globalisation and compulsion of countries to work together,” EAM Jaishankar said while responding to a question on China referring to Quad as ‘Asian NATO’.
Citing various areas of cooperation between the Quad nations, EAM Jaishankar spoke against the misinterpretation of reality and said that there is no relation between the term NATO and Quad.
“If you look at the issues Quad has focused on today like vaccines, supply chains, I can’t see any relation with NATO or any other organisation. I think it’s important not to misrepresent what is the reality out there,” he said.
Adding to what EAM Jaishankar said, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated that “Jaishankar has explained and articulated the response extremely well.”
“As Australia and India have re-energised relationships, there is also the opportunity to work through smaller groups like the Quad and other pieces of regional architecture like East Asia Summit and ASEAN regional forum.”
She said Quad members are champions of the ASEAN centrality and actively engage in that regional architecture. “We have a positive and practical agenda, as minister Jaishanakar mentioned a number of those initiatives around vaccines, around climate and critical technology.”
Earlier today, EAM Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the 2+2 talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.

Russia imposes sanctions against Ukrainian foreign minister, NSDC Secretary

Moscow [Russia]: Russia introduced sanctions against Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as well as National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, according to the decree published on the Official Portal of Legal Information.
“The list of individuals against whom special economic measures are being introduced are … Danilov Oleksiy, … Kuleba Dmitro,” the decree read. There are currently 922 people on Russia’s sanctions list.
Danilov, on his part, responded to the news on Facebook, saying that the sanctions imposed by Moscow against him were the best assessment of his work and a “gift” for the Ukrainian Independence Day.
The bilateral relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea reunited with Russia. The West sided with Ukraine in blaming the crisis on Russia, while Moscow rejected all accusations as baseless.

Jaishankar proposes four-point framework for securing UN peacekeepers against contemporary threats

New York [US]: Proposing a four-point framework to lay architecture for securing UN peacekeepers against contemporary threats, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that 21st-century peacekeeping must be anchored in a strong ecosystem of technology and innovation.
Addressing the Open Debate on ‘Protecting the Protectors: Technology and Peacekeeping’ at the UN Security Council, Jaishankar said UN peacekeeping simply cannot afford to cede the information advantage to those actors determined to undermine prospects for peace by using modern technology to aid their violent cause. He said India believes in “walking the talk” when it comes to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers.
“We have shown today, both in the rollout out of the UNITE Aware Platform, as well as the actionable elements of training incorporated in the MoU, that India believes in walking the talk when it comes to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers. We hope that in our discussions today, we get an equally strong reaffirmation of the UN’s intent as well,” he said.
Jaishankar said India has been a pioneer in UN Peacekeeping, deploying more than a quarter of a million troops over the years to as many as 49 UN Peacekeeping Missions.
“Serving under the blue flag, 175 gallant Indian soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice, the largest number among troop-contributing countries. In keeping with this tradition, we have more than 5000 personnel deployed across nine missions at present,” he said.
The minister said peacekeeping missions must be able to move fast to acquire and validate, information from a wide range of openly available sources to enhance situational awareness, augment security, aid operational planning, and support decision-making.
He proposed a four-point framework that would lay out a possible architecture for securing UN peacekeepers to meet contemporary threats.
“First, we must focus on operationally proven, cost-effective, widely available, reliable and field-serviceable technologies. These must also prioritize mobility, both in the sense of agile manoeuvrability of mission assets and in the sense of the use of mobile digital / IT platforms.
“Second, we need a sound information and intelligence foundation. Only this will ensure early warning and mobilizing a coherent and early response. A reliable, high fidelity means to collect, use, process and share information and data will create advantages from the start for peacekeeping missions.”
“Thirdly, we must contribute to ensuring that technological improvements are continuous and are available on the ground, in the gear peacekeepers carry and the weapons and tools they use to enhance their mobility, performance, endurance, range, and load-carrying capabilities while guaranteeing their safety and security.”
“Fourthly, consistent training and capacity building of peacekeepers in the realm of technology needs attention and investment. It is with this in mind that India is committed to long term engagement with the UNC4ISR Academy for Peace Operations in Entebbe, Uganda, to meet the training needs, link it with available technological capability, and shape future requirements.”
He announced an MOU between the Government of India and the UN in support of the ‘Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping’ initiative and to UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (UNCAP).
The minister also announced that India is supporting the UN in the rollout of the UNITE Aware Platform across select peacekeeping missions.
“This initiative is based on the expectation that an entire peacekeeping operation can be visualized, coordinated, and monitored on a real-time basis. We should ensure that any attack on a peacekeeper or a civilian is predictable, preventable, or responded to immediately.”
He said peacekeeping continues to play a crucial role in India’s vision of ensuring international peace and security.
“Providing greater clarity, direction and professionalism in UN Peacekeeping operations is at the heart of this vision,” he said.
The minister said that as a reflection of India’s deep commitment to ‘Protecting the Protectors’, it provided 2,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for UN Peacekeeping personnel worldwide in March this year.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar reaches New York to chair two high-level UNSC meetings

New York [US]: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday reached New York to preside over two high-level meetings of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on UN peacekeeping and on terrorism.
Taking to Twitter, India permanent representative at the United Nations, TS Tirumurti said he is delighted to receive Jaishankar. “Delighted to receive External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar in New York. EAM will chair two high-level meetings of UN #SecurityCouncil – on UN peacekeeping & on terrorism. He will participate in a ceremony at @UNPeacekeeping memorial along with UNSG
@antonioguterres,” he tweeted.
The meeting comes as India holds the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The first event on August 18, 2021, will be an open debate on ‘Protecting the Protectors: Technology and Peacekeeping’ while the second event on August 19, 2021, will be a high-level briefing on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts’.
Both these topics are priorities for India during its UNSC innings, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a press release.
The open debate on Peacekeeping will focus on the theme of ‘Protecting the Protectors’, including through the use of modern technological tools to enhance the safety and security of Peacekeepers and to aid Peacekeeping Missions to effectuate their mandates effectively and efficiently.
In this regard, India, in collaboration with the UN, would be rolling out the UNITE AWARE Platform, which is a situational awareness software programme that allows a Peacekeeping Operations Centre to visualise and analyse the ground situation in a conflict zone on a real-time basis.
This project aims to demonstrate the impact of modern surveillance technology on the detection of asymmetric threats. The aim is to improve camp security for UN peacekeepers, the overall security situation, and the quality of situational awareness.
India has partnered with the UN to roll out the UNITE Aware platform initially in four UN Peacekeeping Missions: MUNISMA (Mali), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNFICYP (Cyprus) and AMISOM (Somalia), read the release.
An MoU between the Government of India and the UN in support of the ‘Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping’ initiative is expected to be signed during the visit.
The executing agencies for this MoU would be the Center for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK – on the Indian side) and UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) based in Entebbe (Uganda) on the UN’s side, added the release.
On 19 August, EAM would preside over a briefing session on the six-monthly report of the UN Secretary-General on the threat posed by Islamic State (ISIL/Da’esh), under the agenda item “Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts”, added the MEA release.
During this visit, Jaishankar would also have bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of other Member States on the sidelines of these UNSC high-level events.

India came through ‘test of fire’ in second wave of COVID-19, world appreciates resolve, says Foreign Minister Jaishankar

New Delhi [India]: Noting that the world appreciates the resolve shown by India in dealing with the surge of cases in the second wave of COVID-19, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday that demand for medical oxygen went up eight-nine times and “we have come through test of fire”.
Addressing CII Annual Meeting 2021, Jaishankar said the scale, intensity, seriousness of the second wave of the pandemic was something very difficult to anticipate. “Initially, the world looked at us and wondered how any country could deal with this kind of caseload and severity of pandemic…Where we are today, I think the world understands and appreciates that we have pulled up our socks, shown national resolve. We’ve come through test of fire,” he said.
“When the second wave hit us, that was a very different situation. The scale, intensity, seriousness was something very difficult to anticipate. Particularly because of the delta variant, it had some very specific implications in terms of oxygen demand which went up 8-9 times,” he added.
He said India helped other countries in the first wave and the gesture was reciprocated when India saw a large number of cases in the second wave.
“Just like we helped others in the first wave, I think the world stood by us in many respects in the second wave, especially in terms of oxygen supply, oxygenators, medicines,” he said.
Referring to the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Jaishankar said that the country ramped up its medical infrastructure.
“In that period (when COVID first spread) we stood out for two reasons – one, we were decisive and largely effective in what we did. COVID caught us when our health infrastructure was very rudimentary, especially in terms of what we needed to do for COVID,” he said.
“All of that was erected out of nothing at that time and everybody stepped forward, I think industry did a magnificent job, government did everything it could to motivate people to get everybody to understand the seriousness of what happened,” he added.
The minister said India stepped out, helped others, sent out medicines, sent out medical teams, kept food supplies going for those for whom this was very important, like the Gulf.
“So there was a lot. Today I get expressions of gratitude for what we did during that period,” he said.

Scroll to Top