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Joint Site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of BRICS Member States

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Briefing By Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

India and Pakistan joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will contribute to the development of relations between these countries and will help them overcome their differences, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news briefing in Ufa.

"We proceed from the assumption that the more formats are available for interaction and communication, between India and Pakistan in this case, the more opportunities to help these two neighboring countries overcome the remaining differences between them," he said, adding that even in the current organisation there were countries sharing problems.

"By providing a platform for mutually respectful, equal and constructive dialogue, the SCO creates the necessary atmosphere to smooth out the existing contradictions as much as possible, so that the countries that are experiencing these difficulties in bilateral relations can have an additional platform, where they could discuss the difficulties and find the required solutions," he said.

He also said that Russia supported the idea of the SCO Summit approving Iran's application. "We proceed from the assumption that Iran, like India and Pakistan, has applied for full SCO membership. And we are in favour of tomorrow's summit endorsing this application, so that it is realized on the basis of the regular SCO membership criteria," he said.

Responding to a question about the threat posed by the Islamic State, Sergei Lavrov said that BRICS and SCO members had their own positions on this pressing issue.

"This position is formulated in the drafts of the final documents. This position is that all of this is absolute evil. This refers not only to the Islamic State but to all other terrorist groups," he said. This absolute evil must be fought decisively, without double standards or attempts to use what he described as abnormal situations for time-serving purposes.

The issue of Crimea's accession to Russia was also brought up at the briefing. According to the Russian minister, this problem does not exist for the SCO or BRICS.

"None of our partners have declared non-recognition of the referendum results, which have served as the basis for Crimea's reincorporation into the Russian Federation," he said. He also said that the BRICS and SCO leaders have reiterated their shared position regarding the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements in good faith.

"I believe everyone understands - even those who are unable to stop talking about this - that the Crimea issue is closed. It was closed by the people of Crimea and the decisions made by the Russian Federation in response to the clearly expressed will of the Crimean people," Mr Lavrov said.

The topic of World War II was also raised. Revising its results puts into question the entire system of international relations that are centred around the UN, he said.

"We are seeing to it that the world community does not forget about the causes of the war, about the results of the war, or about the winner of the war and who attempted to enslave the world and establish a unilateral dictatorial order," he said.

"Our position, which is shared by China and other SCO members, as well as the overwhelming majority of other countries, is to prevent the glorification of Nazism as such and to curb some very dangerous trends that we are observing, among other things, near our borders on the European continent," he said.