Russian foreign minister’s annual address, news conference

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Jan 22 2015

Russian foreign minister’s annual address, news conference

Excerpt of “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and annual news
conference on Russia’s diplomatic performance in 2014, Moscow, 21
January 2015”

Address

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to our annual meeting on Russia’s diplomatic performance.

[parts omitted]

Gyumri tragedy in Armenia

Question: The image of the Russian soldier has traditionally been
respected in Armenia. However, a tragedy occurred in the city in
Gyumri, where a Russian soldier killed an entire family. How was that
possible? Has Russia done all it could to resolve this conflict? Has
the issue been over-politicised?

Sergey Lavrov: First of all, I would like once again to express our
profound condolences over the horrible crime that has been committed
against the Avetisyan family. Completely innocent people have been
killed. Yesterday, six-month old Seryozha also died. I called my
Armenian counterpart Edvard Nalbandyan regarding this, and once again
expressed our feelings.

Importantly, the perpetrator has been arrested and has already
confessed to the crime. Our countries’ presidents have been in contact
by telephone. Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Russian
Investigative Committee, went to Yerevan and yesterday met with
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. We confirm that a joint, maximally
open judicial investigation and trial will take place in Armenia. I am
confident that the court will quickly deliver an objective verdict
that will be proportionate to this horrible crime.

As for the general context of our relations, I will say this: “There’s
a rotten apple in every barrel.” This is precisely the attitude that
is being shown today by all military servicemen and commanding
officers at the Russian military base in Armenia. I will not cite
examples of people going mad for totally incomprehensible reasons and
doing the unthinkable. There are plenty such examples in other
situations and in other countries.

We are seeing attempts to politicise this situation that are coming
not from the Armenian or Russian leadership. There is no shortage of
those willing to use this tragedy to obtain some geopolitical
advantages. This is disgusting, unacceptable and unworthy of the proud
Armenian people who, I am sure, will never fall for this kind of
provocation.

We are grieving together with Armenia and we will do all we can to
ensure that this crime does not go unpunished, that the perpetrator is
punished severely and that such things do not happen again. Naturally,
it is impossible to ensure a 100 per cent guarantee against any
inconceivable excesses, but everything that needs to be done will be
done. I am confident that Russian-Armenian relations of alliance and
strategic partnership will not be damaged.

[parts omitted]

Detained Russian citizen

Question: This question may not be on Russia’s agenda, but it remains
relevant for Azerbaijan. I’m talking about an ethnic Azerbaijani,
Dilgam Askerov, a Russian citizen, who was detained on Azerbaijan’s
occupied territory and is still held in an Armenian prison. Why has
Russia shown no interest in the fate of its citizen? Why has Russia
failed to make a single statement calling for Askerov’s release?

Sergey Lavrov: You mean that he is a Russian citizen who was detained
by Armenia? If so, we will discuss this issue with Armenia. A number
of Russian citizens are detained in various countries. We are
constantly monitoring what’s happening to them. Taking into account
that we need to receive information on the reasons that led to the
detention and based upon these data, our assessment of the gravity of
accusations against Russian citizens, as well as understanding the
conditions in which they are being held and the plans of the country
regarding Russian citizens it holds in detention, we take the
necessary decisions through channels that exist to this effect within
the framework of Russia’s bilateral relations with the relevant
country.

From: A. Papazian

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