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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions following the SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting, Panaji, May 5, 2023
We have concluded the meeting of the Foreign Ministers Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We have prepared “directions,” which are yet to be coordinated ahead of the SCO summit scheduled for June-July 2023. Schedules for the heads of state are being finalised right now. It is understood that a large package of documents will be approved, primarily a political declaration, as well as a number of statements on deradicalisation, digital transformation, healthcare and other areas.
We have a common vision of problems persisting in the international arena. Our shared desire is to coordinate our actions at the UN and on the Eurasian continent with such organisations as the EAEU and ASEAN, and more globally, to cooperate with the BRICS countries.
We have paid attention to both the economic and humanitarian agendas. There is an initiative advanced by President of Russia Vladimir Putin to coordinate the creation of an SCO sports association. We also suggest establishing a medical association. Our colleagues from Central Asia are interested in promoting cooperation on information security and the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking in the SCO space. We think it is important to establish relevant divisions and let them be coordinated by the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
We still have time, though not much. There is a shared commitment to hold a successful SCO Summit in New Delhi in the summer of 2023.
Question: The BRICS countries are talking about introducing a common currency for mutual settlements. Is it true that it is going to be called “bric”? Has there been any discussion about the possibility of SCO countries using such a currency?
Sergey Lavrov: The name of the currency is the least important thing. You are right, the main thing now is to look at practical issues that will safeguard cooperation of independent, autonomous states against hostile actions by the West, abusing its position in the world economy, as well as against actions by the US abusing the dollar’s position as a reserve currency. The euro also uses similar ugly approaches.
There is an understanding that the role of national currencies in settlements between SCO members should be increased. Practices currently taking shape within the Eurasian Development Bank, the Asian Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the BRICS New Development Bank could be used for this purpose. All this has been discussed and is relevant.
Speaking of the BRICS New Development Bank, we took note of the initiative that has been repeatedly voiced by President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Lula da Silva: to switch to our own currencies with the prospect (this is quite possible) of creating an aggregate currency. All of this is now being analysed by our countries’ relevant agencies – finance ministries and central banks. This work is in progress. It cannot be stopped now.
Question: Moscow has called the drone attack on the Kremlin an act of terror. Has Russia notified its SCO partners about its position via diplomatic channels? How can our attitude to China’s peace plan change in this context? Can you comment on what happened in Ankara yesterday, when a Ukrainian deputy actually attacked a member of Russia’s State Duma delegation? How long will we put up with such behaviour?
Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the terrorist attack on the Kremlin and the President’s residence, our views have been provided. Nearly everyone I talked with yesterday expressed their disapproval. For example, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari openly condemned the terrorist attack and expressed the hope that the truth would be established and the culprits identified without delay.
As for how this can influence the situation in Ukraine, I believe that we should stop waiting for new incidents and provocations. Vladimir Zelensky and his team are doing everything possible in the media environment and in practice to dampen the desire of self-respecting countries to communicate with them. This is so. We see that this understanding is growing.
Nevertheless, we never refused to settle the problems that have been created by the United States and its satellites’ efforts to supply of weapons to Ukraine for confrontation with Russia. We see a growing awareness of the fact that these problems cannot be settled on the contact line in Donbass. Some people would like to freeze that line and then to think about what to do with the overall situation.
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