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Interfax.com  |  Interviews  |  Catherine Ashton: EU-Russia "absolutely agree" Syria should stop violence and...



Interviews


June 10, 2011

Catherine Ashton: EU-Russia "absolutely agree" Syria should stop violence and move forward on reform


EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has given an interview to Interfax on the sidelines of the Russia-EU summit in Nizhny Novgorod in which she speaks about the resumption of talks on the Iranian nuclear program, a draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria and Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

Question: What are the prospects for resuming negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program? Does the EU share Russia‘s approach that the international community should develop step-by-step action plan for Tehran and move towards relieving the tensions or do you support tougher sanctions on Iran?

Answer: First of all its really nice to be here. It‘s the my first visit, and I had a wonderful experience of going on the river Volga last night on a boat. I‘d like to thank every one here for welcoming so nicely and how much we appreciate that.

Iran is a very important issue on which we work closely with Russia. And I want to pay tribute to the approach that Russia has taken in collaborating in what we call the E3+3. That is just the way of describing: France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the U.S., six countries working together. We are taking a common approach in our negotiations which is to put forward proposals to Iran that would build confidence in what they say is the desire to have a civil nuclear program and would enable [] inspections to take place and enable us to move forward. And we are all united in that. And that approach is on the table. I hope that Iran will decide to come back to the table and pick up the different elements, the different parts of that or put their own on the table, so that we can go forward together. And indeed being here with Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Medvedev we‘ve talked about how important it is that we stand together on that.

Q.: Do you think the situation in Syria could follow the Libyan scenario. Do you support the idea that the UN Security Council should pass a tougher resolution in Syria, which Russia opposes?

A.: Well, what we‘re clear about is that the situation in Syria is very serious. A lot of people have been killed. It‘s important when we are in a position that innocent are dying that the UN Security Council looks at this very seriously. There is a resolution put forward by EU members, I support them doing that. That‘s a very different resolution to the resolution non Libya, and I do hope that Russia would approach it in that spirit. I have no doubt of the commitment from President Medvedev and from Foreign Minister Lavrov from today to try and engage with Syria to stop violence and move forward on reform. On that we absolutely agreed.

Q.: Will the EU support the proclamation of Palestine‘s independence at the UN General Assembly session in September? Are you aware when the next ministerial meeting of the Quartet on the Middle East settlement could take place?

A.: I‘ve just written to ask that we have a Quartet meeting. You are completely right to raise the Quartet as very important, and potentially offering the way forward to get talks moving, because in the end it‘s the negotiated settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis is going to lead to lasting peace that we all want to see. It will be for members of the UN, individual countries to make their decisions in September. But what I‘m engaged in is trying to find the way that we get the talks moving, because that‘s actually going to be the solution in the end.



Interviews
 

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U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman, who will leave his post in early October, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about exchanges at the highest level between Moscow and Washington, a possibility of Russias return to G8, as well as his vision of the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty on that is expected on August 2, about Russia‘s response to the U.S. and NATO possible deployment of missiles banned by the treaty, and about whether the Cuban Missile Crisis may repeat itself.

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U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about results of the trilateral meeting on Afghanistan settlement that took place in Moscow on April 25, prospects of the intra-Afghan meeting in Doha, and Russia‘s role in the Afghan issue.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the Alliances 70th anniversary that is to be celebrated on April 4. He speaks in the interview about the NATOs vision of future relations with Russia, its attitude to the situation surrounding the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty and the New START Treaty, as well as further plans of expanding the Alliance.

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British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the current situation in the relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia, the impact of the Skripal case on it, the restoration of the numbers of diplomatic staff, exchange of information on counter-terrorism, possible introduction of sanctions over the Kerch Strait incident, the INF Treaty, and British-Russian economic relations.

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