Russia's Lavrov lashes out at US at annual press conference

Theo Merz
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivering his annual press conference in Moscow on January 15,

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeatedly attacked the US at his annual press conference Monday, accusing Washington of issuing ultimatums and failing to recognise "the reality of the emerging multipolar world".

Lavrov said the past year had not been easy from a foreign policy perspective as he took questions on Syria, Ukraine, the Korean peninsula and other global issues, in a diplomatic round-up of 2017.

"Unfortunately, our American colleagues and their allies still want to do business solely on the basis of issuing ultimatums and do not want to listen to the views of other centres of world politics," he said when asked about US President Donald Trump's position on the Iran nuclear deal.

"In fact they do not want to recognise the reality of the emerging multipolar world," Lavrov said at the press conference where relations with the United States proved to be the dominant topic.

Trump last week said that Washington would not reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran for now, but would withdraw from the deal this year unless its terms were changed.

"(The Americans) resort to methods that are, largely, questionable and unscrupulous, in order to contain their competitors," Lavrov said.

"They use a number of these methods, from deploying a global missile defence system to unilateral sanctions, to the extraterritorial use of their own legislation or threats to resolve any international problems solely according to their own scenario."

- 'More assertive' -

Lavrov also said threats coming from Washington in 2017 had "seriously aggravated" tensions in different parts of the world, including in North Korea.

As Trump prepares to mark a year in power, Lavrov said the actions of the current US administration were in some cases "more assertive" than under Barack Obama, "despite Trump's line during the election campaign".

And Lavrov said Moscow could understand the anger of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, who has denounced White House peace efforts as the "slap of the century."

Last month Abbas sent delegations to Russia and China to ask them to take on a greater role in the peace process with Israel, as Trump controversially recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinians want the annexed eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state and president Abbas has said Trump's stance means the US can no longer be the mediator in peace talks with Israel.

The United States was afraid of fair competition in various areas, including energy and the supply of gas to Europe, Lavrov said, adding that Washington was failing to contribute to the resolution of the conflict in Syria.

Russia launched a military intervention in Syria in 2015, propping up President Bashar al-Assad's regime after a popular revolt was crushed by a brutal crackdown.

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