NBC News Interviews Sergey Lavrov
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
He’s a world-class diplomat, a credit to his nation, a tireless advocate for world peace and stability.
No Western counterpart in modern memory matched his dignity and moral integrity. He agreed to be interviewed by NBC News, knowing its hostile to Russian interests – like all other US media scoundrels.
Lavrov forthrightly said US hostility toward Moscow began “long before the Ukrainian crisis, long before anything else which is now cited as the problem in Russian-American relations.”
The Obama administration was unforgiving over Moscow’s refusal to extradite Edward Snowden, Lavrov saying “John Kerry called me. John Brennan called his counterpart in Moscow…many times, saying, ‘(y)ou must extradite him. You must extradite him.”
Russian law prohibits extraditing human rights activists – to be persecuted unjustly if returned to their countries of origin.
Obama did something “entirely unpresidential,” said Lavrov. “He cancelled his bilateral visit to Moscow, which was scheduled immediately on the eve of the Saint Petersburg G20 summit.”
“He did attend the summit in Saint Petersburg, but he cancelled the visit which was supposed to consider a quite important agenda.”
He acted more like a child than a grownup. “And then, of course, the (anti-Russian) Magnitsky law, which as we now see was very much orchestrated, but I hope the investigation which is going on, including in the United States, would discover the truth.”
All this went on before Ukraine and Russia’s intervention in Syria at the behest of its government.
During his last days in office, Obama lawlessly seized Russian diplomatic property in Maryland and New York, “leav(ing) something to his successor which would be unrepairable as far as Russian-American relations are concerned,” Lavrov explained.
Along with other hostile acts, the seizure was done “to make life for (the Trump) administration absolutely unbearable.”
Uncharacteristically, Lavrov added “when people say that the property was (seized) and diplomats were expelled to punish Russia for meddling with the American election, don’t believe this crap, because the official note verbally which we received from the State Department said nothing about the reasons for which this property had been seized.”
“So it’s just straight forward robbery, and international law is entirely on our side, and we would act on the basis of…to get it back.”
Lavrov stressed Trump’s campaign pledge to improve bilateral relations, cooperating on vital issues instead of remaining at loggerheads.
In phone and face-to-face discussions with Putin, he affirmed this pledge. He’s “being attacked because of what happened between him and Russia,” Lavrov explained.
“Accusations against him related to his position on Russia, along with claims about Moscow interfering in America’s election are groundless,” he stressed.
“We haven’t seen (a) single fact during many, many months of accusations” – nothing. “So the fight goes on (to make things for) this administration miserable.”
People ludicrously “speak about impeachment…I (follow) the news from the United States less and less.” Why bother when it’s worthless rubbish!
Russia believes international law is inviolable. Laws and the sovereignty of every country must be respected. There was no secret meeting between Putin and Trump at the G20 summit, no Russian interference in America’s internal affairs.
Years earlier, Moscow, Beijing and other Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries drafted a document called Rules of Behavior in Cyberspace. It’s available at the UN. Obama refused to discuss it.
Lavrov: “We reiterated this approach that we want cyberspace to be the area where we discuss all concerns, be it interference in domestic affairs of any sovereign state, be it the use of cyberspace for terrorist purposes, or for the purposes of drug business, pedophilia, other violations of the international legislation.”
Trump clearly showed interest in discussing these issues. Talks on cybersecurity are underway between the US and Russia, Lavrov confirmed. He’s not personally involved so knows no details.
At their G20 meeting, Putin stressed no Russian interference in America’s election occurred. Trump raised the issue. Putin “got the impression that (he) accepted this explanation.”
Lavrov expressed strong criticism of America’s presence in Syria. Russia is there legitimately, invited by Damascus. Washington is a hostile invader, Bashar al-Assad stressed.
Its presence is “illegitimate,” said Lavrov. It’s supporting terrorists, not combating them.
On the issue of North Korea, Lavrov stressed the importance of resolving issues diplomatically. “We don’t believe in regime change (or belligerence) anywhere,” he stressed.
Respect for international law and the sovereign rights of all nations are the only ways to prevent a looming disaster, Lavrov concluded.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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