Lavrov and Tillerson Disscus Strategic Issues During Meeting at Russian UN Mission

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held an hour-long informal meeting at the Russian United Nations Mission in New York. They reiterated their commitment to cooperate in Syria to eliminate conflict situations and reduction of violence, according to a statement by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

“The two recommitted to deconflicting military operations in Syria, reducing the violence, and creating the conditions for the Geneva process to move forward, pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254,” according to the document.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that they also discussed cooperation on the Syrian crisis and other aspects of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the status of implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev said today that the meeting was a positive signal. “I see a positive signal in today’s meeting,” said Kosachev, who chairs Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) International Affairs Committee. “No doubt, the two countries, which are permanent UN Security Council members, should coordinate their steps ahead of the upcoming General Assembly. This is a good sign,” he said.

Nonetheless, Kosachev said it was unfortunate that in a interview with Face the Nation on CBS, Tillerson said that “if our diplomatic efforts (on North Korea) fall though, our military option will be the only one left.” Kosachev didn’t mention the fact that both U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster issued similar threats of military action, speaking on Sunday talk shows.

“As long as the U.S. and other Western countries, their allies and neighbors of North Korea — South Korea, Japan and other regional countries— leave open the possibility of external interference and toppling the current regime there, unfortunately North Korea and its authorities will continue implementing its nuclear program,” Kosachev warned.

“Definitely, there is no military solution there, no doubt that if any military operation is carried out, unfortunately, North Korea’s authorities will fulfill those possibilities that they have,” the Russian Senator stressed. “All this will end sadly not only for the region but for the whole world, including the US.”

“That’s why I sincerely regret Tillerson’s statement as this is definitely not a solution to the North Korean problem, recognizing that this is a problem, it is evident that it exists and demands immediate solution,” the senator said.

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