"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I already said today at the meeting with Senior Deputy Prime Minister Peres that what I saw on CNN is unacceptable. We shall convey that to the Iranian side. Today we are summoning the Iranian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to explain the motives behind such behavior. I think that this does not add to the efforts of those who want to normalize the situation around Iran.
Question: Can this influence Moscow's position on Iran's nuclear dossier?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: On the nuclear dossier we shall be guided by the specific facts which the IAEA reports. The matter is too serious to depart from the main criterion here of not allowing a breach of the nonproliferation regime. On the other hand, I cannot fail to admit that those who insist on a referral of the nuclear dossier to the United Nations, have received additional arguments after this statement.
Question: You probably have already studied the draft resolution on Syria. What are your remarks concerning it?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Any draft which is submitted to the UN Security Council is to be discussed and constitutes a subject of negotiations. I would not speak about differences, but, rather, about what unites us. We are for stating the work of the commission, as it reported in its material, as interim. They want to continue their investigation. The decision has already been adopted to this effect. We have noted, as indicated in the Mehlis report, that the Syrian authorities had cooperated insufficiently and had not answered all the commission's requests positively. We are ready to and shall ourselves propose that the Security Council call on the Syrian authorities to fully cooperate with the Mehlis commission. I think that this will be the essence of the Council's reaction to the present stage of work of this commission.
Question: And what disunites us?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I do not think that it is possible to talk in earnest about sanctions, especially as the draft suggests imposing sanctions in the form of travel restrictions on and of freezing personal accounts of individuals, but these individuals themselves are not listed. This probably does not exactly fit into reasonable logic. If a specific list is presented, then probably facts are needed which substantiate imposing sanctions against particular individuals. I shall note that the draft itself says the sanctions will be imposed against suspects, that is before trial and even before charges. It seems to me that's going a bit too far. For if there are some particular individuals in regard to whom some particular facts exist, then we shall be ready to examine this issue. But to give carte blanche for imposing sanctions it's not clear against whom, in my opinion, is unprofessional, not to speak of political aspects.
Question: If they insist on sanctions, how are we going to behave?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The negotiation process is under way in New York, so far I do not want to anticipate events. I hope that our arguments, which are based on a very understandable and honest position, will be heard. Our position coincides with the position of many UN Security Council members and Arab states. We want those who organized and perpetrated the murder of Rafik Hariri to be punished and brought to justice. But to politicize this issue and take decisions which may serve immoderate requirements, which it is hard to verify and check, would be incorrect. The UN Security Council must remain as the organ which controls this situation. That'll be our position.
Question: Do you think PNA President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon are ready for a personal meeting?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I think that PNA President Abbas is ready for a personal meeting. Prime Minister Sharon told me that he wanted to continue the dialogue with Abbas. Israeli President Katsav also said to me that he considered Abbas as a natural partner.
As to when that meeting could be held, there is no clarity yet. Of course, yesterday's terrorist act and the reaction of Israel to it do not add to optimism that the meeting may be held soon. Somebody wants very much to maintain the state of tension between the Israelis and Palestinians, does not want to facilitate the dialogue between them, because it is only through dialogue that a stable and lasting peace can be established, and movement can begin along the Road Map. We on both sides - in Ramallah as well as in Israel - heard the assurances of readiness for that, but extremists are probably trying to frustrate this movement and undermine this readiness. I very much hope that they will not succeed. Anyway, Russia as a Quartet member and in bilateral contacts with Israel and the Palestinians will be doing all it can to ensure that such contacts are resumed and that terrorism is brought to an end.