MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US position on the nuclear deal with Iran — the country's actual withdrawal from the agreement — and threats of a military solution in the situation with North Korea cause great concern, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday.
"The loss of mutual trust causes deep concern… Unfortunately, these negative trends have only been exacerbated by the US decision to actually withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program and as a result of Washington's threats to solve the Korean Peninsula's problem by military means," Lavrov said.
"Two years ago, an agreement was reached on the Iranian nuclear program, and it was approved by the UN Security Council, the whole world welcomed it. Now Washington is withdrawing from it, this is again the problem of negotiability as a foreign policy value," Lavrov said.
He added that the US decision on Iran showed their unreliability and, thus, there is no reason for North Korea to negotiate with them.
"I am not justifying Pyongyang. Pyongyang is acting provocatively, blatantly violating the UN Security Council resolutions," Lavrov said.
A representative of the North Korean delegation on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly denied any plans to meet with the South Korean counterpart.
The joint week-long navy drills of the US and South Korean fleets have kicked off today. About 40 vessels, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, are taking part in maneuvers in the waters around the Korean Peninsula.
The exercises come against the backdrop of escalating pressure on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.
US Possible Plan 'B' in Syria
The minister also said that in 2016 Moscow and Washington agreed to separate the opposition in Syria from terrorists, such as the Nusra Front, in order to allow the Russian Aerospace Forces to target extremists.
"We have closely cooperated with the United States on Syria since the times of [US President Barack] Obama's administration… In September 2016 [we] have agreed to jointly coordinate the struggle against terrorism in Syria… They have failed to do it up to now. The participants of the US-led coalition are sparing the Nusra Front. There are a number pieces of evidence that it is kept for the need of the so-called Plan B, the plan of a violent overthrow of the incumbent Syrian government," Lavrov said.
The Russian official added that the situation showed Moscow and Washington had reached an agreement, but the US side did not abide by the accord.
Moscow Relations With US, NATO and EU
Lavrov also underlined that Moscow was ready for fair interaction with the United States, NATO and the European Union.
"Despite the Russophobic sentiments of a certain part of the elites in the West, we are always open to fair interaction with the United States, the European Union, and NATO," Lavrov said, speaking at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi.
"In a similar manner, we are ready to work with Americans on any other problem that will help normalize the situation in the world, including in such an area as cybercrime. We prepared relevant proposals, presidents [Vladimir] Putin and [Donald] Trump discussed them during their meeting in Hamburg," Lavrov said.
"A positive attitude was expressed in order to create a joint working group on cybersecurity and within the framework of such a group to dispel all doubts as to who interfered where, whether such interference took place or all this was idle speculation," he said, speaking on the sidelines of the Global Forum of Young Diplomats.
“You know, we have a pragmatic approach to cooperation with the United States. We shall cooperate with them in areas where it could be used in the resolution of regional and global issues. This is probably also related to the dialogue on strategic stability. Despite anything, rejection of this dialogue would be irresponsible. I am satisfied with the fact that the new administration is not avoiding this conversation. This has to do with several aspects, for example, the situation in Syria,” he said.
The XIX World Youth and Students Festival is underway in Sochi. The festival is being held on October 14-22. The major events will be held in Russia's resort city of Sochi and will gather approximately 20,000 people from over 180 countries. The closing ceremony will also take place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi.
Militants in Syria and Iraq
Speaking on the reports of militants fleeing Iraq, the Russian Foreign Minister said that Moscow is clarifying the issue with the United States.
"We have agreed with the United States and with Jordan to establish a very important de-escalation zone in Syria's southwest, and it was an important achievement, however, we again have to make a reservation on the negotiability or its absence," Lavrov said.
He said the reservation was due to the fact that recently there was a strange phenomenon when militants in pickup trucks with machine guns were leaving Iraq without hindrance, where the United States seems to have serious influence, and Syria's US-controlled areas, and creating problems for the Syrian army.
"We are now clarifying with our US colleagues through relevant channels what this is. I hope that our fears that this is being done deliberately will not be justified," Lavrov said.
Commenting on the issue of the recent pressure on Russian media abroad, Sergey Lavrov once again recalled Moscow's position in the situation.
"If the US justice system passes an unjustified verdict regarding a media outlet, we will be forced to do the same with US television broadcasters, primarily the ones financed by US taxpayers," Lavrov said.
The RT broadcaster has faced significant pressure in the United States, including the demand to register as a foreign agent by October 17. The company has had to start laying off employees.
RT Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan has admitted that RT has not experienced this kind of pressure in any other country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has already warned that Moscow may have to respond in kind to Washington's pressure on Russian media.
Catalonia's Independence Bid
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also touched upon the Catalonia's independence issue, calling it a Spain's internal affair.
"We see this as an internal affair of Spain, the Spanish state. We hear calls for dialogue, we hear statements about readiness for dialogue, including from Barcelona. I think that this is the only way to consider the situation that has formed as a result of the referendum," Lavrov said.
On October 1, the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia held a referendum on independence, which the Spanish authorities do not recognize. According to the Catalan government, 90.18 percent of those who participated in the referendum voted for independence, while the voter turnout constituted some 43 percent. On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy demanded the region's authorities to clarify whether or not they had declared independence. Madrid gave the Catalan leader five days to do so.