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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

    Lavrov Starts Southeast Asia Tour, Plans to Meet Tillerson Within ASEAN Forum

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    50th ASEAN Forum in Manila (27)
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be on a tour to the Southeast Asian states, namely the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, on August 6-10, and is expected to hold a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministerial meeting in Manila.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Lavrov will have a busy schedule during his visit. On August 6-8, the Russian foreign minister will visit the Philippines to take part in numerous events within the ASEAN forum and hold meetings with a number of his Asian counterparts, as well as with Tillerson.

    The visit will proceed in Indonesia on August 8-9, where Lavrov will negotiate with the country's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and open Russia's Permanent Mission to the ASEAN. In Thailand Lavrov will hold talks with the state's Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on August 9-10.

    RUSSIA IN ASEAN

    ASEAN was established by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 1967. Since then, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia have joined the organization. The association strives to enhance regional cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and other spheres, as well as promote peace and security.

    Within the framework of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings on August 2-8, the Philippine capital is bringing together the heads of foreign offices from 27 states.

    The Russian foreign minister will take part in the ministerial Russia-ASEAN meeting, the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting (7th EAS FMM) and the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

    The Russia-ASEAN meeting will focus on the issues of countering terrorism and cross-border crime, expansion of trade and investment cooperation, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. The 7th EAS FMM will also be devoted to the issues of building up a regional security structure amid the growing threat of terrorism, as well as development of cooperation in the spheres of finance, energy, health, education and emergency response.

    The 24th regional forum will cover the issues of preventive diplomacy, combating terrorism, enhancing naval security and other issues.

    FIFTH MEETING WITH TILLERSON AGAINST BACKGROUND OF NEW US ANTI-RUSSIA SANCTIONS

    Since Tillerson's appointment as US Secretary of State in February, the heads of Russian and US foreign offices met four times — in Bonn, Hamburg, Washington and Moscow.

    The fifth meeting in Manila will be held against the background of the newly imposed US sweeping sanctions against Russia targeting the energy sphere among others. Soon after the US move, Lavrov and Tillerson held telephone talks and agreed to discuss the recent developments of bilateral ties at the upcoming meeting.

    "The foreign policy chiefs agreed to discuss in detail the prospects for cooperation on the settlement" of urgent global and regional problems and "the state of bilateral relations between Russia and the United States during a meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN regional forum on security on August 6-8 in Manila," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump enacted a new batch of sanctions on North Korea, Iran, and Russia. The sanctions over Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election target the country's defense and economic sectors and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies. The law also limits the US president's ability to ease any sanctions on Russia by requiring Congress' approval to lift any restrictions.

    In a statement released for the press after the bill's signing, the US president expressed fears that the law could harm US companies and businesses, as well as international US allies.

    The new US restrictions have also prompted criticism from European authorities, which said the sanctions were not in line with EU energy security interests. On Monday, German Minister for Economics and Energy Brigitte Zypries said that the new sanctions would violate international law. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his satisfaction over the softened version of the final bill. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday characterized the legislation as a declaration of a "full-fledged economic war."

    As a response to the anti-Russia policy of the United States and the new sanctions against Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry asked Washington to reduce the number of the personnel of its embassy in Russia in line with the number of that of the Russian Embassy in the United States, estimated at 455, by September 1.

    VISITS TO INDONESIA, THAILAND

    Lavrov will head to Jakarta after the Philippines to hold talks with his counterpart and discuss the issues of bilateral and international agenda, such as countering terrorism and Indonesia's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The talks are expected to end with a signing of strategic partnership agreement, according to Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Mohamad Wahid Supriyadi.

    The visit to Thailand and meeting with country's top officials will conclude Lavrov's Southeast Asian tour. This year marks 120th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two states.

    Russian Ambassador to Thailand Kirill Barsky told Sputnik on Thursday that Lavrov's upcoming visit to Thailand would become a new important step toward developing a strategic partnership between the two countries. The main aim of the visit would be to assess the current state of bilateral relations, set the prospects for the development of bilateral relations and further cooperation.

    Topic:
    50th ASEAN Forum in Manila (27)

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