Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

Press Availability
John Kerry
Secretary of State
United Nations
New York City
September 30, 2015

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We met with Secretary Kerry for the, I think, third time in few days. Today we devoted our meeting to the follow-up of what our presidents agreed when they met here on the 28th of September.

The first instruction to us was to make sure that the military of the United States, the coalition led by the United States on the one hand and the military of the Russian Federation who now engage in some operations in Syria at the request of the Syrian Government, get in touch and establish channels of communications to avoid any unintended incidents. And we agreed that the military should get into contact with each other very soon.

Number two, we also discussed what the presidents told us about the promoting political process. We all want Syria democratic, united, secular; Syria which is a home for all ethnic and confessional groups, whose rights are guaranteed; but we have some differences as for the details on how to get there. But we agreed on some steps which we will undertake very soon and our experts would undertake very soon together with other countries, including the United Nations on creating the conditions for options to be used, to be applied to promote the political process.

And I believe that this meeting as a follow-up to the decision – discussions between the two presidents is a very useful occasion to promote constructive and safe approaches to the situation in Syria and around it. We agreed to remain in touch with John, and as always, we are always – we are available for contacts with each other. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, as Sergey has described, the meeting that we had which we would both concur was a constructive meeting, I relayed and reiterated the concerns that I expressed in the course of the UN Security Council meeting which was led by Russia today, concerns that we have obviously about the nature of the targets, the type of targets, and the need for clarity with respect to them. And it is one thing obviously to be targeting ISIL. We’re concerned, obviously, that is not what is happening.

So as Sergey said to you, we agreed on the imperative of as soon as possible – perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, but as soon as possible having a military-to-military de-confliction discussion, meeting, conference, whichever – whatever can be done as soon as possible, because we agree on the urgency of that de-confliction.

Secondly, we did discuss a number of different ways to try to address the conflict itself, and several options were agreed to be further discussed. I need to take those back to Washington to the President and to our team, and I’m sure Sergey will likewise discuss them with President Putin and his team. And we will follow up on that for certain, because we also agreed that it is imperative to find a solution to this conflict and to avoid escalating it in any way or seeing it intensified by forces beyond anybody’s control.

And finally, the foreign minister and I agreed that there is, even as we don’t have yet a resolution with respect to some critical choices in that political solution, we think we have some very specific steps that may be able to help lead in the right direction. That needs to be properly explored.

And so we finally agreed we have a lot of work to do, and we’re going to get to doing that work as rapidly as possible, understanding fully how urgent this is in the context of refugees flowing out, the impact on Europe, the impact on the region, and understanding also that we need to see Syria kept whole, unified, secular, democratic. And those are big agreements in that regard, and now we need to work on getting there. So we will stay in very close touch and continue to work on this.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.